RWE, formerly E.ON, you have given me no reason to trust you and your recent letter in the Courier and Press which speaks almost exclusively to money, leaves me with the feeling that you believe concerned citizens can be bought; my safety cannot be purchased.
At a recent Gibson County Commissioners’ meeting, a local resident asked RWE representatives if they were aware that the Owensville Doppler radar was within the Posey/Gibson turbine project footprint when the project was initiated. The answer was, “yes”. RWE knew the Doppler radar existed, yet they continued with their development plan.
It is scientific fact that Doppler radar interference exists with proximity to a wind turbine. NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWS) have confirmed to Gibson Co. commissioners, to eliminate interference with a Doppler radar signal you must avoid locating wind turbines in the radar’s line of sight. This line of sight is a 22.4 mile radius around our local Doppler radar and could extend up to 37.3 miles upon analysis which reaches over 400,000 Tri-State lives. A tornado, which occurred on 12/1/18, was masked by E.ON’s Radford Run wind farm and is clear evidence of the need for this buffer zone. This tornado was 22 miles from a NWS Doppler radar in Illinois. It would appear that RWE would rather focus on the $20 million in county road upgrades at Radford Run than the fact that they placed turbines within the line of sight of the Doppler radar in Illinois.
RWE repeats their mantra of committing to not building within 2.5 miles (the no build zone) of the Doppler radar. The repetition of this commitment is an insult to the intelligence of the county residents and is not an acquiescence on RWE’s account. This distance only protects our Doppler radar from damage but does not protect us from signal interference as demonstrated at Radford Run. I’m personally tired of hearing this repeated as if it is some grand concession on behalf of RWE.
RWE is noncommittal on specific safety solutions, yet they have been aware of the Owensville Doppler radar issue for over a year and the experience of the Doppler radar interference at Radford Run. Their lack of specifics is not sufficient and only speaks to the fact that the logical and best answer does not fit into RWE’s plan. NOAA and the NWS have repeatedly stated there are no technical mitigation measures for improving Doppler radar performance in the mitigation and consultation zones. NWS Deputy Director of Radar Operations, Jessica Schultz, has stated, “We’ve (NWS) never had an example of turbines curtailed during severe weather. We’ve asked companies to run a (curtailment) test for demonstration purposes, but that hasn’t been accomplished yet.” Ms. Schultz also stated, “It is unknown if shutting down turbines in severe weather will be successful.” Does RWE want us to be the guinea pig for this test? Locating turbines outside of the Doppler radar’s line of sight is the best answer but clearly it’s not in RWE’s financial interest.
We find ourselves, at the 11th hour, awaiting a finalized Posey Co. wind ordinance that will determine the ability to track a storm heading towards the residents of the Tri-State. This ordinance will or won’t protect our safety because RWE will not give us specific answers and they will not guarantee that they won’t place turbines within the line of sight of the Owensville
Doppler radar. Either RWE thinks we are easily fooled or they believe we are willing to accept money as satisfaction for the loss of our safety from severe weather.
We deserve a Doppler radar that works at 100%, not a degradation of data so RWE can have their project here as currently proposed. If RWE is concerned for our safety, they will never place a turbine in the line of sight of a Doppler radar. Posey Co., please protect the Owensville Doppler radar and do not allow turbines to be built within the line of sight of the radar. RWE has not proven that the safety of our counties is on their radar.
– Erin Maurer
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