If you’re not sure yet who controls the South Dakota Public Utility Commission’s Wind Energy Agenda, listen to the hearing on January 7. (https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2020/puc01072020.mp3)
The hearing was about the condition that the PUC imposed on Crowned Ridge/Next Era in the permit. They were to install low noise trailing edge blades on all turbines. They didn’t, and they got caught. They also got caught erecting towers taller than permitted, generators bigger than permitted along with a host of allegations about noise and shadow flicker violations.
They weren’t caught by the PUC, but by citizens in the neighborhood. Crowned Ridge’s excuse was it was too cold, they didn’t order them early enough, as Commissioner Hanson compared it to “the dog ate my homework” excuse.
Nevertheless, the PUC used enough words like “misinformation” and “conflicting stories” by Crowned Ridge to recognize they were lying, without saying the word.
But the PUC granted the waiver. They went too far this time. Commissioner Fiegen went on, saying “safety” was her primary concern in her job since 2011, although she had every opportunity to make it safer for people living under these monstrosities several times in several dockets but refused. She was more concerned about the safety of the 16 wind construction workers than the citizens. She opined about how overworked the PUC, staff, liaison officer were.
What about the intervenors that have worked just as hard for a couple years (without pay and benefits) trying to save their homes and peace and quiet?
Then Commissioner Nelson made the motion to grant the waiver for Crown Ridge, which allowed them to skirt around the blade issue. Then he had the nerve to add some conditions to the waiver in a bold tone of voice like he meant business. Are you kidding me? You are at the meeting because you didn’t enforce the first conditions you set. And now you expect people to believe you will enforce new conditions?
The PUC is discriminating against rural citizens forced to live too close to wind turbines. Our state has signed on to the Green New Deal, and many of us are expected to sacrifice our homes and quality of life so multinational corporations can get tax credits.
by Gregg Hubner, Avon SD, president South Dakotans for Safe and Responsible Renewable Energy
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