October 28th, 2010
As you know, Goodhue County passed a Wind Ordinance earlier this month:
And on Monday, Wabasha’s Planning Commission reviewed its own Wind Ordinance (sorry about the format of this, but it’s how it is on their site):
And now, on to Rice County. There’s a project proposed in Rice County… well, it’s a revisitation of a project started in Dakota County and which went over like a lead balloon:
This was an 11MW project, and the main objection was that the wind farm was proposed for Dakota County, a pretty populated area, and the project was quickly withdrawn:
And now it’s BAAAAAAAAAACK!
Here are the specifics:
The same people who proposed that Greenvale Wind project, Anna Schmalzbauer and Leone Medin, a mother/daugher duo, are the ones behind the proposed “five” projects in Rice County, which totals the same MWs as the Greenvale project — they’re all on the agenda at the same time, all to be built the same time, one is under “Spring Creek, LLC” which is a Jeff Paulson creation (that alone should raise eyebrows and trigger scrutiny) and four are “Gro Wind, LLC” with cookie cutter cut and paste “applications” with only minor changes, like the parcel location. And this time… filed separately. The Gro Wind cookie-cutter cut and paste applications, all filed “separately,” total over 5MW.
Any wind project proposed must apply to the state for a “Size Determination” under Minn. Stat. 216F.011. The state then proceeds to determine the size of the project, taking into account projects in geographic proximity, the timing, the project developer, the financing, the power purchase agreements, to determine whether it’s one project, many separate ones, and how many MW, and essentially the state then issues its “Size Determination” and tells the developer where to go! The County has jurisdiction over those projects under 5MW, and from 5-20MW the developer can choose to go to the county, and 20MW and over goes to the Public Utilities Commission. In the 5-20MW range, the developer can choose to go to the county for a siting permit, BUT when they do, they need to notify the state that that is what they’re doing, notify them of their “Size Election” when they make the application! Minn. Stat. 216F.012.
Schmalzbauer and Medin, Spring Creek and Gro Wind, didn’t get a “Size Determination” and didn’t notify the state of a “Size Election.” They did NEITHER.
It looked fishy when I saw it, so I emailed the County staff and Deb Pile, EFP, MOES, Dept. of Commerce asking for some documentation that the applicants had followed the law. And nope, didn’t do it, and worse, the county didn’t know that is what they should do! Direct from Deb Pile, EFP, MOES, Dept. of Commerce:
Dear Ms. Overland,
Thank you for bringing these Rice County projects to my attention. The Office of Energy Security has not evaluated these projects or made a size determination pursuant to Minn. Stat. 216F.011. I have discussed the situation with the county and anticipate receiving further information about the projects from the applicants shortly.
Oh my… that is a problem. So … there goes Overland… and I sent this this morning for the Planning Commission:
Now it’s wait and see…