As you know, Goodhue County passed a Wind Ordinance earlier this month:

Goodhue County Wind Ordinance

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):

DRAFT Wind Ordinance – Wabasha County

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:

Greenvale Wind Farm – Sparks Energy & Medin Energy – Project Docket

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objection was that the wind farm was proposed for Dakota County, a pretty populated area, and the project was quickly withdrawn:

Withdrawal Letter – Sparks & Medin – August 31, 2010

And now it’s BAAAAAAAAAACK!

Rice County Planning Commission Agenda – Nov 4 2010

Here are the specifics:

agenda6-10

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.

Sincerely,

Deborah Pile

Oh my… that is a problem.  So … there goes Overland… and I sent this this morning for the Planning Commission:

Letter to County Staff – for Planning Commission

Exhibit A – email re: Gro Wind application

Exhibit B – Greenvale Wind Withdrawal Letter – August 31, 2010

Exhibit C – DRAFT Wabash County Wind Ordinance

Exhibit D – Goodhue County WECS Ordinance

Exhibit E – Recommended Wind Noise Ordinance – Rick James, INCE

Exhibit F – MISO Queue – Rice County Wind Projects (Excel spreadsheet)

Exhibit G – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines – Mn Dept of Health

Exhibit H – Direct Testimony of Rick James – Goodhue Wind Docket 08-1233

Exhibit I – Additional Testimony of Rick James – Goodhue Wind Docket 08-1233

Exhibit J – Nordic Windpower – History (web page)

Exhibit K – FAA list of airports in Rice County

Now it’s wait and see…

4 Responses to “Spring Creek & Gro Wind projects in Rice County”

  1. Running to catch up « Betsey Buckheit Says:

    [...] Fortunately, utility law watchdog Carol Overland has been following this one on her blog Legalectric.  The quick summary: this is the same people who attempted a wind farm in Greenvale township; Ms [...]

  2. Kiffi Summa Says:

    How do these projects even get on the agenda for the county planning commission if they have not yet received the proper evaluations?

    Wouldn’t the County have to have a complete verification of all docs required before hearing the application?

  3. Preview of 11/09 Council Worksession « Betsey Buckheit Says:

    [...] Overland’s Legalectric blog: fortunately, we have a local energy law and policy maven.  Read this for lots of background and [...]

  4. Dale & Jan Tornell Says:

    We received notice from Rice Co. that two more wind turbines are being requested, for a total of three in the NW section of Webster Township, Rice Co. Interestingly, neither MN Valley Electric nor Dakota Electric have received any applications, but both are listed as the interconnection points. Shouldn’t they have been contacted to determine if this is a potential connection? Have the applicants and the county done complete research on this project before approving it???

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