New Era wind project withdrawal

September 18th, 2013


From New Era’s office, above, comes this letter, withdrawing its request for review of its Avian and Bat Protection Plan and requesting the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission “terminate” the siting permit.

‘Bout time…


This has been a LONG time in the making, it should have been shut down years ago.  What’s particularly disturbing, is that two areas are at issue, the C-BED qualification, because it is NOT a C-BED project under the Minn. Stat. 216B.1612, and environmental review, which is not required under Minnesota wind siting statutes and wind siting rules.

In the Rochester Post Bulletin:

POST BULLETIN New Era CEO pulls plug on Goodhue wind project 09 17 13





In the Beagle:

New Era Wind will no longer pursue a turbine wind farm in Goodhue County.

Owner Peter Mastic formally made the request to abandon the project in a letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission made public Tuesday.

The company requested the PUC terminate its site permit, while withdrawing a controversial Avian and Bat protection plan that ultimately stalled the multi-million dollar project.

“It’s probably a couple years overdue,” said Marie McNamara, one of the founders of Goodhue Wind Truth, a citizen group that had been fighting the wind farm’s construction.

She called the ongoing work done by the PUC and state employees “a waste of time and money.”

Opposition to the wind farm from citizens groups centered largely on impacts to wildlife, including eagle and bat populations. The PUC rejected New Era’s plan to protect the animals, causing a delay in construction.

Xcel Energy, which originally held power-purchasing agreements with New Era, threatened legal action earlier this summer over contract violations caused by the delay. The agreements were voluntarily terminated shortly after the suit was filed.

The $180 million project was originally slated to begin operation at the end of 2011.

Mastic could not be reached for comment.

And in the STrib:

Developers have abandoned their plans to build a $180 million wind farm in southeastern Minnesota that drew strong citizen opposition because of the threat it posed to eagles and bats, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

New Era Wind Farm LLC told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in a letter dated Sept. 6 that it “no longer intends to develop a wind energy project in Goodhue County” and asked the commission to close all pending matters related to the project. Commission spokesman Dan Wolf said it would likely do so next month.

New Era wanted to build a 78-megawatt, 48-turbine wind farm near Zumbrota, but was unable to overcome the opposition of local activists, several regulatory obstacles and issues with Xcel Energy Inc., which canceled its agreement to buy power from the wind farm.

Opponents of New Era said they believed the project was all but dead for several months, but they were cheered by Tuesday’s filing.

“For a long time people saw that this project kept rising from the dead and rising from the dead. And every time we thought it was dead it came back. It’s nice to have the final death certificate,” said Kristi Rosenquist, of Mazeppa.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had estimated that the turbines could kill as many as eight to 15 bald eagles per year in a worst-case scenario. The company’s estimate was one.

New Era was among the first projects to seek a federal permit that would have allowed the legal killing of a limited number of eagles. A study published by government biologists last week concluded that wind energy facilities nationwide have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles over the past five years, mostly in western states, but that the figure could be much higher. A March study estimated that U.S. wind farms kill more than 573,000 birds of all kinds every year.

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