More on Blazing Star noise

February 3rd, 2021

Turns out that this morning, I received an “invitation” to the Public Utilities Commission meeting tomorrow.

Tune in: Agenda MTG Thursday, February 4, 2021, 1pm

Meeting Details
Agenda
Live Webcast
Viewing Instructions

I’d really not had time to think much about this on Monday, had to take a quick look and zip something off — testimony was due for WI so I had lots of back and forth with clients — so in afterthought, I realized that I’d missed the flip side of this, that the folks complaining were left in the dark here. THEY’RE NOT EVEN ON THE SERVICE LIST! WTF??!?!?!

So today after I got the Wisconsin testimony filed, I fired off a missive, and as I went to file, there were Xcel filings in the inbox:

Here’s my second missive:

Here’s my post from Monday:

Blazing Star Wind NOISE!

February 1st, 2021

Blazing Star Wind NOISE!

February 1st, 2021

Turns out a landowner couple have been complaining about noise since March 9, 2020, and this Thursday it is coming up before the Public Utilities Commission. I read through some filings and got OH-SO-PISSED-OFF! Better pissed off than pissed on… and filed this:

THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION WAS WARNED! THEY HAD ACTUAL AND CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE THAT NOISE IS A PROBLEM, AND ACCEPTED GI/GO “MODELING” AND PERMITTED THE PROJECT.

Here’s a letter summarizing the landowners complaint:

This above complaint was dated September 25, 2020, but was not filed in the PUC’s eDockets until January 12, 2021.

They made their first complaint March 9, 2020, and there were other complaints March 17 and 24, and April 2 and 14, 2020, regarding turbines 11, 28, 31, 41, 42, 43, 45, 83, 84, 85 and 86.

Complaints made were reported in the monthly permit-required “Complaint” compliance filing as “pending,” with repeated complaints not disclosed. Thursday’s agenda item deals only with the Weverka noise complaint and turbine 90, and does not address the multiple complaints of March 17 and 24, and April 2 and 14, 2020, regarding turbines 11, 28, 31, 41, 42, 43, 45, 83, 84, 85 and 86.

The time-frame of Weverka noise complaints and actions by Xcel are listed here — pay particular attention to the dates, and note it’s XCEL hiring the consultants for the noise monitoring, not Commerce as occurred for the Bent Tree noise complaints:

DoC-EERA notes that:

… and Commission staff repeats this statement in the Staff Briefing Papers (p. 6):

… to which I can only say, DOH!

Doc-EERA recommends this be addressed regarding Turbine 90 only, when a more logical response would be to look at the entire project and compare monitoring results with the pre-construction noise modeling DONE AT THE IMPROPER 0.7 GROUND FACTOR! DOH! and DOUBLE DOH!

Post-construction noise modeling of the project “was completed during the summer of 2020,” but it’s not been filed yet, as of January 14, 2021. WHAT?!?! How long does it take to print out the results, write up a summary, and file it?

And what’s this Xcel July 9, 2020 noise report that was filed on 11/13/2021?

And this November 23, 2020 “Xcel Response to Noise Complaint” that also was not filed until 1/13/2021:

Here’s the initial Noise Modeling from the Application, Appendix A:

Here’s an “updated” Noise Modeling – REDACTED, dated December 2016, filed June 2020:

I really don’t have the time to dig into this, but it’s clear they’re hiding info, that the complaints are legitimate, that there are noise exceedences, and that the Commission knew the noise modeling was off, garbage in, garbage out. The Commission also knew that the setbacks were not adequate, because setbacks at Bent Tree, with smaller turbines, less noise turbines, were not adequate, and there were noise exceedences at 1,150 feet at Hagen’s home and 1,525 at Langrud’s home. They’re “resolving” this in secret, with back and forths between Xcel and Commerce-EERA without involvement of the landowners. THE LANDOWNERS ARE NOT EVEN ON THE SERVICE LIST!

THERE IS NO EXCUSE, NO EXCUSE FOR THIS!

PPSA Annual Hearing Report

December 30th, 2020

It’s out, the Administrative Law Judge’s report on this year’s Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing. The hearing this year was particularly frustrating, horrible turnout, and I’ve got a part in that, because I didn’t spend the massive amounts of time getting notice out to people, drumming up interest, so there is that…

Here’s the Report:

Here are a couple of documents to check out that I included with a written comment:

AFCL’s MERA suit dismissed

November 29th, 2020

The judge’s Order arrived, and it’s disappointing, to put it mildly.

The judge’s decision focused on the belief that these matters had been litigated in another forum, so we couldn’t do it again. Litigated? Intervention is not necessarily litigation, though certainly AFCL intervened in the Freeborn Wind docket, and certainly did not in the Plum Creek, Three Waters or Buffalo Ridge dockets. And in this District Court proceeding, Lisa Agrimonti let me know that another attorney would be lead in this case, that their firm was putting a “litigator” on it. Hmmmm, Agrimonti’s not a litigator, and put Alethea Huyser on the job, so the firm admits that what we, Freeborn Wind and AFCL, were doing in those dockets was not litigation, right, I get it… uh-huh… sigh…

How do we deal with these systemic problems in wind siting? 25 years and still no rules? Setbacks aren’t sufficient to prevent noise standard violations and people need to leave their homes to be able to sleep, so far two families reached settlements and buyouts to get away from noisy turbines. Wind projects pay out for blinds so people can sit in the dark, or suggest going to Florida, to avoid shadow flicker inflicted on them. At the PPSA Annual Hearing last week, the DOT said it wants the 250 foot setback from roads reevaluated. The Public Utilities Commission has actual and constructive notice of these problems for years, yet nothing happens…

Let’s see… rulemaking Petitions denied over and over. The only time we’ve had a contested case, the judge recommended denial because developer had not demonstrated compliance with noise standard, and recommended a lower number of hours as “acceptable” for shadow flicker.

Once more with feeling — the ONLY time, the FIRST time, in Minnesota history where there was a contested case on a wind siting permit, the only time it could arguably be said the issues were “litigated,” the ALJ recommended that the permit be denied!

WE WON!!! ALJ Recommend Freeborn Permit be DENIED, or…

May 14th, 2018

The PUC turned that around in a private settlement with the developer, excluding intervenors.

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation

September 21st, 2018

Now what… How many more complaints, how many more landowner settlements, before they fix this mess?

What’s the point of intervening, becoming a party? What’s the point of raising issues at the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing (for 23 years)? What’s the point of over and over raising the systemic problems in the PUC’s wind siting? How do we work “within the system” when the system is broken?

OOPS! Freeborn Wind…

November 20th, 2020