It’s a complicated thing.  The PUC made its oh-so-contorted decision on AWA’s Goodhue Wind Project:

PUC’s Site Permit for AWA Goodhue

And then we filed our Motions for Reconsideration… here’s one:

GWT – Reconsideration – Site Permit

Today AWA filed their respose:

AWA Goodhue Wind Reply to Reconsideration

For all of them, go to www.puc.state.mn.us and click on the blue “Search eDockets” button and search for docket “08-1233” and “09-1186.”

So far on the Appellate  site and the filings that we’ve exchanged (the Notice of Appeal was in my inbox before I got back to Red Wing, with a reference to Belle Creek, though not Goodhue County’s but their filings were in the inbox!):

A111681 – Belle Creek

Belle Creek Township’s Appeal – Initial Filings – Petition for Writ and Statement of Case

A111689 – Goodhue Wind Truth

GWT – Appeal Notice & Initial Filings – Petition for Writ and Statement of Case

No Appellate Docket yet – Goodhue County

Goodhue County Appeal –  Initial Pleading – Petition for Writ and Statement of Case

No Appellate Docket yet – Coalition for Sensible Siting

CSS Appeal – Initial Pleading – Petition for Write and Statement of Case

This is shaping up to be a “robust” appeal… I’m so tickled to see the county’s recognition and appreciation of Goodhue Wind Truth’s efforts (really, read the pleadings).  And personally, it’s a thrill to see how far we’ve come since the struggle of the nuclear  “in Goodhue County” days.


Yesterday, we filed Motions for Reconsideration of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Order regarding the AWA Goodhue (a/k/a T. Boone Pickens) Wind Project:

PUC Order – AWA Goodhue Wind Project Permit

What’s really weird about it is that not only is there a PUC Order where the ALJ’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation is adopted, with a few amendments and deletions, but there’s an “EFP” Order too, with the Energy Facilities Permitting writing their own separate overlapping “Findings.”  Ummmmm…. who the hell is EFP to be writing Findings? When do intervenors get a chance to comment on them??? This is a very bizarre morphing that is not addressed anywhere in the rules.  I can see EFP briefing papers, but Findings… and Findings that aren’t even cited?  WTF?

Anyway, here’s what’s been filed, starting with my client, Goodhue Wind Truth:

GWT – Reconsideration – Site Permit

GWT – Reopen Based on New Information

GWT – Reconsideration – Certificate of Need

There are a lot of  others, will post later, this is painfully slow…

GO HERE and click on “Watch Webcast”

Today will be better than yesterday, for me at least.

And check out Goodhue Wind Truth’s site for info on this project.

Check the PUC filings yesterday — there goes Todd Guererro with his disposition problem!

(Todd & cronies checking out an electric car at the fair!  Or was it Living Green Expo?)

As you know, the PUC issued an PUC’s Order – Referral to OAH in which the AWA Goodhue wind project was sent to an Administrative Law Judge to address the following issues:

1. The ALJ assigned to this matter is requested to develop a record on every standard in Article 18 that is more stringent than what the Commission has heretofore applied to LWECS and make recommendations regarding each such standard whether the Commission should adopt it for Large Wind Energy Conversion Systems in Goodhue County. The Commission has identified two such standards in this Order (Section 4 and Section 6) but is not by this Order restricting the ALJ from developing the record and making recommendations regarding additional standards in Article 18 that upon further examination meet the “more stringent” qualification.

2. The ALJ assigned to this matter is requested to allow the parties to develop a factual record on the question of “good cause” as that term appears in Minn. Stat. § 216F.081 and to provide recommendations on whether, with respect to each standard in Article 18 identified in the course of her review as “more stringent” than what the Commission has heretofore applied to LWECS, there is “good cause” for the Commission to not apply the standard to siting LWECS in Goodhue County.

3. As the ALJ addresses the issues identified in the previous two sections, the ALJ is requested to include (but not limited to, by this Order) whether there is sufficient evidence regarding health and safety to support a 10 rotor diameter set-back for non-participating residents and the stray voltage requirements.

AWA Goodhue is not happy about this, and have filed this:

AWA Goodhue’s Motion for Summary Disposition

Here are a couple snippets for the gist of their argument:

… the county’s ordinance applies only to small wind projects up to 5 MW and therefore does not set standards that apply to the AWA Goodhue project. In addition, because the county has chosen not to regulate wind projects up to 25 MW, it has no authority under Minn. Stat. § 216F.081 to adopt “more stringent wind standards” and, as a result, there are no county standards for the Commission to consider or apply…

Interpreting the statute so that it is limited only to counties that have assumed permitting authority for projects up to 25 MWs is the most reasonable interpretation in light of the established regulatory framework for siting wind turbines in Minnesota. The legislature has designated the Commission as the primary siting authority for large energy projects, including LWECS.13 Even in the limited circumstance where a county assumes responsibility for permitting LWECS under 25 MWs, the default under section 216F.08(c) is that the Commission’s general siting standards (which are based on the Commission’s
expertise and past experience) apply unless the county adopts more stringent standards.

It is wholly inconsistent with this framework to then read section 216F.081 to require the Commission, when making a decision on a project located in a county that has not adopted permitting authority, to apply the county’s more stringent standards. Moreover, it makes little sense for a county to adopt standards for LWECS if the county has no intention of regulating LWECS (up to 25 MW) in the first place. And, it makes even less sense for the Commission to have to apply those standards if the county itself is not inclined to do so.

Last, interpreting section 216B.081 to allow any county to adopt more stringent standards is at odds with section 216F.07, which expressly states that a site permit from the Commission preempts all county rules, regulations and ordinances. Rules of statutory construction require that every law be interpreted, to the extent possible, to give effect to all of its related provisions.14 Accordingly, to give effect to section 216F.07, county standards must be applied only where a county has assumed permitting authority for LWECS up to 25 MW. Any other interpretation would allow the exception to swallow the general rule.

We have to respond by January 14, 2010!

To check out the full docket, go to www.puc.state.mn.us and then to “Search eDockets” and search for docket 08-1233.


Today (well, really really late yesterday), Goodhue Wind Truth filed the testimony of Richard R. James, INCE, for Wednesday’s hearing over in Goodhue:

Direct Testimony – Richard R. James, INCE

A must read:

The “How-To” Guide to Siting Wind Turbines to Prevent Health Risks from Sound

And this was published earlier this month:

Wind Turbine Noise – What Audiologists Should Know

To check out the rest of his exhibits, look at the PUC docket for the AWA Goodhue Wind project:

  • www.puc.state.mn.us
  • and then to “Search eDockets”
  • and then search for docket 08-1233

Wednesday’s hearing is for both the Certificate of Need and Siting Permit for AWA Goodhue’s 78MW wind project in Goodhue County, west of the City of Goodhue, utilizing the Goodhue and Vasa substations.  This is the one that T.Boone Pickens is involved with, and they’re claiming it’s a C-BED project — but the AWA Goodhue LLC’s HQ is at 8117 Preston Road, Suite 200, Dallas, Texas, 75225.  Walker Clarke is the “organizer” and he’s in Houston.


Yup, sounds locally owned to me!