Peter Mastic’s New Office!

October 14th, 2012


It’s been a busy couple of weeks in wind in Goodhue County.

It’s all about whether there is indeed anything more than vaporware to the Goodhue Wind Project.  And there’s also that pesky little Community Based Energy Development statute, and whether this project is a C-BED project.

T. Boone Pickens has waved goodbye to the Goodhue Wind Project.


Pickens exits Minnesota project for undisc fee

And in the STrib, some interesting details:

T. Boone Pickens departs state wind project

Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens has sold his stake in a controversial wind farm proposed in Goodhue County, Minn., but its new owner says the project is going ahead.

Dallas-based American Wind Alliance, founded by Pickens in 2009, said Friday that it has sold 100 percent of the company behind the Minnesota project, whose name has been changed to New Era Wind Farm LLC. The financial terms were not disclosed.

The proposed 50-turbine wind farm, once estimated to cost $180 million, would be located west of the city of Goodhue, about 60 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. Citizens have fought the project because of concerns about potential noise and unpleasant shadows from spinning blades and about threats to protected eagles and bats that might hit the blades.

Peter Mastic, who formerly headed a Minneapolis wind development firm that worked on the project, said in an interview Friday that he is the sole employee and owner of New Era Wind Farm.

Mastic said he intends to pursue the project with the help of a local advisory board and, eventually, local investors. The advisory board of local farmers decided on the new company name, he added.

“They wanted something that signified a re-engagement with the community and a new beginning,” said Mastic, who indicated that the board members’ names will be disclosed later.

Although the project has a site permit from the state Public Utilities Commission, its avian and bat protection plan is pending. Mastic said the company will submit a revised plan and will seek a federal permit for the “incidental take” or killing of protected species.

Pickens’ company, Mesa Power, said it believes the Goodhue project will be built. “For strategic reasons, Mesa Power is redeploying its wind development efforts,” the company said in a statement.

Mastic said he will go ahead with the project even if the federal production tax credit for wind farms is allowed to expire on Dec. 31. The fate of many wind energy projects hinges on whether the subsidy is extended by Congress, which won’t consider the matter before the elections.

Xcel Energy, based in Minneapolis, would buy electricity from the wind farm as part of a commitment under a state law to purchase energy from community-based producers.

Until July, Mastic was the CEO of Minneapolis-based National Wind, which launched the Goodhue project, but ended its role as developer in August. National Wind recently was acquired by Trishe Wind Energy Inc., a wind development group based in India.

Pickens, a Texas oil and gas entrepreneur, was recently listed by Forbes magazine as the 360th richest American, with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

But before the Pickens announcement, we got word that December of 2011, LAST YEAR, National Wind was sold to Trishe Wind, a company in India.  Then we learn that Trishe Wind doesn’t want to take on the Goodhue Wind project!  Check the “Portfolio of Projects” on their site.  Posted September 26, 2012, reporting a December 2011 sale:

National Wind Acquired by Trishe Wind Energy

Peter Mastic is no longer employed by National Wind, so they say.  But wait, he just filed a “Compliance Report.”
Apparently, if you call the number on the letter, they don’t know who Peter Mastic is.   Try it: (214) 265-­‐4165
Anyway, it was noted that the “letterhead” was weird, and that Trishe Wind didn’t want the Goodhue Project, so these factoids were brought to the PUC’s attention, and Burl Haar sent this letter:

Which was followed up by an Information Request from Tricia DeBleekere:

PUC’s Information Request, October 11, 2012


SNORT!  Let’s see them answer that!

And Mastic sent in another Compliance Filing that must have crossed in the mail with the PUC’s IR like two ships passing in the night:

New Era Wind Farm Compliance Filing, October 12, 2012


The Secretary of State reports that a New Era Wind Farm LLC was born on December 14, 2009, and was amended October 8th and 10th, 2012.

newerabusiness-filing-details_page_1Now we find out…

CT Corporation System, at 100 So. 5th Str #1075, Mpls, is one of those mail-order incorporators that provide a “Registered Office Address” for service in Minnesota.  Note the mailing address!

Thus, Peter Mastic’s new office:

It is probably bigger than the one in Incline Village, Nevada.  774 Mays Blvd., Suite 10, PMB 187, is one of those post office box addresses, and #187 is about 4″ x 4″ x 8″ or so we heard.  Here it is:



T. Boone Pickens , a/k/a AWA Goodhue Wind, a/k/a Mesa Power, is at it again, and here come the helicopters!


First, let’s take a look-see at the Complaint that AWA Goodhue served on Belle Creek Township, the little township that could, and CAN, and DOES:

AWA Goodhue v. Belle Creek Township

Monday, the Township had a meeting where they were to discuss the road agreement that’s in negotiations right now.  The Township controls township roads, and AWA’s project would require a lot of road upgrading to support the very heavy trucks and cranes, meaning that the roadbed has to be made a lot deeper, meaning that corners have to be filled in so that trucks can get around the corners, culverts could easily be damaged by the weight, and this is something within the township’s jurisdiction.  And the day after the Monday meeting, AWA Goodhue serves the Town Board Chair with a Complaint!  Here’s what AWA wants:


How’s that for a punch line?!?!  So the Township shouldn’t have any say over the roads, the Township isn’t able to protect its interests?  Right… we shall see!

And as that’s happening, I started getting calls about very low flying airplanes, startling cows and horses, and residents too!  One scared a calf, which climbed over its stall and ran off — they were able to get it, and were lucky it was not injured as it climbed over.  Then today, it’s helicopters, with horses running every which way, windows rattling:


AWA Goodhue’s attorney did admit they were “their” aircraft.  We got the number, N144BH, which “upon information and belief” is owned by  “Brainerd Helicopter Service.”  AWA Goodhue’s attorney says that they’re doing avian work as specified by their (filed yesterday) Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP), which states:untitled

You tell me, does this look like 200 feet?  And anyway, exactly how is this the ABPP last word on anything?


Suffice it to say, the Sheriff is on it, and they’ve called in the FAA, apparently the FAA inspector is on it too.


The importance of siting properly — maybe the message is getting through?  Just like a nuclear plant, you can’t be putting generators in the ground without a lot of respectful planning and consideration for neighbors, be they the people living next door or the migratory birds making their way through, or in their foraging, roosting and nesting territory.

Eagles are as much an issue here as with the CapX 2020 Brookings transmission line crossing of the Minnesota River, and will be an issue with any of the proposed crossings for the CapX 2020 transmission line across the Mississippi River, which is North America’s major migratory flight path.  Eagles in the proximity of transmission lines was the reason (arguably, because the real reason was that they couldn’t use the Myrick Road route, but that’s a whole ‘nother post, see and search for “Myrick”).

When you’re planning utility infrastructure, and permitting it, you’ve got to have concerns for impacts, but when it’s no
longer the “Environmental Quality Board” handling it, and it’s the Dept. of COMMERCE with their COMMERCE charge, humans and eagles don’t have a chance against the corporate promoters of these projects. It’s time to transfer review back to the Environmental Quality Board and develop standards for siting (do you know there are NO standards for
siting wind projects over 25MW? They just do it on a case by case basis, with no scientific basis whatsoever), and eliminate the Dept. of Commerce and their corporate shills from any oversight of utility projects, unless they want to intervene as a party.

Yesterday there were two articles on this, in the STrib and the LA Times:

Bald eagles could thwart Red Wing wind farm

Wind farms multiply, fueling clashes with nearby residents

Here are the full articles so they’ll be around once archived.  First from the STrib:

Bald eagles could thwart Red Wing wind farm

* Article by: JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY , Star Tribune
* Updated: July 25, 2011 – 1:57 AM

In battle against a Red Wing project, citizens turn to a national symbol.

After a fierce, two-year fight against a proposed $179 million wind farm near Red Wing, Minn., local opponents have only one trump card left — the bald eagle.

Just before the government shutdown on July 1, the 12,000-acre project cleared a major hurdle when the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted to move it forward. But in recent months, a citizens group that has opposed the project discovered that the 50 turbines will be built smack in the middle of prime nesting territory for that beloved American symbol of freedom.

Federal wildlife officials say that the developer could face civil or even criminal action under federal laws if a bald eagle or an even more rare golden eagle is felled by one of the massive blades.

“It comes down to whether they want to take on the risk or not,” said Richard Davis, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who has monitored the project for two years. “I do think there is a higher likelihood of a strike in that area than any other wind project I’ve looked at in the state.”

Chuck Burdick, project director for the developer, AWA Goodhue Wind, said the company has been diligent in responding to the concerns raised by both federal and state wildlife officials. It’s done everything possible, he said, to site turbines where they will cause the least harm to flying wildlife, from long-eared bats to loggerhead shrikes to eagles. But all projects entail risks, he said, and the company plans to start construction this fall.

“I don’t know that a wind farm has ever been built that didn’t result in some bird or bat mortality,” he said.

Wind farms vs. wildlife?

The conflict between these two opposing environmental goals — clean energy and protecting wildlife — is occurring increasingly as wind farms sprout across the nation. There is a growing realization that the massive towers with blades that travel hundreds of miles per hour are killing millions of wandering birds and bats.

The concerns are having an effect. In April, a wind development in North Dakota halted when Xcel Energy, which had agreed to buy the electricity, abruptly pulled out of the deal because of risks to two endangered birds — the piping plover and the whooping crane. The developer, EnXco, still doesn’t have a buyer for the electricity.

Just this week, the federal Department of the Interior proposed new voluntary wildlife protection guidelines for wind projects, but they were denounced by environmental and bird-loving organizations as grossly inadequate. At minimum, such rules should be mandatory, the American Bird Conservancy said.

In Minnesota, the drive for wind energy comes in part from a state law that requires utilities to derive 25 percent of their energy from wind by 2020. Now, the pressure to build has been intensified by industry fears that the federal Production Tax Credit, which greatly reduces the costs of the projects, will expire this year.

Wind energy proponents argue that the risks are worth it. After all, they say, mountain-top coal mining and air pollution from fossil fuels are far more destructive to wildlife than wind turbines. But critics say that doesn’t justify the harm, noting that 55 to 94 golden eagles die every year at Altamont Pass in California — one of the oldest and, many say, most poorly designed wind farms in the country.

Dispute over eagle nests

The eagle problem in Goodhue County surfaced only this past winter, thanks largely to the Coalition for Sensible Siting, a citizens group that opposed the wind project from the beginning. Mostly, they don’t want the turbines close to their homes because of concerns about the effect of stray electrical voltage and the annoying strobe-like shadows cast by the moving blades.

But when the company issued the results of a wildlife survey it conducted on the site last summer, opponents realized they might have more leverage. Company biologists said they found three eagles’ nests within a 2-mile radius of the project, but concluded that the birds were not at risk because they didn’t hunt near the turbine sites.

Mary Hartman, a member the citizens group, was skeptical. Only three nests? “This place is loaded,” she said. Members of her group went out and found eight nests.

Ron Peterson, the company biologist, disputed that number. He said that only two additional nests were documented, and that they were there because the eagles were feeding on “improperly disposed” livestock carcasses. If farmers stop leaving carcasses out, he said, the eagles would move on.

Davis, of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said there are at least four or five nests in all, and he criticized the company’s initial survey as “not extremely substantial.”

But at this point, all Davis and state wildlife officials can do is make recommendations on how to best site the turbines to protect the birds. The ultimate decision on the future of the wind farm is up to the PUC. The citizens groups and Goodhue County, which also opposes it, can ask the commission to reconsider its approval, but a major change is unlikely, participants said.

Still, the commissioners’ concern about vulnerable species was evident. The permit will be one of the first in Minnesota to require a bird- and bat-protection plan, which the company must develop with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

Plan to ‘promote wildlife’

But there is no certainty such a plan will succeed in protecting eagles or other endangered species.

Burdick said the company’s biologists are tracking the flight paths and hunting territories of eagles and other vulnerable species at the site. He said he expects the company will also “promote wildlife in the general area” and work with the state and federal agencies on turbine locations.

“We are doing everything possible to avoid the most sensitive and intensely used areas for wildlife,” Burdick said.

The federal government can step in only after the project is up and running, if something happens to a protected bird, Davis said. The options in that case might range from shutting down problem turbines, for example, to legal action.

If eagles start dying, he said, the federal government is less likely to forgive an operator that knew the risks earlier.

But that’s only if the deaths are discovered.

“If there are 50 birds hit, are they going to tell anyone?” he said. “We hope they would.”

And in the L.A. Times:

Wind farms multiply, fueling clashes with nearby residents

Demand for clean energy has led to a wind turbine building boom. But many living in their shadow decry the electricity generating projects as pesky eyesores.

By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

July 24, 2011

Reporting from Tehachapi, Calif.—

Donna and Bob Moran moved to the wind-whipped foothills here four years ago looking for solitude and serenity amid the pinyon pines and towering Joshua trees.

But lately their view of the valley is being marred by a growing swarm of whirring wind turbines — many taller than the Statue of Liberty — sweeping ever closer to their home.

“Once, you could see stars like you wouldn’t believe,” Donna Moran said. “Now, with the lights from the turbines, you can’t even see the night sky.”

It’s about to get worse.

Turbines are multiplying at blistering speeds as wind developers, drawn by the area’s powerful gusts, attempt to meet an insatiable demand for clean energy.

Helo Energy plans to scatter 450-foot machines across hundreds of acres in nearby Sand Canyon. A few miles away, near the Old West Ranch enclave, Terra-Gen Power is building the nation’s largest wind farm with hundreds of turbines, if not more. The project, Alta Wind Energy Center, is backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from Google Inc. and Citibank.

Federal and local officials hail the Tehachapi Valley, a harsh desert expanse about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, as an alternative energy mecca that will help wean Americans off fossil fuel. Kern County, home to the nation’s largest concentration of wind farms, is looking forward to millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue and has approved most proposed installations.

But wind projects aren’t only proliferating in the region’s outskirts. Nearly 3,000 turbines, many of them bigger than Ferris wheels, were installed across the country last year.

The growth is being propelled by federal incentives and state clean-energy mandates. In April, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that requires California utilities to get 33% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. As of the first quarter of 2011, they’re at 17.9%.

But with thousands more wind projects on the drawing board, they’re increasingly generating opposition among local residents. Less than 100 miles from Tehachapi in the Antelope Valley, proposed turbine developments are facing similar resistance. Across the country, Cape Cod, Mass., residents and political heavyweights such as Sen. John Kerry waged war against what could be the country’s first offshore wind farm.

And the issue isn’t just with wind turbines, said Tom Soto, an environmental activist and managing partner of Craton Equity Partners.

“These large projects enter at their own peril without involving the community,” Soto said. “Just because they’re renewables instead of landfills doesn’t mean they’re off the hook.”

Residents of Blythe, Calif., near the border with Arizona, showed up at the recent groundbreaking of Solar Millennium’s massive solar plant there to protest its proximity to sacred Native American sites. Gleaming mirrors will blanket nearly 6,000 acres, helping to generate electricity for Southern California Edison.

In San Diego County, critics have spent the better part of a decade trying to block the Sunrise Powerlink transmission network, which would bring electricity from far-flung solar and wind farms.

Activists there and elsewhere say that the fight is more than a classic case of “not in my backyard” resistance. Large, remote projects aren’t the only solution to the nation’s energy woes, they say.

City-dwellers could produce just as much clean electricity without the transmission hassles, they said, using rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines, fuel cells and other adaptable forms of renewable energy generation.

“We’re going to need to find space to place these projects,” Soto said. “A successful portfolio will be balanced, with some utility-scale projects and some urban projects.”

Tehachapi activist Terry Warsaw said he’s worried his community will soon be surrounded by turbines.

“Alternative energy has lulled us into a sense of complacency,” he said. “The potential is here to take over every ridge and every mountainside if the community isn’t careful.”

Veterinarian Beverly Billingsley has been hosting anti-turbine community meetings in her new Sand Canyon barn, just up the slope from where the cluster of 450-foot machines is slated for construction.

“They are not benign things,” she said. “We’ve seen turbines go berserk.”

The machines get no more sympathy from Mother Mary Augustine, who lives cloistered at the Norbertine Sisters Monastery in a cradle of hills recently eyed for wind development.

“Monstrous insects,” she calls them. “I look at the propellers for a moment and my head gets dizzy.”

It’s not that they dislike alternative energy, residents say. Many employ solar panels and smaller turbines to power their homes.

Lately, though, locals say that farm animals have begun cowering as construction vehicles rumble across lawns and surveyor helicopters roar overhead. There are worries about turbine oil leaking into water wells and turbines obstructing landing maneuvers at the local airport.

“Avian cuisinarts,” said Sand Canyon resident April Biglay. She worries that more turbines could slaughter birds or cause ground vibrations that could decimate native species.

“We are resembling hundreds of towns around the country,” she said.

Last year, an older machine began spinning uncontrollably, forcing authorities to shut down a main freeway for hours. The resulting traffic was an anomaly in a community where most jams are caused by high school football games and meandering sheep.

Fire is also a concern, with turbines’ finicky electrical wiring, long fire department response times and limited roads on which to flee.

And the turbines could topple in an earthquake, since they’re situated in sedentary soil directly on the Garlock fault line, residents say.

Some suggest that removing trees to make way for the machines could lead to erosion and flooding.

They also argue that the projects aren’t helping the local economy. Local residents say pickup trucks driven by construction workers often have out-of-state license plates. Each new project causes nearby property values to plunge as much as 40%, city officials say.

And because companies aren’t required to dismantle the turbines when they stop functioning, many will join the hordes of “mechanical dinosaurs” that already crowd the area, critics say.

Other residents say they’re tired of making sacrifices for electricity that will go to other counties.

“It’s a question of what you’re willing to give up to be green,” said local lawyer Kassandra McQuillen of some recent project plans. “It’s like proposing clear-cutting Griffith Observatory or the cliffs of Malibu.”

Residents say they’ve won some victories. Developer Terra-Gen yanked its 7,000-acre Pahnamid project last month after opponents slammed plans to set up nearly 150 turbines on the Tehachapi crests.

“It is not unusual for projects to fall by the wayside early in the development process,” Terra-Gen said in a statement. “The decision to pull back in an early stage on the Pahnamid project was a result of several important development concerns, including local opposition.”

By the end of the year, the developer said it will have invested $2.2 billion in Kern County, become the county’s third largest taxpayer with $30 million a year and made more progress building its 1,100-megawatt Alta project.

But with so many projects on the plate for the region, Tehachapi city officials are urging Kern County to impose a temporary moratorium on wind projects near homes. And the city that has long been associated with the fields of propellers is now trying to draw tourists by talking up its chili cook-offs, historic downtown and pristine mountains.

“We’ve coexisted with the turbines for a long time,” City Council member Susan Wiggins said. “But we don’t want to look like one big wind park.”


Thursday, June 30, the last day before the state government shuts down, the Public Utilities Commission will hear oral arguments and deliberate and likely decide fate of the AWA/Goodhue Wind Project.

PUC Staff Briefing Papers

The Staff Briefing Papers matter-of-factly point out a couple of things that make a huge difference in this case:

In the ALJ’s December 8, 2010 First Prehearing Order, Order point #13 noted:

13. As noted above, the parties may submit legal argument on how the good cause standard should be applied, if at all, in their closing memoranda. In particular, the Administrative Law Judge would like the parties to brief the issue whether Minn. Stat. 216F.081 (2008) is intended to apply only to counties that have assumed the responsibility to process applications and issue permits for LWECS with a combined nameplate capacity of less than 25 MW pursuant to Minn. Stat. 216F.081. …

This is not an issue that the Commission referred to the ALJ. The ALJ’s findings on this issue are included in her report as findings #39 – 47.

And shortly after that:

Staff recommends that the Commission consider all parties‟ positions on this matter and their previous November 2, 2010 Order for Hearing (cited above).

Staff believes that if the Commission comes to the same conclusion as the November 2, 2010 Order, it should strike ALJ findings #40-46 on the basis that the Commission has already considered this matter and the matter was not referred to the ALJ. Findings #39 and 47 are general in nature and staff doesn’t believe the findings would need to be omitted.

The recommendation of staff to the Commissioners?  Hold on to your seats:

Staff recommends adopting the ALJ’s Report with the following changes:

1) modifications to findings #10, 60 and 71 as outlined in Attachment B under “Staff”;
2) striking findings #40-46, as discussed above; and
3) providing for other modifications the Commission deems necessary.

YEAAAAAAA! From there to where this should be isn’t all that far…


To watch the oral arguments and PUC’s deliberation, CLICK HERE and then click the blue button to “Watch Webcast!” Or come on down, Thursday, 9:30 a.m. ( a little after, we’re 2 and 3 on the agenda), at 121 – 7th Place East, 3rd Floor, Large Hearing Room, St. Paul, MN, 55101.


Order to refile exhibits, and Goodhue Wind Truths’ Subpoena requests denied!

Whew — actually it helps.  We got an order yesterday that we need to refile the Testimony.  There’s so much and it doesn’t fit into neat little bundles that can be filed with the eFile system, and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one having trouble with that.

Fourth Prehearing Order – REFILE!

But the denial of the subpoena requests sucks.  MOES had filed Affidavits related to intent, and we’ve not had the opportunity to cross regarding their assertions:

MOES Comments – Affidavit of Ingrid Bjorklund

AWA Goodhue’s Motion for Summary Disposition (see p. 10)

Ingrid Bjorklund was a wind industry lobbyist at the time this was winding through the legislature, yet here she is, as a Commerce employee, making a statement in an Affidavit, under oath, conclusory statements about legislative intent.  EH?  Both documents above contain statements about what Mikey Bull may or may not have said.  What’s Michael Bull got to do with legislative intent?  To borrow a fist-pounding-the-desk phrase from Rep. Dennis Ozment, “I don’t recall electing NSP to the legislature!”  Oh wait, he was there at the Green Chameleon Gov’s behest then…


So I decided to requests subpoenas for both Ingrid Bjorklund and Mike Bull:

Goodhue Wind Truth – Subpoena Requests for Bjorklund and Bull

Are we having fun yet?  Xcel’s Chris Clark seemed to think so when I gave him the heads up at Thursday’s PUC meeting!

Not to worry, folks, the ALJ denied the request…

ALJ Sheehy’s Letter to Overland – Denial of Subpoena Requests

And now, for something completely different… back to reformatting all the exhibits… oh, what I would do for support staff, the grrrrrrrrrls just can’t work a computer without drooling on the keyboard!