Initial noise testing at Madsons’ home — Xcel refuses to release results!

Freeborn Wind permit (and standard language in all permits) has noise limits, the state standard (Minn. R. 7030.0040) and permit condition limits:

Xcel’s conslutant’s noise monitoring report (2 parts):

And then Commerce-EERA wants to review and “analyze” it and here’s the result, released yesterday:

Despite documented noise exceedences, they craft it to this result:

… sigh… it starts out promising:

What it looks like is that the measurements of noise monitoring aren’t taken seriously, and that “binning” is used to obfuscate and dismiss testing and monitoring results that show noise levels above those permitted.

Remember the ALJ’s recommendation for this project, that the permit be denied because Freeborn had not demonstrated it could comply with noise standards?

OAH+80-2500-34633+Final+Order

WE WON!!! ALJ Recommend Freeborn Permit be DENIED, or… May 14th, 2018

And then the PUC bends over and gives Freeborn/Xcel what it wants:

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation September 21st, 2018

To challenge this, hiring a noise expert is necessary, and then it’s time to sue their collective asses. It becomes the responsibility of those affected by the wind project’s incursion on their land to raise the objections and foot the bill. Fair? Equity? Justice? In what world…

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 NOW

November 20th, 2020

RIGHT NOW! It’s the PPSA Annual Hearing… sigh… here we go again.

Go to webex, Event # 146 311 2620. The powerpoint slides will be here (and will also be filed on eDockets).

To be able to comment, you have to get on the phone 866-609-6127, Conference ID: 4449079, and to comment, you need to press #1 and get in queue.

Here is the Commerce info about this year’s projects:

And for the record, folks, note that wind is not exempt from many of the parts of the PPSA:

Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed a Complaint with the Public Utilities Commission against Commissioner John Tuma and Chair Katie Sieben last week.

The PUC responded with this… oh my… and an Affidavit from John Tuma, he DID contact a Freeborn County Commissioner about pre-empting the township’s Ordinance and local control:

And under the statute, Minn. Stat. §216A.037, the PUC must refer it to the Office of Administrative Hearings:

The administrative law judge assigned to the ex parte complaint proceeding by the Office of Administrative Hearings shall conduct a hearing investigation and shall issue a report within 30 days after the matter is referred. If the administrative law judge determines that the report cannot be properly completed within that time period, the judge shall report that fact to the commission within the 30-day period and shall file a final report within a reasonable time thereafter, no later than 60 days after the referral to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Minn. Stat. §216A.03

… so today, it was referred. GOOD!

Why? Well, this is about the July 16, 2020 meeting, the one where you just have to listen to the video – yeah, we’ve got the transcript, but the video just conveys so much more: