Tomorrow is the deadline for Comments on the PUC’s docket regarding setbacks and the Department of Health’s report on wind turbine placement, noise and public health:

MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

Here’s the PUC’s Notice:

PUC – Notice of Comment Period 7-21-09

To see the docket, and there have been a lot of comments thus far which might help you in writing up yours:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “eDockets” (the blue button)
  3. Scroll down and enter docket 09-845.

The PUC Notice says that Comments should be filed electronically.  To do that:

  1. Go
  2. Click on “eFiling” (the orange button)
  3. Register
  4. Follow the directions to file.
  5. If that doesn’t work, email Comments to

Send your comments in before tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.  There are many, and we need many more.  It’s all about responsible siting that works, reasonable setbacks, sufficient to prevent unreasonable noise and flicker and other impacts to those who live near turbines.  Once more with feeling, we need energy we can LIVE WITH!!!


I’m representing Safe Wind in Freeborn County, and we’re working to increase the setbacks on the Bent Tree project to something that the neighbors can live with, participating in the PUC Certificate of Need and Siting dockets.

Last Thursday, Citizens Utility Board and Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group filed an appeal of the PSC’s Bent Tree decision.

CUB & WIEG Petition for Review and PSC-WI Bent Tree Decision

I’ve posted their pleadings on the Bent Tree dockets in Minnesota.  To review the Bent Tree dockets in Minnesota, go to and then click “Search Dockets” and search for dockets 08-573 and/or 07-1425.

Here’s an article about the challenge from the WSJ (Wisconsin State Journal, that is):

More blowback: Suit challenges Alliant wind farm

By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel
Aug. 28, 2009

State regulators set a bad precedent for other energy projects when they gave the go-ahead to Alliant Energy Corp. to build a $497 million wind farm in Minnesota, two energy customer groups say.

The groups filed suit in Dane County Circuit Court on Friday to protest the vote by the state Public Service Commission to approve the project under a less rigorous review procedure than is typically required of major energy projects.

The Public Service Commission had used the less stringent review process because the project is an out-of-state project. The commission’s approval is needed for out-of-state project because the agency reviews whether a power plant is cost-effective for utility customers.

“Electric rates have been rapidly rising so we simply can’t afford less stringent regulatory review of new energy projects,” said Todd Stuart, executive director of Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, in a statement. “The cost and need of energy infrastructure can’t be ignored, especially right now with the massive job losses in Wisconsin.”

Rob Crain, a spokesman for Alliant, said the legal challenge could likely mean delays for the project, which is slated to be operational by 2011, Crain said. The wind farm is needed for the utility to comply with the state’s renewable energy mandate that requires 10% of the state’s electricity to come from wind power and other renewable energy sources by 2015, he said.

“We are surprised and certainly disappointed that WIEG and CUB have chosen to make this filing. We view it as more process over substance,” Crain said.

The commission decided in November to move forward with reviewing the project under a less-stringent standard, a decision that was supported by Commissioners Eric Callisto and Mark Meyer but opposed by commissioner Lauren Azar.

“As far as we were concerned the issue was settled at that point in time,” Crain said.

Charlie Higley, executive director of the Citizens’ Utility Board, said the customer groups couldn’t legally file a legal challenge on the issue until after the commission’s final vote on the project in July. In this summer, the groups had warned  Alliant’s Madison subsidiary, Wisconsin Power & Light Co., that it was proceeding at its own risk by moving forward with the project under the less-strict review.

The groups are concerned about the precedent the commission’s decision could set for other types of energy projects that utilities could seek to build outside the state’s borders, such as a costly nuclear power plant or coal-fired power plant.

“The bottom line is risk for customers,” Higley said. “And the risk is that poorly designed or expensive projects could be approved and forced on to ratepayers who would then pay higher rates than they should be.”

Bent Tree Comments

July 16th, 2009

Here are Comments filed (that we know of, likely there are more) in the Bent Tree wind project docket at PUC before Steve Mihalchick, ALJ:

Safe Wind in Freeborn County

Safe Wind – Comment – Line by Line Permit Conditions

Safe Wind Comment – Prohibition of Confidentiality Clause in Landowner Contracts

Safe Wind – Exhibit A – Landowner Contract with Confidentiality Clause

Safe Wind – Exhibit B – Landowner Guidelines-Michigan State

Safe Wind – Exhibit B – Windustry Lease Flyer

Safe Wind – Exhibit C – Daily Republic Article

Safe Wind – Exhibit D – North Dakota House bill 1509

Wisconsin Power & Light

Wisconsin Power & Light – Comments – Narrative

Wisconsin Power & Light – Comment – MAPS

Wisconsin Power & Light – Comments – Misc. Exhibits

To see all the Public Hearing Comments and Exhibits, go to and click on blue “eDockets” button, then search for dockets 07-1425 and/or 08-573.

troekatie_t180 Katie Troe, Safe Wind in Freeborn County

Tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. is the deadline for Comments on the Bent Tree Wind Farm Certificate of Need and Siting docket.  This is the 200-400MW wind project that Wisconsin Power & Light wants to build in MINNESOTA for credit towards the Wisconsin Renewable Electricity Standard.

QUICK, send your comments to:

Steve.Mihalchick [at]

For the PUC’s sites, go to

Then click on the blue “eDocket” button…

… and search for dockets

08-573 for Siting Docket

07-1425 for Certificate of Need

And there’s also Commerce’s Siting page:

Dept. of Commerce Bent Tree Project Page

Remember, this is the one that, together with one in Clay County, triggered this White Paper:

MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

Here’s another story in the Albert Lea Tribune with a great “I think they need professional help” quote from Katie Troe:

Safe Wind lobbies state over turbines

By Jason Schoonover | Albert Lea Tribune

Published Monday, July 13, 2009

After a public hearing June 29, Safe Wind of Freeborn County is continuing to work to influence the placement of the turbines for the Bent Tree Wind Farm in Freeborn County.

Wisconsin regulators last week gave their permission for Wisconsin Power & Light to build the wind farm, though now it needs Minnesota approval.

Safe Wind is working to get its message out before the state Public Utilities Commission decides later this summer whether to approve the site permit and certificate of need for the project, which if passed would give the green light to construction.

One of the biggest concerns of Safe Wind is the health effects of the noise produced by the wind turbines. Katie Troe of Safe Wind said the turbines produce noises that can both be heard, and low-frequency sounds that some studies say are amplified and trapped in homes. Troe said some of the sound is audible and some is not.

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