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Town agrees to reduce operating hours of turbines; Issue far from over as final settlement still must be reached

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Falmouth’s wind turbines will return to their 12hour operation following an agreement reached between neighbors and town officials in Barnstable Superior Court yesterday.

The agreement is tied to Neil P. and Elizabeth Andersen’s claim that the town’s wind turbines constitute a nuisance, which was affirmed by the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals in May. The town has since contested that appeals board decision in superior court with initial proceedings held in September and an ensuing one held last month.

Prior to yesterday’s hearing, Falmouth selectmen had decided in a 32 vote to increase the operation of the turbines from their 7 AM to 7 PM model to one in which the machines would be operating from 5 AM to 9 PM as a way to generate enough revenue to cover the town’s expenses.

But that changed yesterday when Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse directed both parties to engage in discussions to determine if there was any agreement on a temporary plan of operation of the turbines while the two sides work toward a final settlement.

Town counsel Frank K. Duffy Jr. and selectman Rebecca Moffitt, representing the town, came to an agreement with the Andersens’ attorney, J. Alexander Watt of Barnstable, and Christopher Senie of Westboro, who is representing several neighbors as parties in the case.

As part of the agreement, the town will also direct building commissioner Eladio R. Gore to devise a plan to eliminate the nuisance. The first step in that plan will be to begin acoustic testing in a variety of conditions, with one turbine running and both running at various times.

J. Malcolm Donald of Blacksmith Shop Road, a vocal opponent of the turbines who attended yesterday’s hearing, lauded the temporary agreement. “I think it was earth shattering that the parties finally, after more than three years of disagreement, actually sat down and talked,” he said. “I think it is kind of a stroke of genius of the judge. This is economical judicial action.”

While progress has been made toward a final resolution, Mr. Senie said nothing has truly been settled. “There really isn’t any agreement that has been reached. There’s been a consensus that we should take a look at a possible global settlement of [four] different pieces of litigation. We have a long road to travel to get there,” he said.

Those four lawsuits, he said, include yesterday’s as well as two separate nuisance claims against the town, one brought forward by the Andersens and another by his clients, who live near the wind turbines. The fourth lawsuit is an appeal of Barnstable Superior Court Judge Robert C. Rufo’s decision in June that Mr. Gore did not need a special permit from the appeals board to erect Wind 1, which became operational in March 2010.

In order to reach a final settlement, Mr. Duffy wrote in an email this morning that the neighbors will have to submit a list of proposed actions to the town that they believe will end all outstanding zoning and nuisance claims. That list will be discussed by selectmen once Town Meeting concludes next week.

Both parties will report on the status of negotiations to Judge Muse by Thursday, November 21.

“We are still at the very beginning stages,” Mr. Senie said. “Judge Muse did a great job to begin to shape a global settlement,” he said. “The town agreed to go back to the 12hour operational period from 7 AM to 7 PM and we appreciate that very much as an interim measure. We’re glad to have that while we have real discussions about a final and formal settlement.”

Whether an agreement can be reached, he was unsure, although he was pleased to see the direction negotiations are heading in. “I think we arrived at a new moment yesterday,” he said. “It is positive and constructive. I don’t know if it will prevail. We have an awful lot of people who have to agree on an awful lot of items. I’m not sure what will happen, but everyone is sincere about this.”

Large Wind Farms Increase Temperatures Near Ground

Large wind farms slightly increase temperatures near the ground as the turbines’ rotor blades pull down warm air, according to researchers who analyzed nine years of satellite readings around four of the world’s biggest wind farms.

The study showed for the first time that wind farms of a certain scale, while producing clean, renewable energy, do have some long-term effect on the immediate environment.

Video:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304868004577374091316876420.html#articleTabs%3Dvideo

Neighbors United Education Night – Rockford, Ohio

 

What:  Wind Turbine Information

Where:  Rockford Community Building

When:  April 16, 2013 @7:00 pm

 

View Flyer

Mercer County Township Assocation adopts wind farm resolution

Resolution # 03212013-B

On March 21, 2013 The Mercer County Township Association has adopted the following resolution:

 

Whereas, the Mercer County Township Trustees Association is concerned that the development of industrial-sized wind generating power plant in populated areas like ours can have many long-term negative consequences, that at this time, we cannot fully quantify and understand.

Whereas a large industrial wind development can have many potential short and long term negative impacts to both the local road system as well as to economic development opportunities.

Whereas, this Township Trustees Association respects and recognizes the importance of private property rights but recommends that landowners be fully informed and seek professional legal counsel that is versed in the law as it relates to the granting of leases, easements to wind development companies.  Further we respectfully request that landowners consider potential impacts to neighbors as a result of agreements being formalized with wind development companies.

Finally, it is not the intent of this Township Association to promote large industrial wind development efforts in Mercer County, but rather to discourage them.  This resolution does not in any way discourage private entities from developing wind resources under the 5 megawatts threshold (which is not regulated by the Ohio Power Siting Board) provided they comply with applicable zoning regulations.

Resolution was motioned by Ron Niekamp

Seconded by Keith Canary

All Voted in favor on March 21, 2013

 

Neighbors’ group learns about future turbines

ROCKFORD – Nearly 50 residents attended a meeting held Tuesday by a group opposing wind turbines in northern Mercer County. Most at the meeting simply asked questions.

Neighbors United co-chair Pete Hayes told the crowd at least 17 land leases have been signed in the Rockford area to construct turbines. The turbines would be an extension of the proposed Long Prairie Wind Farm in Van Wert County.

Van Wert resident Ron Schumm, whose neighbors have turbines, said the turbine company tore up the roads and did not adequately repair them.

“They will destroy your roads,” he said. “That’s something the county and townships should be aware of.”

Residents asked about the flicker and noise produced by the 300-foot-tall structures. Schumm said the first time he saw the flicker – the shadow cast by the turbine’s moving arms – he didn’t know what it was. The nearest turbine to his house is a quarter mile away. Schumm said he only sees flicker in his house for about one week out of the year when the sun is rising.

“If the turbine was located somewhere else, that would be a different story,” he said.

He also said the noise from the moving arms produces a thumping sound, but he only hears it when his windows are open.

“My wife has allergies so we don’t have our windows open very often,” he said.

He also urged residents to hire an attorney to review any contract. Schumm said he considered allowing a turbine on his land but then changed his mind.

Businesses will always write a contract to suit themselves more than the resident, he cautioned.

“No offense to local attorneys, but they just don’t have the background to handle this,” he said. “We hired an attorney from Columbus, and they are expensive.”

Schumm said a pro is the money made on the venture but cautioned that people should be weary of what is happening to farmland.

Each turbine uses about 1-2 acres of land, for which the farmer receives a payment, and the farmer does not have to pay property tax on that land. That land cannot be farmed. Wind companies also pay neighbors without turbines a certain amount of money “for their inconvenience,” he said.

“What will we do in 2050 when turbines take over our farmland?” he said. “We can live without wind energy. We can’t live without food.”

Residents asked if the turbines would run often enough to make the project worth it. Schumm said they move with very little wind.

“It’s amazing how little wind on the ground it takes to get those things moving,” he said. “They’re going almost all the time.”

Schumm said the turbines do allow him to tell which direction the wind is moving and how fast.

Residents also asked if the turbines bring down property value and if the contract covers who is responsible for dismantling the structures after they break down or become obsolete. Schumm answered it’s too soon to know.

He believes property values would decrease and said the contracts he’s seen say the company is responsible for removing broken down turbines.

“My biggest concern is bankruptcy,” he said. “Who’s going to make a bankrupt company tear it down?”

Schumm said he tried but failed to negotiate an upfront payment from the company to cover costs if they go bankrupt.

“I think that’s something elected officials will have to do,” he said.

Hayes provided attendees with letters addressed to Mercer County Commissioners, Gov. John Kasich and local congressmen saying they are against the development of turbines.

The proposed Long Prairie Wind Farm involves the construction of a 200-megawatt wind farm – approximately 67 turbines — south of the city of Van Wert, business developer Roger Brown has said. He said as many as five turbines would be constructed in Mercer County.

Brown also has asked commissioners for a payment in lieu of taxes for the project. Commissioner Jerry Laffin last week said they would not accept the proposal unless they entered into negotiations with the company and first talked with those affected.

Neighbors United also has asked Rockford, Mendon and Willshire councils to consider banning turbines inside the corporation limits.

Neighbors United will hold an educational night at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the village hall. Council will meet for its next regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the village hall.

Source: The Daily Standard

Digital Release of Windfall Documentary

The Digital Release of the Windfall Documentary is available on Amazon.com or iTunes.

Trailer:

Damaged Turbine Suspends Wind Energy Production

An Ohio wind farm is temporarily shut down following severe damage to one of the turbines.

The wind farm, Timber Road II, sits in Ohio just beyond the Indiana state line between Edgerton, Indiana, and Payne, Ohio.

Around 12:45 Tuesday (April 24th) afternoon, two blades on a turbine were damaged so severely that debris was sent raining down on the field below. No one was injured.

The owners, EDP Renewables, say while the investigation into what damaged the blades is ongoing, at this point it doesn’t appear that strong winds were a factor.

A spokesperson for EDP tells Indiana’s NewsCenter that all 55 of the wind farm’s turbines were immediately shut down following the incident. Some were turned back on Wednesday as part of the investigation, but officials say it’s unclear how long that investigation will take.

Robert Silliman of Antwerp, Ohio, was out taking pictures of the broken turbine on Wednesday. He says,”I saw this wreckage scattered quite a ways across the field and I was very surprised that it had gone that far. Of course, we had high winds yesterday.”

EDP officials say each turbine is roughly worth $3million, but this turbine is still under warranty by the manufacturer, Vestas. They say Vestas is conducting their own root cause analysis, and is taking every step necessary to make sure similar problems don’t arise in the future.

 

Continue reading here.

Wind turbine foes expand clout

FALMOUTH, Massachusetts — When Kathy Reed learned about a proposal to erect a 400-foot-tall wind turbine near her Marion home, she was open to the idea.

But after a visit to Falmouth’s 1.65-megawatt turbine off Blacksmith Shop Road, Reed quickly made up her mind

“I could not live with (the turbine). Absolutely could not,” Reed said. “The prevailing noise was like a jet engine and behind that was this ‘thump.’ It’s so noisy and I wouldn’t want to live like that.”

As more communities consider wind turbines as alternative energy sources, residents of those towns are visiting Falmouth to find out what to expect.

Mark and Annie Hart Cool said their phone hasn’t stopped ringing.

The Cools, who live 1,600 feet from Falmouth’s Wind I turbine on Firetower Road, have become quasi-celebrities among wind opponents. They’ve hosted people from Brewster, Bourne, Wareham, Plymouth, Marion and even Connecticut at their home.

When asked, the Cools also speak at turbine hearings in nearby towns to tell their story.

“We’re the poster children now,” Annie Hart Cool said. “We believe it’s our duty to go out there and let people know what the facts are.”

Continue reading at Cape Cod Times, here.

Wind Worrier Informational Mtg: Dekalb County Presentation

Following is a video of the Dekalb County Illinois couple sharing their experiences about living next to wind turbines at the Maria Stein Informational Meeting on January 26th, 2011.


Visit the couple’s blog here.



Also, you can view the Van Wert/Paulding map and satellite picture overviews for the Blue Creek Wind Farm turbine placement on our about page.

Life with Wind Turbines

Visit Dave & Stephanie’s blog for more information on what it’s like to live near wind turbines.

Our home in rural DeKalb County, IL is where we wanted to stay for good. We have put so much into our home to make it a place where we would love to live and raise our children, and unfortunately we are being forced to live differently. We have been bullied by a large industrial wind company (NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light (FPL) and sold-out by the DeKalb County Board. FPL told residents that these wind turbines only “sound like a refrigerator.” Well, we have found that this is not the case. Often times our yard sounds like an airport. We hear and feel the low frequency sound on our property as well as in our home. We are bothered by the noise, whistling, contant swirling movement, and shadow flicker. Complaining is not something that our family is known for doing and we teach our children to look for the positive aspects of life, but this has gone too far with the turbines. Someone needs to speak up. These industrial wind turbines should not be built close to homes. They should be at least a mile away to avoid these issues. We have 13 within a mile. The closest 2 are 1,400 feet away.