Turbine locations reported by RES to FAA

This map shows the RES submissions to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the  Logansport region including Cass, Fulton and Miami Counties.

You can zoom in/out by using +/ and also by holding “ctrl” plus using the “scroll wheel” and move map N,E,S,W by “left click” and “drag.”

RES filed for turbines in Fulton County even though wind turbines are a prohibited use in Fulton County. This is a map of RES’s proposed wind turbine locations filed with the FAA. It appears that RES has filed for some turbines on ground they don’t have leased. If you see turbines on your ground that you didn’t sign up for, please call Brad Lila, RES Development Director, at 612-590-2586 and request he remove the turbines off your ground. Why would RES report to the FAA turbine locations on unleased ground? Hmmm…

Top 10 Reasons Why RES’s Project is a Mess

The following was originally posted on Facebook on Friday, February 23, 2018.
RES = Renewable Energy Systems

Top 10 Reasons RES's Wind Turbine Project is a Mess:10. RES lost an ENTIRE county and ⅓ of their project during the…

Posted by Fulton County, IN Property Rights on Friday, February 23, 2018

 

(Cass) Wind turbine talk gets heated at meeting (incl. video)

 

Wind turbine talk gets heated at meeting

Opponents of a wind turbine project proposed in northern Cass County speak with Cass County Commissioner Ralph Anderson after a meeting Tuesday. Mitchell Kirk | Pharos-Tribune

(The following article was originally published in the Pharos-Tribune of Logansport, IN on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Video of the meeting is here.)

Wind turbine talk gets heated at meeting
Opponents make frustrations known

Mitchell Kirk Staff reporter

Calls from opponents of a proposed wind turbine project overlapped each other and filled the Cass County Commissioners Hearing Room on Tuesday as leaders ended the meeting.

Many of the meeting’s attendees oppose a plan to bring turbines to Adams, Bethlehem, Boone and Harrison townships in northern Cass County. Renewable Energy Systems Americas, or RES, is the company behind the plan and also wants to erect turbines in northern Miami County. Officials and residents who support the project say it will bring funds to the county and create jobs while providing money to landowners who lease ground for the turbines.

Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors once again set a two-minute individual limit for speakers during the time for public comments following Tuesday’s meeting.

Joyce Pasel, who lives in northern Clay Township near its border with Bethlehem Township, asked commissioners to ensure the project wouldn’t affect groundwater and asked how residents would be assisted if it does.

RES has indicated in the past that the project won’t affect groundwater because the foundations for the turbines will be 9 feet deep.

Pasel was the second of two speakers Sailors cut off for exceeding the two-minute time limit. It spurred a negative vocal reaction from the audience and frustration over what several expressed has been a lack of response on the project from commissioners.

Sailors said more information will be released about the project as soon as agreements between the county and RES are signed, which sparked another outburst from the audience. At least one attendee indicated waiting until the contracts are signed would be “too late.”

In an interview after the meeting, Sailors clarified the agreements will be made public after negotiations conclude and before they’re signed. He said the time period between the conclusion of the negotiations and the signing would likely span between two commissioners meetings. The commissioners meet on the first and third Mondays of each month.

The commissioners adjourned the meeting during the exchange that sparked after Pasel was cut off, but remained in the room.

Calls of “crooked,” accusations of lying and repeated pleas to discuss the project filled the room.

“There’s no point in arguing about it,” Sailors said. “That’s what you want to do. No matter what we say, you want to argue about it.”

As the audience’s reaction died down, Pasel returned to the forefront of the conversation. She referred to RES as “a greedy, manipulative mega company” and emphasized the need for more information to be shared about the project.

“Maybe these turbines would be the best thing since sliced bread, we don’t know that,” she said. “You won’t let us know that. Can you help alleviate our fears?”

Sailors and Cass County Commissioner Jeff LeDonne left the room after Pasel finished speaking. Opponents approached Cass County Commissioner Ralph Anderson and reiterated their concerns and desire for answers.

“And you deserve them,” Anderson responded.

Anderson also said during the exchange that he has not signed a confidentiality agreement over the project negotiations, but Sailors said in an interview following the meeting that he signed one on behalf of all the commissioners. He went on to stress that the attorneys involved in the negotiations have not yet given officials approval to discuss the agreements in detail.

Cass County and RES are negotiating an economic development agreement, road use agreement and decommissioning agreement.

Earlier on in the public comments, Ken Smith, who lives in western Jefferson Township, questioned the reasons commissioners would have for wanting the turbines before Sailors cut him off for exceeding the two-minute time limit.

“If Cass County is in that short of supply of money that it is willing to risk the health, welfare and safety of rural residents, be it known that I am giving you permission to raise my taxes to live in Cass County,” Smith said.

Deidra Dodt, Royal Center, said the petition calling for Cass County to increase its wind turbine setbacks to a half-mile from property lines has reached 1,625 signatures. Citing 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, she said the figure represents more than 54 percent of voting-age residents in the Cass County townships the project is proposed for.

Cass County’s current property line setback for turbines is the length of a rotor blade and RES has indicated it will site turbines at least 1.1 times their height from nonparticipating property lines. The county’s residential setback is 1,000 feet and RES has indicated its will be 1,500 feet for the project.

Kyle Reed, Royal Center, referred to a recent broadcast of “Talk of the Town,” a local radio program, during which he said Sailors and Anderson indicated project opponents receive questionable information on wind turbines from Facebook. Reed went on to list the information opponents have given commissioners on the topic over the past several months.

“For you to claim on a radio show that we provided you with no facts is just another lie,” Reed said. “…It’s unfortunate for all of us that in this way you treat people you were elected to serve.”

Reach Mitchell Kirk at mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130

Video: Kevon Martis, Jeremy Kitson, Craig Mosburg at Cass Co. Fairgrounds

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

At the “WIND: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW” meeting on February 17th, Kevon, Jeremy and Craig as well as others spoke. A news report of the meeting is here.

Videos:
Part 1, Kevon Martis, video is here

Part 2, Jessica and Paul Brooks (water quality), Q & A, Jeremy Kitson and Craig Mosburg, video is here

Zoning, water come up at wind meeting

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published by the Pharos-Tribune of Logansport, IN on Sunday, February 18, 2018.)

Zoning, water come up at wind meeting
About 230 attend event organized by project opponents

Mitchell Kirk Staff reporter      

Regulations in Cass County fall short of ones an advocate of wind turbine zoning says are necessary for health, safety and welfare.

Kevon Martis, former vice chairman of the Riga Township Planning Commission in southeastern Michigan’s Lenawee County, addressed a crowd of about 230 in the Community Center at the Cass County Fairgrounds Saturday night. The Cass County Property Rights Group, which opposes a wind turbine project proposed for northern Cass and Miami counties, organized the meeting, which also drew speakers opposing wind turbine projects in Canada, Ohio and eastern Indiana.

Zoning

Martis is director of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, a nonprofit corporation that raises public awareness of the potential impacts of industrial wind turbines. He’s also a senior policy fellow at the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute in Washington, D.C.

Cass County’s wind energy ordinance requires setbacks of 1,000 feet from homes and the length of a rotor blade from property lines.

Renewable Energy Systems Americas, or RES, is proposing turbines across northern Cass and Miami counties. The company has indicated turbines will be 1,500 feet from homes and a distance of 1.1 times their height from property lines. While RES has yet to choose a type of turbine, it has indicated they’ll be about 600 feet tall and won’t exceed 700 feet.

Cass County officials who support the project feel it would be an economic boon.

“Too often I see county governments be enticed by the thought of additional tax revenue without raising taxes,” Martis said Saturday. “But in truth, placing turbines in just a few townships for countywide revenue enhancements is actually a decision to tax those few townships with the loss of amenity at home and quality of life without compensation.”

Measuring turbine setbacks to homes grants legal access to neighboring property without consent or compensation and is “fundamentally unjust,” Martis said.

It prevents a landowner from building on their own property if the desired location is too close to a turbine on a neighboring property, for instance, he said.

“That’s just basic land-use policy,” he said of measuring to property lines. “You pay taxes on your entire piece of property, the setbacks need to protect your entire piece of property.”

His remarks echoed local criticism toward the project proposed for Cass County that’s part of the bases of a petition calling for larger setbacks from property lines and a lawsuit against county officials.

Measuring setbacks to homes is further flawed, Martis said, when considering turbine safety manuals that specify a radius of 1,640 feet should be maintained from a turbine during dangerous events like fires.

Such a radius could potentially encompass homes under setbacks required by Cass County and those intended by RES.

Martis also referred to information published by Wind Energy, a peer-reviewed journal, reporting pieces of turbine blades 7 to 16 tons could be thrown almost 2,300 feet to 1.2 miles and ice 328 feet to 2,000 feet.

RES has indicated in the past that the turbines planned for Cass and Miami counties will be equipped with technology that will perceive ice buildup and prevent the turbine from operating until the ice sheds.

Martis said the Riga Township wind ordinance he worked on establishes setbacks to nonparticipating property lines of four times turbine height along with smaller setbacks from leaseholders’ homes, both of which can be reduced by signing a waiver.

“What that means is the wind company now has to negotiate an easement with everybody that lives around wind turbines instead of just a few large landowners,” he said. “That’s fair.”

Martis emphasized he did not speak at Saturday’s event to tell Cass County what to do, but told attendees if they feel he made a credible case, then it was up to them to convince their elected officials.

Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors has indicated in the past that a change to the rules this far into the project would kill it and be unfair to those who support it.

Water

Jessica Brooks of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, east of Detroit, spoke at Saturday’s meeting as well. She said she and her husband, Paul, and their children live in a wind farm developed by RES and Samsung slated to go online this month.

Brooks said pile driving during the construction of the turbines caused black shale, a bedrock containing arsenic, radon, lead, mercury, radiant material and heavy metals, to contaminate their well water.

Brad Lila, director of development for RES, said by phone Sunday that pile driving won’t be required for the project proposed for Cass and Miami counties. He’s said in the past that foundations of about 9 feet deep will be needed for the turbines because of the kind of soil that exists within the proposed project area.

Ohio, decommissioning and election

Ruth Baker, Logansport, read a letter Saturday from Brenda DeLong, who lives in the footprint of an industrial wind turbine project in Van Wert County, Ohio. DeLong also provided videos that were played of the sound the turbines near her make and shadow flicker cast in her home. She said in her letter that the project has caused her to suffer health issues, has resulted in drainage tile that was not replaced properly and annoyance from the turbines’ noise and blinking red lights.

Lila has said in the past that lights on turbines for the proposed project in Cass and Miami counties will only blink when aircraft are in the area.

During a Q-and-A after the speakers, Martis said in his experience, landowners are often stuck with turbine pedestals after they’re decommissioned and removed. Developers steer clear of areas where rules require removal of pedestals, he added.

Cass County’s wind ordinance requires turbines to be removed to at least 4 feet below ground within a year of discontinuation or abandonment. It also requires the ground to be restored as much as realistically possible to the way it was before the turbine went in.

Martis went on to recommend that the county require wind energy developers to pay for the county’s hiring of an independent third-party engineer to assign proper valuation for decommissioning turbines and require developers to post bonds to ensure deconstruction.

The section about decommissioning in Cass County’s ordinance requires the posting of a bond and that the developer must provide cost estimates “made by a competent party,” but does not specify the developer should pay for the county to hire an independent third-party engineer.

Lila said Sunday that while the decommissioning agreement between Cass County and RES has yet to be finished, it will require an independent third-party engineer to provide estimates and that he’s almost certain RES will have to pay for the study.

Jeremy Kitson, also of Van Wert County, Ohio, spoke at Saturday’s event too. He keynoted an event organized by the Cass County Property Rights Group in December in Royal Center.

Craig Mosburg of Fayette County spoke Saturday as well about his fight against a NextEra Energy wind project.

Ryan Browning of the Clymers area, who opposes the local wind project and will be on the Republican ballot for Cass County Commissioner District 3 in the May primary, closed out the meeting. He’s challenging incumbent Jeff LeDonne, who supports the wind project. Browning thanked Cass County Commissioner Ralph Anderson, who supports the wind project and was the only commissioner in attendance, for coming, which the audience seconded with applause.

“I’m greatly looking forward to working with you starting Jan. 1,” Browning told Anderson.

Wind debate has disrupted ‘country life’

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published in the Pharos-Tribune of Logansport, IN on February 2, 2018.)

Ashly Berry Guest columnist

I have lived in Cass County my entire life. I am your typical “small town girl.” I married a farmer, bought a house and have three beautiful children.

We have built a life here in this beautiful section of America, and we are happy here. We love the open landscape, the bright night stars, the summer skies filled with fireflies and the quiet peacefulness of the countryside. I love my neighbors. I love the families that my children attend school with. I love that I know all of my children’s teachers and can call many of them friends. I love that when I go grocery shopping I usually run into people I know, and that along the way to town I can name most of the people that live in the homes that I pass. This is “the country life.”

But lately in Cass County, our sweet country life has been disrupted. It’s like there is an elephant in the room everywhere I go. A topic that you are afraid to mention for fear of what that person you’ve known your whole life might think. Do we agree? Do we disagree? Will things be awkward between us if I say the wrong thing? This big bad elephant has blown into town and things just haven’t been the same since. Neighbors aren’t speaking, families did not get together for Christmas, people stopped attending church, friendships torn apart … this is NOT the country life.

What is this big bad beast that has blown into town? Wind. No, not the cool breeze you feel while sitting on your porch in the evening. This is a storm. The kind that has made us all hide in our houses while we wait for it to blow over. But unfortunately, this is the worst storm we’ve ever had, and it may not blow over.

Cass County passed an ordinance years ago allowing industrial wind farms to be placed just 1,000 feet from our homes. At a time, when turbines were around 300 feet tall, this meant a setback was more than three times the height of a turbine. You would think that because our proposed turbines could be over 800 feet, our ordinance would be updated to at least 2,400 feet. But no, our commissioners are not budging.

My home is surrounded by land that has been signed over to the wind developer, so I very well may be boxed in by giant turbines. Giant is not an overstatement. These behemoths will stretch between 660-820 feet into the sky — the sky that was once open and untainted.

That is not the life I chose. That is not the life my parents chose for me. My parents and grandparents knew what a wonderful place this was to live and raise a family in, and they had hoped that I would do the same. Unfortunately, I am left with a difficult decision. Do I stay and endure the broken friendships, the broken family, the littered landscape and the possibility of health problems for me and my children, or do I pack up and leave?

I am angry that I was put in this situation. I am angry that our commissioners are refusing to revisit our wind ordinance and are not even considering the possibility that this could be the biggest mistake of their lives, and the lives of thousands of people.

Whether or not you will live next to a turbine, your life will change. Our lives will change. Our culture will change. Do you really think our small town life will just return to normal once the turbines are built? Do you think those opposed will just adapt and get over it? I have even heard some insensitive people say, “Then move!” That is certainly something we are considering, but unfortunately, there are at least 1,485 of us considering it. That’s how many people signed the petition to try and change the fate of our county. How will 1,485 people be able to sell their homes? That’s more than 4 times the population of some local towns! Four whole towns of people … gone? What would that do to our local economy? What would that do to our local schools? What would that do to our way of life?

I am just one person, but I am one of many families that have lived here for generations. These generations and these families are the ones who built this county and this way of life. And we are being told to move? Wow. What a sense of community.

There is one thing I plan on doing before I move, if it comes to that. It will be to move my vote to another choice for commissioner in the next election. That is one move the majority of us are anxious to make.

Ashly Berry is a resident of Cass County.

Federal commission denies wind farm developer’s (RES) request

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published in the Pharos-Tribune of Logansport, IN on Friday, February 16, 2018.)

Federal commission denies wind farm developer’s request
Waiver would have allowed for speedy equipment site relocation

Mitchell Kirk Staff reporter 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied a request from the developer behind wind turbines proposed for Cass and Miami counties that would have allowed it to easily change where it connects with an electric transmission grid.

The Feb. 9 FERC order addresses Harvest Wind Energy LLC’s petition for a waiver of PJM Interconnection LLC’s Open Access Transmission Tariff. Harvest Wind Energy is the turbine project proposed by Renewable Energy Systems Americas, or RES, in northern Cass and Miami counties while PJM Interconnection operates a regional electric transmission system.

The waiver would have allowed Harvest Wind Energy to change its point of interconnection without requiring additional evaluation under the tariff, according to the FERC order. The denial won’t necessarily derail the project, but will likely delay it.

Harvest Wind Energy intends to interconnect with transmission lines owned by AEP Indiana Michigan Transmission Company Inc. using a switching station planned to be constructed about 39 miles between switching stations near Dumont and Greentown, the order continues.

Before initiating a facilities study under the PJM Interconnection tariff, the order states AEP notified the original developer of the wind project of concerns regarding the parcel initially being considered for the switching station.

 Those concerns included infrastructure that would have to be moved and potential proximity to wooded wetlands that would require additional approvals and mitigation, according to the order. In light of those concerns, the order states AEP and the original wind developer agreed to plan for the switching station to be constructed in an adjacent location.

 RES bought Harvest Wind Energy after the new switching station location was selected, the order continues, adding it was later discovered that the new location shared many of the same issues affecting the first.

Harvest Wind Energy approached PJM Interconnection about another new location for the switching station almost 3 miles from the second consideration, according to the order.

But PJM Interconnection indicated its tariff would not permit a change in the point of interconnection location at the stage interconnection studies were currently in, the order states.

Harvest Wind Energy maintained an interconnection construction service agreement and the project’s interconnection study reports refer to the point of interconnection being about 39 miles from the Dumont and Greentown substations, which would still apply to the newly desired location, according to the order.

Also part of Harvest Wind Energy’s request for the waiver was the claim that the determination for the second switching station location was an error made “in good faith,” the order states.

The order recalls PJM Interconnection’s indication that if the waiver was granted, PJM Interconnection would need at least six months to do a new facilities study on the new project location, disrupting its “overall interconnection process” while causing “harm to other interconnection customers…”

The timing surrounding the discovery of issues that compromise the original point of interconnection demonstrated “a lack of due diligence,” on Harvest Wind Energy’s part, according to the order.

FERC also indicated it agrees with PJM Interconnection’s stance that changing the point of interconnection “at this late stage would introduce uncertainty that could well impact other… customers and that such restudy of the point of interconnection would require” more time and evaluation.

The order refers to PJM Interconnection’s indication “that while it appreciates that Harvest Wind may have a concern regarding the delay,” the tariff does not prevent the developer from seeking its desired point of interconnection through a new interconnection request.

Brad Lila, director of development with RES’ Minneapolis office, said by phone Friday that Harvest Wind Energy will likely pursue a new interconnection request, adding it remains unknown what kind of effect the resulting delay would have on the project.

Reach Mitchell Kirk at mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130