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

 

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

Miami Co. plan commission votes to review county wind farm ordinance

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following article was originally published by the “Kokomo Tribune” of Kokomo, Indiana on Friday, December 15, 2017.)

Some residents oppose setback requirements; say ordinance is outdated

Carson Gerber Kokomo Tribune

PERU – The Miami County Planning and Building Commission Wednesday voted to create a study committee to review the county’s wind farm ordinance after local residents expressed concerns about a project that could bring 75 turbines to the northern part of the county.

Dozens of anti-wind residents packed the meeting room to oppose the wind farm project proposed by RES, an international renewable energy company with its U.S. headquarters based in Colorado.

Four residents specifically requested the commission issue an immediate moratorium on issuing permits for the turbines, saying the county’s wind farm ordinance is outdated and allows unsafe setbacks from homes.

The ordinance was approved in 2011 by the commission, and requires a 1,000-foot setback from homes, a turbine blade-length setback from property lines and a 60-decibel noise limit.

But Becky Mahoney, who lives in the project area and has been a vocal opponent of the wind farm, said the ordinance allowed for “trespass zoning,” since landowners could not build a home within 1,000 feet of a turbine even if the tower wasn’t on their property.

“No one should be forced to surrender their property to an industrial wind developer … without first getting their consent and compensation,” she said. “Anything less, gentleman, is trespass zoning.”

Greg Deeds, a former Miami County commissioner who works as a land surveyor, agreed. He said the only way to make the ordinance fair would be to define setbacks from property lines, not residences.

“The ordinance needs to be fixed,” he said. “It needs to be fixed so that setbacks are from the property line. If I bought the land and I worked for it, I should be able to use it.”

Resident Kirby Lane said he thought the ordinance was too lax, ambiguous and would allow companies to take advantage of the county by installing unsafe wind developments. He said wind turbines have changed dramatically since the county passed its ordinance in 2011.

“Miami County needs a bullet-proof ordinance based on real engineering principals to protect us,” Lane said. “Just because we are backwoods doesn’t mean our ordinance should reflect that.”

But Brad Lila, director of development for RES who is in charge of the project, said the company would build the wind farm with more stringent guidelines than the county ordinance requires.

He said RES standards require turbines to be built 1,500-feet from residences, a turbine tip-length from property lines and a 50-decibel sound limit.

“We are exceeding your setback standards, and we’re proud of that,” Lila said. “I’m here to tell you that we will live up to that.”

He said the company would also build only two to three turbines per square mile since the structures would stand around 600-feet high. The wind farms in Benton and White counties, for example, have up to eight turbines per square mile, Lila said.

“By going 100 feet taller, we can essentially double the amount of energy being generated from one of these turbines,” he said.

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, told the plan commission the wind-farm project would bring a $392 million investment to the county that would generate $6.4 million in new tax revenue over the next 10 years (assuming the company receives a tax abatement).

He said RES has already made a considerable investment in the county and leased 192 parcels of land from landowners who support the project, and changing the ordinance now would be unfair.

“They reviewed the ordinance in existence and found that (the project) was doable,” Tidd said. “They made a significant investment. To change the game now, in my opinion, is unfair.”

After listening to around two hours of comments, the plan commission voted to form a study group to review the ordinance.

Members Richard Hendricks, Jon Reibly, Gregg Wilkinson and Jason Bowman voted in favor of the study group. Larry West and Randy Hileman vote against it.

Member Ethan Manning, who represents the county council on the commission, abstained from the vote since his family owns land in the project area.

“I think this is the most appropriate course of action for me to avoid even the perception of a conflict of interest,” he said.

Corey Roser, the Miami County Purdue Extension Educator, also abstained from the vote since it was the first plan commission meeting he had attended.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

Speaker: wind ripped county’s social fabric

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was first published in the online “Peru Tribune” of Peru, Indiana on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.)

By Brian Paul Kaufman – bkaufman@perutribune.com

Call it Wind Turbine Trouble 101 – presented by a school teacher who said he was “blindsided” about two years ago by the arrival of the towering industrial machinery in his rural Van Wert, Ohio hometown. 

Jeremy Kitson shared what he said he’s learned from the experience with about 200 people at the Miami County 4-H Community Building on Sunday.

The bottom line? Kitson put it this way: “The less you know, the more you’ll like wind.”

UK-based Renewable Energy Systems has planned a 383 wind turbine project for Fulton, Cass and Miami Counties – 75 of them in Miami County.

RES’ Director of development, Brad Lila, has said the project will, among other things, bring jobs, tax benefits and lucrative lease payments to landholders in all three counties. 

Kitson said he’s done his homework since an employee of another wind company – who was once a family friend – told him his two acre parcel didn’t matter in the scheme of things.  “Challenge accepted,” he said. 

He said elected officials have a tough job as they wrestle with the issue of whether to allow companies to build and encouraged those present not to become combative with them as they discuss it. 

But, he said, there are big problems. 

For one thing wind company officials “can’t say what’s a proper distance” is to locate the towers from homes and property lines. The Miami County wind ordinance, written in 2011, is 1,000 feet from a house and 175’ from a property line.

But at least one Michigan University Study said 2,500 feet is the minimum to mitigate something called “Shadow Flicker,” Kitson said. Created by the sun shining on the turbine blades as the rotate, shadow flicker is thought to cause symptoms and upset in some, especially autistic children.

Ohio laws limit shadow flicker to 30 hours a year, while Vermont allows just eight hours a year, he said.

Kitson said countries with more experience with industrial wind turbines, such as Denmark and Germany, have even bigger setbacks because of shadow flicker and noise problems. 

A 2016 Bavarian High Count ruling, for example, found that a 650 foot tall turbine needs to be at least 1.2 miles away from the nearest residential area before it can be approved, according to a Bavarian radio story.

In its current form, the Miami County ordinance does not address shadow flicker at all, Kitson said. 

The Miami County ordinance allows 50 dbs of noise from wind turbines. But at least one researcher, Dr. Robert Rand, has found that people have “vigorous objections” when noise levels like that are above 20 db, Kitson said.

Wind companies like to say that the noise is like what’s generated by a refrigerator, he said, “but most people don’t want a refrigerator in their bed when they try to sleep.”

Wind turbines also generate something called “infrasound” he said, or noise that’s below what we can hear. But even this has numerous negative effects, he said. Most recently, Kitson said, US diplomats in Cuba may have been exposed to infrasound.

According to the Associated Press, they suffered nausea, dizziness, hearing loss, vertigo and even concussions.

Holding up his cellphone, Kitson said he keeps 21 peer reviewed scientific studies on it that detail the harmful health effects of wind turbines. 

Also, safety recommendations by one wind turbine manufacturer say employees should stay at least 1,640 feet away when possible due to the potential accidents, fire and failure, he said, so “1,000 feet from a home in my eyes is not even remotely safe.” 

Enforcing proper zoning laws isn’t much to ask, either, he said. For example, you can’t grow pot on your property in Indiana and if you want to build a grain silo too close to your neighbor’s home or property, you’d have to go before some board to get a variance, he said. “This isn’t any different.”

If a wind company wants to be a good neighbor and steward of the land, they should also negotiate with non-participating land owners to make their property rights are protected, he said. Otherwise, Kitson said it’s “trespass zoning” that prevents the adjoining landowner from enjoying or building on their property.

Kitson said a study by Appraisal Group One in Wisconsin found that home and property values took an “11 to 60 percent hit by living in the footprint of an industrial wind project.” 

“If (they’re) so sure property values won’t fall, get a property value guarantee,” he said. “Prove it to me with your good faith and dollars.”

Among other topics, Kitson also said Miami County needs to make sure that the amount set aside for decommissioning any wind turbines is substantial and transferable. His county only got $5,000 each – when they can cost $500,000 to $700,000 each to take down. $5,000 would barely pay for the crane to show up on the job site, he said. 

At the conclusion of his talk, Kitson said he believes “the (social) fabric of Van Wert County has been destroyed” by the project there – with even brothers refusing to talk to one another over the matter. 

Kirby Lane, who also spoke at the meeting, said he’s bringing an ordinance that he’s written to the Miami County Plan/Building meeting on Wednesday night – and encouraged other concerned citizens to attend. 

An online petition at Miami County Property Rights Facebook page urges Miami County “to establish safe zoning of four times the height or 2,640 feet which ever is greater from a property line in regards to Industrial Wind Generation.”

During a question, answer and comment time after Kitson and Lane spoke, not one person voiced support for the turbines. 

Steve Schipper said he learned a lot at the meeting – and none of it was good. Schipper said he picked up bright yellow and red signs that say “No Wind Turbines” there and planned to plant them at prominent locations on his farms as soon as possible. 

Another resident who picked up a yard sign said he was concerned about what he perceived as the county’s failure to make citizens aware of the project. “Are we in Russia?” he said. 

One of the organizers, Becky Mahoney, said she was pleased by the turnout, especially since the meeting came together quickly and there was little time to get the word out. 

Lane also encouraged residents to attend tonight’s North Miami School Board meeting. Miami County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jim Tidd said he plans to share the benefits of the project there. 

Miami commissioner opposes wind ordinance


(Published originally in the Logansport, IN Pharos Tribune on Monday, December 4, 2017.)

Miami commissioner opposes wind ordinance
Alan Hunt supported it when passed in 2011

Carson Gerber CNHI News Indiana

PERU — Miami County Commissioner Alan Hunt Monday said he did support the county’s current wind farm ordinance, which sets the guidelines for a proposed wind project that could bring about 75 turbines to the northern part of the county.

Hunt made his view known during a regular meeting of the Miami County Board of Commissioners, in which a group of residents spoke out against the proposal saying the project would mar the rural landscape and impede landowners near the turbines from building on their property.

The project is being proposed by RES, an international renewable energy company with its U.S. headquarters based in Colorado. The parameters for the wind farm would roughly run from 900 North to the Fulton County line, which encompasses about 36,000 acres.

The company is also considering building turbines in Cass and Fulton counties as part of the project.

Miami County’s current wind farm ordinance was approved by the county plan commission in 2011. Hunt at the time served on that commission and voted in favor of the ordinance.

But on Monday, Hunt expressed opposition to the ordinance he helped pass six years ago.

“Today, I do not agree with it,” he said. “That’s my position.”

In an interview after the meeting, Hunt said he supported the ordinance when he served on the plan commission based on the information he was given at the time.

He said he changed his mind after learning RES was proposing to build 600-foot turbines, which is larger than any other wind farm proposal received by the county.

Hunt said his biggest issue with the ordinance is the 1,000-foot setback of turbines from residential dwellings. Under that rule, landowners could not build a home within 1,000 feet of a turbine, even if the tower wasn’t on their property.

Becky Mahoney, who lives near Macy and owns land in the project area, told commissioners that was one of her main concerns, too.

“No one should be forced to surrender their property to an industrial wind developer,” she said. “This, gentleman, is a land grab.”

Hunt said he believes the setback rule should require turbines to be constructed about a quarter-mile from property lines — not residential dwellings — to avoid what he called a building “dead zone.”

But some residents called for the entire ordinance to be scrapped and rewritten.

Greg Deeds, a former county commissioner who works as a land surveyor, said he supported wind farms when he served on the board, but believes the ordinance is now outdated.

“I was all on board. I really was,” Deeds told commissioners. “I thought, ‘Hey, this is going to be a lot of tax revenue for the county and get farmers some money.’ I thought it would be a pretty good thing.”

“But it’s been seven years, and a lot of knowledge has been gained in the time this ordinance was written,” he said. “I couldn’t find any ordinance in the state that’s looser than ours is. I ask that this be reviewed, thought about and reconsidered.”

County Attorney Pat Roberts Monday said any changes to the ordinance would first have to be approved by the plan commission and then receive final approval from commissioners. He told those opposing the wind project to draft a proposal and bring it to the plan commission.

“Present what you think is correct and sell your ideas to them,” Roberts said. “Then the commissioners will review what they pass … and go about it in a legal and lawful manner.”

The next plan commission meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13. Wind farm opponents already have requested to speak at the meeting about changing the ordinance.

Commissioner Larry West told the crowd Monday he would not say whether he would vote for changes to the ordinance until he saw what those changes might be.

“I don’t know if there will be anything for us to even vote on, number one,” he said. “Number two, I don’t know what it might be. I’d have to see what they put in the ordinance.”

Commissioner Josh Francis has recused himself from any vote on the project, since he has contracted and is being paid by RES to develop lease agreements between property owners and the company.

Hunt said he plans to attend next week’s plan commission meeting. He said he would support the wind ordinance if the commission were to change the setback requirements and address other concerns raised by residents.

Hunt said his decision also would be influenced by the findings of a financial study approved by commissioners investigating the fiscal impact of the project.

Brad Lila, director of development for RES, said in a previous interview the company was aware of residents’ concerns over setbacks and would work with the county to address those concerns.

He said last month more than 50 square miles of land in northern Miami County have so far been secured through lease agreements with landowners to build turbines.