The Highland Wind CPCN application was denied this morning by the PSC at the commissioners' open meeting on a 2 to 1 vote (Montgomery and Nowak voting to deny, and Callisto voting to approve with conditions). I received the news in an email from Steve Deslauriers, spokesperson for Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy. His email continues below:
Today's news is very good, but realize that the battle is far from over. The words of the commissioners were very welcoming of a new application and did not put any specific hurdles in place that would prevent its approval next time around. In fact, they laid out parameters that would enable them to approve it - none of the conditions they discussed would affect the financial viability of the project in any substantive way.
It is likely and expected that HWF will reapply with more conservative modeling (45dbA with 0.0 ground absorption coefficient) and eliminating the Nordex N100 as a possible turbine, as it is the noisiest. The commissioners were unanimous in the feeling that the knowledge of ILFN is way too limited to stipulate a limit at this time, and that no causal link has been found. But they did concede that more study was needed and likely needed to be funded by the legislature and done through the PSC (we all know the PSC staff bias, so we need to watch the expert selection process and the methodology they use very carefully).
One thing I took away from this is the importance of a long term town plan and that the Town of Forest's welcoming 'alternative energy' language was viewed as a reason for approval - as wind development complies with the long term plan of the town (as far as welcoming wind, but certainly not as far as the dangerous placement of turbines).