In the September 28 Tribune Press Reporter article, “Forest files another petition for judicial review of PSC decision on Highland Wind Farm,” reporter LeAnn Ralph apparently interpreted my letter to the editor as a press release, which it was not. In that article were quoted statements I made regarding the failure of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to enforce compliance issues in existing wind projects.
My statements were compared to those of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in its August 2016 Final Decision as the complaint process applies to PSC 128 wind siting rules. PSC 128.40 rules contains no language for noise compliance monitoring, enforcement, or penalties, nor does it exist in Wisconsin Statute 196.26 under which other Wisconsin wind projects are subject.
During Highland Wind proceedings, when questioned about complaints, PSC staff member Jim Lepinsky admitted, “It’s difficult for me to conclude that there’s been a violation…..We would need some monitoring data concurrent with the alleged—or the violation, I should say…to show there’s a violation, and we generally never have that.” PSC attorney, John Lorence, is on record, “At this point I’m willing to say there’s nobody on staff who has a full-time job of monitoring SCADA data or anything else with respect to wind turbines.”
The PSC latest final decision to approve the Highland Wind Farm is now the same project the Commission first denied. If built, Highland Wind will exceed PSC 128 noise limits, as evidenced by the wind developer’s own sound studies, and the regulator in charge has no enforcement capabilities. Regardless of whether one is for or against Highland Wind, the protection of the public interest should include an effective complaint process that enforces violations. The only remedy under PSC 128.40 (2) Complaint Resolution, is “(a) an owner [wind project owner] shall use reasonable efforts to resolve complaints regarding a wind energy system and shall investigate complaints regarding a wind energy system at the owner’s expense.”