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category: Letters, date: 2017-01-12, by Gregg Hubner
13 Wind Farms
Letter to the editor from Gregg Hubner January 11, 2017

Dear Editor,

I have been encouraging the public to understand how wind developers like Prevailing Winds are deceitful and dishonest in promoting the taxpayer scam called wind energy. When this started nearly 2 years ago, Ronnie Hornstra was quoted as saying, "If the community doesn't want this project, we won't build it." After the August 2016 PUC meeting in Avon it was apparent that the community didn't want it, so apparent that Prevailing Winds pulled their application. Shortly following, in the Yankton P&D Roland Jurgens was quoted saying: "the investors didn't intend to reduce the size of the Prevailing Winds project or break it into smaller parts in order to fall below the threshold requiring PUC approval". Well, on December 27, 2016, the PUC was notified of 13 new projects in Bon Homme and Charles Mix Counties. These 13 projects are all under different names, with Ronnie Hornstra signing every one. The Beethoven project was built below the threshold so that a utility company like Northwestern could be forced to buy the electricity. The end result of that was not only were they forced to buy the electricity, they bought the whole wind project and increased their rates so the consumers have to pay for it. Every one of these 13 new projects are within the PURPA guidelines so that they can do the same thing 13 times; again that will result in increased rates for thousands of consumers.

Another lie: Last August Prevailing Winds pushed through Article 17 and forced 1000 ft. setbacks from homes (1.1 times tower height for participants) for every resident in the county. In both the Avon Clarion and Mitchell Daily Republic, Ronnie Hornstra was quoted saying, "It is impossible under both state and Bon Homme County ordinances to ever site a turbine anywhere approaching 1000 feet from a dwelling." This is the same Ronnie Hornstra that pushed the 1000 ft. setbacks into law.

Lie #3: After they pulled their application, the statement put out by Prevailing Winds was: "the motion to withdraw the application cited misinformation surrounding the project." The organizers said they plan to "better inform the community on the wind project and allow Prevailing Winds to revisit their options regarding the project." But since that day, we have not read a single word in the paper or one meeting scheduled about reaching out to the community to better explain their project. Instead the first thing they did was hold more sign up meetings at one of my neighbors' house. That told me the reason they pulled their application wasn't because of their poor PR, it was because they didn't have enough farmers signed up. They just pretended they did.

Lie#4: Last September at the zoning board Jurgens said, "We don't want to split the community. That's not good for the community," he said at that time.

If you read this week's article from the Yankton P&D, notice how Ronnie Hornstra chooses his words very carefully: "These offers will not force the cooperatives (in certain circumstances) to purchase the energy, capacity and renewable energy credits from Prevailing Winds subsidiaries.

"Prevailing Winds and its subsidiaries have no intention to impose high energy and capacity prices on any cooperative or force any cooperative to take more energy than is practical.

As a qualifying facility, Prevailing Winds could benefit others in a number of ways."

Now will you agree that these people lie? Gone are the ads about all the tax money for the school and county. Gone are the ads about the investors being "our friends and neighbors". And under the radar they are promoting the same scam in smaller units under different names so they can force utility companies to buy the electricity and turn our community into what you see to the southwest, southeast and north every night, hundreds of blinking red lights. In the daytime it's like driving through a graveyard of steel towers. And for what again? For them, it was always for them. There are a few businessmen in Avon and Tyndall that are promoting this scam for money, and I think it's time to stop in and tell them we have lots of other places to do our business. This is sickening.

Gregg Hubner
Avon, SD

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