Public Utility Commission Sets New Winter Standards For Georgia Mountain Wind

Aug 25, 2017

The Public Utility Commission is imposing new restrictions on the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project.

Scott and Melodie McLane live near the turbines, and they filed a complaint with state regulators on Jan. 9, 2017.

The McLanes said the wind towers operated with ice on its blades, in violation of the project's state permit.

The commission opened an investigation in March.

State regulators sided with the McLanes, generally, and operators will now have to use meteorological data to stop the blades before ice forms.

The project's original state permit said the turbines would have to be paused only after ice is detected.

The commission says operators will now have to use data for humidity, wind speed and wind direction to determine if ice is likely to form on the blades

The ruling also requires Georgia Mountain Community Wind to file a report each year, over the next five years, identifying all icing events.

The McLanes also wanted video equipment installed, to make sure the imposed restrictions take care of the icing issue, but the Public Utility Commission says that step isn't needed right now.

The commission did write that, "should the amended protocol fail to achieve its goal and the turbines do again operate under icing conditions, we will promptly impose the requirement to install the video-monitoring equipment."

Correction 12:14 p.m. 08/25/2017 Scott and Melodie McLane filed the complaint with the PUC. Melodie's name was incorrect in original post.