Cohocton Wind Watch: October 2007
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud




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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shame on you Ted Liddiard and YES supporters

Cohocton Voters:

Many folks have read the full page ad in the Valley News on Oct 30, 2007 by YES spokesman Ted Liddiard, which attacked my wife and Eric Massa. For months we have built a solid and factual case that Cohocton Town Officials and Yes/UPC Wind can’t be trusted. Truth matters and documented facts are true reality.

Listen to the entire Massa in the Morning radio program that broadcasted on Oct. 21, 2007 on the above link: http://www.massaforcongress.com/multimedia/massa1021.mp3

Judge for yourselves what was said on that radio program. Then demand an answer and a formal apology from Mr. Liddiard and YES Wind for deceiving the public in the Valley News. Mr. Liddiard was a call in guest on Oct. 21 and on a second occasion on Oct 28, 2007 to the same Eric Massa radio program.

YES Wind members debase their own reputations if they associate themselves with the falsehood that Mr. Liddiard was not given the opportunity to speak his mind (what may be left of it) on the radio program. He embarrasses himself continually and shame on you if you accept sure disgraceful conduct.

The public deserves to have the record corrected. Call in this coming Sunday to WHHO-AM - 607-654-0322, 10:00 AM to NOON. The best advertisement possible for electing Reform Cohocton Candidates comes from the words out of the mouth of YES Wind.

James Hall

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Judge rejects NYRI's challenge to state eminent domain law

Homeowners in the path of New York Regional Interconnect's power line proposal got a reprieve Friday.

That is, for now.

U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy dismissed NYRI's lawsuit challenging a law written by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, which would protect homeowners from private companies trying to obtain property they need through eminent domain. Lupardo has no problem with eminent domain which she says can be a "valuable economic development tool." However, what did bother her was that this proposal "could have devastating impacts on New York's economy, environment and energy policy."

If NYRI wants to pursue its proposal, the next step is the federal government. This hurdle has been lowered substantially for NYRI after the Department of Energy designated two national interest electric transmission corridors this month -- one of which is the mid-Atlantic corridor. That corridor comprises 10 states including New York. By doing this, the federal government has the right to bypass any state in the corridor that does not approve a proposal within a year, because the designated corridor has shows a need for increased power beyond current energy resources.

Of course that's good news for private companies such as NYRI, but bad news for the thousands of people who have protested the NYRI proposal, will lose their property and fear the environmental impact. As state Sen. Thomas W. Libous, R-Binghamton, said, "It's a dangerous precedent." He adds that "allowing a private organization like New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) to seize property without the approval of our community or our state violates constitutional integrity."

When the corridor designation was announced Oct. 2, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, said "The reality is the only thing that matters to the DOE is how much more of a profit it can create for the energy industry." Hinchey, along with 29 other members of Congress, sent a letter Oct. 12 calling on the Department of Energy to "order an immediate study of cutting-edge alternatives using 21st-century technology that can be utilized without resorting to the standard answer that building transmission infrastructure is the only solution."

They're right. There must be a better, less-environmentally invasive solution to transporting power through a grid. Hideous 10-story towers lower property value, destroy its aesthetic appeal and present hazards for wildlife. You can understand the anger of those who fear the loss of their property and the destruction of upstate rural beauty so downstate can access more power. There is no win-win in this situation.

Constitution Party of New York Radio Ads for Reform Cohocton Candidates

http://www.nyconstitutionparty.com/candidates.htm

Listen for Constitution Party of New York ads for Reform Cohocton Candidates on the radio stations - WLEA, WHHO, and WDNY
Click on above link to hear the ad.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Judith Enck Deputy Secretary for the Environment April 26, 2007 Letter by GARY A. ABRAHAM

J%20Enck%20re%20Art%20X%20Apr07.pdf

April 26, 2007

Judith Enck
Deputy Secretary for the Environment
Office of Governor Eliot Spitzer
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Judy,

I am writing about Governor Spitzer’s recent announcement of support for Article X reform, and particularly about one small element of the Governor’s proposal, the consequences of insufficiently critical promotion of wind power.

It takes 60 industrial 1.5 megawatt wind turbines, each 400 feet high producing intrusive noise levels as far as one mile away to produce 90 megawatts of power–theoretically. In fact, because wind is intermittent and thus unreliable, at best only 20 percent of that rated capacity can be achieved. Thus five wind farms with 60 turbines will be required to produce 90 megawatts and, as Europe has learned, due to its unreliability the need for convention power plants will not be lessened by wind power.1 As the Governor notes, a moderate-size conventional power plant generates 14,500 megawatts.2 That means 805 industrial wind plants, each with 60 turbines, will be required to produce the energy generated by a conventional power plant.

What landfills were in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (New York has since enlarged the permitted size of its commercial landfills rather than sited new ones), industrial wind farms are today. Every community in New York where a wind farm proposal has been made has formed a concerned citizens group, and now regional watchdog groups have formed to counter the misinformation of the industry, which covets the federal Production Tax Credit for wind, providing about half the cost of each $2 million turbine installation. Benefitting additionally from the 15-year tax exemption for wind in New York, the fast-tracking of wind power plants began running roughshod over rural communities two years before the Governor took office. Now NYSERDA and PSC will offer millions more.

What’s wrong with this picture is that the host communities are not in the picture. Public interest lawyers like myself, Bob Cohen, Richard Lippes, Art Giacalone and Drayton Grant have taken cases for citizens groups against towns wooed by false claims of the wind industry and against the environmental impact statements wind power companies offer, but as with landfills, that route promises little success. Once a polluting industrial project finds a permissive political and regulatory climate, it’s usually too late to do anything about it.

New York is not an ideal environment for the development of wind energy because the rural areas, in contrast to the western United States, are highly populated. A public health risk is created by the sound levels generated by industrial wind turbines. While the gearbox has been engineered to run more quietly than earlier turbines, the increased size of new turbines results in noise-generating air displacement that has more than offset mechanical sound reduction. A recent, unbiased analysis of the latest research on sound generated by the newest generation of wind turbines by the UK Noise Association recommends a minimum setback of one mile from homes to avoid the risk of chronic sleeplessness and resulting serious health effects. In light of growing complaints about noise from wind farms, European officials are redirecting the development of wind energy off shore.

A consistent M.O. of wind power companies has emerged: first they urge the host town to enact a local law with setbacks from homes of about 1,000 feet and noise limits of about 50 dbA (neglecting altogether nighttime noise impacts: this is the level of normal conversation in a small room), promising the town board about a quarter-million dollars in a PILOT agreement, a fraction of what it would pay if taxed at its assessed value. In return, the town board issues a negative declaration as lead agency under SEQRA, deferring any meaningful look at the potential impacts of such short setbacks and high noise limits till later, when a project application comes in pursuant to the local law. By then, the town will be loathe to deny approval of a project application that complies with the noise levels and setbacks. And the town will be lead agency for the DEIS, relegating other involved agencies to restricted review.

I approve of almost everything in the Governor’s proposal for Article X reform. But a new Article X must include siting restrictions on wind power plants informed not by the industry’s facts, but by a scientific and public health approach to noise pollution in areas where people live precisely for peace and quiet. It will not do to rely on project-specific DEIS’s offered by a wind power company to a rural community with insufficient resources to obtain expert review of what is offered. This is an instance where failure to set sufficiently protective ground rules will allow the market to trample the weakest communities. There will be no wind farms in Westchester County, but there are already wind farms and wind farm proposals all over rural upstate New York.

Those of us who have come up from the trenches must not forget to listen to new voices that come from the trenches. I urge you to take twenty minutes out of your day to listen to some of those voices on the enclosed DVD.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary A. Abraham

gaa/encs:

UK Noise Association, “Location, Location, Location: An investigation into wind farms
and noise,” July 2006 (on enclosed DVD under folder “UKNA”). Saveupstateny.org, “Life Under a Wind Farm,” 2006 (DVD).

1 In 2004, the New York System Independent Operator (NYSIO), a non-profit corporation managing the state's electricity grid, commented to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that new wind power facilities pose reliability issues, requiring greater flexibility on the part of system operators like NYSIO. See NYSIO, Comments on American Wind Energy Association’s Petition for Rulemaking, FERC Docket RM02-12-000 et al. (September 20, 2004).

2 Governor Spitzer, “A Clean Energy Strategy for New York” (April 19, 2007).

3 Id. (“NYSERDA and the PSC will announce the approval of 21 contract awards for clean, renewable power plants . . . total[ing] approximately $295 million”). NYSERDA says 19% of New York’s electricity already comes from renewable energy sources, and of the remaining six percent needed to reach the goal of 25% renewable energy, wind energy can “supply a significant portion.”

The policy problem wind energy presents to New York by Gary A. Abraham

NYS%20wind%20policy%20problem.pdf

The policy problem wind energy presents to New York

Gary A. Abraham garyabraham.com October 29, 2007

To begin to understand this problem it is necessary to assess realistically the contribution industrial wind plants can make to New York’s electricity needs, and to assess the land resources that will be needed. Utility terms “capacity factor,” the “capacity credit” assigned to a power plant by a regional electric grid operator, and the plant’s “baseload capacity” are helpful for understanding the ability of wind to generate electricity.1

Capacity Factor

Only some power plants operate at near full capacity, also called “nameplate,” “rated” or “installed” capacity. The “capacity factor” for a power plant is calculated based on the amount of energy actually generated over the course of a year as a proportion of the energy the plant would have produced at full capacity, operating 24/7 every day of the year. Conventional power plants that burn coal typically operate at around 70% of their full capacity (70% capacity factor), nuclear power plants operate at 90% to 100%. Wind power plants typically operate at a capacity factor between 20% and 40%, depending on the local wind resource.2

The low capacity factor for wind reflects poor performance. Commercial wind turbines begin to generate electricity at about 9 mph and reach their rated capacity when winds reach about 27 mph. Below 9 mph, no electricity will be 3 generated, and between 9 and 27 mph less that full capacity will be generated. The energy actually generated (capacity factor X rated capacity) reflects the average wind resource over the year.

The diminished capacity factor of wind plants is obscured in official reports of wind’s “capacity.” For example, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) states: “NYSERDA’s, New York Energy $martSM program through 2001, has supported the construction and operation of 41.5 megawatts (MW) of wind energy generation in New York.”4 This statement refers to two wind energy projects rated at 30 MW and 11.5 MW, respectively.5 Similarly, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) states: “U.S. wind power generating capacity quadrupled between 1990 and 2003—to 6,374 MW.”6 However, because they refer to installed capacity these statements provide no insight about how much actual energy would be generated by these investments.7

To date, on an annual basis no wind power plant in New York has achieved a 30% capacity factor.8 The primary reason for this is that Class 4 winds (average winds ranging from 15.7 to 16.8 miles per hour) are the minimum necessary for large-scale wind power projects, and there are few areas in New York that possess such wind resources.9 Accordingly, many wind power plants in New York are being proposed for locations with less optimal wind resource areas, with an exponential decrease in capacity factors.10

Capacity credit

The capacity factor is only part of the story of wind power’s ability to contribute to New York’s energy needs. The New York System Independent Operator (NYSIO), a non-profit company that manages the electricity grid for the state, needs to secure the amount of energy needed at times of peak load plus a reserve margin. NYSIO therefore assigns a “capacity credit” to each power plant in the state, representing the amount of electricity that the grid operator can rely on to meet peak demand.11

Based on NYSERDA-funded research, NYSIO assigns to wind power plants a 10% capacity credit in the summer and a 30% capacity credit the in winter.12 This represents the grid operator’s judgment about how much energy per unit of rated capacity can be relied on in each season. Thus, for the Maple Ridge Wind Farm on the Tug Hill Plateau in Lewis County, New York’s largest wind power plant, located in the highest land-based wind resource area in the state, NYSIO calculates the plant can provide 32 megawatts in the summer, compared to its rated capacity of 322 MW.13

The poor capacity credit NYSIO assigns to wind probably overestimates wind’s reliability since there will be many days in any summer when there will be little or no wind–less than 9 mph–and therefore wind plants will generate no energy at all. This means, to meet our peak demand needs we need to continue to build new more dependable capacity or continue to delay retiring old, polluting but dependable power plants.

Baseload capacity

An assigned capacity credit is based on an expected average over a season. Wind’s contribution diminishes even further when we look at how daily fluctuations in electricity demand and electricity generation are managed. Most power plants can provide steady generation of electricity around-the-clock at a large fraction of their rated capacity. These plants provide what is called baseload capacity, that is, a minimum amount of electric power required over a given period of time at a steady rate.14 “Fluctuations, peaks or spikes in customer power demand are handled by smaller and more responsive types of power plants.”15

Daily demand for electricity is usually highest in the afternoon and early evening, “with about 16 hours of ‘on-peak’ time in the day and about 8 hours of ‘off-peak’ time during the night.”16 Due to the degree of its unreliability, wind power is unable to respond to fluctuations, peaks or spikes in customer power demand and therefore provides no baseload capacity.17 Baseload plants must be kept on line even if substantial wind-generated electricity is added to the grid.

In fact, substantial amounts of wind-generated electricity increase the fluctuation in the grid as wind power comes on and off, and may increase the demand for responsive baseload plants. Fluctuations caused by integrating wind power into the regional electricity grid also require additional “balancing” services from the grid operator, potentially increasing the cost of electricity.

Baseload plants may also be operated at reduced capacity when electricity from wind plants is added to the grid. If operated at reduced capacity (for example in the winter, when substantial wind-generated electricity might be added to the grid), power plants that burn fossil fuels operate less efficiently, emitting more pollution per unit of energy produced than if they were allowed to run continuously at maximum capacity. “Combined with the pollutants emitted and CO2 released in the manufacture and maintenance of wind towers and their associated infrastructure, substituting wind power for fossil fuels does not improve air quality very much.”18

Land resources

Wind power is being promoted in New York not because it is cheaper or effective in achieving the state’s energy needs, but because it might provide a some of the last few percent mandated by the state’s policy to obtain 25% of its energy from renewable sources, the “renewable portfolio standards” mandate.19 A central consideration in any policy to increase the role of commercial wind power in achieving renewable portfolio standards in New York should be the amount of land required to reach such a goal.

In 2005 New York consumed 154 million MWh of electricity.20 NYSERDA has said that New York has enough “land based wind potential . . . to generate . . . 10 percent of the State’s electricity consumption.”21 A typical 60-turbine wind plant in New York requires about 10,000 acres (a conservative assumption).22 Thus, to generate 15.4 million MWh with wind plants that on average achieve a 20% capacity factor will require about 146 wind plants and 1,460,000 acres, or 2,281 square miles.23

The small potential contribution commercial wind power can make to New York’s electricity generation needs coupled with the large land resources wind power requires raises the following policy questions:

(1) Whose landscape will bear the burden of the effort to achieve maximum windpowered electricity in New York? Put differently, do downstate electricity consumers want to sacrifice upstate land values to feel good about unreliable renewables?

(2) Do New York taxpayers want their renewable energy capital investments to be directed at the lowest energy output of any current alternative24 while avoiding little if any building of new fossil fuel capacity?

(3) Should wind power require greater scrutiny into the potential adverse impacts of wind plants on rural communities (such as changes to nighttime noise and viewscapes, habitat fragmentation, avian mortality)? Put differently, should New York consider state-wide siting restrictions on commercial wind plants?

1. Cf. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Agency (EIA), “Glossary” (“capacity factor,” “capacity credit,” “base load,” “base load capacity, and “base load plant”), available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/glossary/.

2. University of Massachusetts, Renewable Energy Research Laboratory, “Wind Power: Capacity Factor, Intermittency, and what happens when the wind doesn’t blow?”, n.d., p. 1, available at (link)(visited August 20, 2007) (“Typical wind power capacity factors are 20-40%”); American Wind Energy Association, “How Does A Wind Turbine’s Energy Production Differ from Its Power Production?”, available at http://www.awea.org/faq/basicen.html; Wikipedia, “Wind Power,” http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Wind_power.

3. GE Energy, “1.5 MW Wind Turbine Technical Specifications, available at (link). See also Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University, “Wind Energy Systems,” available at (link); American Wind Energy Association, “How Does A Wind Turbine's Energy Production Differ from Its Power Production?”, available at http://www.awea.org/faq/basicen.html.

4. NYSERDA, “Utility Scale / Large Wind” (n.d.), available at (link) . This statement describes two wind power facilities, the Fenner Wind Project, rated at 30 MW, and the Madison wind Project, rated at 11.5 MW.

5. These are the Fenner Wind Project and the Madison Wind Project. See id. (map).

6. GAO, Renewable Energy: Wind Power’s Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities, September 2004, at http://www.gao.gov/ new.items/d04756.pdf. The GAO study uses installed capacity as the basis for this statement. See id., p. 15 (Table 3). See also e.g., American Wind Energy Association, “Wind Energy Projects in California,” note (**), available at http://www.awea.org/projects/california.html.

7. The GAO study acknowledges this but only in footnotes. See id., pp. 1.n.3, 14.n.16. However, the study goes on to compare electricity generation from wind with facilities using fossil fuel, nuclear, natural gas and oil, all of which have at least twice the capacity of factor of wind. Id., p. 9.n.6.

8. U.S. Department of Energy, Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends: 2006 (May 2007), p. 17, Fig. 23, available at (link). See also id., p. 4 (“New wind plants contributed roughly 19% of new nameplate capacity added to the U.S. electrical grid in 2006, compared to 13% in 2005”). See also Prefiled Testimony of Thomas A. Hewson, BSE, in the matter of the East Haven Windfarm,

January 1, 2005, available at http://www.windaction.org/documents/720 (average capacity factors for new wind projects in 2003 was 26.9%); NYSERDA, “Madison Windpower Project Final Report, December 2003, p. iii, available at (link) (capacity factor for the Madison Windpower Project in Madison County is 21%). Compare NYSERDA, Frequently Asked Questions for Large-Scale Wind Energy Projects, p. 4 (n.d.), available at (link)(“When averaged over a year, wind projects typically operate at levels equivalent to 30 to 40% of their full capacity (aka capacity factor.”).

9. Wind resource maps for New York are available from NYSERDA, “Wind Speed of New York at 100 Meters [328 Feet],” (link). See also EIA, “Classes of Wind Power Density at Heights of 10m and 50m” (table), July 2007, available at (link); EIA, “Wind Resource Potential” (map), available at (link) (both visited August 20, 2007).

10. Energy output from the wind is proportional to the cube of the wind speed. That is, as mean wind speeds decrease, the capacity factor for wind turbines decreases exponentially. Cf. Brad G. Stevens, P.E., “Wind Energy Resource and wind Farm Siting” (powerpoint for Northwest Wind energy workshop, August 3, 2006), slide 9, available at (link) .

11. NYSIO, 2007 Load & Capacity Data (2007 Goldbook), available at (link) (visited October 5, 2007).

12. Id., p. 58.

13. Id., Table III-2, p. 28.

14. EIA, “Glossary,” note 1, above (“load capacity, and “base load plant”).

15. Wikipedia, “Base load power plant,” at (link) (visited October 5, 2007).

16. EIA, THE CHANGING STRUCTURE OF THE ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY 2000: AN UPDATE, p. 9n.16 (October 2000), available at (link) (visited October 5, 2007).

17. New Jersey Blue Ribbon Panel on Development of Wind Facilities in Coastal Waters, Final Report, p. 21 (April 2006), available at (link) : wind power alone cannot reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. Nor can wind power provide “base load” power needed to meet every day energy demands. Due to these limitations, wind power cannot remedy the current energy related environmental issues facing New Jersey.

Compare the industry advocate Alliance for Clean Energy New York, “New York State Wind Facts,” available at (link)(“20 percent of the total wind energy can be considered base load, like traditional fossil-fuel plants, and that . . . helps to improve overall utility system reliability.”).

18. H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., “Wind Power: Not Green but Red,” testimony presented to the American Legislative Exchange Council Task Force on Energy, the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Austin, TX (May 1, 2004), available at (link)(visited October 5, 2007).

19. See NYSERDA, “About New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard,” Available at http://www.nyserda.org/rps/about.asp.

20. EIA, “New York Electricity Profile” (2005), available at (link)(retail sales and direct use).

21. NYSERDA, “Utility Scale/Large Wind,” at (link) .

22. Phase 1 of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, with 120 1.65 MW turbines, “spans approximately 21,000 acres.” PPM Energy, Press Release, “PPM and Zilkha Announce Maple Ridge Wind Farm Landmark Project Will Quadruple New York Wind Energy Capacity,” April 5, 2005, available at (link). However, a recently approved 65-turbine wind power plant in Washington requires 6,000 acres. See Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, Order No. 826, In the Matter of . . . Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project (March 27, 2007), available at (link).

23. That is, (15.4 million MWh ÷ 8,766 hrs. in a year = 1,757 MW) X 20% capacity factor = 8,785 MW rated capacity needed ÷ 60 turbines per wind plant X 10,000 acres = 1.46 million acres or 2,281 square miles.

24. One promising alternative is enhanced geothermal energy, recently assessed by MIT in a study that concludes known deep geothermal resources can provide 57,000 times the current energy needs of the U.S. Links to the MIT study and current information on enhanced geothermal energy are posted on the website of Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, at (link)

FERC Extends Financial Houses’ Leave to Acquire Utility Securities

The role of financial institutions in energy markets is steadily increasing. In furtherance of this trend, FERC recently granted blanket authorizations to three financial and investment companies allowing them to acquire securities of electric utility companies in the course of their business, without needing advance FERC approval under the Federal Power Act (FPA) for each transaction.

As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress amended the FPA to require prior FERC approval for holding companies to acquire securities with a value of over $10 million of utilities or holding companies owning utilities. Financial institutions have since sought and received from FERC waivers to allow them or their affiliates to acquire these securities in amounts exceeding $10 million without advance FERC approval, provided the acquisition is in their ordinary course of their business, which includes taking security for a loan, in connection with their asset management business, or as part of their routine activities as a broker, dealer, and trader.

In 2006, FERC granted these blanket approvals for only one-year terms. But having grown more comfortable with these arrangements, FERC now granted blanket approvals for a three-year term. The authorization granted two of the companies, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and Morgan Stanley, were renewals for these longer terms, while the third, Legg Mason, Inc., received an initial three-year authorization. The conditions FERC imposed on each company include not exercising control over public utilities whose securities they acquire and compliance with reporting requirements.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Terry Tree Service - Cohocton, NY

Natural disasters and land-clearing projects keep Terry Tree Service of Chili busy. Russ Hathaway of Cape Vincent helps to clear land for a wind farm in Cohocton.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Turbine Foe's Barn Burns in Starkville

STARKVILLE Just after midnight Friday, Oct. 19, Willow – one of Denise Como’s whippets – barked. Denise, one of the three-person team challenging Stark town board incumbents in the Nov. 6 election, heard an engine running. A truck door slammed, and the vehicle drove off down Ellwood Road toward Salt Springville. “A few minutes later my dogs went crazy,” she recalled that Saturday afternoon, sitting on the long front porch of the family’s rambling farm house, guinea hens pecking at the chrome fender of a nearby truck. “When I got to the front porch, everything was aglow.” She hurried across the road to the century-old barn, but it was engulfed. There was no wind. The flames shot straight up into the air. “A perfect night for arson,” Denise called it. “I just came back here and watched it burn,” she said.


When the firemen arrived from Starkville a few minutes later, there was nothing they could do either. “I never saw anything burn so fast in my life.” Three fire trucks were at the scene, and firefighters executed a “controlled fall,” ensuring the structure didn’t collapse into the roadway. The embers were still smoking amid the drizzle 36 hours later when a neighbor, Walter Bych, pulled over in his pick-up truck. The morning before, he had seen the glow from his bedroom window and had come to the scene. The word that kept cropping up in the conversations of the firefighters and investigators was “suspicious, suspicious.” “That’s the word I kept hearing,” he said. The candidate – she and Steve Reichenbach, running for town council, and Sue Brander, for supervisor, are all Advocates for Stark, members of the anti-wind-turbine group – doesn’t know why her barn was targeted. The week before, she’d knocked down a hunter’s stand set up on her property without permission. Maybe it was the disgruntled hunter. However, the political signs she’d set up in front of her barn were gone. “It’s hard to make a conclusion,” she said, adding, “I think it’s some kind of statement. Why would you burn down some little barn?”

Wednesday, Oct. 24, a state police investigator at the Herkimer barracks said the troopers were at the scene, but lacked sufficient evidence at that point “to open an arson case.” Down the road in Van Hornesville, Sue Brander is fearful Como, who moved up from Lakehurst, N.J., just four years ago with her husband, Richard Whritenour, was being punished for her politics. The Brander-Como-Reichenback team grew out of the Town of Stark’s support for Community Energy/Iberdrola’s Jordanville Wind Project, recently reduced from 68 turbines to 49. Landowners who stood to benefit from leases with the wind company have been irate about the opponents. “I’m saddened this has happened,” said Brander. “It’s certainly sobering to have a barn burned in this community under these circumstances.” Next to Como’s barn is a corrugated metal shed, where haying equipment is kept. (Denise and Richard train whippets, borzois and salukis, and keep the fields cut to run the dogs.) The door was open and two cans full of gasoline were missing. There was power to the barn, but Como said the troopers told her the fire started in a corner of the structure away from the electrical connections.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Inhofe slams two-hour Senate speech debunking climate fears

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDXDmsgaBfA

According to a Science and Public Policy Institute release on September 13:

"The authors [David and Gordon] present unsuspecting children with an altered temperature and CO2 graph that reverses the relationship found in the scientific literature. The manipulation is critical because David's central premise posits that CO2 drives temperature, yet the peer-reviewed literature is unanimous that CO2 changes have historically followed temperature changes."
David has now been forced to publicly admit this significant scientific error in her book.

Ruthe Matilsky email appeal to Prattsburgh to Italy property owners

We know for fact that UPC absolutely does not have a contiguous line from the windmills to the proposed substation in the Prattsburgh project. In addition, Ecogen, which has bought up lots of land, still can't get to its substation because (among other reasons) the County of Yates is not allowed by law to sell them 10 acres of land on Emerson (it has something to do with green acres) People upon whom pressure has been put have been standing firm and refusing to sign easements.

In talking to your neighbors and acquaintances please tell them:

Ecogen and UPC do not have a contiguous transmission route from the wind turbines to their substations

If UPC and Ecogen can't get to their substation then they can't make their projects work.

The town of Prattsburgh has said that UPC has permission to use town right of ways, saying that this is all that is required for UPC to bury its cable, but this is not true.

Landowners own land up to the middle of the road. The Town has 25 foot easements from the middle of the road in order to maintain the roads. The town does not own this land and cannot sublease this land. So while town permission is necessary to use this land to bury cable, landowners' permission is absolutely required. The town has intentionally misled the citizens.

In addition, UPC is misleading people by hiring an outside firm (Prospect Land services I believe) to contact people and act like they are representing the town. They are pressuring people to sign right of ways and easements for UPC to bury the cable.

No one is required to sign an easement. UPC is not an electric utility and does not have power of eminent domain.

And once a landowner signs an easement it is forever. Perhaps for this project they will bury the cable, but if the companies have easements and in the future want to put up huge power lines, there will be nothing a resident can do if those easements are signed. And remember it is not just the poles and wires -- there is also the 100 foot "tree clearing rights" that will be invoked.

Please make sure to share this information with everyone you know.

Ruthe Matilsky

Iberdrola to replace chief executive at ScottishPower

Spanish Energy group Iberdrola, which acquired ScottishPower earlier this year for £11.6bn, is searching for a new chief executive for the Glasgow-based utility, and hopes to replace the Spaniard who now heads the company with a Scot, a senior source at the group revealed yesterday.

At a private meeting at Iberdrola's offices on the north-western outskirts of Madrid, it emerged that Jose Luis de Valle, ScottishPower's current chief executive, will likely leave the company next spring.

He is expected to be transferred into a far more powerful role within the fast-expanding Bilboa-headquartered company. He will likely head its US and UK operations, as Iberdrola moves to consolidate itself as the world's leading producer of electricity from clean technologies such as wind farms.

advertisementThis means De Valle will have overall responsibility for Energy East, a US electricity and natural gas company that Iberdrola has agreed to acquire for $4.5bn (£2.2bn), PPM Energy in Oregon and other assets in the US, which Iberdrola has clearly earmarked as its next big growth market. He will also have overall control of ScottishPower.

De Valle, who was parachuted into ScottishPower as its chief executive just days after Iberdrola completed the acquisition in April, is widely regarded as the right hand man of the Spanish power company's executive chairman, Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan. He has maintained a dual role as the group's global strategy director.

He is also the man who Iberdrola credits with originally identifying ScottishPower as a potential takeover target after the British utility rebuffed the advances of German behemoth E.ON in 2005. De Valle led the negotiations to buy ScottishPower and has headed up what Iberdrola now regards as a "model integration that took only five months".

He is also responsible for pushing through the 4.2bn (£2.9bn) investment in ScottishPower under Iberdrola's three year strategic plan - a third more than its Spanish investment plan - announced at the Madrid Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The senior source, who asked that his name be withheld, said: "Jose Luis de Valle will be replaced by someone British who knows Scottish society.

"This is our style. An American runs our American operations and a Brazilian runs our business in Brazil. It makes sense. We are not moving around the world with a flag. We are moving around the world with common sense."

De Valle had also identified PPM and Energy East as a potential acquisition to increase its presence in the US as Iberdrola expands internationally, and he is widely expected to integrate that company with the same aplomb he demonstrated at ScottishPower.

The source added: "His position with ScottishPower was always going to be a transitory position. We are looking to replace him now with someone more permanent, and I can tell you we are looking both inside and outside the company."

Another source said De Valle's tenure at ScottishPower is likely to last until April 2008, by which time it is anticipated that a replacement chief executive will be recruited and the acquisition of Energy East will be completed.

"He is now basically in charge of everything he has brought to Iberdrola," the source said.

Asked about Iberdrola's relationship with First Minister Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government, particularly in light of the SNP's previous objections to the potential takeover by E.ON, the senior source highlighted the common cultural ground between the Basque utility and ScottishPower.

"Iberdrola and E.ON have very different styles. I need to be diplomatic here. We try to integrate, not impose," he said.

"We met Alex Salmond in July, and we found him to be extremely capable and committed, and we are also in touch with him regularly."

In spite of the fact that executive chairman Galan is originally from Salamanca, and not from the Basque region, the senior source added: "As a Basque company, we have the same complexes and frustrations as they do in Scotland, but when we are together we are very proud."

Meanwhile, he also reiterated that the "synergies" from its purchase of ScottishPower would reach 260m by 2009 - twice the amount originally forecast - but that this would not be achieved through job cuts.

He said: "The synergies will come from the integrations of the systems. We are always thinking about how can we be more efficient and more competitive.

"It's logical that we integrate the different systems. This is critical if we want to share our wealth with our customers and our shareholders.

"But we are also investing 350m in retraining. Otherwise it's bread today and nothing for tomorrow."

The company has around 9000 employees in the UK. The firm poured cold water on rumours that it has plans to move out of its ScottishPower headquarters at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow, where it employs around 70.

The senior source said: "Don't listen to all the noises you hear."

Since the April takeover, the cuts have occured in areas that had been involved in ScottishPower's activities as a stock market-listed company, but are no longer required as an Iberdrola subsidiary.

It is estimated that less than 20 such jobs have gone through a voluntary redundancy programme, and up to 80 in total are working out their notice across ScottishPower.

When asked about the cuts related to the recently announced synergies, a spokesman told The Herald: "No job cuts have been identified, although there may be some losses through natural attrition or early retirement."

‘Suspicious’ Stark fire under investigation by Janine Giordano



STARKVILLE – Officials are investigating a barn fire in the hamlet of Starkville that occurred just after midnight early Friday morning.

The barn belongs to Richard Whritenour and his wife, Denise Como, a town council candidate in the town of Stark.

According to Robert Vandawalker, director of emergency management in Herkimer County, “at this point we’re still sorting out the details. No determination has been made as to whether or not it is arson or who, if anyone, caused it. It is being treated as suspicious at this point. To say it is being treated as arson is not a correct statement.”

The approximately 30 by 40 foot barn had remained empty, Como said, since she and her husband purchased the house a few years ago. “I’m (angry). I loved my little barn. My daughter and I were going to open a coffee and tea shop and used book store,” she said.

Como said that around midnight her dog, Willow, began barking frantically, which alerted Como to a vehicle idling outside. She heard a door slam and the vehicle drove off. Shortly after this, all seven of her dogs began barking near the front of the house. She opened the front door “and saw the barn engulfed in flames,” she said.

The Van Hornesville Fire Department “was very efficient. They kept the fire contained until they could get close enough to put it out,” Como said. Despite their efforts, there was nothing they could do to save the structure. “They basically just had to watch it burn out,” said Como. Nothing but the framework is left.

While she spoke with the fire chief, Como said she noticed that one of three campaign signs she had put up a few hours earlier were missing. She mentioned this to the chief who went and inspected the area the signs had been displayed. When it was determined all three signs were missing, she called the state police.

The next day, she noticed gas cans she had filled the day before were also missing from her storage shed, which is located near where the old barn stood.

Thursday had been spent working on the yard, mowing, which is why Como said she had filled the gas containers. By the time she finished mowing and was about to put the signs up, it was near 7 p.m. and her running mate, Sue Brander, who is running for town supervisor, came and collected her for some campaigning.

She arrived home too late to eat dinner so she made some popcorn, which she burnt. It was about 10 p.m., she noted. At 10:30, she brought the burnt popcorn bag to the dumpster, which is located next to the barn.

At that time, she decided to put up the campaign signs which she didn’t get to earlier after her mowing was complete. “It took about 15 minutes,” she said. The signs displayed information about her and her fellow board candidate Steve Reichenbach, about town superintendent candidate Sue Brander and about the highway candidate, Ron Douglas.

The four are vying for two town council positions held by Ann Miller, Tom Puskarenko and Richard Bronner’s supervisor position. The highway superintendent seat is currently held by Tony Greschek Jr.

Como and her running mates are concerned the fire may have been started by someone or by people who do not want them to be elected to the board.

“The fire is under investigation,” said town supervisor Richard Bronner. “And until details are known I would hope people would not react in that manner. Too many people have too much to lose. I would hope no one would overreact. Let’s find out what happened first.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Search of Effective Energy Policy: Is Industrial Wind Technology a Good Idea? by Jon Boone

Demand for electricity, a cornerstone of modern society, accounts for about 39 % of all energy use in the United States, even though electricity accounts for 30% of the energy used for heating. Electricity demand doubled from 1970-2000 and is on pace to increase another 20% by 2009. We expect electricity to be highly reliable, affordable, and secure, made more difficult because it must be used immediately at industrial levels; unlike the water supply, it can’t be stored. The key to success turns on providing power to supply demand precisely when consumers desire it, second by second. The goal is to forecast demand as accurately as possible, then assemble the most dependable, controllable supply in order to achieve confidant reliability, or capacity.

When gauging a power generator’s ability to perform, energy experts consider the machine’s design potential, then measure its actual performance over time while also assessing confidence in its availability for use during critical peak demand times, since heavy demand challenges the adequacy of supply. A power unit’s design potential is known as its rated or installed capacity, which is the average energy it should produce, usually over a year, if it worked at maximum without stoppage—expressed in thousands (kilowatts, kW) or millions (megawatts, MW) of watts. Engineers use the term capacity factor to project what percentage of its rated capacity a power plant will actually deliver over a specified time, since they realize no machine, for a variety of reasons, can function perpetually at full tilt. To express their level of confidence about a particular generator’s availability to produce as expected at whatever time it was needed, energy experts measure the unit’s capacity value or credit, again as a percentage of its rated capacity.

Conventional units must pass stringent tests for reliability and effectiveness. Generators that satisfy basic levels of demand, such as nuclear, large coal plants, and hydro, have capacity factors in the 90%+ range, with capacity values exceeding 99.99%. Smaller, more flexible units, such as natural gas, coal, or oil, which may be used only a few hours a year, may have capacity factors of as little as 5%, reflecting not the limitations of their potential so much as operator choice. When selected, however, their reliability produces a capacity credit in the range of virtual certainty.

Because of wind energy’s intermittency and relentless volatility, along with downtime for maintenance, the average national capacity factor for wind technology is about 25%; less than 1% of all wind plants achieve a capacity factor of 30%. The random, desultory nature of the wind, which rapidly changes energy levels at frequent intervals, limits what wind machinery can do, condemning wind turbines to intrinsically low capacity factors. The wind typically blows hardest at night, at times of least demand, and much less during the afternoon, at times of peak demand. And in 
summer months, when demand for electricity is greatest, there is often no wind at all. The capacity credit for wind technology is in the low single digits—and often it is zero.

Chautauqua County has the wind potential to absorb about 500-2.0MW turbines, each more than 400 feet tall and spread over 100 miles, with a collective installed capacity of 1000MW. Annually, projecting a capacity factor of 25%, these might provide about 250MW of very sporadic and highly volatile energy to the state’s grid, which has an installed capacity of 37,500MW and a summer peak demand of 34,000MW. Their capacity value at any peak demand period will vary from zero to no more than 5% of their installed capacity, which means they can be reliably expected to contribute no more than 50MW to augment power at times when it is needed most. Given the way that dependable conventional generation must mix with the wind energy to balance and smooth its skittering activity, wind technology can neither supplant those units nor assure that it could abate significant levels of carbon dioxide emissions throughout the energy production/transmission system. No independent, transparent measurement has demonstrated system-wide CO2 emissions abatement due to wind technology anywhere in the world, largely because wind developers insist on the confidentiality of proprietary performance information.

Wishful thinking about any technology, particularly such massively intrusive technology as industrial wind, should be filtered through and tested against reality before it is unleashed throughout the countryside. Wind energy for the production of electricity is not new. Nearly 18,000 wind turbines exist in the United States, revealing enough evidence about their actual performance, despite proprietary efforts to conceal it, to derive informed decisions about its potential effectiveness in New York.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT INDUSTRIAL WIND TECHNOLOGY by Jon Boone

On May 3, 2007, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science, at the behest of Congress, published its conclusions after a year of study about the Environmental Effects of Wind Energy Projects in the nation’s Mid-Atlantic region
(www.vawind.org/Assets/NRC/NRC_Wind.htm). It comprehensively evaluates the problems and limitations of the wind industry over a range of issues. See especially Chapter 2 for a Context for Analysis of Effects of Wind-Powered Electricity Generation in the United States and the Mid-Atlantic Highlands.

Jesse Ausubel, noted conservation biologist and climate change researcher, and Director for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, recently published a brief essay, Renewable and Nuclear Heresies in the International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, Vol. 1, No.3, 2007 (http://phe.rockefeller.edu/docs/HeresiesFinal.pdf). He discusses the importance of conserving important natural habitats on land and the oceans, shows the intrusive nature of renewable energy projects, and summarizes the continuing per capita decline in the use of carbon for energy.

Britain’s David White wrote Reduction in Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Estimating the Potential Contribution from Wind-Power, commissioned and published by the Renewable Energy Foundation, December 2004: www.windaction.org/documents/225 . It is a thorough, beautifully reasoned analysis of the limitations of industrial wind as a source of energy and as a method of reducing CO2 emissions.

Tom Adam’s Review of Wind Power Results in Ontario: May to October 2006 published in Energy Probe, November 15, 2006: . Adams is executive director of Energy Probe, an independent consumer and environmental research team in Canada. He provides a detailed analysis that reports accurately about the subject, despite Energy Probe’s active support of industrial wind development.

E.ON Netz GmbH Wind Report, 2004: www.ref.org.uk/pages/press/061004.html...REPORT.

E.ON Netz GmbH Wind Report, 2005: www.ref.org.uk/images/pdfs/eon.2005. These reports provide the most comprehensive summary of the way in which extensive wind facilities affect grid operations in Germany.

National Wind Watch: (www.wind-watch.org) was the first nation-wide organization dedicated to understanding industrial wind issues, in the process gathering thousands of articles and news stories about the industry, and then providing informed interpretations for the public’s edification and education. Many newer organizations stand on NWW’s shoulders. Now the president of National Wind Watch, Eric Rosenbloom is a science writer who lives in Vermont. He also maintains perhaps the nation’s best wind blog: http://kirbymtn.blogspot.com, as well as the website, Industrial Wind Energy Opposition: www.aweo.org, which contains a cornucopia of facts and research about the subject.

Industrial Wind Action Group: www.windaction.org is dedicated to providing educational material to communities and government officials in order to enable better public policy. The site contains over 6,500 items comprised of news articles, opinion pieces, research, photos and quotes pertinent to industrial wind energy. The organization’s executive director is Lisa Linowes, a New Hampshire resident concerned about providing, among other issues, the best consumer value for alternate energy sources.

Jon Boone wrote three major essays over the last two years that appear on his website: www.stopillwind.org, one of the first websites to feature the problems with industrial wind in the eastern United States. Start with The Aesthetic Dissonance of Industrial Wind Machines (www.stopillwind.org/lowerlevel.php?content=Downloads), which was published in Contemporary Aesthetics on September 28, 2005. The Wayward Wind (www.stopillwind.org/lowerlevel.php?content=WaywardWind), a speech delivered in June, 2006 to the citizens of Wyoming County, New York, and, in January, 2007, Less for More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development (www.stopillwind.org/lowerlevel.php?content=WaywardWind) will be published next Spring by McGraw-Hill in an anthology of essays entitled, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Environmental Issues, edited by Thomas Easton.

Also note the Top Ten False and Misleading Claims the Wind Industry Makes for Projects in the Eastern United States: www.stopillwind.org/lowerlevel.php?content=topten_intro. Detailed debunking follows.

For those interested in a comprehensive analysis of the issue vis a vis a regulatory wind hearing, consult Jon Boone’s Maryland Public Service Commission testimony (www.stopillwind.org/lowerlevel.php?content=Downloads) as an intervenor in the Synergic Wind case, including his Responses to a variety of Data Requests and his Appeal to the Proposed Order of the Hearing Examiner.

Both his speech tonight in Westfield, Industrial Wind: A Bill of Goods and his introductory remarks at the League of Women’s Voters wind debate in Fredonia, will also soon appear on stopillwind.

Life Under a Windplant, Jon Boone’s documentary about the Meyersdale, PA wind facility, which he produced and directed with David Beaudoin, can now be seen in three parts on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNxvkrgoPLo&mode=related&search= . It features how the wind plant affects the lives of the people in the community and shows the sights and sounds that emanate from 375-foot tall wind turbines sited atop surrounding ridgetops.

Introductory remarks at a League of Women Voters - Oct 17, 2007 Jon Boone

As an artist and environmentalist who values aesthetics and the methods of science—and wants an effective energy policy, I’ve looked for evidence substantiating claims made for wind technology by those who would profit from it, financially and ideologically. By evidence, I mean real world encounters with actual performance to see if its key premises are true. Of all people, environmentalists should embrace the skepticism of science, rather than be seduced by deceits of fashion. They should not confuse the trappings of science—the engineering grandeur of a huge wind turbine, for example—with the real work of science, which would insist upon verifying the machine’s performance. My values are green; I believe we should conserve, minimizing our footprint on the earth, not intruding on it with bombast and self-serving incivility. Although I understand why well-intentioned people support the wind industry, I’m mindful the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. Environmental history is the chronicle of how adverse consequences flowed from the uninformed decisions of the well intentioned.

Weren’t we enthralled by images of the Grand Coolee and Hoover Dams a few generations ago? Because it generated bulk levels of reliable, responsive power, hydroelectricity became the symbol for clean, sustainable energy during much of the twentieth century; it still provides New York with 20% of its electricity generation. But it’s now clear that renewable hydro is so environmentally treacherous, responsible for degrading millions of acres of invaluable watersheds, that no one outside China and some third world countries is building new hydro plants; many are being dismantled across the continent, at taxpayer expense.

The renewable du jour is wind. Because it’s perceived as non-polluting, it has become popular with the public and politicians. However, claims it will help end our reliance on fossil fuels, be competitive with coal, and make air cleaner and the country safer are sound bites Enron honed years ago to sell wind technology as an environment-coated tax avoidance scheme for corporations in search of increased bottom lines. Wind energy is a sideshow technology with great potential for mainline environmental harm.

Wind plants produce little energy relative to demand and what little they do produce is incompatible with the standards of reliability and cost characteristic of our electricity system. Mathematically, it would take more than 2,000 2.0MW turbines spread over 400 miles to equal the average annual output of one 1600 MW coal farm, although, operationally, it would take many more than this. Because they’re not reliable, they have virtually no capacity value, which is critical, since the whole point of the modern grid is that one can count on power precisely when it’s needed. A recent analysis of over 7000 German wind turbines showed that, more than half the time, they produced less than 11% of their designed potential. Therefore, they can’t replace existing dependable coal plants or obviate the need for more as demand increases —or even augment power during critical times of peak demand. Ironically, as more wind installations are added, almost equal conventional generation must also come on line for grid security. Crucially important: Because of the inherently random variations of the wind and the nature of grid operations, wind technology will not reduce meaningful levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is its reason for being.

The grid deploys a combination of nuclear, hydro, coal and natural gas generators to produce capacity—controllable, steady, reliable power—precisely matching fluctuating demand second-by-second. Wind energy is unpredictably intermittent and highly variable. The challenge is how to integrate the square peg of firm reliability with the round hole of wind’s fluttering caprice. As it skitters unbidden on and off the grid, like sandpipers at the beach, wind is indistinguishable from demand fluctuations: when it appears, it’s equivalent to people turning off their appliances; when it departs, it’s like people turning the lights back on. But the fluctuations of wind are much greater than those from demand --and much less predictable. At small levels of wind penetration, grid operators must maintain flexible rapid start generators—the spinning reserves used to balance demand flux—to also follow and balance the additional flux of wind energy, for desultory wind can’t be loosed on the grid by itself. The larger the wind penetration into the grid, the greater need for the spinning reserves as the wind energy bounces around both slowly and quickly. Wind integration is Rube Goldbergesque, costly in dollars and increased greenhouse gases.

Given its rapid fluctuations, wind energy will not displace slowly responsive large coal and nuclear plants, as many believe, but rather rapidly responsive plants like hydro and natural gas, and be balanced by them as well. If wind displaces hydro, there will be no carbon savings—and very little carbon savings if it displaces natural gas, which burns 60% cleaner than coal. And if wind flux were balanced by natural gas, any carbon emissions saving would be negligible. Just the torrent of CO2 alone given off in the making of gigantic concrete footpads for each turbine would take years to offset.

No independent, transparent measurement has demonstrated system-wide CO2 emissions abatement due to wind technology anywhere in the world.. Currently, the United States has over 17,500 wind turbines in 26 states, more than two-thirds built in the first five years of this decade. Altogether, these machines produce less that one-fourth of 1% of the nation’s electricity supply. California’s arsenal of over 13,000 turbines contributes about 1% of that state’s actual generation; last year, California’s carbon emissions increased 2% over those in 2005. Europe’s wind poster child, Denmark, has built nearly 6,000 turbines that, on paper, provide 20% of that tiny country’s installed capacity. But, for grid security reasons, 84% of Denmark’s actual wind production is shunted to other countries, replacing hydro—with no carbon savings. According to a prominent Danish energy official, “Increased development of wind turbines does not reduce Danish carbon dioxide emissions.” Germany, now the world’s wind leader with nearly 20,000 turbines producing about 5% of its annual generation, must add additional conventional generating capacity to integrate the fidgety wind energy. But it achieves no real CO2savings; last year Germany increased them by .6%. There are reasons public subsidies for wind technology are not indexed to reductions in carbon emissions.

Wind is not David to coal’s Goliath. It’s a foster sibling to coal, related because the same corporations that own most of the nation’s wind plants also own and control the majority of the nation’s coal operations. Contrary to public perception, wind technology has been around since the Bronze Age, and over the last 25 years has received more than $1 billion of public financing, making it, on a per kilowatt hour basis, the country’s most heavily subsidized form of industrial electricity. Enron owned the country’s largest stock of wind facilities before selling them to General Electric. Today, G.E., along with the nation’s third largest utility, Florida Power and Light, BP, and AES, control most of the nation’s wind projects—as well as most of the country’s dirtiest burning coal facilities. They use wind’s unearned environmental cachet as public relations while cashing in on wind’s lucrative subsidies. What’s particularly galling is their practice of using wind’s cap-and-trade and renewable energy credits—provided by the most cynical or gullible of politicians—to avoid the cost of cleaning up their coal plants. These politicians give the appearance of challenging Big Coal when in reality they're reinforcing it, especially since more wind facilities very likely will result in more coal plants. Although conventional power is also heavily subsidized, these subsidies result in reliable service. The subsidies for industrial wind, which can provide virtually no capacity to the system while delivering energy in fits and starts, will be used to make ineffective and uneconomical technology falsely appear to be effective and economical.

My opposition to this technology is a considered response to the fact it doesn’t work very well, even as an occasional fuel substitute, certainly not commensurate with the damage it causes and the monies it drains from rate and taxpayers. Like many celebrities born of spin, it’s famous for being famous, not for its actual performance. Chautauqua County could absorb 500 wind turbines, each more than 400 feet tall and spread over 100 miles, with blades spinning 175 mph at their tips. Annually, these might provide about 250MW of highly sporadic energy to the state’s 37,000MW installed grid total, unable, however, to replace any conventional power, including coal, since they will have virtually no capacity value, and with no hard evidence they would save any carbon emissions. Their massive footprint will transform the landscape, changing its appearance from natural views into those dominated by gargantuan industrial machinery. How green is this? In the process, nearby property values will plummet while a number of residents will experience relentless noise, at times exceeding the legal limit. The county will likely receive only a fraction of promised revenues and taxes, and it’s extremely unlikely the wind facilities will employ more than a handful of county residents or union workers. And like all tall structures that are lit at night, they will kill thousands of migrating birds and especially bats. All of these problems have been well documented—many of them admitted in “confidential” property leases that exculpate wind companies for creating them. This is dystopia, a nightmare, and not effective energy policy.

Chautauqua County represents low hanging fruit for distant wind capital seeking to exploit the people and resources of rural America, made even more shameless by the Orwellian charge that those who oppose its intrusions are NIMBYs when the corporate shills themselves live hundreds of miles away. If industrial wind succeeds here, it will be because the gullible are led by the pretentious, a process made easier because of a lack of accountability, no penalty for lying, and the pervasive vacuity of our political culture.

INDUSTRIAL WIND: A BILL OF GOODS by Jon Boone

Of all people, environmentalists should embrace the skepticism of science, rather than be seduced by deceits of fashion. They should not confuse the trappings of science (the engineering grandeur of a huge wind turbine, for example), with the real work of science, which would insist upon verifying the machine's performance in a real world setting.

My values are green; I believe we should conserve: minimize our footprint on the earth, not intrude on it with bombast and self-serving incivility.
Although I understand why well-intentioned people support the wind industry, I'm mindful that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. Environmental history is the chronicle of how adverse consequences flowed from the uninformed decisions of the well intentioned.

(CLICK below link to read entire speech)

IndustrialWInd-ABillofGoods.pdf

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

IRS Creates Safe Harbor for Wind Energy "Flip" Transactions

The Internal Revenue Service has published a revenue procedure establishing a safe harbor with respect to allocation of production tax credits from wind energy facilities. Section 45 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provides for a renewable electricity production credit for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced by the taxpayer from a qualified energy resource, including wind, at a qualified facility and sold to an unrelated person during the taxable year. The credit continues for 10 years from the time the facility was originally placed in service. Wind energy projects frequently are owned and operated by LLCs formed between a wind developer and one or more investors interested in earning returns from operating cash flow and IRC ? 45 credits from the project. The IRS previously had announced that it would no longer rule on any issues for partnerships (LLCs generally are treated as partnerships for federal tax purposes) claiming the IRC ? 45 production tax credit.

The newly issued revenue procedure, Rev Proc 2007-65, establishes a safe harbor for the allocation of a partnership’s IRC § 45 production tax credits from wind. It does not apply to any other tax credits, or to the allocation of a partnership’s IRC § 45 credits from other qualified energy resources. If "each and every requirement" of the safe harbor is satisfied the IRS will respect the allocation of IRC § 45 credits in the operating agreement.

In brief, the safe harbor sets forth eight primary requirements:

Minimum Interest. The developer must have an interest of at least 1 percent in each material item of partnership income, gain, loss, deduction and credit at all times during the existence of the partnership. Each investor must have an interest in each material item of partnership income and gain, at all times while it owns an interest in the partnership, at least equal to 5 percent of the interest it will have in the year in which its interest is largest.

Investor’s Minimum Investment. Each investor must maintain, as long as it owns its partnership interest, an investment at least equal to 20 percent of the sum of its fixed capital contributions pursuant to the operating agreement, plus reasonably anticipated contingent capital contributions. The required minimum can be reduced by distributions of project cash flow or in connection with a sale pursuant to the exercise of an option as described in 4 below. Stop-loss arrangements are not permitted.

75% Fixed Obligation. At least 75 percent of an investor’s total capital contributions must be fixed and determinable obligations that are not contingent either in amount or in certainty of payment.

Only Fair Market Value Purchase Options. The exercise price of any call option held by the developer, an investor or any related party to purchase the project or any interest in the partnership must be at fair market value as determined on the date of exercise of the option. In the case of an option held by the developer or a related party, the option may not be exercisable earlier than five years after the qualified facility is placed in service. Special limitations are provided with respect to the effect of certain contractual arrangements on value for this purpose.

No Put Rights. The partnership may not have a right to require any party to buy any or all of the project, and an investor may not have a right to require any party to buy its interest in the partnership.

No Wind Guarantee. There can be no guarantee to an investor of any allocation of credit. Among other things, this means that the partnership must bear the risk that the wind does not blow as predicted. So long as the partnership or the investor pays the premium or cost, however, the partnership or the investor may acquire a weather derivative contract from an unrelated insurance company or other unrelated party. A long-term power purchase agreement with an unrelated party would not be a guarantee for this purpose.

No Developer Loans or Loan Gaurantees. Neither the developer nor a related party may loan any funds to an investor to invest in the partnership, or may guarantee any debt connected to that investment.

Proper Allocation. The IRC § 45 credit must be allocated in accordance with Treasury Regulation § 1.704-1(b)(4)(ii). Among other requirements, this means that the credit must be allocated the same way gross income from sale of electricity is allocated.

The new revenue procedure includes two helpful examples. The examples appear to clarify several issues, including the fact that a 0 percent interest in cash distributions for a period of time does not violate the safe harbor, and the fact that flips in sharing ratios do not violate the safe harbor.

If you have any questions about this alert or if you would like our assistance in connection with this matter, please contact Ashley Henry, Energy Industry Liaison.

Industrial Wind Turbine DANGER ZONE

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NPR radio interviews today in Ellenburg Wind Turbine area

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/audio/71023windlift.mp3

Lifting giant windmills into the sky

Few issues have generated as much controversy as wind power. Supporters love the green energy and the economic boost they bring to struggling rural communities. Detractors hate the noise, the view, and what they call deceptive claims made by big corporations. Tomorrow, we look at the challenges facing local town boards stuck in the middle of the debate. Today, an upclose look at the giants themselves, and two neighbors’ reactions. Noble Environmental Power has already erected 60 of 122 turbines in the western Clinton County towns of Clinton and Ellenburg. David Sommerstein was there as turbine #6 went up, and has our story.

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/archive.php?id=10178

Governor Spitzer October 23, 2007 Letter by Donna Marmuscak

Dear Mr. Spitzer,

How can you be so worried about drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and keeping track of them, when our state is being overtaken by foreign companies who are destroying our environment, health, property values, source of income,(tourism, hunting etc.) and more, by allowing them to put up false towers called wind turbines under the guise of creating electricity? Not everyone here is a dumb country bumpkin and will not succumb to governmental and corporate corruption and greed. Iberdrola is trying to worm its way into NYSEG so that they will be able to control more of the state and national electrical grid. I am sure they are in cahoots with the other wind power companies, just waiting for projects to be completed so that they can take over the whole mess.

It is only a matter of time before they start using eminent domain and steal our property. A public outcry prevented the sale of our ports to a foreign entity. When New York State residents start paying exorbitant electrical rates and discover that they have been sold down the river to foreign companies who are gleefully lining their pockets with governmental approval, I can only imagine the firestorm that will erupt!!

If local farmers would advertise available work at decent paying wages, I know many desperate teenagers who would love a job, especially since the laws prevent so many of them from working in gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants etc because of alcohol and tobacco sales. If large local farms would not just have to mention the fact to certain people that they needed some Mexicans and they would show up on their doorstep the next morning ( an actual comment made to Randy Kuhl in public), We would not have so many here. I have nothing personal against them but we need the jobs for out own.

Donna Marmuscak-Tuscarora, New York

Monday, October 22, 2007

Christopher B. Vaughan photo tour of Cohocton UPC Wind Turbine project

Dear Friends and/or Soon-to-be-Enemies,

Today Jim Fitzgibbons and I jumped in a plane and did a photo tour of the Cohocton Turbine sites as well as the Wind Farm built just west of Letchworth Park near the town of Pike. Jim took around 70 pictures which we will be sharing with you soon. I counted about 60 turbines near Pike. The Cohocton site seems to have around 16 sites with the concrete foundation poured in 10 of them.

In addition, Jim attended the last Jerusalem town board meeting and to sum it up, these guys have no clue as to the detriment these turbines will be.

I propose:

-Spread the word and get out the vote this November 6 to vote against anyone for the turbines. We have time to make a difference. Call the candidates. Flood them with telephone calls and make this an issue! Find out what their commitment is. Niel Simmons is FOR! Daryl Jones says there are no health issues! I have yet to hear Ray Stewart's or Loretta Hopkins' views. Call them!

-Let's have a get together of anti-turbine people and consolidate our efforts against these things. We need to share time at town board meetings and figure ways to get the word out. Even non Jerusalem residents should attend because your town may be next! I'm not so ignorant as to think that pro-turbine people will not attend. Talk to everyone you can and simply ask, "how do feel about wind turbines in your town". I bet 80% will say they need more info. Get them to this meeting. I will work on a time and place and let you know. Any feedback on convenient times is welcome.

-With enough signatures we can get this issue to be put to the public as a referendum. I am looking into that.

I will leave you with this. Those Cohocton turbines will be visible for 30 miles or more. As I was flying over them I could line-of-site my vision to Naples, Wayland, Dansville, Springwater, Cohocton as well as hills for miles. I ask, What right does a group of just 5 individuals have to pollute the skies and vision of every town in a 30 mile radius!? Turbines in Jerusalem will be visible in Ovid! We have a duty to protect the beauty and integrity of our lakes and hills (PLURAL) for all residents of and visitors to the Finger Lakes.

Christopher B. Vaughan

Green Power Pseudo-Environmentalism

1%20Whole%20Foods%20Wind%20Energy%20Pseudo%20environmentalism.pdf

Dear Mr. Ryan,

Perhaps you and your colleagues -- all of whom are living on our tax dollars -- should spend a little time in objective analysis of "green energy" purchases. I'm attaching an analysis of Whole Foods Markets December 2005 decision to buy credits for electricity generated from wind. Everything in it applies to the organizations 2007 purchases, except that a few more wind turbines will be needed..

Three of the interesting conclusions from the analysis:

" "109 huge (32+ story, 350+ foot), low electricity producing wind turbines will be needed to produce the 458,000,000 kWh of "wind generated" electricity that Whole Foods has (in theory) purchased."

" "$1 million spent for energy efficient light bulbs would avoid the use of 171,550,000 kWh of electricity over 5 years -- which is more than 3 times the 56,064,000 kWh of electricity that a $1,000,000 wind turbine might be able to produce over 20 years!"

" "Like the leaders in other organizations that have undertaken similar pseudo-environmental actions, it appears that Whole Foods executives thought only about the favorable PR benefits they would enjoy, while failing to consider the adverse impacts of their action."

It has become increasingly apparent that you folks now in government have:
a. Forgotten how to do objective benefit cost analysis.
b. Apparently have no ability to tell the difference between facts and blatant propaganda.
c. Chosen to ignore adverse environmental, ecological, economic, scenic or property value impacts of your favorite energy solutions -- as long as they don't affect you; i.e., not in YOUR back yard (NIYBY).

Glenn Schleede
18220 Turnberry Drive
Round Hill, VA 20141-2574
540-338-9958

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Judith Hall will be the guest on the Eric Massa radio program Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007 - 10:00AM to NOON

Tune in to the WHHO - 1320 AM from 10:00 AM to NOON, Sunday, October 21, 2007.

CWW Treasurer Judith Hall and Refrm Cohocton Candidate for Town of Cohocton Supervisor will be Eric Massa's guest.

Telephone: 607-654-0322 for the call in number to the radion program.

http://hornellradio.com/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=3

Global Warming by Tom McClintock

Speech: At the Western Conservative Political Action Conference, October 12, 2007

Global%20Warming.pdf

Mary Kay Barton Report From Perry, NY

At the recent "Wind Symposium" put on by Horizon Wind at the Perry High School (thought schools were only supposed to host non-profits?!? One of the major landowners who stands to gain is on the school board. Hmmm!?!), Horizon was quoted as saying to the crowd in the article in the 10/11/07 Perry Herald entitled, Horizon Panelists Talk Wind Benefits, "Optimally, turbines operate 90% or more." This goes beyond false advertising. These are the type of outright lies they continually tell all the local residents.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Etherington, J. (2007) The Failing Wind

The Government recognizes two major energy challenges: the need to “tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to ensure we have secure energy supplies” (1). Wind power fails on both these counts and neither can it end the oft-made “threat of nuclear power..." (2)

1) Wind farms produce little electricity for a huge ‘footprint’, and it is unreliable

A large wind turbine generates 2.0 megawatts (MW) or more and, with an average wind limitation figure of near 25% (load factor), will produce a running average of 0.5 MW. Compare this with a big power station of 1500 MW which gives a running average of 1000 MW, or more. It would need at least 2000 turbines to displace this and at 0.2 km2 per turbine would require 400 km2 of land to provide about 2% of UK average generation! Into a bad bargain, the conventional station cannot be closed, as is needed to cover low wind-speed periods as discussed below – the problem of intermittency.

2) Wind power has minimal impact on CO2 emissions

The Government's own figure for saving of CO2 emission by renewable power generation, mainly wind, is just 9.2 million tonnes per year by 2010. That amount is less than the emission from a single middle sized coal-fired power station, and more tellingly, it is less than four ten-thousandths (0.0004) of global total CO2 emission and stands no chance of altering atmospheric CO2 concentration, still less deflecting climate change (3a & b).

3) Wind power is intermittent and unpredictable

A recent report from UCTE, the European transmission coordinator put the matter succinctly: - “The variable contributions from wind power must be balanced almost completely with other back-up generation capacity located elsewhere" (4). Because the UK has a small capacity grid-connection to Europe, the back-up generation will need to be fossil fuel power stations in this country – some indeed dedicated to supporting wind.

4) Wind power cannot replace nuclear generation

This is dismissed by the Sustainable Development Commission which wrote: - "... it would be unrealistic to assume that wind energy would displace any nuclear capacity..." (5). Nuclear generation is ideally suited to providing base-load generation, running continuously at peak output except for servicing. Intermittent wind power cannot do this.

5) Wind power is expensive

Wind power is two to three times as expensive as conventionally generated electricity (6) a problem which is addressed by the covert subsidy of the Renewables Obligation, and associated extras. "Without the renewable obligation certificates nobody would be building wind farms." (7). All electricity consumers pay substantially for this in their bills, providing a subsidy to the wind industry which will total more than £1 billion/year by 2010 (8). In 2005, the Commons’ Committee of Public Accounts criticized this arrangement: - "The Renewables Obligation is currently at least four times more expensive than the other means of reducing carbon dioxide currently used in the United Kingdom......Requiring users to source supplies from uneconomic providers has the same affect as taxing users to subsidize the providers, but is not as transparent or amenable to parliamentary control."

6) Wind power is economically damaging

The target renewable figure for 2010 will require more than 6500 turbines (2.0 MW) in some of the finest coastal and upland landscapes (necessary for high wind availability). The impact will be enormous. Many parts of Britain depend on tourism, for example in rural Wales it is probably an order of magnitude more valuable than agriculture and there is evidence that wind development will deter tourists. A Scottish survey suggested that more than a quarter might be deterred from returning by ‘turbinisation’ whilst, in 2003, the Wales Tourist Board concluded from a survey of businesses in mid-Wales that "Just over half of the respondents thought wind farms have already and will continue to have an adverse effect on visitors coming to the area" (9a&b). The financial implication is dire. The maximum predictable earning by wind electricity, e.g. in Wales, is much smaller, by more than 30 times, than that of the tourism which it will harm.

Property values may also be at risk. A study of its members' opinions by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2004 concluded that "60% of the sample suggested that wind farms decrease the value of residential properties where the development is within view..." (10) In mid-Wales, individual properties have been shown at valuation to lose perhaps 25% of their worth (11).

7) Wind power is environmentally damaging

In addition their impact on the landscape, there is unequivocal evidence that wind farms in some places kill large numbers of birds and bats. Soaring raptors and other large slow-flying birds are particularly at risk. The RSPB is at last beginning to oppose some planning applications on such grounds, e.g. on the Isle of Lewis where there is risk to eagles (Birds August 2007). Altamont Pass in California has taken a gigantic toll of raptors - including more than 75 golden eagles per year, and wind farms are known to be killing hundreds of bats per year in the US (12 a & b).

Many planned wind farms are situated on areas of deep blanket peat which are made up of stored carbon compounds which have accumulated over many thousands of years but are prone to rapid oxidation if they are drained, as is almost inevitable if access roads and deep wind turbine foundations are constructed. Though the energy and carbon payback time of a wind turbine is only a year or so (13), in deep peat areas this may be much more than doubled by the oxidative loss of stored carbon (14) – a paradoxical situation in which CO2 is emitted to save its emission!

Conclusion

Government policies with regard to wind power development are fatally flawed. This damaging industry can provide only a tiny electricity supply of low grade 'wobbliness', at huge expense and needing subsidy paid by all consumers. Furthermore, the economic, environmental and, ultimately, political damage are unacceptable.

References

1. Energy White Paper: Our Energy Future (2007).
2. Yes2Wind website.
3. a. DEFRA (2004) Consultation on the review of the UK Climate Change Programme (the report actually gives a figure of 2.5 Mt carbon/year saved by renewable electricity generation [mainly wind]. This is equivalent to 9.2 Mt CO2). b. OECD Factbook 2005. Economic Environmental and Social Statistics (c. 24,000 Mt CO2 total global emission p.a. of human origin – by ratio the UK renewable electricity target saving is 0.00038 – about four ten-thousandths).
4. UCTE (2007) European Wind Integration Study: Towards a Successful Integration of Wind Power into European Electricity Grids.
5. Sustainable Development Commission (2005) Windpower in the UK.
6. PB Power (2006) Powering the nation (an update of RAE’s 2004 report, The Costs of Generating Electricity.
7. Paul Golby, CE of E.ON UK quoted in Daily Telegraph 26/03/2005.
8. Energy White Paper:Meeting the Energy Challenge (2003) S.4.7
9. a. VisitScotland (2003) Investigation into the Potential Impact of Wind Farms on Tourism in Scotland. b. Wales Tourist Board (October 2003) Investigation into the Potential Impact of Wind Farms on Tourism in Wales. Summary report;
10. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (2004) Impact of wind farms on the value of residential property and agricultural land.
11. Remax Estate Agency (2005). Report on a sample of properties inspected near a proposed wind farm at Esgairwen Fawr .
12. a. Center for Biological Diversity. Altamont Pass is the most lethal wind farm in North America for raptors. B. Scientific American February (2004) When Blade Meets Bat (the author is a writer for Windpower Monthly).
13. House of Lords (2004) Science and Technology Committee Fourth Report.Appendix: energy payback times.
14. Hall, M. J. (2006). Peat, carbon dioxide payback and wind farms. REF.

(Dr Etherington was formerly Reader in Ecology, University of Wales)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Law would allow city to tax windmills by Harold McNeil

LACKAWANNA

Law would allow city to tax windmills
By Harold McNeil NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 10/16/07 6:59 AM

The Lackawanna City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a law that would allow the city to collect property taxes on a portion of the Steel Winds turbine project.
By state law, renewable energy projects, like the partially completed Steel Winds farm along Lake Erie on the old Bethlehem Steel site, are tax-exempt. However, municipalities that host such projects are allowed to opt out if they adopt a local law rescinding that tax exemption, which the Lackawanna Council did Monday at its regular meeting.

The developers, Clipper Windpower, broke ground in 2005 on the $40 million wind-energy project, erecting eight turbines along the lakeshore after agreeing to pay the city $100,000 annually over the next 15 years.

In all, as many as 26 windmills are planned for the site, but the local law removing the project's property tax exemption status would pertain only to the property on which the last 13 windmills will be built, or what developers call Phase II of the project.

"We were fortunate the last time, because we entered into an alternative type agreement, not a taxation agreement," City Attorney Arc J. Petricca explained.
The alternative agreement, which was negotiated by Mayor Norman Polanski, covers property on which the first 13 turbines are installed under Phase I of the project. It includes the eight that already exist on the site, as well as five additional windmills yet to be built.

After the meeting, 1st Ward Councilwoman Andrea Haxton and Council President Ronald R. Spadone disagreed over whether the mayor had authority to negotiate an alternative monetary agreement on the city's behalf.

"Before anything can proceed forward, it all has to be on the approval of the City Council," Haxton said. "That wasn't done in 2005."

But Spadone insisted there were sound reasons for having Polanski negotiate the first phase of the Steel Winds project and the city taking a different route on the second phase.

"As this unfolds, it becomes more of a competitive situation," Spadone said.
"The laws are changing, so it becomes more difficult to negotiate a good business deal. That's why [negotiations are] being approached differently," he added.

Patty Booras-Miller response to Maple Ridge Wind Farm Tour

Personal impressions from the Maple Ridge wind farm bus tour
Each time I've visited the Maple Ridge Wind Farm I've become more depressed about wind energy development. I could never seem to reconcile the professed benefits of these projects with their obvious adverse impacts. But today I learned the most valuable reason to oppose this industry. The Maple Ridge project site is 12 miles long by 3 miles wide. Up and down the roads we went today and I viewed this industrial power facility once again. In viewing the entire expanse of impacted area I couldn't help but notice that there was no sense of a living community - no routine life. No people walking their dogs, no hikers, no bicyclers, no children laughing and playing (school was out), no clothes hanging out to dry, no school buses, no dogs barking, and very few birds, no one on their four wheelers on their own lands enjoying the open air. There were no roadside stands selling pumpkins. The serenity of rural community life that we all know and love here in northern Jefferson County was strangely absent. In its stead, we saw massive machines everywhere we looked, on both sides of the road. This was Bill Moore's world and PPM literally owned it all.

Rate this item: Select... 1 star (worst) 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars (best) October 16, 2007 by PBM, Vice President ECCO (Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization) PPM Energy sponsored a bus trip today, October 16, that was open to all interested members of the public. The trip was coordinated through Clayton Township.

The Bus Ride to Maple Ridge
We left the Clayton Arena at 9:30 am this morning. In all, there were about thirty-one (31) residents from the townships of Lyme, Orleans, Clayton and Hammond who took advantage of this tour. I chose to ride the bus while eight (8) others drove their own vehicles.

PPM offered us a very comfortable coach bus at their expense. Bud Baril, of Clayton's Planning Board, was the only official representative from Clayton Township. This was to be expected as officials from the Townships of Clayton and Orleans, and the Horse Creek Wind Farm committee had already been given a personal tour of Maple Ridge -- a tour that included visits to homes and interviews with the locals. Bud Baril told us on the bus that he had been served many wonderful pies during his visits. He also informed us that today's tour was part of Clayton's ongoing educational experience for residents to get a close up view of the turbines. It was our opportunity to speak directly with PPM representatives. We were encouraged to ask questions.

Bud also asked Twila Cushman, assistant to the Clayton-Orleans Horse Creek Wind Farm committee, to distribute cards for residents to list questions we might want Clayton's Planning Board to raise. What a joke! We learned early on with the draft generic environmental impact statement (DGEIS) that public comment pertaining to this project was not welcome and largely ignored.

Officials from the Township of Orleans chose to drive their own vehicles. Unfortunately, they missed Bud Baril's speeches on the bus. However, they were nicely represented by their Town Supervisor and members of the ZBA Board.

Hammond residents enlighten us that their proposed project will also be PPM Energy owned with at least fifty turbines, but still too early to be certain. We expect transmission issues to pose a problem in Hammond.

Even though there were only a small number of participants on the tour, we were a well-balanced group of individuals from the townships including a) planning board members from Clayton, Lyme, and Orleans; b) Town Supervisor from Orleans, c) participating and non-participating landowners from both Clayton and Orleans and, of course, d) Hammond Township representatives who are new to the world of industrial turbine proposals.

First Impressions
When we arrived at the site, THERE WAS NO WIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turbines were visible from every direction and they were NOT moving. The few that were, seemed to be moving in slow motion. Every turbine faced north, contrary to PPM project manager Bill Moore's assertion that the wind profile for the area showed winds from the southeast.

This was my fifth visit to Maple Ridge to exactly the same locations we visited today. I have videos of these visits. The amount of noise and flicker observed during these previous trips was unbelievable. Today's visit was surreal: NO WIND -- NO NOISE, a first for me! I was stumped, shocked really. I've visited with residents at the site. I've stood in their front yards and listened as they explained how they try to handle the noise and the flicker problem. Even those on the tour who've visited before were troubled. We wondered how we could we ask questions about the ill-effects of turbine noise when there was no noise or spinning from the turbines. One had to laugh. It was clear to me and others on the trip that this visit was not representative of life under the Maple Ridge wind plant.

Meeting Farmer Burke
PPM invited residents from Maple Ridge (most now employed by PPM) and of course they were all happy with the facility. In retrospect, I suppose we shouldn't have expected anything else. Mr. Burke, the farmer who changed his career from agricultural farming to PPM employee, gave us the pitch about turbine profits. I hoped others on the trip didn't believe for a minute that they'd realize the same financial reimbursement or job opportunity as Burke. Admittedly, he was a good spokesperson for PPM and he will tell you he no longer has to push cow manure. His, I suppose, is a wonderful life.

He pointed out his home. "I live right there, the farm house next to the gazebo and staging site. There's no noise from these machines." I loved his response about shadow flicker - "it will only bother you if you let it". Most importantly, beside his once quaint home, there were huge turbine blades lying on the ground, unpaved roads, and massive amounts of cable all over the place -- and he loves it! He clearly represented the financial side of this industry. If you are the right resident in the complex, and given the right amount of money, you too can be bought out. It's just business.

As expected, PPM's sales speech was all about the financial benefits of an industrial wind farm, including increased tourism. I questioned why the majority of visitors came here and what percentage of those visitors were like me, folks who were facing a "wind proposal in their community". PPM employees were ready for my questions and the answers were saccharine sweet. Still, Mr. Burke, like others with turbines on their land, admitted it's all about the money.

PPM's Mr. Bill Moore
My goal today was specifically to meet and speak with Bill Moore, PPM's employee responsible for bringing the Maple Ridge project to the area. I had my chance. I wanted Mr. Moore to know that in the past six months since we first met him, back when ECCO was formed, that the residents of the townships of Clayton and Orleans along with other residents in neighboring townships were becoming much more educated and informed regarding installation of these machines in and around our homes. He and I discussed ECCOs presentation held in LaFargeville and I told him ECCO was very disappointed that PPM refused to be a participant -- we had an excellent turnout. He was taken back - "you asked us?"

Back when we were organizing the event, I spoke with PPM's Dan Murdie. Mr. Murdie thought it was an excellent idea and encouraged me to speak with Clayton Councilman Justin Taylor as well as Bud Baril, which I did. Mr. Taylor said they would not participate; that they would do their own education. I explained to Mr. Moore that residents in these two townships have received no educational presentations by the town. And we now know that there is no intent to hold educational meetings. Instead, we're subjected to turbine committee discussions - discussions that permit NO public input and NO education materials -- just committee discussions.

I told Mr. Moore that we would like to hear from PPM, both landowners and residents, especially on construction issues. I explained that other townships that do not presently have proposed wind farms but will in the future are just as anxious for this information as we are. I told Mr. Moore that it's critical that ECCO share facts that are supported by documentation and reliable sources about industrial wind farms to all residents in Jefferson County and everyone needs to be informed. There is no comparison between the plateau of Maple Ridge's environment to our wetland and bedrock environment that we have in northern Jefferson County along the St. Lawrence River. Mr. Moore stated he wanted the opportunity to speak and that we should privately ask to have his company speak to residents at a community meeting or presentation. He also encouraged us to inform the town officials so they were aware that we made the request. It was a very long day...

Lasting Impressions
Each time I've visited the Maple Ridge Wind Farm I've become more depressed about wind energy development. I could never seem to reconcile the professed benefits of these projects with their obvious adverse impacts. But today I learned the most valuable reason to oppose this industry.

The Maple Ridge project site is 12 miles long by 3 miles wide. Up and down the roads we went today and I viewed this industrial power facility once again. In viewing the entire expanse of impacted area I couldn't help but notice that there was no sense of a living community - no routine life. No people walking their dogs, no hikers, no bicyclers, no children laughing and playing (school was out), no clothes hanging out to dry, no school buses, no dogs barking, and very few birds, no one on their four wheelers on their own lands enjoying the open air. There were no roadside stands selling pumpkins. The serenity of rural community life that we all know and love here in northern Jefferson County was strangely absent.

In its stead, we saw massive machines everywhere we looked, on both sides of the road. This was Bill Moore's world and PPM literally owned it all. There are no leaseholders here that will continue life for the next generation of citizens. There is no beauty here.

A woman on the tour asked me "Don't you think that children who grow up around these machines will stay here because they are use to it?"

I thought about it for a moment and I had to say no I don't. I told her this is an industrial complex; there is no fun here for children. Look around, all of this is owned by someone else - a foreign energy corporation. The residents may have a piece of paper, a deed, but it's only a piece of paper from what I could see. The land is no longer theirs but for that paper. I truly believe that every American's greatest achievement is to own his or her own piece of land. It's what gives us the ability to speak out. There is no option here to speak out, and those living in the area that have tried, have long given up.

She and I looked around together. We saw huge trucks on the road, constant work on the machines, equipment strewn everywhere - poles, wires, cables. There was no place for a ball field or for kids to play. Mr. Moore will tell you he doesn't even live nearby -- he lives in Massachusetts.

The woman seemed surprised by my answer - "I guess I never looked at it that way," she said. I felt sorry for her as she, too, has a very hard decision to make. As we drove out of the complex of turbines I could only imagine how the southern parts of the townships of Clayton and Orleans will look should the Horse Creek Wind Farm be constructed. That facility is proposed to have 62 towers standing 407-feet from base to blade tip. Our turbine setbacks are exactly the same distances as those at Maple Ridge and more than 1000 of my fellow residents will live under the blades. While I understand that Americans feel a need to do something regarding the fight against fossil fuels, installing giant industrial wind turbines -- hundreds at a time across square miles of New York's rural landscape -- is just plain wrong.

Ms. Booras-Miller is vice president of Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization of Jefferson County (ECCO). ECCO advocates for policy and laws that will ensure a clean and healthful environment in and around Jefferson County.

Click on link to submit your SEC complaint on the
First Wind Holdings Inc. IPO public offering


TEN Reasons
Why the SEC should not allow First Wind to be listed on NASDAQ

First Wind Holdings Inc. 12/22/09 SEC S1/A IPO Filing

First Wind Holdings Inc. 7/31/08 SEC S1 IPO Filing

May 14, 2010 addition to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

August 18, 2010 amendment 7 to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

October 13, 2010 Filing update to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

New October 25, 2010 Filing update to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing


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