Cohocton Wind Watch: July 2008
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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Thursday, July 31, 2008

WIND POWER IPO FILING: First Wind Holdings (WNDY)

We've just seen a filing for an initial public offering from First Wind Holdings Inc., which looks actually to be a holding company that owns class A and class B "Units" of First Wind Holdings, LLC. First Wind has applied to take the ticker WNDY on NASDAQ. As per the company name, the company is involved in WIND ENERGY.

For filing purposes it has listed the amount of $450 Million as the amount in shares that it intends to offer. Underwriters are listed as Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan.

Below is a self description of the company:
We are a leading independent North American wind energy company focused exclusively on the development, ownership and operation of wind energy projects. As of June 30, 2008, our portfolio of wind energy projects included approximately 5,564 megawatts ("MW") of capacity, of which 92 MW were operating and 182 MW were under construction. We expect to start construction on a 203 MW project in 2008 and, as a result, to be simultaneously constructing three wind energy projects representing 385 MW of capacity. Our goal is to have approximately 1,100 MW of operating capacity by the end of 2010 and we target the construction and commissioning of approximately 400 MW annually thereafter to achieve approximately 2,300 MW of operating capacity by the end of 2013. We have entered into purchase contracts for turbines with an aggregate generating capacity in excess of 1,300 MW, which are scheduled to be delivered or commissioned between 2008 and 2013. We expect this supply will be sufficient to meet all of our anticipated turbine needs in 2008 and 2009 and approximately 80% of our anticipated turbine needs in 2010.

Jon C. Ogg
July 31, 2008

(Click to read the SEC filing)

Sites of 95 wind turbines are unveiled

CAPE VINCENT — BP Alternative Energy revealed the setting of 95 turbines for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm on Wednesday with a room full of displays, two large maps and a speaker who heartily endorsed wind power.

The evening at Cape Vincent Recreation Park on South James Street drew more than 100 people and lasted just over three hours, with the majority of that time devoted to conversations between residents and BP representatives.

The session seemed to change few minds; a map of the proposed turbines was met with skepticism by wind power critics and appreciation by those who have endorsed the Cape Vincent project.

The proposed turbines, overlayed on a U.S. Geological Survey map with outdated road names, were spread around the town along red power lines. Their locations were bounded on the southeast by the Lyme town line, in the northwest by wetlands and elsewhere by a proximity to Lake Ontario and other waterways.

"I live almost in the center of the project," said Beth A. White, president of Voters For Wind. Mrs. White, one of 68 landowners who have agreed to have wind turbines on their land, pointed to the four dots spread across her 500 acres of farmland along Rosiere Road.

"I'd like to have more, but I'm happy to have four," she said. "I love the way they look."

Stephen J. and Diane M. Rutigliano, Three Mile Bay, had a far different reaction after examining the map and counting how many of the 95 turbines they would be able to see from their house.

"What do I think of the layout? I think it's disgusting," Mrs. Rutigliano said. "I'm going to be looking right into them. Am I happy? No. I would like to spit nickels."

While the map is preliminary, BP project manager James H. Madden said, it represents a large move forward in the project process.

"We've had open houses before. It's a pretty big step to have an array plan," he said. "It allows us to move forward and complete the permitting process."

BP still has a significant amount of work to do before Cape Vincent residents can expect to see GE 1.5-megawatt turbines on their land.

The company plans to submit the project's final environmental impact statement by the end of the year and has said construction could begin in fall 2009.

Next week, a team of six to eight people will begin marking wetland boundaries, examining geological and ecological characteristics of sites where the turbines would be located, conducting biological assessments and performing archeological tests.

The geological study, in particular, will become part of a general stormwater State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit application to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Project manager Philip M. Ponebshek said the company already has completed preliminary noise modeling studies, to identify setbacks for turbines, and has compiled two years of data on the migratory patterns of birds and bats.

"We have a goal, even under the most quiet noise conditions in winter, to be at no more than six decibels above background levels," he said.

Although Mr. Ponebshek and other BP representatives repeatedly said that noise levels would be kept to a minimum and surrounding property values would not be affected by the turbines, residents such as Paul L. Docteur were not convinced.

"I think there's room for turbines in the world, but we have quite a unique area here and we need to respect the waterfront and the tourist trade," he said.

"I'm afraid property values are going to be influenced. Who knows? If they're too close and too noisy, it could have a big impact."

Seasonal resident Joyce F. Miles agreed that the proposed turbines appeared too close to the waterfront and to her house on Valley Road.

"I acknowledge we need to have some alternative energy," she said. "I'm just the classic 'not in my backyard.'"

In an effort to change the minds of people such as Ms. Miles, Dereth B. Glance, program director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, gave a presentation on the benefits of wind power.

Ms. Glance, whose presentation was funded by her organization and not by BP, went on to knock down concerns about property values, noise levels, wind as a reliable energy source and the impact to birds and bats.

She said that in an era of environmental concerns, rising electricity prices and rising demand, wind offers a good source of renewable energy,

"We love our electricity in the United States. It's all got to be generated from somewhere," Ms. Glance said. "Wind is not the silver bullet, but it is part of the solution."

Robert A. Gauthier, Cape Vincent, said his own view of the turbines boils down to whether having them on his land would help him pay his property taxes. On Wednesday, Mr. Gauthier discovered that BP had designated three turbines for his 300-acre farm.

"This windmill deal is something we all fell into. Nobody asked for it," he said. "People who are so dead set against it would do the same thing it they owned enough land."

Big wind, big problems

Meanwhile, the opponents of big wind in western New York believe they are finally getting the recognition they deserve with this month's announcement by the AG's office in Albany.

"The phone has been ringing off the hook," said James Hall of Cohocton, who in an interview Monday said he had just returned from a trip visiting newspapers, like the New York Times, to explain why he and others oppose the project.

Mr. Hall, who said his house will be surrounded with more towers than anywhere else in western New York, credited a "district attorney in a rural county" for getting the AG's office involved.

Over the last few years wind farms have allegedly proliferated in the state, with more than 177 projects in the pipeline - a number Mr. Hall called mind-blowing.

"It's the largest infusion of cash in western, northern, and central New York in its entire history," he said, noting that the turbine count in his state is up to 7,000.

He believes the investigation will have statewide ramifications.

On the telephone Tuesday from his office in Newton, Massachusetts, First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne was reluctant to give the company's side of the story.

Seven landowners from Prattsburgh are expected to go to court and ask judge to throw out a local condemnation due to a conflict of interest by one of the members of the town board.

Ruthe Matilsky of Prattsburgh, an opponent of the wind farm, said in an interview last week that the board member in question had been asked to recuse himself from voting because of a real estate transaction he had with First Wind. He refused and broke a tie vote of 2 to 2 that allowed the condemnation order to go forward.

Ms. Matilsky also noted there are allegations that First Wind paid $22,000 for building permits it didn't need. She noted that no state agencies were on hand to supervise the project and watch out for public safety.

No towers have yet been raised in Prattsburgh, and of the 50 that have been erected in the Cohocton area, none are operational, according to Mr. Hall. Ultimately wind opponents hope to establish in court that the wind farms are being illegally built, and that the towers should be taken down.

(Click to read entire article)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Open house on Cape Vincent wind project

CAPE VINCENT, N.Y. -- Various people with various opinions, all wishing to find out more information and ask questions about the 142-megawatt, 95-turbine wind project planned for the agricultural areas of Cape Vincent. BP Alternative Energy held an open house Wednesday to inform people of the potential project. The company detailed where they would build roads, place transmission lines and most importantly, put up turbines.

"We want to make sure that people don't get misconceptions about our project and that we're able to address specific details. There are a lot of concerns people have about location, visual impact, sound and environmental studies," BP Alternative Energy Cape Vincent Project Manager Jim Madden said.

Along with those concerns came a group of people very much in support of the project.

"Wind power is clean," said Beth White, the President of a group called Voters for Wind. "It's renewable and it's local. It's very abundant here in Cape Vincent. We have plenty of it. We think we should take advantage of this tremendous opportunity."

And then there were those who are just going with the flow.

"We're building a house in Cape Vincent. We're looking at the wind mills on Wolfe Island anyway. We might as well look at them behind us too and get some benefit out of it," Cape Vincent resident Richard Tetzlaff said.

"There's an active discussion. Not everybody is all supportive, but we've had a real good discussion. I think overall people have been very supportive. It's good to see so many people come out and ask questions. I think generally people have an open mind," Madden added.

This project is in the middle of a SEQR process. Environmental, visual and sound studies could be done as early as October. From there, the permit process would take place next spring and construction would begin next fall. BP Alternative Energy says if everything goes as planned, the project could be finished by 2010.

Attorney General Investigating Windfarm Developers

Here is some up to date news:

Attorney General Investigating Windfarm Developers, Critical Lawsuit by Advocates for Prattsburgh Against Town Board's Eminent Domain Action Needs Your Support

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week "the launching of an investigation into two companies developing and operating wind farms across New York State amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices."

Under investigation is our very own "First Wind", formerly known variously as "UPC" and "Global Winds Harvest". First Wind, as the developer of Windfarm Prattsburgh, has pressed the Prattsburgh Town Board to initiate condemnation proceedings and exercise eminent domain for their benefit. While we are hopeful that that the Attorney General's investigation will lead to proper regulation of windfarms across the state, it is still necessary for us to continue the legal strategies that are underway.

For this reason, Advocates for Prattsburgh is proceeding with its Article 78 to annul the decisions of the Town Board to proceed with eminent domain. As we mentioned earlier in Latest News, the tie-breaking vote was cast by Town Supervisor Harold McConnell, who refused to recues himself, even after admitting he receiving money from First Wind. We are doing as much as is humanly possible to get these projects properly regulated, and we need your financial support for legal fund. Please send your donations to Advocates for Prattsburgh, Box 221, Prattsburgh, NY 14873.

Another pressing concern is that, at the same time that First Wind - owner of Windfarm Prattsburgh - is under investigation, the other windfarm developer operating in Prattsburgh - Ecogen - seems to have stepped up its attempts to acquire easements for transmission lines as well as new sites for towers. People have reported finding four-wheeler tracks as well as surveyor's marks on their property when no permission was granted. In addition, we have been told that the leases that have been offered put significant restrictions on a landowners' use of his own property.

Ron and Lynn Iocono have filed an appeal of the condemnation of their property by the Town to provide an easement for Windfarm Prattsburgh. Three other landowners have joined them in the appeal. Ron and Lynn live in Delaware and were planning to retire here in a few years. He is working overtime as an EMT to help pay for the appeal.

On September 5, our Article 78 will be heard in Bath. We are asking the judge to set aside the vote of the town supervisor on eminent domain because of conflict of interest. This is the second time our case will go to court and it has cost us additional funds. Many of you have been very generous in responding to our most recent appeals and we really wish that taxpayers didn't have to use their own money to see justice done, but that is the system we live with, and we continue to need donations. So please send what you can.

NY Leaders favoring Iberdrola over NY taxpayers and electric customers by Glenn R. Schleede

Why are New York Political and Business Leaders putting the interests of Spain-based Iberdrola ahead of the interests of New York’s taxpayers and electric customers? New York’s taxpayers and electric customers are facing a serious threat:

• Iberdrola, the Spanish company that wishes to acquire Energy East and its electric and gas distribution subsidiaries1 is insisting that it will “walk away from” the deal if it is not permitted to build “wind farms” in New York.2
• High-powered New York political, business, labor and media leaders (including Governor Paterson and Senator Schumer) are working to get members of the NY State Public Utility Commission (NYS PSC) to overturn the PSC Staff’s recommendation and the Administrative Law Judge’s conclusion that Iberdrola should not be permitted to own both electric generating capacity (including “wind farms”) and electric distribution companies in NY.
• These NY “leaders” are striving in favor of Iberdrola despite the demonstrable negative impacts that Iberdrola’s proposal would have on New York’s taxpayers, electric customers, and state economy.

This brief paper:

• Provides details on the financial reason that apparently underlies Iberdrola’s insistence on the right to own “wind farms” in NY. That is, huge tax breaks available for “wind farms” could permit Iberdrola to sharply reduce or eliminate liability for paying federal or state tax income tax on profits from Energy East Companies’ electricity and gas distribution operations.
• Speculates about the reasons why NY “leaders” are working so hard on behalf of Iberdrola – and against the interests of NY taxpayers and electric customers – and the state’s economy.

1NYLEA%7E1.pdf

Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy Form Joint Venture to Develop up to 5,050 MW

Carpinteria, CA (USA) - July 30, 2008 Clipper Windpower Plc ("Clipper”) today announced that it has entered into a 50:50 joint venture, the (“JV”), with BP Alternative Energy (“BP”) to develop the Titan wind project, a 5,050 MW South Dakota-sited wind energy project formerly known as Rolling Thunder. The project is expected to be constructed in multiple phases and, if completed, will be the world’s largest wind facility.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement, Clipper and BP will combine their 50:50 interests in a previously announced 1,550 MW South Dakota joint venture project together with a further 3,500 MW contiguous wind resource to form the expanded 5,050 MW, 50:50 joint venture.

In addition, the JV has agreed it will enter into a Master Turbine Supply Agreement (“MTSA”) which will enable the supply of up to 2,020 of Clipper’s 2.5 MW Liberty wind turbines upon the Project’s successful phase development and subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions in accordance with the MTSA.

“BP’s leadership in recognizing and acting on its commitment to increase its international renewable energy portfolio is exemplary” said James GP Dehlsen, Clipper’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased to be moving forward with this milestone development which will provide clean, renewable, and home grown power for approximately 1.5 million average American homes and offset nearly 24 billion pounds of carbon dioxide that would have otherwise been released into our atmosphere if produced by traditional means [according to the national energy mix].”

Dehlsen added, “Both South and North Dakota, with their abundant and renewable wind energy resources are an important part of our Nation’s clean energy, and energy secure future. We look forward to this and future world-class projects of this caliber which continue to be spurred by the growing demand for environmentally responsible and sustainable energy solutions.”

Project development of the Titan project is underway. The project’s Liberty turbines, at 2.5 MW of capacity, are the largest wind turbines built in the Americas.

About Clipper Windpower

Clipper Windpower, www.clipperwind.com, is a rapidly growing company engaged in wind energy technology, turbine manufacturing, and wind project development. With offices in the United Kingdom, United States of America (California, Colorado, Iowa, and Maryland), Denmark, and Mexico and a ISO9001:2000 QMS Certified, 330,000 square foot manufacturing and assembly facility located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the company designs advanced wind turbines, manufactures its 2.5-MW Liberty wind turbine and actively develops wind power generating projects in the Americas and Europe. Clipper is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Clipper’s ticker symbol is CWP.

The ordinary shares of Clipper Windpower Plc are traded on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange and are not registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Such shares may not be offered or sold to residents of the United States or to persons acting on their behalf, or to other persons who are "United States Persons" within the meaning of Regulation S as promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, unless such shares have been registered under the Securities Act or there is an available exemption from registration.

Simple guidelines for siting wind turbines to prevent health risks

Industrial scale wind turbines are a familiar part of the landscape in Europe, U.K. and other parts of the world. In the U.S., however, similar industrial scale wind energy developments are just beginning operation. The presence of industrial wind projects will increase dramatically over the next few years given the push by the Federal and state governments to promote renewable energy sources through tax incentives and other forms of economic and political support. States and local governments in the U.S. are promoting what appear to be lenient rules for how industrial wind farms can be located in communities, which are predominantly rural and often very quiet. Studies already completed and currently in progress describe significant health effects associated with living in the vicinity of industrial grade wind turbines. This paper reviews sound studies conducted by consultants for governments, the wind turbine owner, or the local residents for a number of sites with known health or annoyance problems. The purpose is to determine if a set of simple guidelines using dBA and dBC sound levels can serve as the ‘safe’ siting guidelines. Findings of the review and recommendations for sound limits will be presented. A discussion of how the proposed limits would have affected the existing sites where people have demonstrated pathologies apparently related to wind turbine sound will also be presented.

Simple%20guidelines%20for%20siting%20wind%20turbines%20to%20prevent%20health%20risks.pdf

Monday, July 28, 2008

Corruption allegations swirl around push for wind power

First Wind and Noble Environmental Power LLC of Essex, Conn., are being investigated by Cuomo's office. A First Wind spokesman could not be reached for comment last week, and a Noble spokeswoman declined to comment.

Critics of the companies said their concern is not whether wind is a viable alternative energy source. They worry that wind companies are running roughshod over ill-prepared town boards, the final arbiters for the projects, and allege that companies are deliberately entering into contracts with town officials to grease the process.

In Prattsburgh, Steuben County, Supervisor Harold McConnell has come under fire for voting on wind-farm issues and also reportedly having a contract with a wind developer, according to the Naples Record.

In Hamlin, residents have questioned the role of Town Board member Paul Rath, who said he has leased land to a developer but has been abstaining from votes about wind energy. He did, however, vote to start a Wind Advisory Committee.

Opponents say public officials sometimes negotiate agreements with wind companies, then leave office and go to work for them.

"We need a consistent, thorough, comprehensive regulatory process that oversees the development of all these projects," said James Hall, a founder of Cohocton Wind Watch.

Hall and others contend that the state plays too small a role in the oversight of wind farms. Lawmakers have been trying to devise a more comprehensive system of regulation, but after years of debate the Legislature has been incapable of producing a law to streamline site selection for power plants.

(Click to read entire article)

Steuben County DA Tunney July 28, 2008 Letter from James Hall for CWW

Note that I talked briefly with Mr. Tunney who would only promise to read the letter, then implied he would respond. He would NOT agree to approve an appointment or look at evidence of potential criminal conduct. Mr. Tunney stated: "Now that the NYS AG has an active investigation, he would not want to compete with the the AG." My comment was that all that was requested was a meeting, so that the Steuben County DA could review the extent of official wrongdoing.

Maybe the public would like to ask DA Tunney why he refused to meet with CWW, well before AG Cuomo approved the NYS industrial wind investigation?


July 28, 2008

John C. Tunney
Steuben County District Attorney
3 East Pulteney Square,
Bath, NY 14810

RE: Follow-up to the May 5, 2008 complaint letter requesting a criminal investigation and grand jury – SCIDA, Government Officials and Wind Developers

Mr. Tunney,

You are aware that a formal request was made in the Cohocton Wind Watch May 5, 2008 letter for a criminal investigation and grand jury into the conduct of SCIDA, government officials and industrial wind developers in Steuben County. No response was received for a requested meeting from your office and the Corning Leader quoted you as stating “No Comment” to their news report.

Since contacting your office for an appointment to discuss evidence of wrongdoing, the Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, of New York State has issued a press release on July 15, 2008. ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO WIND POWER COMPANIES' CONDUCT ACROSS UPSTATE NEW YORK A copy of this document is included. Subpoenas of the business records from First Wind (AKA UPC Wind) are part of the probe.

The national press has reported the gravity of this precedent setting investigation. Public officials, both elected and appointed, from Steuben County are subjects in this inquiry. The AG has confirmed CWW concerns for a full-scale inquisition into wind developments. District Attorney, Derek Champagne of Franklin County, is investigating Noble Environmental Power – the second wind developer listed in the Cuomo press release.

In the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division: Fourth Department is an action to remove Republican Chair William O. Hatch from the Howard Town Board. In addition, an action is filed in an eminent domain suit against Prattsburgh Supervisor Harold McConnell that includes his acceptance of financial benefits.

Noticeably absent is your commitment for a professional review of the credible proof that supports allegations of criminal conduct. Once again, Cohocton Wind Watch demands that the Steuben County District Attorney fulfill his duty to examine evidence of illegal actions within his jurisdiction. What possible rational reason could absolve your refusal to meet and examine evidence? The public awaits an appointment.

Cordially,


James Hall for CWW

cc: David Paterson – NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo – NYS Attorney General, George H. Winner – NYS Senator, James Bacalles – NYS Assembly, Steuben County Legislature

Ithaca, Enfield, Newfield study windmill plans

NEWFIELD — As residents and the town board in Enfield anticipate a wind farm and board members in the Town of Ithaca work out potential legislation, Newfield's Town Board passed a 180-day moratorium on windmills effective through the end of the year.


“It became clear we needed to educate ourselves about wind power,” said Richard Driscoll, a 30-year resident of Newfield and the newest town board member.

The Newfield board was unanimous in approving the moratorium at its July 10 meeting, he said.

In Enfield, which borders Newfield on the west, the town board held off on a vote July 9 on wind-farm developer John Rancich's proposal in order to send it back to the town attorney to get a stronger agreement.

Enfield Town Supervisor Frank Podufalski said from what he's seen and heard, a local wind law and a developer's agreement are used during wind farm projects, so asking Guy Krogh, the town attorney, to strengthen the agreement would allow the town board to eventually approve it.

The attorney expressed concerns over several portions of the agreement, most notably that the town has yet to adopt a local wind law. Councilman Herb Masser said the town planning board is close to submitting a proposal for the local law. All that's needed before passing it to the town are a few changes in the language, he said.

Rancich submitted the agreements in order to obtain the town's word that it won't block the Enfield project and so he may go ahead and sign a contract to purchase wind turbines. Steve Bauman, Rancich's associate, said the purchase could be as much as $10 million, which makes it prudent to seek an agreement with the town.

In Newfield, Council member Rich Dolge said board members favor renewable energy, but want to proceed carefully.

Dolge said he doesn't know of anyone in the Town of Newfield with even a personal windmill.

Driscoll said small personal windmills are less likely to cause concerns than wind farms. While investigating wind power, they didn't want to “entertain a request” for a big project.

The Town of Ithaca delayed a vote to allow residential windmills July 7, and a public hearing on the law is scheduled for the Town Board's meeting at 6:20 p.m. Aug. 11 in Town Hall, 215 N. Tioga St.

During a well-attended meeting on the law in June, the board heard concerns from town residents that allowing a 10-decibel increase above ambient sound level, as measured at a neighbor's property line, was too high.

During committee meetings in this month, board members reduced that to 8 decibels, but then added language allowing wind energy facilities to create up to 60 decibels of noise, “whichever is greater.”

Another public hearing on the law is scheduled during the Ithaca Town Board's Aug. 11 meeting at 6:20 p.m. in Town Hall, 215 N. Tioga St.

“We're very interested in what the Town of Ithaca comes up with,” Dolge said. “We don't want to reinvent the wheel. We're looking to take from the best.”

The next step in Newfield, after investigation and public hearings, would be legislation, Driscoll said.

“The moratorium is not in place because we're not interested in alternative energy development,” Dolge said. “We definitely want people to consider alternative energy sources.”

View of turbines from water will be disturbing

When St. Lawrence Wind submitted its draft environmental study to Cape Vincent, there was no assessment considering the viewshed impact from the St. Lawrence River. This is astounding and negligent considering much of Cape Vincent's economy is tourism based on water recreation. Many people will view this industrial wind plant from the water.

A major scenic entrance to town is via ferry from Wolfe Island which has a panoramic view of the entire wind project on the American shore. Shoreline residents on Carleton Island and Wolfe Island will be exposed to an uninterrupted view of the wind project's tremendous visual impact. On calm nights these shoreline residents will witness a bizarre spectacle of dozens of red strobes reflected in the water.

I believe I know why these particular visual studies were not included. Because it's impossible to mitigate the view of 425-feet monster wind turbines sitting on flat terrain when viewed over flat water. They would rather you not see the disturbing reality. Nor can you manipulate the visual impact as they do on land, by placing a tall object up close making turbines in the distance look small. If you have access to the river, you can witness the visual impact based on current towers of known height.

On the river near the head of Carleton Island, look for the tall, thin tower behind town. This is only turbine hub height, but you would add another 135 feet for the blade height. Don't confuse it with the cell towers which are much smaller.

If you are upriver of Linda Island, near green buoy 233, inland is another tower with a strobe on it. This tower is also only turbine hub height. You would add 135 feet here as well for blade height.

If you imagine 97 turbines with spinning blades and flashing strobes, based on these existing tower heights, and that these towers are smaller and much less obtrusive than what you will see, you start to realize the enormity of the impact.

If you can't get on the river I have provided animated simulations you can view by computer. They are accurate, and were done with engineering software using real distances and turbine sizes.

You can view them at: www.stlawrencewind.org, click on the links tab and look for new simulations. Or at: www.insigniodesign.com/sim/Project1.html or www.insigniodesign.com/sim/Project2.html. Please spread the word.

Art Pundt

Cape Vincent

Letter responding to Pat Wick Town Board member in Cattaraugus County

July 28, 2008

Dear Pat Wick:

I take exception to your disparaging and vitriolic comments made as a "Town Board member in Cattaraugus County" and directed at James Hall. Especially as Mr. Hall, and many others who are like minded, dedicate our valuable time and energy to defend your interests', and without re-numeration.

Your emotional diatribe about wind turbines is offered in context of what should be science-based, peer reviewed, and circumspect evaluation. The overblown benefits of wind energy and understated costs and risks associated with the same merit investigation by the Attorney General of the State of New York as well as by circumspect and respectful representatives of the public.

Casting aspersion on the messenger as you have indicates that you are woefully uniformed about the adverse impacts as well as the impracticality of this faith based initiative brought to you by industry. Perhaps you are not aware that PetroCats and WindCats are one in the same involved in the diversification of their energy investment portfolios. While carbon sink can be achieved by more earth friendly tree planting, conservation measures are not as profitable to industry, like GE and the entities represented by the American Wind Energy Association AWEA that are seeking tax sheltering opportunities--at the public expense. "Green is Green"

You may consider wind turbines to be kinetic art, while this is not an opinion shared by scores of homeowners whose idyllic peace, quiet, and tranquility has been shattered by them. If wind turbine noise is not a problem, then why do wind developers buy homes near them and create deed riders so that these developers will be held harmless for the noise they create? Do you suspect that the 3rd International Conference on Wind Turbine Noise held in Aalborg, Denmark last month was held and attended by "liars"?

I ask that you please investigate the facts as a representative of the public before leading the public down the primrose path that you've obviously taken. Please consider the supplemental information that I have provided if you are tasked with Town Planning and the creation of bylaws that attempt to address the public interest; such as set backs and wind turbine exclusion areas.

Sincerely,
Barbara Durkin
Northboro, MA

Pat Wick Town Board member in Cattaraugus County email to CWW

I just saw your video posted on You Tube and in your website of a windmill in Eagle, NY. I was there today. That video is an exaggeration and bold faced lie. None are positioned in "people's yards close to their houses" and none were noisy like jets. They were a gentle calming whoosh IF you heard anything. I got up to the base of them and have my own video. The loudest noise came from the base of the tower. Once I stepped about 10 feet away from it the sound wasn't there. We went to Eagle and were very impressed with the beauty of the wind mills and the quiet. The wind itself made more noise as well as the rustling of the corn in the corn fields. There was also constant wind keeping them going at all times that we were there. It was rather windy today on those hills too. I will work equally as hard to make sure people know you are lying as you do at your lying.

I also do not appreciate the fact that in YouTube you have it set so that no one can add comments to your video past the 3 that are negative as you are. I will post the best of my videos to show how you are exaggerating and lying.

I am a Town Board member in Cattaraugus County and sincerely hope we can get wind farms in our area. They are so beautiful and graceful. I also am 100% positive that the AG of NY will NOT find any improper dealings on the part of the companies you are trying to stop. Fossil fuels are going to be a thing of the past and you won’t be able to stop it.

Sincerely,

patwick@gmail.com

Pat Wick

Cattaraugus County NY

Charlotte OKs first-ever zoning code

SINCLAIRVILLE - For the first time, the town of Charlotte has a zoning law.

Following months of planning, hearings, and modifications, the new law, including several more changes, was adopted Wednesday night by the Town Board.

The action was carried out in a vote of 4 to 1, with council members Kenneth Bochmann, Henry Harper, Dennis Lewis, and Supervisor Gary Sargent voting yes, leaving Councilwoman Varsi Peterson casting the lone nay.

The board also adopted a zoning fee schedule, a duplicate of that of the town of Gerry, with exception of the wind energy met (meteorology) tower fee. The meeting was conducted by Lewis, in absence of Sargent, who was unable to attend all but a brief period at the end of the session.

It was a benchmark moment for property owners involved in a wind turbine energy project, planned for development by First Wind, formerly UPC Wind Management. However, Peterson warned that the board's failure to increase wind tower setbacks before the zoning law was adopted could lead to "serious problems" later on.

In comments following the board meeting, Peterson said she was a "strong supporter" of wind energy conversion. "I support wind energy, and I know the wind farm will mean more revenue for property owners and the town," she said, "but, I'm still convinced, after research and after talking with officials in other communities, that the wind tower setback for residences should be increased, and I can't in good conscience, vote for (the zoning law) if that is not changed.''

Peterson first called for a change in setback distances this past spring. In April, she suggested setbacks (distance between wind towers and roads and between towers and homes) be changed from 500 ft. to 1,000 ft. for roads, and from 1,000 ft., to 1,500 ft. for homes.

At that time, the board reluctantly agreed to a compromise, and the setbacks were increased to 750 ft for roads, and to 1,250 feet for houses.

Earlier in the session, town resident Patty Greenstein urged town officials to proceed with caution in connection with the development of the town's wind farm. "(Developers) are using our tax dollars for these projects..."

The town, she said, should make certain the best interests of property owners and the municipality are served. In comments later, Greenstein noted she was referring to government subsidies made available to development firms, whose costs for wind energy conversion systems may be subsidized up to 50 percent through NYSERDA (New York State Energy Renewal Development Agency.)

(Click to read entire article)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

UPC First Wind Cohocton, NY Lies

E.On moving ahead with Hartsville wind project

Hartsville, N.Y.

A wind developer is serious about operating turbines in Hartsville, a turn-around from just a year ago.

If all goes well, according to Doug Colbeck, vice president of Northeast development for the German energy company E.On, there will be wind turbines in Hartsville.

“We’re going to basically get going on the permitting process,” Colbeck said. “We wouldn’t be spending the money if we didn’t think we could get it approved.”

According to Colbeck, the company’s predecessor, Airtricity, held off on development because there was not enough weather data to determine if there is enough wind in Hartsville.

E.On, a German-owned company, purchased the North American division of the Irish-run Airtricity in October 2007.

“They’re (E.On) very interested in developing their wind portfolio here in the U.S.,” Colbeck said, adding the company is operating a wind farm in Hamilton and is planning or operating wind farms in Pennsylvania and through the western United States. “The market changes all the time.”

There have been several stops in the project so far, Colbeck said, adding there may be more in the future.

“A project lives and dies a thousand times before it gets off the ground,” he said. “We’re going to make the commitment.”

While getting the permits and negotiations completed, Colbeck said, one of the most important group of negotiations have been completed for some time.

“Most of our landowners are already signed up,” he said, adding no list of participating landowners is currently available to the public, but one will be included in the permit application.

According to Colbeck, E.On is looking at developing between 50 and 80 megawatts of power production at the site, which would mean between 33 and 46 turbines, but there are many factors that will play a role.

“Ultimately, we’re going to have to look at constructibility, wetlands issues and environmental impact,” he said, adding the number of turbines is not set in stone.

The turbines are expected to cover a large swath of ground in the town, Colbeck said, with some turbines in the north and some in the south.

While E.On is moving forward, Hartsville town Supervisor Steve Dombert is looking forward to what the townspeople will see in terms of compensation for the project’s impact on the town of around 500 residents.

Dombert, who was elected after a vocal campaign against the way previous town officials handled the project, said he is not fundamentally against wind power in Hartsville.

“I’m against it if it’s a bad deal, but I’m in favor of it if it’s a good package that helps people,” he said. “We need to look at the people who are being impacted but are being overlooked.”

The development — and the way the town board handled it — lead to the resignations of former Supervisor Amy Emerson and Deputy Supervisor George Prior. According to Dombert, the problems with the town board involved transferring lead agency status to Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, thus removing the town’s voice from the application process, as well as incomplete disclosure from town officials of their interest in the wind project.

With the town’s say in negotiations gone, Dombert believes it is hard to know what the town is getting out of the project.

“The problem is we don’t understand what we’re being offered,” he said, adding he is trying to get someone from E.On and SCIDA to come to a town board meeting and explain the Payment in Lieu of Taxes proposal and the community host agreement.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Gold rush" for wind energy fuels debate, allegations in small NY towns

MALONE -- The complaints last year were at first sporadic to Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne's office in this small North Country town.

Then the outcry grew. Residents were alleging undue influence was being put on local leaders to approve multi-million-dollar wind farms, with turbines 200 feet or taller, in their rural communities near the Canadian border.

To Champagne's dismay, he believed some of the public officials approving the contracts were also leasing their own land to the wind developers. Champagne found as many as seven town-board members in Franklin County who allegedly had conflicts of interest.

"These elected officials (who had lease agreements with wind developers) were the same ones who would have to pass the appropriate local legislation to allow them to be constructed," Champagne said in his office this week. "And they would do it."

As New York seeks to produce 25 percent of its energy through renewable sources by 2013, the push by developers and the state to expand wind farms is creating unintended results: bitterly divided communities, accusations of corruption and complaints of poor state oversight over a new type of energy.

Champagne calls it New York's version of the "gold rush" and said it's the next Enron scandal in the making. He sent out a memo to every town board in the county urging them to adopt stronger ethical codes.

Some critics question whether the wind farms will produce adequate wind energy, or are being built to tap into public aid and to sell wind-energy credits in the open market to help offset pollution from other industries.

Michael Lawrence, supervisor of Brandon in Franklin County, said the battle over whether to have a wind farm "has created devastation in the community." Champagne has turned over his cardboard box of documents on cases across the state to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Last week, Cuomo issued subpoenas to two of New York's major wind-farm developers, saying "if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."

The investigation comes as wind-farm companies are lining up at small towns' doors with deep pockets and with the promise of economic development for governments starved for new revenue to fund schools, fix roads and pay for emergency services.

There are roughly 65 wind projects in development in New York and about eight already operating, mainly in the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and North Country regions. The state plans to have online about 1,000 megawatts of wind power - enough to potentially power about 800,000 homes - by year's end.

Advocates and land owners under contract with wind companies say the projects come at an opportune time because of skyrocketing fuel costs.

Paul Wolcott, a farmer from Cohocton, Steuben County, said he expects to have 13 wind turbines operated by First Wind, based in Newton, Mass., on his property later this year. He will get a percentage of the revenue from the energy sold to suppliers.

"What a waste of taxpayers' dollars for the attorney general to be investigating this," Wolcott said. "Here we are talking about getting an alternative source of energy, a renewable source that's local."

First Wind and Noble Environmental Power LLC., based in Essex, Conn., are being investigated by Cuomo's office. A First Wind spokesman could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and a Noble spokeswoman declined comment. Both companies said last week that they are cooperating with the investigation.

Opponents said their issue is not over whether wind is a viable alternative energy source. They are concerned that wind companies are running roughshod over ill-prepared town boards, which are the final arbiters for the projects, and allege that companies are specifically entering agreements with town officials to grease the process.

In Prattsburgh, Steuben County, Supervisor Harold McConnell has come under fire for voting on wind-farm issues and also reportedly having a contract with a wind developer, according to the Naples Record.

In Monroe County, Hamlin residents have questioned the role of town board member Paul Rath, who said he has a land lease with a developer but has been abstaining from votes pertaining to wind energy. He did, however, vote to start a Wind Advisory Committee and voted to put on board members.

Groups allege other instances in which public officials negotiate agreements with wind companies, then leave office and go to work for them.

"We need a consistent, thorough, comprehensive regulatory process that oversees the development of all these projects," said James Hall, a founder of the Cohocton Wind Watch group.

Hall and others contend that the state plays a minimal role in the oversight of wind farms. Lawmakers have been trying to get the situation under a more unified state system, but have spent years debating a new power plant siting plan.

"It puts a lot of pressure on municipalities who have to make tough decisions," said Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, which represents wind companies and wind-energy supporters.

Murphy said "we expect our members to uphold the highest, strictest standards of developing projects," and said groups opposing the wind farms often make baseless claims.

She and some state regulatory officials said the state provides adequate oversight and only provides aid and incentives to properly vetted projects.

"They can't sell any credits without producing energy," said John Saintcross, senior project manager for the state Energy Research and Development Authority.

Some of the groups' protests have made their way to court. In the town of Howard, Steuben County, Gerald Hedman is suing to have town-board member William Hatch, who is also the county Republican chairman, thrown off the board for alleged conflicts of interest. The case is to be heard in October in state appellate court in Rochester.

The lawsuit contends that Hatch spent years negotiating with a wind company and has voted on local laws that impact wind development, according to Hedman's attorney, Arthur Giacalone. This year Hatch officially entered an agreement with EverPower Renewables to potentially put turbines on his property, but he said has since recused himself when the board is dealing with wind-farm issues.

"They have been suing us for every reason they can and this appears to be the last one them can up with, I guess," Hatch said of the wind-farm opponents. He said he only has a land-lease option with the company and won't receive any money unless they build on his land.

Meanwhile, if the town gets the 25 wind towers proposed, it could mean a 40 percent reduction in town taxes through payments in lieu of taxes the company makes to the local government, Hatch said.

"For the community, it's a great thing," he said.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Schools opt out of tax exempt status of wind farms

The Westfield and Ripley school districts, as well as some municipalities such as the town of Portland, have chosen to opt out of the tax exempt status wind energy developers are eligible to receive.

"Wind farms fall under some tax exemption which taxing jurisdictions can reject (opt out of)," Peter Gross of Babcock and Brown explained. "This requires that we get a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with the county, otherwise our assets would be assessed at their full value, resulting in a tax payment that would kill the project economics.

"The PILOT agreements provide for lower payments instead of taxes. Those payments are then split between the town, county, and school districts in the project area. That is the route that we intend on pursuing and that most others have pursued as well."

The Westfield and Ripley Boards of Education recently passed resolutions providing that "no exemption provided under 487 of the New York State real property tax law shall be applicable within this jurisdiction."

"As far as we know, most districts and municipalities are opting out to ensure we receive tax revenue from these properties as we always have even if they become wind farms," said Ripley School Board President Robert Bentley.

According to Gross, with the PILOT arrangement, the landowner does not have any tax responsibility due to the wind farm assets.

"We were aware that all taxing jurisdiction had or would be opting-out," Gross continued. "We are not aware of any action we can take to keep the tax exemption so we intend on pursuing the PILOT route. I have already been in very preliminary discussion with the Chautauqua county industrial development agency (IDA) about the PILOT agreement and they support this process for us and other wind developers in the county (those being Horizon, Noble, and First Wind/UPC)."

Babcock and Brown has previously stated at public meetings that they would pursue the PILOT agreement.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

NYISO Issues 2008 Comprehensive Reliability Plan

Market-based solutions address reliability of New York's bulk electricity grid through 2017

RENSSELAER, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has approved the 2008 Comprehensive Reliability Plan (CRP) for New York’s bulk electricity grid. According to the plan, proposed market-based solutions, together with implementation of planned upgrades to the bulk power system, meet or exceed reliability requirements through 2017.

The CRP is the product of the NYISO’s Comprehensive Reliability Planning Process (CRPP), which provides a blueprint for meeting the reliability needs of the state’s bulk electricity grid over a 10-year planning horizon.

In response to its 2008 Reliability Needs Assessment (RNA), released in December 2007 as the first stage of the CRPP cycle, the NYISO solicited and received proposals for market-based solutions to the reliability needs identified in the RNA. The market-based proposals submitted to the NYISO total 3,380 megawatts (MW), consisting of:

425 MW of demand-side management,
1,905 MW of generation, and
1,050 MW of transmission.
The 2008 CRP reports that resource adequacy and transmission security criteria will be met by development of at least 2,350 MW of the 3,380 MW proposed as market-based solutions. To address specific reliability needs within the state:

1,000 MW of new resources should be located in or available to serve New York City,
1,050 MW should be located in the lower Hudson Valley, and
300 MW can be located anywhere in New York State.
"Sufficient solutions to reliability needs are continuing to come from companies competing to provide electricity to New Yorkers and prepared to invest in the resources needed to serve consumer demand,” said Stephen G. Whitley, NYISO President and Chief Executive Officer.

“The reliability plan provides assurance that we can keep the lights on for the foreseeable future. However, we face an array of emerging energy challenges. New York must maintain and enhance an aging bulk power system, develop ways to relieve our reliance on expensive fossil fuels, and address crucial environmental concerns. The NYISO is prepared to supply policymakers with the objective analysis and technical expertise necessary to make informed decisions for the future,” he noted.

The NYISO received market-based proposals that are over 1,000 MW in excess of the minimum needed to meet resource adequacy and transmission security criteria. The NYISO does not choose which projects will be built. Rather, it is up to the proponents to proceed with, and the relevant state and federal siting and permitting agencies to approve, the specific projects. The development status of the proposals is monitored on a quarterly basis by the NYISO.

Other milestones identified in the 2008 CRP include actions to:

Maintain the in-service date for Consolidated Edison’s M29 transmission project, a new 345-kilovolt transmission line from an existing substation in the City of Yonkers to a new substation in Manhattan. In the 2008 RNA, this project was assumed to be in service for summer 2010. The planned in-service date is now prior to summer 2011. Further delay could cause reliability concerns in New York City for 2011 in the absence of other improvements or additions.

Implement the plans of transmission owners (Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Consolidated Edison, Long Island Power Authority, New York State Electric & Gas, National Grid, Orange & Rockland, and Rochester Gas and Electric) for transmission upgrades, firm external capacity delivered via the Neptune cable, and non-bulk power system projects.

Maintain bulk power system voltage performance, including ongoing review of the factors that affect performance such as modeling of system loads, testing of generator reactive capability, metering, and load power factor.
The report also states that, at this time, New York does not have to implement “regulated backstop solutions” offered by transmission owners or “alternative regulated solutions” submitted by other developers. Market-based solutions are financed by investment dollars. Regulated solutions are funded by consumer electricity rates.

The CRP report identifies a number of factors that could affect the plan, including:

*the absence of a streamlined siting process for new generating facilities,
*fuel diversity and fuel supply infrastructure concerns,
*dependence on capacity from neighboring regions and the related impact of the forward capacity markets in those regions,
*the value of long-term price certainty for market-based projects,
*the potential for additional plant retirements due to economic or environmental factors,
*the results of regulations initiated to comply with ozone standards,
*the impact of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and its planned auctions of emission allowances, and
*the effects on electricity demand from implementation of New York State’s Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS).

The NYISO will closely monitor all risk factors through its planning process.

Over 7,000 MW of new power plants and merchant transmission projects have come into operation in New York since the formation of the NYISO wholesale electricity markets. The new projects are predominantly located in the downstate region, where reliability needs have been the greatest.

The 2008 CRP is the culmination of the NYISO’s third planning cycle. In each cycle, the market has responded with project proposals to meet identified reliability needs. More than 3,000 MW of market-based projects, submitted during the NYISO’s first two planning process cycles, are moving forward on schedule.

The full report, The Comprehensive Reliability Plan 2008: A Long-Term Reliability Assessment of New York’s Bulk Power System, is available for download at www.nyiso.com.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) - www.nyiso.com - is a not-for-profit corporation that began operations in 1999. The NYISO operates New York's bulk electricity grid, administers the state's wholesale electricity markets, and performs comprehensive reliability planning for the state's bulk electricity system.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

First Wind Encounters Trouble In New York

Massachusetts-based First Wind, formerly known as UPC Wind, is the subject of allegations of wrongdoing in New York, along with a Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power LLC, according to the New York Attorney General's Office.

First Wind is the firm behind the wind farm proposal in Sheffield.

N.Y. Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo alleges there have been improper dealings with public officials as well as anti-competitive practices.

Subpoenas were served on First Wind, based in Newton, Mass., and the Essex, Conn.-based Noble Environmental Power, according to the AG's office in New York. Complaints from citizens, groups and public officials in eight New York counties led to the investigation, the statement said.

"The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and our reliance on fossil fuels," Cuomo said. "However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."

The AG's subpoenas of the two companies is seeking documents connected with any benefits given any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity; agreements, easements or contracts regarding placement of wind turbines; agreements between wind companies which may indicate anti-competitive practices; and all documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies, the AG's statement says.

John Lamontagne, First Wind's director of communications, said in a brief e-mail response Wednesday to questions about the New York allegations, "We have received the New York attorney general's subpoena and we are reviewing it.

"We intend to fully cooperate with his office's review," Lamontagne said of the probe into First Wind's practices in New York. "Unfortunately, there isn't much we can tell you in terms of responding to the New York attorney general's statement," he said.

In Vermont, people saw the New York subpoena story on the evening television news. News of the New York probe was in the hands of watchdogs in the Northeast Kingdom who are fighting the arrival of a wind farm in the area.

JoAnn Stefanski of Barton on Wednesday was eager to share word of the New York probe.

"This is one of the reasons we in Barton are fighting so hard to exclude commercial wind from our ridge lines," she said in an e-mail.

"Until we find out what their impact will have on Sheffield and know that UPC (now First Wind) is a reputable company, we need to protect ourselves by closing the door to such development," Stefanski said. "It can always be opened, but once they are here, it cannot be closed."

Paul Brouha of Sheffield, one of the people who formed Ridge Protectors, which is fighting the state's approval of First Wind, said, "I guess we need to wait and see what he finds out. I guess that's about what I'd say. We've got our own feelings about how we've been dealt with, and I guess ours is just anecdotes and it'll be nice to have somebody that has the resources to assess just how their practices measure up. We will be interested, yes."

The Sheffield wind project was approved by Vermont Public Service Board in August 2007. The project calls for 16 turbines which will be 430 feet to the tip of the blade, Brouha said.

The state's approval is being challenged in a suit now being considered by the Vermont Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the case in Montpelier in May.

First Wind has three wind farms in operation and 48 others in development across the country, including the one in Sheffield, its Web site reads.

The company was founded in 2002.

CWW Media/Press Release - AG Industrial Wind Investigation

COHOCTON WIND WATCH

Seeks Wind Industry Public Accountability

Cohocton Wind Watch is gratified with the decision of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to launch a formal investigation into the business practices of First Wind/UPC Wind and Noble Environmental Power. This groundbreaking inquiry includes conduct of Public Officials and evidence of Wind Industry Anti-Competitive Practices.

CWW has compiled comprehensive evidence, volumes of empirical data and a paper trail of proof that public officials, developers and their agents and leaseholders have acted collectively to defraud NYS. With this AG announcement of an active investigation, claims and allegations of the industrial wind fraud and wrongdoing will finally be scrutinized by the highest level of law enforcement.

A special thanks goes to District Attorney Derek Champagne of Franklin County who profiles the very best traits of public service and enforcement of the rule of law. New York State has heard the outrage of thousands of exploited residents and scores of courageous community organizations. The diligent efforts, research, and documentation of scores of ordinary people finally bears fruit. Now this evidence will hopefully serve as the basis and proof of illegal conduct. All New Yorkers deserve judicial accountability for corruption and predatory developers.

The penalties of Anti-trust transgressions are severe. As the legal system works its way through the inquiry, CWW is confident that the evidence will justify grand juries, indictments, trials and convictions.

Cohocton Wind Watch supports the advancement of rational and economically beneficial alternative energy technology. First Wind/UPC Wind and Noble Environmental Power projects are not able to fulfill those standards. Industrial Wind developers want the public to believe their venture generates meaningful “Green Electricity”. The use of NYSERDA public funds by wind developers places an obligation on them to prove that ample prevailing wind patterns exist at their project sites. Wind developers refuse to release the data from test towers. Implication is clear! Much of the New York State has insufficient wind for these industrial turbines to become a reliable electric generating source.

More important, both companies and their dozens of corporate variants engage in a scheme of deception and duplicity. Remember the lesson of Enron’s lies and criminal activity, which lead to disastrous consequences for utility ratepayers. The Industrial Wind Swindle will be exposed in court.

Cohocton not surprised by wind investigation

COHOCTON, N.Y. -- The owner of a dairy farm has been working with First Wind for years to put more than a dozen turbines on his land in Cohocton.

"It's been a very good relationship. We've worked together to get this project underway," said Lent Hill Dairy Farm owner Paul Wolcott.

Turbines are starting to dot Cohocton's hills and some landowners say First Wind is staying cooperative.

"They seem up front and they've done about everything they said they were going to do," said Pine Hill landowner Doug Schwingel.

"It's been a team effort. It hasn't been push and shove. Everything we've done, we've done on our own free will," Wolcott said.

Now the state is investigating whether that's been the case across the board. Members of Cohocton Wind Watch say it hasn't.

"We've uncovered evidence throughout the past couple of years of very questionable business practices: anti-trust violations, potential bribery, fraud that's been going on," said James Hall.

The New York State Attorney General's Office is looking into whether First Wind did anything improper when it got permission to build turbines in Cohocton and in other areas. Landowners say they're not surprised by the investigation.

"There are will people who are emotionally opposed to this project. And they have tried to stir up as much dissension as they can through the whole thing. I think their claims are going to be unfounded," Wolcott said.

"We feel that the resources of New York State are well used to investigate and to hopefully prosecute wrongdoers," Hall said.

Whatever the state finds, it seems what won't change are the divided opinions and new landscape in Cohocton.

The Cohocton Town Supervisor was not in town for comment Wednesday.

A spokesperson for First Wind says the company has received the Attorney General's subpoena and is prepared to fully cooperate in the investigation.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wind developer under investigation

Albany, N.Y.

The developer of two local wind farms is under investigation by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for alleged improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.

First Wind, formerly known as UPC, was served with subpoenas by the AG’s office Tuesday, according to a press release from Cuomo’s staff.

Based in Massachusetts, First Wind has projects in the towns of Prattsburgh and Cohocton, as well as Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties and an off-shore wind farm in Erie County.

Also included in the investigation is a second developer, Noble Environmental Power, which has projects in Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin and Wyoming counties.
“The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels,” Cuomo said in a statement. “However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it.”

First Wind officials said they had received the subpoenas from Cuomo and will fully cooperate with his office.

The investigation will not slow the projects now under way, according to spokesman John Lamontagne.

“First Wind intends to continue our operations and activities as we normally would,” Lamontagne said.

The news of the subpoenas was greeted with delight by the projects’ opponents in Prattsburgh and Cohocton.

“We’re extremely happy the attorney general is finally looking into the corruption repeated throughout the state and throughout the county,” said Judith Hall, of Cohocton. “We’ve been working toward this for some time.”

Hall’s husband and Cohocton Wind Watch founder James Hall deferred comment until a later date.

In Prattsburgh, where the first wind farm in Steuben County was proposed nearly six years ago, one project opponent said the investigation means the truth about the industry will become public.

“For five years I have been asking, wanting to know whether the commercial wind power projects, as proposed, are truly effective,” said Ruthe Matilsky. “There has been flagrant conflict of interest in Prattsburgh and because of the conflict of interest the realities of the project have been ignored.”

“Oh, this is just the beginning,” Matilsky added. Wind farm projects have been the subject of controversy since they were first proposed in early 2003, and have bitterly divided towns.

Supporters say the wind farms provide essential, renewable energy and allow small towns to raise much-needed revenues without increasing property taxes.

But opponents charge the projects are overrated as energy sources and claim the projects harm the local environment and community.

There has been litigation in every town that has encouraged a project, with a number of lawsuits and appeals already under way in Prattsburgh, Cohocton and Howard.

The wind farm in Howard is being developed by another company, EverPower.
The state investigation appears to dovetail with some existing local legal action, notably in the area of conflict of interest.

Officials in both Prattsburgh and Howard have been cited in lawsuits for using their influence or acting inappropriately in favor of the wind projects.

The subpoenas served on First Wind seek, among other things:
• All documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity.
• All agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines.
• Agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices.
• All documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

Attorney General Cuomo subpoenas Noble Environmental Power by Calvin Luther Martin

Sometime yesterday (7-15-08), NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued a stunning press release, “Attorney General Cuomo Launches Investigation into Wind Power Companies’ Conduct across Upstate New York.”

Noble Environmental Power is one of them. (The other, UPC Wind, operates downstate.) The investigation is based on months of research by the Attorney General’s office, including a discreet visit to Malone by an Assistant Attorney General to interview town officers and other interested parties.

“The allegations include accusations that the companies improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with public officials and the officials’ relatives and acquaintances; gave bribes and other improper benefits to public officials; and entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices…. A Cuomo spokesman added that the two subpoenas are just the beginning. ‘This is an initial part of an ongoing investigation,’ said spokesman John Milgrim” (The Buffalo News, 7/16/08, p. A2).

The impetus for this statewide investigation (which, by the way, is the first of its kind in the nation) came from right here, by golly—from Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, responding to voluminous complaints that the wind developers were not playing by the rules. Readers of this page will recall an article we did this spring, “Where the Buck Stops,” which began with:

Last week, District Attorney Derek Champagne forcefully stepped into the vacuum of government control over conflicts of interest between municipal officers and the wind developers. Up till then, every single NYS agency had been passing the buck about enforcing NYS General Municipal Law (GML) against (obvious) conflicts of interest.

And it ended with this:

Meanwhile, while this story plays out, mark this date on your calendar, April 2, 2008. The day the buck stopped with District Attorney Derek Champagne. The day “clean, green, renewable” wind energy moved from town hall to county courthouse—where, tragically, it belongs. It is said History repeats itself. Enron’s hubris drove it into corruption, then court, then jail.

Attorney General Cuomo’s announcement opens Chapter Two of this narrative: Courthouse.

RiverCityMalone applauds Mr. Champagne for initiating this inquiry and getting the AG involved. The word “applause” is not enough; we’re talking, folks, about one damn good DA. This took uncommon vision and determination. And lots of work. The man deserves a ticker tape parade.

All this is not to hang Noble. One of the most critical institutions in America is due process before the law. Let Noble have its day in court. At the same time let the people of this state, represented by their attorney general, examine all the evidence Noble has in its possession.

Noble, for its part, has issued a press release promising full cooperation. (This is of course standard from corporations that suddenly find themselves on the legal hot seat. See Enron.)

Meanwhile, the turbines go up. Daily. Whether Noble’s turbines have been producing any electricity is a good question. (Yes, they’ve been spinning, but that’s not the same as generating power.) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) maintains a website (click here) whereon anyone can find out precisely how much electricity Noble’s windfarms are producing. (Not just Noble and not just wind energy, but all producers of electricity throughout the country.) FERC does not show any power generation for Noble’s windfarms through June 30, 2008. This may be because the production figures are still being processed, or because there has been no power generated so far. It’s unclear.

Cuomo probing wind farm dealings

Two wind power companies developing windmill projects in Western New York — including Steel Winds on the old Bethlehem Steel plant site in Lackawanna — are under investigation by State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo for possible improper dealings with local government officials.

Subpoenas were served Tuesday on First Wind, the lead developer of Steel Winds, which is also developing larger, rural “wind farms” in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties; and Noble Environmental Power, with three working wind farms and five in development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin and Wyoming counties.

“The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it,” he said.

Cuomo’s office has received numerous complaints from private citizens and public officials in eight counties — including Erie — alleging “improper relations between the companies and local officials” and other questionable practices.

The allegations include accusations that the companies improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with public officials and the officials’ relatives and acquaintances; gave bribes and other improper benefits to public officials; and entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

The subpoenas issued Tuesday were for all documents related to any benefits conferred to an individual or entity in connection with wind farms; all agreements, easements or contracts regarding placement of wind turbines; agreements between wind companies that could indicate anti-competitive practices; and anything pertaining to payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies, according to Cuomo’s office.

A Cuomo spokesman added that the two subpoenas are just the beginning. “This is an initial part of an ongoing investigation,” said spokesman John Milgrim.

John Lamontagne, spokesman for First Wind, acknowledged the Newton, Mass.-based company had received the subpoena and said: “We intend to fully cooperate with [Cuomo’s] office.”

Noble Environmental, of Essex, Conn., issued a statement: “The company is in the process of reviewing the subpoena and will cooperate fully with the attorney general. We are confident the attorney general’s inquiry will find that Noble’s actions have been legal and proper and we look forward to his review.”

Lackawanna Mayor Norman Polanski said neither Steel Winds, made up of eight turbines each taller than Buffalo City Hall, nor the City of Lackawanna, is affected by the probe.

“We’re not involved at all,” Polanski said.

He pointed out that the city entered into an agreement over Steel Winds with the project’s other developer, BQ Energy, and that BQ Energy was not under investigation.

“We had no dealings with First Wind,” he said.

Polanski added that he did not receive kickbacks from any of the developers. “I got a model windmill and a shirt,” he said, and nothing else.

Last week, the Lackawanna Planning Board approved site plans for the second phase of Steel Winds, which would add 13 turbines to the current project.

Wind farm opponents were thrilled by the news that Cuomo’s office is looking into the two developers.

“We’re ecstatic that [Cuomo] is finally listening to what New York State taxpayers have been saying: that this is nothing but a total rip-off of the taxpayer,” said Judy Hall, a member of Cohocton Wind Watch, which is fighting a First Wind wind farm in its community.

Hall complained that communities aren’t made aware of proposed wind farms until they’re already approved and accused local leaders and developers of striking under-the-table deals to get the projects approved.

“We’re keeping our ear to the ground, and we’ll continue to provide information,” Hall vowed. “We just feel energized today.”

Noble wind-energy firm under investigation

CHATEAUGAY -- Noble Environmental Power LLC and a second wind-energy firm are under investigation by the state Attorney General's Office for "improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices."

"We've had a number of complaints from counties all over the state, from Franklin all the way over to Erie," said John Milgrim, spokesman for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne was among "DAs from eight counties, public officials and citizens" who bombarded Albany with complaints about Noble and Massachusetts-based First Wind, formerly known as UPC Wind, he said.

Subpoenas were served on both companies Tuesday, seeking an assortment of documents pertaining to agreements and easements obtained from property owners and public officials.

Noble, which is based in Chester, Conn., has three wind farms in operation and five in development in Clinton, Franklin, Allegany, Chautauqua and Wyoming counties.

First Wind has three operational wind farms and 48 others under development across the United States and in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Noble said it has received the subpoena and that "the company is in the process of reviewing the subpoena and will cooperate fully with the Attorney General.

"We are confident the Attorney General's inquiry will find that Noble's actions have been legal and proper, and we look forward to his review," the statement concludes.

Cuomo's subpoenas seek:

All documentation about the benefits individuals or entities received in connection with wind-farm activity; all easements, agreements and contracts individuals were awarded as far as turbine placement; and agreements that could be viewed as anti-competitive practices, all paperwork concerning payments or benefits received by local, state or federal agencies.

The Attorney General will determine:

Whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials.

Whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions.

Whether the wind-farm companies entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

WLEA Radio Report on AG Cuomo Industrial Wind Investigation - #2 Report

Wind companies being investigated

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reported today he has started investigating two companies developing and operating wind farms amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.

One of the companies served a subpoena is Massachusetts-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind). First Wind began construction last fall of roughly 50 turbines in Cohocton, located in Steuben County just over the Ontario County line. First Wind also has plans for a 36-turbine project in Prattsburgh and Naples.

Wind farms are clusters of large electricity-generating turbines powered by wind and connected to the electric grid.

The investigation seeks to find out whether First Wind and Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power LLC sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials through bribes and submitted false statements for permits and during environmental studies.

The Office of the Attorney General said it is responding to complaints from citizens, groups and officials in eight counties.

Back in May, wind-farm opponents pressed the state Attorney General’s Office for an investigation into allegations of false claims, filing false instruments, bribery of public officials, larceny and fraud. Those accused by Cohocton Wind Watch of illegal actions are the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, SCIDA Executive Director James Sherron, town and planning board members in several towns including Cohocton and Prattsburgh, and wind developers EcoGen and First Wind.

Allegations by citizens’ group include: the wind developers knowingly provided and submitted false statements and false instruments for permits and during environmental studies; the developers improperly influenced public officials through cash bribes, lucrative lease terms, bogus real estate transactions, purchase of personal property and contingent real estate purchase offers; developers seeking leases for wind turbine sites or easements for access roads and transmission lines have lied to convince landowners to sign away their rights.

The Attorney General's subpoenas seek, among other things:

• All documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind-farm activity.

• All agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines.

• Agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices.

• All documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

First Wind has three operational wind farms and 48 others in development across the country, according to its Web site. First Wind developed the Steel Winds wind farm in Erie County and has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

Noble Environmental Power LLC has three active wind farms and five in development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin and Wyoming counties.

Cuomo's Office Investigating Wind Farms - WGRZ-TV

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo is launching an investigation into two companies that have developed and operate wind farms across New York state, including Western New York.

The Attorney General's office says subpoenas were served on First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) and Noble Environment Power, LLC.

According to First Wind's website, the company developed the Steel Winds wind farm in Lackawanna and has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming (GenWY Wind) counties. The Attorney General's office says Noble Environmental Power, LLC, has three active wind farms and five in development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin and Wyoming Counties.

According to Cuomo's office, both First Wind and Noble Environmental Power are part of an investigation into whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions, and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices. The Attorney General's subpoenas seek:

All documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity.

All agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines.

Agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices.

All documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

The Attorney General's office says it has received numerous complaints regarding the two companies from citizens, groups and public officials alleging improper relations and practices.

Noble Enviornmental Power released this statement from CEO Walt Howard:

"Noble has received a civil subpoena from the Attorney General of New York State regarding wind development activities in New York. The company is in the process of reviewing the subpoena and will cooperate fully with the Attorney General. We are confident the Attorney General's inquiry will find that Noble's actions have been legal and proper and we look forward to his review."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

WLEA Radio Report on AG Cuomo Industrial Wind Investigation

Cuomo: Celebrate, but still investigate, alternative energy sources

ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York's top lawyer has swept into the world of wind farms, demanding information on the business practices of two companies that own renewable energy-producing turbines across the state.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the investigation Tuesday. He says there have been allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices against First Wind and Noble Environmental Power.

"The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels," Cuomo said. "However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."

Cuomo said the investigation will determine if the two companies, both based out of state: Improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; if improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions; and if they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

Cuomo's subpoenas seek:

-Documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity;

-Agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines;

-Agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices; and

-Documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

First wind has three wind farms currently in operation and 48 others in development across the country.

Noble Environmental Power has three active wind farms and five more in development.

Attorney General Launches Probe Into Wind Farm Companies

The Office of the New York State Attorney General is investigating two wind farm companies for alleged improper dealings.

Officials are looking into the corporations First Wind and Noble Environmental Power.

Those companies are accused of giving improper benefits to land owners and public officials to influence their actions.

First Wind and Noble Environmental operate wind farms in upstate New York but are not connected to Lewis County’s wind farm and their websites list no interests in the tri-county area.

Wind farm deals under investigation

The state attorney general is launching an investigation aimed at two out-of-state companies developing wind farms in Lackawanna and across New York.

The probe, announced Tuesday, comes amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.

Investigators have served subpoenas on Newton, Mass.,-based First Wind and Essex, Conn.,-based Noble Environmental Power LLC. First Wind built the Steel Winds project along Lake Erie in the city of Lackawanna and has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming (GenWY Wind) counties. Noble Environmental Power LLC has three active wind farms and five in development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin and Wyoming counties.

The companies are being investigated to see if they improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions, and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

"We have received the subpoena from the attorney general's office, and we intend to fully cooperate with his office," said First Wind spokesperson John LaMontagne.

In a Business First story reported the week of July 4, some officials in Lackawanna questioned the agreements negotiated by Mayor Norman Polanski with First Wind for construction of eight electricity-generating windmills on the former Bethlehem Steel site and a plan to construct 18 more turbines.

In recent months, the attorney general's office said it has received numerous complaints regarding the two companies from citizens, groups and public officials in eight counties alleging improper relations between the companies and local officials and other improper practices.

"The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels," said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. "However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."

Wind farms are clusters of large turbines powered by wind and connected to the electric grid.

AG launches investigation into wind power companies

STATEWIDE -- State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launches an investigation into the alleged actions of two wind power companies developing wind farms in New York State.

Subpoenas were served on First Wind -- formerly known as UPC Wind -- and Noble Environmental Power, LLC.

Cuomo's office is looking into whether or not companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements, if improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions, and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

First Wind has several wind farms in development, including one in Steuben County. Noble Environmental Power has farms in development in Clinton and Franklin counties.

State launches investigation of wind farm developers

First Wind, with Steuben County projects, is one target of probe

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday his office has launched an investigation of the practices of two wind farm developers, including one with projects in Steuben County.

The investigation will focus on Massachusetts-based First Wind, which has wind farms under development in the Cohocton area of Steuben County, and Noble Environmental Power LLC. Noble is based in Essex, Conn.

Cuomo said in a news release that the probe resulted from numerous complaints by citizens, organizations and local officials in eight counties. The complaints alleged improper relations between the companies and local officials and other illegal practices.

Some of those complaints came from Cohocton Wind Watch, a citizens’ group that has opposed the Cohocton-area projects and accused First Wind of illegal activities.

“We deserve a little bit of the credit,” said James Hall, the group’s spokesman. “We’re very pleased to hear about the investigation. Anti-trust violations have been rampant in this industry and we need to hold questionable developers accountable for their conduct.”

Hall said he places First Wind at the top of the list of questionable developers. His group publicly claimed earlier that First Wind had made improper payments to local officials.

First Wind did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO WIND POWER COMPANIES' CONDUCT ACROSS UPSTATE NEW YORK

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO WIND POWER COMPANIES’ CONDUCT ACROSS UPSTATE NEW YORK

Allegations of Improper Dealings with Public Officials and Anti-Competitive Practices

Subpoenas Served on First Wind/UPC Wind and Noble Environmental Power, LLC

ALBANY, NY (July 15, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced today the launching of an investigation into two companies developing and operating wind farms across New York state amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.

Wind farms are clusters of large electricity-generating turbines powered by wind and connected to the electric grid.

Subpoenas were served on Newton, Massachusetts-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) and Essex, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power, LLC. They are part of an investigation into whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions, and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

In recent months, the Office of the Attorney General has received numerous complaints regarding the two companies from citizens, groups and public officials in eight counties alleging improper relations between the companies and local officials and other improper practices.

“The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it.”

The Attorney General’s subpoenas seek, among other things:

• All documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity.

• All agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines.

• Agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices.

• All documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

First Wind has three operational wind farms and 48 others in development across the country, according to its web site. First Wind developed the Steel Winds wind farm in Erie County and has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming (GenWY Wind) counties.

Noble Environmental Power, LLC, has three active wind farms and five in development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin and Wyoming Counties.

The investigation is being led by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Heffner of the Syracuse Regional Office under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Ellen Biben, who oversees the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau. Assisting in the case are Investigators Thomas Wolf, David Bruce and Andrea Burnham.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Schumer presses for utility-merger deal

ALBANY — To end a deadlock with the state, a Spanish company that wants to buy an upstate utility should agree to sweeten the deal for ratepayers, and state regulators should allow the firm to generate some wind power, Sen. Charles Schumer urged today as a way keep the deal alive.

"Both sides of the table must take a few steps forward if we want to bring low rates, high service, jobs and renewable energy to New York State," said Schumer, D-Brooklyn.

Schumer wants the company, Iberdrola, to put $640 million into a fund to offset potential rate hikes and put more money behind its announced plan to invest $2 billion in new wind-power projects.

He also wants the state Public Service Commission to drop its insistence that the company sell off its wind-generation facilities in New York and abandon plans to build more.

"The PSC needs to stop stonewalling Iberdrola's efforts to bring absolutely vital, cutting-edge energy assets to the state,'' Schumer said, "while Iberdrola needs to firm up their commitments and give a tangible incentive for the state to approve the deal.''

The proposed $4.5 billion sale to Iberdrola of Energy East, the company that owns Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and the New York State Electric and Gas Co., has been held up by disputes about the wind-power and rate-protection issues.

The staff of the commission has recommended against approval of the merger, which already has the approval of regulators in Washington and three other states, without significant modifications. A decision by the five-member commission is expected in August or September.

Iberdrola so far has offered to put $200 million into a fund to offset rate hikes, and also has committed $100 million to wind-energy development, while saying it hopes to spend as much as $2 billion on the projects. Schumer wants $440 million more in that fund and firmer commitments to develop more wind energy.

The two utilities serve about 3 million customer upstate and in the Hudson Valley.
Schumer said he met with commission Chairman Garry Brown last Friday. He wouldn't disclose details, but termed the session a "positive meeting.''

"As long as all involved parties here can find a way to make sure that rates don't skyrocket for the consumer, this deal should be a no-brainer,'' Schumer said. "At stake here are not just thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for New York's economy, but our entire state's sustainability and viability for generations to come."

There was no immediate comment from the Public Service Commission.

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