Cohocton Wind Watch: September 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




********************************************************************

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DEC adds concerns on Galloo project

Environmental Conservation added several sections that will be required in the environmental impact statement for Galloo Island Wind Farm, under the final scoping document it has released.

As lead agency for the environmental review on the project, DEC held two public hearings on the required studies in June.

Upstate NY Power, backed by Babcock & Brown Ltd., is developing the 268.8-megawatt, 84-turbine wind farm. Set on Galloo Island, six miles from the mainland, the project requires temporary housing, food service and health care structures for up to 250 workers during construction.

"We had good turnout from the public at the scoping hearings," DEC project manager Stephen M. Tomasik said. "We did respond positively to several comments."

He specifically cited security and archaeological concerns that were added to the scope.

There are remains of historic activities or features that may be destroyed during construction, such as features from the cedar shingle industry. A mitigation measure was added under which photographic and written documentation of the feature would be completed before it is destroyed.

There were more than 40 other comments that resulted in changes in the scoping document for detailing studies and possible mitigation measures.

Those include adding information on aspects of the project, including:

■ Ice management around the dock or pier head.

■ The limitations of the land, soil and rock on the project's layout and construction.

■ The expected needs and impacts of dredging and boating on Lake Ontario.

■ The function and value of each wetland on the island to determine adequate mitigation.

■ Habitat mapping and evaluation on the entire island.

■ The potential for and effects of breaking up continuous habitat.

■ The effect of the slip channel on fishery use.

■ The effects on the local economy, including employment, tourism, boating and fishing.

■ An air quality impact statement, including the effects of construction and operation.

■ Control of invasive species, existing on and leaving the island.

DEC will not require information on effects from the transmission line, which will run underwater to Stony Point in Henderson and then south to Parish. The response to public comments said the transmission line falls under the authority of the Public Service Commission's Article VII proceedings.

DEC also is not requiring sound studies and property value studies, because the island is uninhabited and at least six miles from the mainland.

The scoping document is available on the DEC Web site and at the Hounsfield town clerk's office, 18774 Route 66; Hay Memorial Library, 105 Broad St., Sackets Harbor, and Henderson Free Library, 8939 Route 178.

It is now Upstate NY Power's responsibility to carry out the studies and submit the results in the draft environmental impact statement.

The draft statement then will be reviewed by those with necessary technical specialties. They will determine whether there are gaps, according to the criteria of the scoping document.

"Once we accept the draft, that does not necessarily mean that we approve of all the details in the draft," Mr. Tomasik said.

"The process is going smoothly," he said. "We've had good cooperation from the parties."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Italy zoning changes pave way for wind energy

Finger Lakes Times

PENN YAN — The Yates County Planning Board approved proposed incentive zoning amendments to the Town of Italy’s comprehensive plan that would make way for wind energy development.

Incentive zoning refers to designated areas in the town where wind turbines would be allowed and developers eligible for financial incentives.

At Thursday’s meeting, board member Dave Christiansen asked Italy Town Supervisor Margaret Dunn why the town didn’t address the zoning issue during its moratorium on wind farm development.

At that time, Dunn said a majority of people opposed wind farm development and the town eventually banned wind farms. However, a lawsuit filed by wind farm developer EcoGen LLC prompted discussions with the town attorney on incentive zoning, she said, with feedback from the town board and residents supportive of such an option.

She said the proposed zones encompass two locations, which were chosen because the areas have already attracted interest from developers and town residents there are interested in leasing their properties.

Christiansen questioned why Emerson Road is included in the zoning proposal because some residents there have backed out of potential involvement with developers. Dunn said she doesn’t think those residents wanted to back out, but were anxious about some proposed state pilot programs.

Board Member Carroll Graves asked if a developer could still sue the town over potential development areas that are excluded from the incentive zoning plan. Dunn replied that she hopes the zoning proposal will show courts that the town is allowing such development, even if it’s in a designated area.

Board member Lane Clute asked why residential turbines weren’t included in the proposal; Dunn responded that they are in a separate section of the zoning ordinance, and the town wants to continue working on that section because of criticism that it was too strict.

Clute said it seemed like residential turbines are banned in the current proposal; Dunn declined to discuss that issue because it was unrelated to the incentive zoning proposal at hand yesterday.

Clute also asked why the incentive zoning permits would go through the town board and not the zoning board. Dunn said that’s because the permits go beyond zoning regulations and would include financial incentive agreements. Developers would have to make payments in lieu of taxes and take responsibility for things like road repair and equipment, although specifics have not been determined because the proposal is not yet law.

Clute asked if the town was looking for host community agreements. Dunn said such agreements are included in the plan because they allow the town to negotiate with developers about such things like fixing roads, for example.

Despite Dunn’s statement that the town supports the incentives, Clute said a newspaper article about a wind farm public hearing indicated 70 percent of residents were against wind farms. But according to Dunn, 43 people were in opposition (about 12 of whom were not residents), 25 people spoke in favor of the farms and more than 100 letters and cards were received voicing support.

Clute asked why the town is collecting cards for feedback now, but didn’t during the 2006 public hearings. Dunn said she thought public hearings were weighted more than cards at the time, but has since learned that that isn’t the case.

Dunn stressed that yesterday’s discussion was not about the 2006 public hearing and said she was going to ask that Clute — a Town of Italy resident — be recused from the conversation if he didn’t stop pressing her about irrelevant issues.

Christiansen said the town might be pressured in the future by developers who want to erect wind farms in areas not included in the incentive zones, but Dunn said she hoped the zoning laws would protect the town for awhile.

Graves said the zoning proposal is an improvement from when development was banned.

Clute abstained from the vote.

Is wind the new ethanol?

These are boom times for wind power. T. Boone Pickens, the wildcatter turned oil baron, is building the world’s biggest wind farm, in the dry scrub of the Texas Panhandle—a $10 billion bet on wind’s future. Twenty-eight states have set ambitious mandates for renewable energy, with wind power shouldering most of the load; many compel electric utilities to get at least 20 percent of their supply from wind and other renewable sources between 2015 and 2025.

Those requirements, along with a generous federal subsidy (20 percent of wind energy’s costs), have fostered a turbine-building frenzy. Overall capacity grew by 45 percent last year alone. Several wind-power companies have been snapped up in recent years in a string of multibillion-dollar deals. In May, Jim Cramer talked up wind stocks on Mad Money while assembling a model turbine in the studio.

And why not? Wind power seems to promise zero emissions and an endless supply of cheap power.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the parallels to the recent ethanol boom, which was also fueled by mandates and subsidies, and which is now viewed almost universally as a disaster. Wind power is unlikely to cause a global food crisis. But heedless investment in it may provoke blowback of a different sort.

Though wind advocates say that we can reliably and economically use wind for 20 percent of our power needs, the experience of Texas, which leads the nation in wind power—2.9 percent of its electricity comes from wind—highlights two big problems: transmission and variability.

Pickens’s windmills (like most of Texas’s) will be in the west, where the wind blows the most. The big cities are in the east. This problem plagues wind power nationally: people typically don’t live where the wind blows hardest, so you have to send power from, say, upstate to downstate New York, or from the Dakotas to the cities of the Midwest.

Texas expects to max out its east-west transmission lines by the end of the year. More wind power means new transmission lines, which will cost between $3 billion and $6.4 billion. Accommodating wind power on the scale foreseen nationally may require 12,000 to 19,000 miles of new high-power lines crisscrossing the country (by way of comparison, the interstate highway system runs 46,837 miles), plunging large parts of America into NIMBY hell.

Wind variability presents a more fundamental problem. Texas’s experience, at less than 3 percent wind power, is again instructive. In February, an unexpected cold front calmed the state’s wind farms. As power ran out and backup generation proved inadequate, grid operators were forced to call on large industrial and commercial users to power down.

Wind farms tend to produce the most energy when it’s not needed—at night and in the spring and fall, when demand is low. The hottest, highest-demand days of the year are the days when wind’s contribution is likely to be near zero. So wind, if it is to meet demand reliably, must be backed up, typically by (emissions-spewing) natural-gas plants that can ramp up and down quickly.

Powering plants up and down is inefficient, and when backup power is included, wind energy costs 10 to 30 percent more than fossil-fuel energy, even without factoring in the cost of new power lines. (Wind-energy costs have risen, not fallen, in recent years.) And once you include backup power, the cost of averting carbon-dioxide emissions by building a wind plant rises to $67 a ton, according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Less sexy emissions-reduction strategies, such as increasing efficiency at current electrical plants, cost between $10 and $30 a ton.

Wind is indisputably a promising source of renewable energy—today, in fact, it looks like the most promising and practical source. But many kinks remain to be worked out. It would be a tragedy if wind power were killed in the cradle by overeager requirements that bring hidden costs, unreliable operations, and higher energy prices, inviting a backlash.

The way to address our greenhouse-gas problems is not to champion wind or any other “silver bullet.” It’s to pass a national carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, and let the market find the most efficient way to cut emissions and reduce our dependence on oil.

Turbine burns in Europe

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Local law will allow tax on alternative energy systems

LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County has retained its ability to tax alternative energy systems — including wind farms, solar energy systems and on-farm methane digesters — with a 16-2 vote for passage of a local law Tuesday.

The law applies to facilities within the county, including as many as four potential wind farm projects under consideration, and effectively disarms a state tax code provision exempting these energy sources from taxes.

The Cattaraugus County Legislature’s action, termed an “opt out” measure, follows similar resolutions adopted by almost all the school district boards in the county, and officials say these steps could affect the economic viability of the projects and send wind farm developers to the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency seeking financial assistance and incentives.

The vote came after residents and elected officials from the towns of Freedom, Machias and Farmersville stated their opposition in a 45-minute public hearing. Most said they were told the IDA’s payment-in-lieu-of- taxes (PILOT) agreements will unfairly take a share of the wind farms’ monetary payments.

“The people of these towns are going to see the monetary value of their property and the aesthetic quality of their life eroded. They want something of value in return. The people signed an agreement to give them 80 percent of what these projects are making, and we consider it a fair trade. This is not fair in any way,” said Jim Whitaker of the Freedom Town Planning Board, which has just completed a draft of a host community licensing agreement for Noble Environmental Power that spells out a host benefit package for a wind farm spanning Freedom and Farmersville.

Carmen Vecchiarella, D-Salamanca, told the town representatives that the situation is similar to the state’s negotiations to divide the proceeds of slot machine revenues from the casino. He advised them to use their bargaining power to negotiate a better deal.

Jerry E. Burrell, R-Franklinville, told the group he views the local law as a positive move to protect all the county residents.

“We have many [wind projects], three and possibly four. The IDA is chosen by the developers and the IDA gets one-sixteenth of the [project value], the landowner negotiates their own rights with the developer, and the host monies have nothing to do with the IDA. You as town officials deal with the developer and you squeeze that orange, and that is the lion’s share,” Burrell said.

After the meeting, James L. Boser, D-Allegany, whose town officials are also considering a wind farm proposal from Everpower, said he was satisfied that the matter was thoroughly discussed. Joseph C. McLarney, RPortville, said he agreed the law should be passed because the wind farm projects will create impacts and the need for county services in other locations besides the host towns.

“We say we have to be included at the table,” McClarney said.

Freedom Town Board member Warren Schmidt commented after the meeting that the law may not close the door on Noble Environmental’s project but said his board will be looking at the financial numbers in the coming days.

Clipper Windpower posts another big loss


LONDON (SHARECAST) - More production problems and one-off charges hammered wind turbine group Clipper Windpower's first half, but the group expects full year revenue to be over $800m and to be close to break-even in the second half.

Losses in the six months to June soared to $211m from $78m on revenues of $156m, up from $20m. Increased costs to repair faulty turbines, provisions for inventory obsolescence and higher operating costs caused the higher losses.

Clipper, which also announced the appointment of Doug Pertz as its new chief executive, added the turbine remediation work identified in 2007 is essentially complete.

Full year 2008 revenue is expected to be over $800m with over 300 turbines commissioned. Second half operating results will approach or exceed break even, though 2009's margins will be adversely affected by increasing steel prices. Clipper expects an improvement in 2010 margins through higher pricing and improved commercial terms.

Current chief executive James Dehlsen is to continue with the company as its new chairman.

Sen. Alesi Expresses Concerns with PSC & Windmill Placement


Senator Alesi wants to help Iberdrola and develop more industrial wind. Voters in his district need to remember this video when voting. Not one word about protecting people harmed by such counterproductive projects.

Wind Farm Site Considered 10 Miles From Queens Shore

Has the economic or political climate changed for wind power on Long Island? The Long Island Power Authority hopes so.

A year after the authority withdrew its proposal to build an $800 million offshore wind farm near Jones Beach, it said Tuesday that it would look into building a potentially larger wind farm 10 miles off the south shore of Queens.

The authority will work with Con Edison, which has never before proposed a wind-power project, to study the economic feasibility over the next few months. If they decide it makes sense to build an offshore wind farm, the utilities would ask builders for proposals, the authority said. The project would take several years to plan, finance and complete.

“If this is doable, we and Con Edison can share the cost and the power,” said Kevin S. Law, the authority’s chief executive, who also serves on Gov. David A. Paterson’s renewable energy task force. “If we could make this big enough, we could send power east and west.”

The bulk of the wind turbines in New York have been installed upstate, and many have received state and federal subsidies. Because of congestion in the state’s electrical grid, it is economically impractical to transport much of that power south to New York City and Long Island.

Building wind turbines on Long Island is another option, but there is little suitable open space. Long Island Sound was considered, but it was deemed not windy enough, Mr. Law said.

The power authority’s announcement, which was first reported by Newsday, comes a month after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city would ask industry experts to submit ideas for putting turbines off New York’s shores and atop its skyscrapers.

Industry experts say offshore wind farms are rare in North America because of the difficulty of finding suitable locations, the cost of running transmission lines to shore, and the thicket of environmental regulations. Shipping lanes also need to be considered, as well as a shortage of equipment available to plant turbines in deep water.

Nearby residents often object to offshore turbines because of aesthetic concerns, as was the case with the Jones Beach proposal, which also exceeded initial cost estimates.

Still, Governor Paterson said in a statement on Tuesday that a big offshore wind farm would create new jobs and more renewable energy at a time of rising fuel prices.

Speaking later Tuesday, he suggested that the project could be eligible for state subsidies.

Wayland-Cohocton Central School District September 22, 2008


Charles Brewer a member of the Wayland-Cohocton School Board refusing to review this crucial evidence that the PILOT for the the Cohocton portion of the First Wind project is not filed with the Steuben County clerk. At stake is over $265,000.00 in revenue that the developer will not pay. Why does the School Board and administration allow First Wind to avoid their tax responsibility. Regular taxpayers are being defrauded.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wayland-Cohocton Central School District September 22, 2008 Letter by James Hall

September 22, 2008

WCCS Board Members
Superintendent of Schools
Wayland-Cohocton Central School
2350 Rte 63 N
Wayland NY 14572

Dear Board Members and Mr. Wetherbee,

On April 23, 2008 (letter included), your board was warned that the taxpayers of the Wayland-Cohocton Central School District were being short changed by the PILOT for the First Wind/UPC Wind Project.

Today you are presented with an 18-page copy of the Cohocton Assessor roll dated and sworn on June 28, 2008. Also enclosed is a five page search index of entries from the Steuben County Clerk dated September 16, 2008.

A careful review of these documents clearly indicates that the PILOT for the Cohocton portion for the industrial wind project (AKA Canandaigua Power Partners) has not been completed or filed with the County Clerk. Only that entity known as the Dutch Hill Project (Canandaigua Power Partners II) is on record.

There are 15 industrial turbines in the Dutch Hill section. The Cohocton section has 35 industrial turbines. Three of these 35 turbines reside within the Naples Central School District. Therefore, there are 32 industrial turbines within your WCCS District. In addition, there are several tax accounts for infrastructure such as transmission facilities.

The Cohocton Assessors value EACH industrial turbine at $500,000.00 based upon a 20% of value. This amount will increase to $2,500,000 for EACH turbine upon commissioning. Each turbine has its own separate tax account. Currently the amount of taxable assessed value on the Cohocton portion, for the 2008-2009 taxable cycles, of the project is over $16,000,000.00.

This board refused to litigate the PILOT. Now that proof exists that the PILOT has never been completed and filed, as the law requires, it is the duty of the WCCS Board to collect the full amount of property taxes. All taxpayers in your district deserve equal treatment. Your legal liability and malfeasance for a refusal to bill and collect school taxes on each of these accounts are obvious.

In light of the NYS Attorney General’s investigation into First Wind and the Town of Cohocton government, it behooves the WCCS District to act and tax these accounts per the value established by the Cohocton Assessors. NYS Department of Education oversight has provisions in the law to enforce equable taxation compliance.

With no legal PILOT for the Cohocton portion, SCIDA and First Wind are defrauding taxpayers in your district. Your board is urged to make corrections of this injustice.

Cordially,

James Hall for CWW

RENEWABLES DIVE IN THE WAKE OF LEHMAN BROTHERS, AS AN EBBING TIDE LOWERS ALL BOATS

It has been a rough week in the markets, and things only got worse in the wake of investment bank Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy.

While a rapidly ebbing tide lowers all boats, the fall for clean energy shares has been steeper than in the broader market, with the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation index of clean energy shares - or NEX for short - plunging some 7.5% over the past week compared with the approximately 5% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average by late Monday. The pain was felt broadly across the clean energy sector with solar, wind, and biofuel firms all taking a hit. Evergreen Solar suffered the largest loss on Monday, on a percentage basis. The Massachusetts-based solar PV equipment maker saw its shares fall USD 1.79, or 28.4%, to end the day at USD 4.51. Chinese firm JA Solar was off USD 2.42, or 18.5% to end at USD 10.68. California-based SunPower's stock dropped USD 10.19, or 12.3%, to close at USD 72.50.

It is worth taking a look at the renewables companies in which Lehman played a direct role. Lehman is by no measure the biggest player on the renewables block, but it is the third most active arranger in the US tax equity market - behind JP Morgan and General Electric Energy Financial Services - and has participated in a handful of clean energy equity deals. US-based wind developer First Wind, for one, will have to lean more heavily on other tax equity investors following Lehman's collapse.

First Wind said in a July 2008 regulatory filing that it had signed an agreement with Lehman for USD 208m in tax equity financing for its Steel Wind I, Cohocton I and Prattsburgh I projects. The company did not immediately respond to New Energy Finance's questions about its financing plans now that Lehman is out of the picture.

Lehman also held a 9.7% stake in Clipper Windpower as of the company's 2007 annual report, and a 6.8% stake in geothermal developer Ormat Technologies as of 16 May 2008.

Lehman was also listed as one of four underwriters for wind project developer Noble Environmental Power's planned USD 375m initial public offering. The company did not immediately respond to questions about whether other underwriters Citi, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse would now pick up Lehman's slack under the offering.

NEF_Week_in_Review_2008-09-16.pdf

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Environmentalists holding U.S. back

To those with an open mind on wind power, I suggest a ride down Interstate 390 between Cohocton and Avoca. On the horizon are endless windmill generators that scar thousands of acres and ruin what was an outstanding natural vista. Exit at Cohocton and drive into the hills in the vicinity of these monstrosities. They are huge and grotesque. In a rural sense, they are in people's backyards. By contrast, a single nuclear plant would occupy 1 percent of the acreage and generate more power on a consistent basis. What happens to wind power when the wind dies? Conventional power is still needed for backup.

I cannot believe that environmentalists are sincere when they are willing to mar our scenic and inhabited landscape while opposing drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a totally barren, flat and unoccupied space of a mere 2,000 acres out of 19 million acres in the Alaskan preserve. This leads me to conclude that the alternate energy movement is not about energy, but about forcing on us government control of our national productivity.

—ARNOLD PETRALIA

Greece, NY

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bipartisan Senate Bill To Extend Renewable Tax Credits

After much arm wrestling, the Senate came to an agreement on energy tax breaks which are set to expire later this year. Both Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), of the Senate Finance Committee, made the announcement on Tuesday.

The tax package will provide $17 billion in renewable energy tax breaks. It will also adjust the alternative minimum tax, extend tax credits for children and create several business tax cuts. It will also set aside $7 billion in tax relief for those affected by recent floods and hurricanes. The bill extends the solar and wind investment tax credit for eight years, and the production tax credit for biomass and hydropower for up to two years.

The definition of a system that would qualify for the credit has also been updated. They now include small wind investment and geothermal heat pumps.

“This month, the Senate can act to create jobs, break America’s dependence on foreign oil, support working families, and help businesses thrive,” said Baucus in a statement [PDF]. “This agreement will lead America toward clean, homegrown energy and the good-paying jobs that come with it.”

In the past, how to fund these extensions has been quite messy. Republicans have squawked at anything where oil industry tax breaks were affected and Democrats have insisted that the source funding be specified. The compromise was to freeze tax breaks for oil and gas at the current rate, and to tighten the rules on taxes for the industry. This will effect income earned by the companies in overseas markets. The Oil Spill Liability Trust fun was also adjusted.

Hopefully the bill will pass when voted upon.

Iberdrola wants to invest right away

In an interview with the Times Union this afternoon, an Iberdrola SA official said the company is looking to start its $2 billion wind-energy investment plan in New York state right away.

“We have the money, and we have the turbines,’‘ said Pedro Azagra (left), Iberdrola’s director of corporate development.

State regulators made Iberdrola promise to spend at least $200 million over the next two years on wind projects in the state as part of its $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp., which has 1.7 million customer accounts in upstate New York.

After the state Public Service Commission approved the deal with conditions on Sept. 3, Iberdrola finalized the acquisition on Tuesday.

Iberdrola has plans for 1,000 megawatts of new wind turbines in New York, mostly in the central and western parts of the state.

Azagra, who was appointed to the Energy East board, says it’s still too early to tell what possible changes Iberdrola will make, although he noted that in previous mergers, the company has not changed utility names, nor made major management changes.

“Our culture as a company is to be very local,” Azagra said. “We have maintained the local name (in previous mergers.)”

Azagra also noted that as Wall Street crumbles under a global credit crisis, Iberdrola is ready to spend money in the United States. Although the company is already a huge renewable energy developer in the U.S., Energy East is the first utility that it has acquired here.

“We are not shutting down things,” Azagra said in a nod to Wall Street’s woes. “We are happy to invest.”

The Times Union also asked Azagra how he was feeling now that the merger is complete. The company first announced the Energy East deal in June 2007, and the PSC process took 12 months.

“The word is tired,” Azagra said. “But I think that is what we’re paid for. We’re very enthusiastic.”

Text of H.R. 6899: Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act

You are viewing the text of this bill when its status changed to “Engrossed in House”. This is the text of the bill as it was approved by the House, although some bills may be changed further either by the Senate or through a conference committee. This is the latest text of the bill currently available on this website. Use the View which version? panel on the right below to view previous versions of this bill as it made its way through the legislative process.

(Click to read the entire Bill)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wind Fuels Gas

Following Russia's invasion of Georgia, a vital link between Europe and the energy resources of Central Asia, energy security is back at the top of Europe's agenda. For years now, many Europeans thought that a major part of their future energy security might come from wind turbines and solar panels. Industry, too, has suggested that this may be the case: At this summer's World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, most major oil and gas companies presented new plans for big renewable energy projects. But this renewables push, particularly when it comes to wind, is probably just a very clever short-term business strategy that will not improve Europe's geopolitical situation.

Wind turbines generate electricity very irregularly, because the wind itself is inconsistent. Therefore wind turbines always need backup power from fossil fuels to keep the electricity grid in balance. Gas turbines are the best way to do this. They are able to respond quickly and push power production when wind generators stop suddenly. They can be turned on and off almost instantly, whereas traditional coal-fired plants need to be maintained in a very inefficient standby mode if they are to respond to large fluctuations in power demand.

A proliferation of windmills, then, can become a windfall for gas sellers. Just look at the cases of Spain and Germany, Europe's leading producers of wind power.

By the end of 2007 Spain had 14,700 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity, according to Enagás, which manages the national gas network, producing 8.7% of the country's total power supplies. Most of these wind generators are located in scarcely populated areas, while the power consumption is concentrated in big cities with their many air-conditioned buildings. The peak load of the Spanish power grid is thus in the hot summer months—but this is precisely the time of year when there usually isn't much wind.

For this reason, more and more gas turbines are being installed near consumers in the suburbs of Spain's cities. Only last year, Spanish power providers added 6,400 MW of gas-turbine power capacity, taking the total installed capacity of gas turbines to 21,000 MW. Natural gas has become the main source of electricity generation in Spain, and according to Enagás, 99.8% of the gas used in Spain is imported. Most of this comes via pipeline from Algeria, but the import of liquid natural gas (LNG) by ships will increase.

In Germany, more than 20,000 wind turbines with a total capacity of 21,400 MW are now "embellishing" landscapes. Wind power's share of total electricity generation has risen in line with that of natural gas since 1990. Germany's gas consumption for power generation more than doubled between 1990 and 2007, and now represents 11.7% of the country's total power generation. The country imported 83% of its natural gas supplies.

Today part of the wind power backup in Germany is still done by old coal-fired plants. But the Greens and even parts of the governing Christian and Social Democratic parties are fervently opposed to the construction of new coal plants. So many old power stations will probably be replaced by gas turbines. The green opponents of new coal-fired plants are nowadays the most dependable allies of the big gas companies such as Gazprom, Shell or BP.

Most European countries force consumers to subsidize electricity from wind power. This makes "renewables" a very safe investment compared with other energy businesses, where swings in commodity prices can be large. As Europe's big integrated oil and gas companies—such as Shell, BP and Total—invest more and more in LNG, they are also lobbying hard for a world-wide carbon-emissions trading system that would further increase the advantage of gas over coal.

In the U.S. the same thing is happening. The problem for the natural gas industry in the U.S. is that gas is still relatively inexpensive compared with market prices elsewhere in the world. There are no facilities for LNG export. This may explain why Shell, BP, Chevron and T. Boone Pickens are investing in wind power. It's a clever strategy to add value to their gas assets by boosting demand.

These gas players can afford to lose money on wind power in the short term to reap huge profits in the long term. In fact, this was the strategy first implemented by Ken Lay of Enron in 1990s. Enron was the power and gas company that started the first large-scale manufacturing of wind power in the U.S. It also brought up the ideas for a cap-and-trade system, to increase the competitive edge of gas over coal.

Wind power is clearly not reducing the dependence on imported fuel, contrary to the frequent claims of its proponents. In fact the experience from Germany and Spain shows that it is increasing the dependence of imported natural gas. And that's not energy security.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NYS ENERGY RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY TO ADOPT RULES FOR COUNTRY’S 1ST PLAN TO CUT CLIMATE POLLUTION

Environmental & Energy Groups Assert that Regional Climate Plan Will Not Burden New York Consumers

(Albany, NY) The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) is expected to vote to adopt regulations to implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in New York State today. The RGGI is the 10-state plan to reduce the power plant pollution that is changing our climate.

The adoption of these regulations sets the stage for New York to participate in the nation’s first auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) permits as part of a cap-and-trade system that will hold the allowed level of CO2 emissions constant through 2014, and then gradually reduce those levels. Along with New York, RGGI states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. The first auction of CO2 emissions allowances is scheduled for September 25th, and will include six of the 10 RGGI states. The remaining states—including New York—are on track to participate beginning with the second round on December 19th.

Environmental and energy groups have closely followed the progress of RGGI regulations and celebrated the State Environmental Board approval of Department of Environmental Conservation regulations for the plan in August. While the same groups applaud NYSERDA’s action today, the groups call into question claims by power producers that the regional climate plan will increase New Yorkers’ utility bills.

“Rising energy costs are a critical issue for all New Yorkers. In the long-run the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will save consumers money and reduce the pollution that is changing our climate,” said Jackson Morris, Environmental Advocates of New York. “Statements by opponents to the regional climate plan about high costs are speculative and not based on sound analysis or research.”

NYSERDA to adopt regulations to cut climate pollution

According to research, for a typical New York residential customer, the projected increase translates into a retail bill increase of .78 cents. For commercial and industrial customers, the projected retail cost increase ranges from .9 to 1.7 percent in 2015, respectively.

“With the adoption of these regulations, we look forward to seeing New York begin auctioning pollution credits in December," said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with NYPIRG. “This money should be strategically invested to benefit consumers and our environment. One of the biggest bangs for the buck is energy efficiency programs, such as home weatherization retrofits. This will save homeowners on their utility bills, reduce energy use, and create jobs in the private sector.”

The modest bill impacts and other figures put forth during the multi-year stakeholder process are based on extensive/sophisticated modeling conducted by numerous researchers and agencies, including NYSERDA, New York Department of Public Service, and others.

“RGGI is a crucial first step in combating climate change by helping to level the playing field between fossil fuels and renewable power,” said Carol E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. “By investing the funds generated by the allowance auctions in efficiency and clean energy technologies we can provide long term relief from volatile fuel prices and build a more secure domestic energy supply,” added Ms. Murphy.

For example, modeling conducted by the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources shows that for the entire RGGI region doubling our investment in efficiency would result in recurring utility bill reductions from $66 to $109 per year. In general, these analyses found that economic effects of RGGI are small and positive.

“We need to preserve the strong link between how the proceeds from the RGGI auction are spent and the underlying causes of climate change,” said James Van Nostrand, Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center. “Using the proceeds for energy efficiency would preserve this link by reducing the need for electric generation, and would also provide long-term benefits for utility customers coping with the high costs of energy.”

The RGGI was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Northeast power plants. In addition to the direct cuts associated with implementing the program that begins in January 2009, auctioning emissions allowances under RGGI also provides revenue for programs that can further reduce pollution.

“In 1984, New York created the nation's first cap-and-trade program for air pollution, aimed at controlling the smokestack emissions that causes acid rain. Critics said we were crazy to put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage by imposing rules on ourselves that other states weren't willing impose,” said Brian L. Houseal, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, a national leader in the fight against acid rain. “But the very next year, New England states began to impose similar rules. Five years later, Congress had amended the Clean Air Act to create a national program based on New York's model. That is exactly what we hope will happen with RGGI and climate change. We just hope it happens faster.”

NYSERDA to adopt regulations to cut climate pollution In the years ahead, strategic use of RGGI revenues can save New York consumers money by ramping up funding for programs such as the residential New York Energy Smart Loan Fund Program. Participants receive almost $500 in savings annually for 10 years, for a total of up to $4,650 in offset expenses on interest payments. Furthermore, a household would realize up to 40 percent reductions on their home heating and electric bills—savings that continue to accrue every month of every year into the foreseeable future.

New York State is currently finalizing regulations and auction mechanics and will be ready for the second auction in December.

RGGI_NYSERDA_Press_Release_final.pdf

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wind farm probe vital to rural towns

Nothing damages the public’s trust in government more than the possibility that elected and appointed officials are benefiting personally from government action.

That’s why New York state must aggressively pursue investigations across upstate New York into potentially improper dealings between wind-power companies and local officials. That’s why town leaders in Stueben County and elsewhere must avoid financial connections with such companies. And that’s why state agencies must step in and develop some guidelines for reviewing and approving such projects.

As the nation seeks alternative energy sources, wind power projects are flourishing. They help the nation reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

At the local level, however, the scope of such projects can be daunting. Rural towns are being asked to decide the fate of multi-million-dollar projects, a process that can include extensive environmental impact reviews.

Those environmental impacts can be significant: The massive Maple Ridge wind farm on the Tug Hill Plateau in Lewis County has pitted neighbor against neighbor, relative against relative, because of the size of the towers and the hum of the turbines.

That’s why the last element that should enter into the equation is potential financial benefit for local officials. Yet that’s precisely what may have happened in multiple upstate New York rural counties. The Franklin County district attorney received so many complaints about potentially unseemly financial perks for individual officials that he ultimately turned the whole matter over to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Among the allegations are those the anti-wind farm group, Cohocton Wind Watch, lodged against Prattsburgh Supervisor Harold McConnell, who voted for an eminent domain resolution put before the Prattsburgh Town Board in April. If carried out, the resolution would allow the town to seize privately owned property in order to bury transmission cables.

McConnell publicly admitted at the April 21 board meeting he set up an unpaid real estate transaction for UPC/First Wind last year. McConnell told the board he later received payment for the transaction after the town signed an agreement with UPC, adding he had been told by counsel the action would not prevent him from casting the deciding vote for eminent domain.

In the Herkimer County town of Stark, one Town Board member and three Zoning Board of Appeals members have signed lease agreements with a wind-power company. Such lease deals typically bring a landowner a few thousand dollars per year.

Public servants fail the people when they make deals with companies or individuals seeking approval for private projects. Such dealings create conflicts of interest for those directly involved, and the appearance of a conflict of interest for the entire town government.

The state must investigate all such conflicts to see if wrongdoing occurred. Local officials must act in a manner beyond reproach by turning down all entreaties from private wind-turbine developers dangling lucrative lease deals in front of them. And the governor, state Legislature and attorney general must study this entire approval process so that localities have clear guidelines within which to operate.

Only then can rural residents feel assured that reviews of wind projects can occur without the taint of possible corruption.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not in my valley, say Italy residents

Italy, N.Y.

Nearly 70 concerned residents and neighbors spoke out about potential rezoning for wind turbines in the Italy Valley at a public hearing Saturday. The discussion continued a forum that began at a meeting last week in which emotional residents protested the proposed changes, which would allow developer Ecogen LLC to move forward with plans for wind turbines in two areas in the southern portion of the town.

About two-thirds of the speakers on Saturday opposed wind development, said Town Board member Malcolm MacKenzie. Of those, many surmised that developers are not concerned about the best interest of the residents.

“This whole sordid affair is about one thing: Money,” said John Walsh, an Italy resident. Like several other speakers at the hearing, he mentioned the turbines recently installed in Cohocton, stressing what he considered their negative impact on hillside vistas.

Others said wind development is inevitable. The town’s best chance to reap economic benefits and secure control over that process, they said, is by approving an incentive zoning package.

The board is considering two amendments. If approved, the town would change the comprehensive plan and current zoning restrictions to allow for industrial wind turbines. Wind development has been on the table in Italy for seven years — since affiliates of Ecogen first expressed interest and began buying and leasing land for potential development.

Early on, the board opposed wind development and placed a moratorium on future projects. Ecogen sued, but the town won. However, the court advised the town to adopt an official stance on wind development, said MacKenzie. That led to a strong anti-turbine opinion in the town’s comprehensive plan. But Ecogen sued again, said MacKenzie.

The developer agreed to put that suit on hold, provided the town consider its options with regard to incentive zoning. An incentive zoning agreement would allow the turbines — Ecogen has previously stated its intent to install 20 in the town — provided Ecogen complies with agreed-upon cash rewards. Essentially, the developer would pay the town in order to go through with the project.

State law prohibits a public referendum on the rezoning, said Town Attorney Ed Brockman. The board ultimately decides whether to proceed with the wind project, but it will hold another public hearing before the town gives the developer final approval, Brockman said.

Many speakers appealed to the tranquility of the valley. Harvesting the wind that whips through the silent forests would ruin the solitude of the place, said resident Steven Brewer. And besides, said Walsh, turbines like the ones that sprouted up in Cohocton mar the landscapes residents love.

“To me, they have an evil persona,” Walsh said. “They’re ugly, disgusting pieces of steel. We don’t want them in the town of Italy.”

Jeff Hicks, an Italy Valley Road resident, agreed that they’re ugly. But he has resigned himself to their eventual construction.

“The fact is, they’re gonna be here,” he said.

State lawmakers will push the project through, Hicks said, so the town should focus on getting as much money out of it as it can. An incentive zoning package is the best way to do that, said Emerson Road resident Barb Christmas. That way, the town has the most leverage with the developers, she said.

The effect on tax rates and property values worried many residents. Would the towering turbines reduce the value of their homes? Would they bump already-high tax rates into the stratosphere? There were no answers on Saturday, but speakers like Ron Hawkins, an East Bloomfield resident and property owner in Italy, urged the residents to calm down. He has visited many towns with wind projects, he said, and has seen their impact lowering taxes and improving roads.

The board, like the residents, has struggled to appease aesthetic, economic and environmental concerns, said MacKenzie.

“We ourselves have had various changes of thought,” he said. “It’s not resolved yet.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gotham City Wind Turbine Madness by James Hall

Michael R. Bloomberg’s vision for a gleaming skyline of rotating industrial machines whipping around the heads of millions of inhabitants must seem as bizarre as the latest avant-garde street theater performance. Nevertheless, the Big Apple is used to being the forerunner of creative thinking and innovative development. The difference of inventive public policy and practical civic solutions can be as large as the financial accumulation of wealth in this metropolis.

The mayor is correct on one point on a principle of energy policy that is often lost. If you are going to utilize it, produce it, where you use it. The inherent problem with the alternative that Bloomberg offers is that the technology of industrial wind machines creates more problems than answers. This outdated and inefficient method of generating energy is vastly more expensive, fundamentally unreliable, and essentially worthless in producing meaningful electricity.

The myth that wind turbines are environmentally friendly is dispelled with every project that is built. Those who worship in the congregation of a “Green Doctrine” seldom display the intellectual integrity of their dogmas. Industrial scale wind generation is not benign nor is it green. Malone Town Board member and the Citizen Power Alliance physics consultant, Jack Sullivan, cites the following. “A recent calculation by scientists from the Pacific Research Institute, a West Coast think tank that supplies input to some of the leading newspapers and magazines in the country shows, wind turbines need to operate for 7 years at full capacity to avoid the carbon emissions produced in building them.”

The horrid experience with the Vesta turbines on the Tug Hill project illustrates the lack of dependable machinery. Less than a year in operation, the bulk of the blades needed to be replaced or repaired. The oil leaks issue continues and the chronic low frequency noise effects contribute to a state of severe danger. Does New York City really need a few hundred-skyscraper cranes just performing continuous maintenance?

Even more risky is the fact that the electric grid is unable to accommodate the input of intermittent wind generation. Shadow flicker from blades in the sky equates to a power grid failure with accompanying frequent brown and black outs. In addition, you get the privilege to pay even higher utility rates. What a deal!

Without rigorous scrutiny of the technology and its extending consequences, only naive emotionalism engenders irrational support for industrial wind. Conversely, not all is wasted in harnessing wind power. If the real environmental damage of a useful technology can be overcome, several innovate design and engineered small-scale wind generators offer promise. Wind Turbines Get Architectural Attitude provides an option. “Their design captures efficiency, as they can provide as much as a 30% increase on energy production. Helping obtain this level of efficiency is also the fact that they can rotate at low wind speeds – other smaller low-speed turbines are also in the works. The microturbines are about 200 lbs, 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall, and have a bird screen to protect the pigeons.”

A more creative approach is the Clean Technology Tower which builds on principles of biomimicry, and utilizes advanced technologies and climate-appropriate building systems to foster a symbiotic relationship with its local environment.

An announcement from MIT offers a solar solution and huge benefits for the New York City landscape. According to a news release from MIT, “the solar concentrator collects light at the edges, and dye molecules coated on the glass absorb sunlight and re-emits it at different wavelengths. The light is trapped within the glass and transported to solar cells along the edge, creating electricity and allowing light into the room as well.”

For real large-scale electric generation, wave energy converters may be the answer to coastal urban needs. The following technologies are well worth an examination: The Wave Dragon wave energy converter and the Wavereaper.

Using three blade wind turbines with a size that dwarfs the Stature of Liberty on top of existing buildings is as ridiculous as saying you can eliminate existing fossil fuel generation plants because you only need to use electricity when the wind blows. Even more absurd are developer claims that appreciable and cost effective electric is generated by most of their projects.

Nameplate is the rated capacity of a wind turbine. Production statistics are guarded like the Holy Grail for a very important reason. They are so low, 8 to 12% in most project locations in NYS that the data must remain proprietary. When wind trade groups like AWEA state that thousands of homes can be powered by a project they base their claim on nameplate, not actual useable electricity produced.

Federal REC (renewable energy certificates) credits are the brass ring for wind developers. REC’s are based upon nameplate capacity and not electric generated. Selling these credits is the underlying financial incentive for building bogus wind turbines under the umbrella of legitimate alternative energy projects. Bloomberg just wants to go with the flow. But his plan is walking the high wire without a net.

It is encouraging that the cool reception to the Bloomberg pipe dream demonstrates that pragmatic minds retain some common sense. Just the public safety issue alone should dissuade trite pandering. Energy generation proposals, require sound business models.

Now that the PSC approved the Iberdrola, a Spanish conglomerate and major wind developer, acquisition for Energy East, the prospects of an implosion of the electric grid increases. Bloomberg is an accomplished businessman. Ask him to investigate why industrial wind is in serious decline in Europe! The reason is clear. This method of electric generation is not dependable to service the demand. Being in favor of a failed technology, just to be Green, hurts other forms of alternative energy.

Demand that research funds and incentives be linked to results and not ludicrous promises from unscrupulous developers.

It's a done deal as Iberdrola accepts terms

ALBANY -- Iberdrola SA agreed Wednesday to conditions set by state regulators last week for its $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp.

Energy East has 1.7 million gas and electric accounts in upstate New York through its New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric subsidiaries.

The Spanish utility is expected to close quickly on the deal, first announced more than a year ago.

Approval of the acquisition by the state Public Service Commission took nearly as long. The PSC's thorough and often tedious approval process, which is much like a trial, captivated energy investors around the world. The agency's four-member panel gave the deal unanimous approval Sept. 3, and issued an official order on the case Tuesday.

The deal also caught the attention of political leaders across New York, enticed by Iberdrola's plan to spend $2 billion on wind-farm projects in the state. Such an investment could help New York reach its ambitious renewable energy goals.

"Iberdrola is pleased to accept this opportunity to help the Empire State meet its energy, environmental and economic goals," Iberdrola Chairman Ignacio Galan said in a statement.

Wind energy has always been at the forefront of the case. The staff of the PSC had initially sought to ban the company from wind-farm ownership, citing a state policy that forbids utilities from owning electric generation.

State leaders had been pressuring the PSC to approve the deal without hindering Iberdrola's ability to own wind farms in New York. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., even took the unusual step of meeting with PSC Chairman Garry Brown to let his views be known when it looked like the deal might be in jeopardy. Iberdrola is the world's largest wind energy developer.

"I pushed both sides from the extreme to the middle so that New Yorkers could reap the benefits of a fair deal that protects consumers and invests in much-needed alternative energy in the state," Schumer said in a statement.

Under the conditions of the PSC approval, Iberdrola must provide its customers with $275 million in benefits that will go to lower rates for gas and electric service. It also must spend at least $200 million on wind-farm projects in New York over the next two years.

The company has also agreed to a long list of service quality and financial stability standards the PSC typically pursues in merger cases.

An Iberdrola spokesman said he did not know when the deal would officially close, although it could happen as early as today based on past utility mergers.

When National Grid agreed to the PSC's conditions imposed as part of its $7.3 billion acquisition of KeySpan Corp. last year, the deal closed within a matter of hours.

The PSC is expected to issue soon a longer version of its order, explaining its decision in more detail, although a PSC spokeswoman said Iberdrola can close the deal before that is issued.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Officials sold out to foreign wind companies

New York state for years has had a failed energy policy. People have feared nuclear power and still do. They fear coal even though coal has clean-burning technology. We all want and need the power, but the state does not have the policy to keep up to the demand.

New Yorkers are now under siege in many communities across the land by renewable wind energy. We do need to generate electric power, and we just cannot wish away fossil fuels as some would like you to believe, namely Al Gore.

From the governor and legislators, to the Public Service Commission, they have sold out the citizens of this state. Our elected officials were sworn into office to protect the people of the state. Selling out to foreign wind companies like BP and Iberdrola and trying to make it look like what they are doing is for the people, is hogwash, to put it mildly.

The foreign wind companies along with state and local elected officials know very well that wind turbines and people cannot live on the same block. Big money and tax credits have become more important than ethics and living up to the oath they took when they came into office, which was to protect the citizens of this state. The people who live and work here want only to enjoy their families in the peace and quiet of their own homes.

Some of our public officials with wind money in their pockets need to be brought to task for siding with foreign wind companies over the citizens of this state.

At a recent open house sponsored by British Petroleum, the wind lobby group Citizens Campaign for the Environment spokesperson made many false statements for the voter-for-wind audience in attendance. The Web site www.votersforwind.com FAQ, speaks volumes of why there is a controversy on the facts about wind turbines. It is filled with many inaccurate and misleading statements.

It's true Northern New York does have wind, but unlike Kansas and North Dakota, we also have thousands of people who live in Cape Vincent, Clayton, Orleans, Brownville, Lyme and Henderson, inside what some people want you to believe is a wind overlay district.

The true wind company plan from the start was to divide the small towns and take the land for their use and to capitalize on the tax credits available from the U.S. taxpayer. Our public servants should be embarrassed and investigated for what they have done to small-town America here in Jefferson County, New York.

Diane Rutigliano

Three Mile Bay

Lyme council to appeal ruling against wind law

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Town Council decided to appeal a judge's ruling that knocked down its wind energy facility law.

After an executive session that lasted nearly an hour, the council voted 5-0 to appeal state Supreme Court Judge Hugh A. Gilbert's Aug. 21 decision to side with 10 property owners who said that the council acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" when it rejected a petition protesting the adoption of a local law regulating the siting of wind turbines.

Members of Voters for Wind vowed to fight the town in the judicial appeals.

"We will carry on," Dawn M. Munk said. "We're very disappointed. Not surprised, but disappointed."

Property owners submitted a protest petition against the proposed zoning law amendment to the council April 17, but the town concluded it was invalid because not all of the property owners of the parcels had signed the petition. For example, if a husband signed the petition but not his wife, when both are listed on the tax roll, the husband's signature would be invalid.

"There's a principle there we're trying to establish," town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said. "It's common sense that it should take a husband and a wife to make decisions like that."

He said that other areas of town government require all landowners' signatures and that it may hurt the town's effectiveness to change the requirement.

While a local law dealing with zoning changes can be adopted by a majority vote of the board, once a protest petition is filed, a three-fourths majority vote is required to pass it.

The council passed its law regarding turbine siting on a 3-2 vote.

On Wednesday, the council also passed 5-0 a motion to hold a public hearing on establishing a six-month moratorium on wind energy facilities in the town. It will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 30.

About 80 members of the public attended the council meeting, many speaking out on wind development in the town.

Peter J. Rogers, Three Mile Point, asked that the council complete conflict-of-interest questionnaires on the matter, similar to Cape Vincent, except sworn and notarized.

"It seems a prudent and good move," he said.

He and about six others supported a year-long moratorium. A handful opposed a moratorium of any length.

Julia E. Gosier, a Voters for Wind member, said, "If you suggest a moratorium on wind development, then I want a moratorium on waterfront construction of any kind until the state does a study of the effects of development on waterfowl and the water."

Mr. Aubertine said he hoped the moratorium and appeal would buy the town time as it considers other options.

"There is the possibility that we could put together a committee of folks to sit down and see if we can find a compromise."

Finger Lakes Guardian September 10, 2008 Press Release

During the months of September and October The Finger Lakes Guardian will offer free subscriptions to the first 1000 Finger Lakes residents who sign up on-line. Due to postage costs we must end free subscriptions at that point.

If you are interested in anything from sustainability and energy to organic/local foods, art, health, and other community issues the Finger Lakes Guardian is for you. Subscribers will receive their monthly editions right in their mailbox.

Press_Release_FLG_Subscriptions.pdf

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PARTNERSHIP FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT A MEETING BETWEEN NYSERDA AND ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Iberdrola weighs PSC order by LARRY RULISON

The state Public Service Commission issued a 15-page order Tuesday officially approving Iberdrola SA's $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp.

Iberdrola now must decide if it wants to accept the requirements outlined in the order, which were approved last week by the PSC's four members. The Spanish utility has until Monday accept the terms unconditionally.

Energy East, based in Maine, is the parent company of New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric. It has 1.7 million gas and electric accounts in upstate New York and owns other utilities throughout New England.

Iberdrola generally got what it wanted from the commission, which is allowing the company to own wind farms and hydro plants in New York despite a state policy that forbids electric utilities from owning their own power generation.

Iberdrola must sell Energy East's fossil-fuel plants in New York, and will be required to provide customers with $275 million in future benefits that will go to reduce rates.

And the PSC is requiring that Iberdrola invest at least $200 million in wind-farm projects across New York over the next two years.

An Iberdrola spokesman said the company did not have an immediate comment on the order. Last week, the company said it would have to examine the document first before making a decision.

In a story published Tuesday, Reuters quoted Iberdrola Chairman Sanchez Galan as saying the conditions "seem reasonable in principle, but an investment of this type requires conscientious study, and we've got to look at the small print."

A longer order with more narrative and rationale behind the decision will be issued by the commission at a later date.

PSC spokesman Jim Denn said the company can make its decision now based on the short order because it includes all of the "legally operative" conditions in detail.

Of note, Commissioner Maureen Harris, who supported the deal, wrote in an attachment to the order that she will address "specific concerns and issues" she has about the deal in a statement to be issued when the longer order is released.

During deliberations that spanned three separate meetings over three weeks, Harris had expressed dissatisfaction with various aspects of the deal. In the end she said she didn't want to risk having the company walk away from the deal if conditions were too stringent.

Shares of Energy East (NYSE: EAS) ended trading Tuesday at $28.22. On Monday, they hit a 52-week high of $28.35.

Monitoring turbine noise levels complicated

First of all, I want to say that Cape Vincent's Town Supervisor Tom Rienbeck is doing the right thing. I never thought I would ever say that, but I saw firsthand what he is trying to do for the town. He has appointed a committee of local residents to hammer out a wind-turbine zoning law. They are working from a draft document written by the town's law firm.

Personally, I think there's a lot of work that needs to be done to make it acceptable to the majority of residents. I trust these people will do their civic duty. I thought the first meeting went very well. There certainly were points of contention, especially concerning setbacks and noise pollution. But the meeting didn't break down into endless bickering. Thanks and congratulations to everyone.

Since the general public could not speak at this meeting, I would like to express my thoughts about this issue. The committee agreed to visit the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County. Their plan is to go in the morning. First, they should call someone to verify wind is blowing sufficient to rotate the turbines. Some estimates suggest the wind only blows strong enough 30 percent of the time to rotate the turbines.

I visited the site last year during the day and the turbines were not rotating. In fact, the turbines were using electricity. It is a common practice for the wind company to start up each turbine to determine if there is sufficient wind to sustain the rotation.

Secondly, the purpose of this trip is to witness firsthand the noise produced by these windmills. This trip may be interesting, but it should not be interpreted as the last word on wind turbine noise. There are so many factors that dictate the level of noise these windmills produce: wind direction, wind velocity, relative humidity, topography, etc. And, keep in mind, you will not be trying to sleep at this hour of the day. Typically, the hours when we are sleeping are very quiet and peaceful.

There was a fair amount of talk about compliance and violation of noise levels. Please think about the practicality of measuring noise levels. It's not simply a matter of taking some kind of meter to someone's house and measuring the sound. It's much more complicated than that. A meaningful setback from residences makes a lot more sense.

Tom Gormel

Cape Vincent

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Leaders must be beyond reproach

AT ISSUE: Government officials must work to avoid wind-power conflicts

Nothing damages the public’s trust in government more than the possibility that elected and appointed officials are benefiting personally from government action.

That’s why New York state must aggressively pursue investigations across Upstate New York into potentially improper dealings between wind-power companies and local officials. That’s why town leaders in Herkimer County and elsewhere must avoid financial connections with such companies. And that’s why state agencies must step in and develop some guidelines for reviewing and approving such projects.

As the nation seeks alternative energy sources, wind power projects are flourishing. They help the nation reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. They provide cleaner energy that can help reduce global warming pressures.

At the local level, however, the scope of such projects can be daunting. Rural towns so small that they lack a full town hall are being asked to decide the fate of million-dollar projects, a process that can include extensive environmental impact reviews.

Those environmental impacts can be significant: The Associated Press reported in the O-D on Aug. 17 how the massive Maple Ridge wind farm on the Tug Hill Plateau in Lewis County north of Utica has pitted neighbor against neighbor, relative against relative, because of the size of the towers and the constant hum of the turbines.

That’s why the last element that should enter into the equation is potential financial benefit for local officials. Yet that’s precisely what’s occurred in multiple Upstate New York rural counties. The Franklin County district attorney received so many complaints, in his county and elsewhere, that he ultimately turned the whole matter over to the state Attorney General’s Office.

At least one complaint has been made in the Herkimer County town of Stark, where one Town Board member and three Zoning Board of Appeals members have signed lease agreements with a wind-power company seeking to build turbines in the town. Town Board member Thomas Puskarenko signed a lease agreement on May 4, 2007, with Jordanville Wind LLC for use of his property for wind turbines. Such lease deals typically bring a landowner a few thousand dollars per year.

Town records show that Puskarenko voted several times to boost the project in the years prior to his signing the lease agreement with the company. Even after that, Puskarenko participated in some votes on the project, and abstained on others. It was not until April 2008 that he formally told his board colleagues that he would stay out of discussions and votes on the wind project because of his financial connection.

It’s impossible to know when Puskarenko first began discussing a possible lease agreement with the developer, but the timeline is troubling. And even when he has recused himself from votes, that can’t erase from his fellow board members’ minds the knowledge that their colleague has a vested interest in the project. On a small board in a small town, could that color a board’s thinking? Certainly.

In the case of the Stark Zoning Board of Appeals, that board has not heard any cases involving the Jordanville wind project, but certainly it could become involved in such a case. What message does it send to residents and project opponents that three-fifths of that board has financial ties to the wind-turbine developer? Most likely that town government is too entwined with the developer to act and think independently.

Public servants fail the people when they make deals with companies or individuals that seek approval for private projects. Such dealings create conflicts of interest for those directly involved, and the appearance of a conflict of interest for the entire town government.

The state must investigate all such conflicts to see if wrongdoing occurred. Local officials must act in a manner beyond reproach by turning down all entreaties from private wind-turbine developers dangling lucrative lease deals in front of them. And the governor, state Legislature and attorney general must study this entire approval process so that localities have clear guidelines within which to operate.

Only then can rural residents feel assured that reviews of wind projects can occur without the taint of possible corruption.

Residents group concerned about project conflicts over wind power

At least one Stark Town Board member and three town Zoning Board of Appeals members have signed leases with the developer behind the Jordanville Wind Project, according to Herkimer County property records.

Stark town officials said they have been paying close attention to these potential conflicts of interest and have followed legal advice to make sure they haven’t done anything wrong.

But officials from the Otsego 2000 residents group have sent a letter to the state Attorney General’s Office asking for an investigation into the practices of the developer of the project — Iberdrola Renewables, Otsego 2000 interim Executive Director Nicole Dillingham said.

Iberdrola Renewables is moving forward with a plan for a project that would include 40 wind turbines in southern Herkimer County, Communications Manager Paul Copleman said.

Dillingham said she is concerned because she believes the company:

* Improperly signed leases with Stark town officials.

* Pressed residents in Stark and Warren to sign leases that include stipulations that restrict residents from talking negatively about the project.

* Were involved with town meetings that resulted in a court decision stating the towns mishandled decisions about the project.

“That to me is really in conflict with home rule,” Dillingham said. “I think they’re taking advantage of these small communities.”

But Stark town officials said they have put great effort into avoiding conflicts of interest and handling the project appropriately.

“We spend more time trying to do that than we do trying to make the decisions themselves,” town Supervisor Richard Bronner said.

The rural town of Stark is just one of many locations in the state where people are questioning whether wind power production companies are inappropriately influencing officials making decisions about potential projects.

Officials in the state Attorney General’s Office are investigating two production companies developing projects in eight counties and have received complaints about additional companies in other counties, office spokesman John Milgrim said. He couldn’t confirm whether complaints were made in Herkimer County or against Iberdrola.

Herkimer County District Attorney John Crandall said he received a complaint regarding a Herkimer County wind project and referred it to Herkimer state police because he doesn’t have an investigative staff.

He wouldn’t be more specific about details of the complaint, and Herkimer state police Investigator Reese Treen said he wasn’t aware of a complaint.

The Stark truth

Town Councilman Thomas Puskarenko signed a lease with the wind company May 4, 2007, according to Herkimer County property records. Town Zoning Board of Appeals members Bruce Banks, Dave Hardy and John Skendara also signed leases with the developer, according to the property records.

Puskarenko, who had no comment, first abstained from a vote related to the wind project Feb. 7, 2006, according to Stark town records. From that point on and even after he signed the lease, he participated in some votes about the project and abstained from others, records show.

He didn’t attend a town meeting May 4, 2007. During that meeting, Bronner read a letter from Puskarenko stating that he wouldn’t participate in any future actions involving the project due to a conflict of interest because he might have a wind turbine constructed on his property, town records show.

Puskarenko has recused himself from all votes related to the project since submitting the letter, records show.

Iberdrola Renewables officials are surprised anyone would continue to question this situation because an Onondaga County Supreme Court decision Dec. 7, 2007, addressed the issue, Copleman said.

Judge Donald’s Greenwood’s decision discusses a claim that Puskarenko failed to disclose a conflict of interest.

“The court has reviewed these contentions and finds them to be without merit,” Greenwood said in his decision.

Iberdrola is not a subject of the Attorney General’s Office investigation, and the company strives to make the development process as transparent as possible with open, public meetings, Copleman said.

“If any transactions involve landowners who are elected or appointed officials related to the project, Iberdrola Renewables requests the recusal of those officials from related decision making,” he said.

‘I see no conflict’

The Zoning Board of Appeals members haven’t faced any conflict of interest concerns because their only authority is when someone files an appeal, member Banks said.

The board meets once per year but hasn’t received any appeals relating to the wind project – and actually hasn’t received any appeals at all during his service, Banks said.

“I see no conflict,” he said. “There’s no plausible conflict there.”

Banks said he would recuse himself if anything related to the wind project ever came before the board.

Hardy and Skendara could not be reached.

Bronner said it can be difficult to avoid potential conflicts of interest when such a large project is proposed in a small town, but he thinks it has been handled properly because officials have followed the advice of people who previously have been through this kind of thing.

It can be tough to even find people to serve on a board in a small town, Bronner said. It’s frustrating when some residents and organizations question their motivations, when they’re attempting to do the right thing.

“What we’re trying to do is what’s best for all the taxpayers – not just a couple who don’t approve of what’s going on,” he said.

‘A great concern’

Dillingham of Otsego 2000 said she knows Puskarenko does recuse himself from votes now.

“But it is a great concern that you have people sitting on the town board who are leaseholders on the project,” she said.

Dillingham also said Iberdrola contracts restrict landowners from speaking against the project and only pay them minimal amounts of money. Landowners receive a $1,000 bonus and $500 per year for five years, then royalties each year going forward, she said.

“It’s really a sad situation, I think, that these kinds of contracts are basically pushed on the communities,” she said. “I blame Iberdrola for this.”

Dillingham also mentioned Greenwood’s December 2007 court decision, which in addition to addressing the potential conflict of interest, resulted in a huge setback for the wind project.

Greenwood ruled the Warren Town Board failed to look closely enough at the project’s potential impact, and that the Warren and Stark town boards acted in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law.

The decision deemed the project’s environmental studies null and void and awarded attorney’s fees to a group of residents who brought the lawsuit.

Steve Reichenbach, one of those residents and the interim president of Advocates for Stark, said he doesn’t think it is right that a town board member with a lease could partake in discussions and decisions about the project.

“I think that’s definitely a conflict of interest,” he said.

Reichenbach wouldn’t say whether he had filed any complaints.

Statewide investigation

An investigation into other wind companies in the state started in Franklin County, where county District Attorney Derek Champagne received complaints from residents who brought proof of lease-holding town officials voting on projects.

“That obviously was a huge red flag,” Champagne said. “Under general municipal law, that could easily be construed as unethical at a minimum and a crime at maximum.”

There were seven officials in Franklin County who had leases or family members with leases, he said, and complaints eventually came to him from more than 12 counties.

“It’s a problem that essentially is occurring all over the state of New York,” he said.

Concerned with the trend, Champagne began looking into why it was occurring and decided there needs to be a statewide energy policy that helps local towns deal with wind projects, which involve issues far more complicated than their town attorneys are used to dealing with, he said.

The investigation grew too large for Champagne and his staff, so he turned it all over to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, he said.

On July 15, the Attorney General’s Office announced an investigation into wind power companies First Wind and Noble Environmental Power. Combined, the companies have developed or are developing projects in eight counties.

The announcement states the investigation comes “amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.”

Cuomo said officials in his office will handle the issue.

“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 released statement.

“However, our 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 Power Problem in N.Y.

The northern parts of Clinton and Franklin counties have attracted wind farm developers. They have put up scores of the 400-foot-high wind turbines that will hopefully reduce some of the dependency on fossil fuel. But wind power generated to the power grid in New York is shaping up as a growing problem.

This week, former N.Y. Gov. George Pataki was in the area campaigning for Republican Sandy Treadwell, who is running for Congress in the 20th Congressional District. He said that the power grid just doesn't have the transmission lines to handle the amount of new electricity that is being generated and new transmission lines are urgently needed.

"If you want to build an interstate transmission line you have to get local, county, state and other states approval. It can take from 10 to 12 years, tens of millions of dollars and you don't know if it will happen. We need an expedited permitting process so private industry will make the investment," Pataki said.

Most wind turbine developers will agree with that. Marble River Wind Farm in Western New York has had to shut down transmission of power because the grid could not handle any more power.
The same problems exist in other states-- a problem that could restrict more clean power development.

Congressional candidate Treadwell said that if elected he would push for fast-tracking the building of additional transmission lines. That could include expediting hearings and streamlining paperwork.

"The problem is the grid capacity to take wind power. Something has to be done about that. There has to be legislation in Washington to allow capacity on the grid to allow wind," Treadwell said.

As far as these wind farms in Clinton County are concerned, there is no current problem. They will supply electricity and the grid can handle it. The issue will become more critical as more wind farms are built across the northern tier.

While the capability of producing clean energy is getting closer at hand, the ability to get it in a customer's home could still take years.

PSC Decision on Iberdrola Approval of Energy East

Italy needs your help

Wind developers intimidate town

To the editor:

On Tuesday, Sept 9 at 7 p.m at the town hall, and on Saturday, Sept 13 at 9 a.m. at the town barn, the Town of Italy will hold public hearings to solicit comments concern¬ing the proposed changes to the comprehensive plan and the zoning law so that they can create a "wind incentive zone" in the town.

Unfortunately, I get the feeling that the Town Board of Italy doesn't think it has much choice but to approve the changes.

As the wind marauders rampaged across the state over the past few years, the Town of Italy held a unique position as one of the few town councils that treated the idea of wind development with integrity and foresight. Several years ago the town held public hearings, and what it heard was that the people of Italy did not want 400-foot machines lined up along its ridge tops.

So the town did what heretofore had been unthinkable - with the blessing of its citizens it declared a moratorium on wind development, drew up a comprehensive plan and zoned the town so that huge industrial factories with monolithic towers would have to go somewhere else. For three years the the town worked on its plan, dotting the i's and crossing the t’s so that all would be done just right.

The wind developer was not put off- the company simply made up a case and sued the town. In the end it doesn’t matter that the Town of Italy "won" the lawsuit because it cost over $100,000 to "win" and the wind developer, with a smile on his race, told them he'd sue them again and again until they finally gave in to his demands.

We can all see the Cohocton towers now, although we won’t hear them until they are turned on. They are not "sculptural" and they do not "blend into the landscape." They are hideous, and every day more evidence turns up to prove that in the end their contribution to the renewable energy effort will be worse than useless. I fear that unless the Attorney General steps in and investigates the bullying tac¬tics of Ecogen LLC and its partner, Babcock and Brown, Italy is going to do exactly what the wind developer tells them to do. It is barbaric

It is also ironic, because every single state bureaucrat I've spoken to about wind projects has emphasized the importance of home rule and working with local officials. Italy did everything right—so why is it turning out so wrong?

Please attend the hearings. The Town of Italy needs to hear from people in surrounding towns who will be affected '. by the wind incentive zone, as well as its own residents who have repeatedly demonstrated that they don't want the wind projects. If you cannot attend, writer submissions will be accepted up until September 19 at 5 pm.

And just as important, please contact State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Capitol Building, Albany New York 12224-0341 and ask him for his help.

Ruth Matilisky, Prattsburgh

Monday, September 08, 2008

Takes issue with wind statistics by Jack Sullivan

Mr. Colin Read claims in an Aug. 12 "Opinion" column that the 217 wind turbines scheduled for Franklin and Clinton counties would produce enough "permanent and sustainable electric power for 200,000 homes." Impressive, except it doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

According to the U.S. Government Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household used 10.8 MW/hr of electricity in 2007. That means 200,000 North Country homes would require 2,160,000 MW/hr annually. To accomplish this, the GE 1.5 MW SLE turbines used by Noble Power would need to run at 75.7 percent of their capacity rating of 31 mph, which would mean a sustained 28.2 mph wind for the SLE turbines. An unlikely scenario. Put it this way: Mr. Read's 200,000 figure is overblown by at least 400 percent.

SLE turbine production at various wind speeds: 5 mph, no production; 10 mph, 3.4 percent of capacity rating; 15 mph, 11.3 percent; 20 mph, 26.8 percent; 25 mph, 57.9 percent; 30 mph, 90.6 percent.

According to the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority and AWS Truewind, most of Northern New York has average wind speeds of 12-15 mph at a height of 70 meters (230 feet). NYSERDA recommends a minimum average wind speed of 7 m/s, or nearly 16 mph, for viable wind projects.

Clearly, few Northern New York sites meet these criteria. Why is wind speed largely irrelevant? Because the majority of wind-developer income is not from generating power, but from tax credits, green credits (an Enron invention), double declining balance depreciation, and subsidies. This lets super-rich investors avoid taxes while average taxpayers pick up the slack. To add insult to injury, most wind developers are from out of state or even foreign owned. Even as New York state cuts hospital and nursing-home funding, it is sending millions out of state to wealthy wind developers.

Wind developers like to predict that wind energy will supply 20 percent of America's electricity by 2030. What does this mean to New York state? To average 20-percent production would take at least 25,000 1.5 MW turbines with over 1.5 million acres under lease, that would severely limit land use for up to 50 years. Even so, there would be many mornings when these turbines couldn't supply enough electricity to brew your coffee.

Mr. Read suggests that the Clinton and Franklin county wind turbines can supply electricity to these two counties with enough left for all of Northern New York. Once again, he's forgetting a few inconvenient facts. One being that wind is variable and unpredictable. Yet, when wind isn't blowing, demand still must be met. It's met by ramping up coal or natural-gas-fired plants kept in spinning reserve or by drawing on hydropower, which is always available and predictable, or by calling on nuclear power. "Wind energy on the grid is ... like riding a bike and having someone follow you in the car in case you get tired." (Eric Rosenbloom). Every watt generated by wind power requires an equal watt of backup conventional generation, according to Germany's E.ON Netz and the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering.

Wind salesmen like to respond that regional fluctuations are compensated by wind plants over a large geographic area. The huge blackout in Europe in 2006, and more recently in Texas, show this not to be the case. Germany's leading power supplier, E.ON Netz, acknowledges that "intermittency of wind-power supply reduces the stability of electricity-transmission networks, leading to more frequent power blackouts." The 2006 blackout resulted from rolling "network failures as power plants were taken off-line to protect them" from wind power surges.

Then there is the hilarious claim that "I buy all my electricity from wind turbines." Alas, all wind production funnels into the grid and is distributed according to demand. Not even Al Gore can tell a wind-generated electron from one generated by other means.

New York state's power demand for the month of August was mostly in the 20,000-to-25,000-MW range. Given the light winds of August, 217 turbines would be hard pressed to produce an average of 75 MW. An output of three-tenths of 1 percent is trivial, I suspect even to Al.

Finally, there is the "clean, renewable energy" slogan. Wind power is renewable, but hardly clean when you consider the emissions produced in manufacture, transportation and construction. Add to this substantial mercury pollution from cement manufacture.

In sum, "It's well past time to stop considering what wind might do and to examine what it has done. It has not reduced fossil-fuel use or emissions. It has only ruined a lot of landscapes and communities, fragmented habitat, and killed birds and bats." (National Wind Watch).

Town may require buried power lines

ELLISBURG — A proposed local law to require new electric transmission lines to be buried will have a public hearing at 8 p.m. Oct. 2, the next Town Council meeting.

The council did not vote on the measure at its meeting Thursday night because the proposed zoning law amendment has not yet had a public hearing.

"I hope you realize how serious we are on this proposal," said Daniel L. Rossiter, an Ellisburg farmer and proponent of the proposed law. "The proposal provides outs for the town — it's easily revocable. A transmission line isn't."

A group of farmers from the prime agricultural land in the town presented the zoning law amendment at the August meeting, and the council said it would investigate. The farmers say that if a transmission line is above ground, it will interfere with their farming practices and be an eyesore.

The amendment would require lines above 125 kilovolts to be placed underground, but would allow for variances. The proposal is a response to the proposed 230-kilovolt transmission line from the Galloo Island Wind Farm.

While placing transmission lines underground is up to 10 times as expensive as running them overhead, there are reduced maintenance and repair costs. In the United States, it is becoming more common for 230- and 345-kv lines to be placed underground, especially in large cities.

Supervisor William H. Fulkerson said the Association of Towns would not give the town guidance on the measure.

Councilman Kurt E. Gehrke asked whether the landowners could negotiate more with the Galloo Island developer, Upstate NY Power Corp.

Some landowners said their phone calls have not been returned. Others said they wanted to wait until after the council voted on the proposal before contacting the company.

None of the five landowners proposing the legislation has been contacted by Upstate NY Power since the developer's attorney, Robert W. Burgdorf, visited the town in June, they said. He showed an eighth proposed route, which included the five landowners' properties, and said they would be contacted within 60 days.

The Public Service Commission takes applications to connect to the state's electric grid. The Article VII Process Guide published by the commission said developers are not required to provide copies of the application to individual owners of property in which any portion of the facility is proposed to be located.

"However, in an effort to foster public involvement, an applicant is encouraged to volunteer to provide notice of the filing of its application to individual property owners of land in which any portion of the facility is proposed to be located, for both the primary route proposed and any alternative locations listed," it said.

Some council members said they were concerned what effect approving the amendment would have on negotiations for a tax break agreement with the developer.

"We could lose benefits for the entire township," Councilman Douglas W. Shelmidine said.

The nine easements that already have been filed at the Jefferson County clerk's office contain provisions by which the developer would pay taxes on the poles and lines, while the landowner pays taxes on the land.

The town would be part of any payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the developer.

"We've been negotiating community benefits," Mr. Fulkerson said. "It's too early to tell what they're going to be."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

New York facing major energy changes?

HAMLIN, N.Y. -- In Hamlin you'll see supporters and opponents of wind farms.

"I think New York State has to find other ways to leading the way in green energy,” said Paul Lapinski, Hamlin Preservation Group.

Hamlin Preservation Group member Paul Lapinski opposes renewable energy company Iberdrola acquiring Energy East, a deal assuring the Spanish company's wind projects throughout the state.

"I'm more against the acquisitions with the wind farms,” said Lapinski.

"I feel very very comfortable with the vote that the PSC gave in support of the Iberdrola efforts,” said Ed Evans, Hamlin Conservation Board.

Hamlin Conservation Board member Ed Evans believes the deal is good for the town both economically and environmentally.

"The host agreement and the pilot agreement that comes with the windmills moving into the area will offset what everybody else is seeing as an increase as a cost of living in their towns and not in Hamlin,” said Evans.

When the acquisition is official, Iberdrola along with New York State will commit about $200 million to wind farms in hopes that wind mills will begin to pop up in fields like these.

"My real concern is that that's going to happen in small towns through New York State that Iberdrola is going to come in and they're going to point blank tell the towns what they want and if the towns don't want or like what they want. They're just going to say well if you don't take what we want we're going to leave,” said Lapinski.

The Public Service Commission says the agreement put forth protections that should ease concerns for ratepayers like Lapinski.

"All designed with the intent to insure that ratepayers are not dually hurt by such projects,” said Energy East Sale James Denn, PSC.

Iberdrola plans to put windmills in 70 percent of Hamlin. The PSC expects a written order to go through by this upcoming week.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FIRST WIND Lays an Egg WITHDRAWS IPO
after Wall Street no confidence in company




Send email request to join - RIWT Facebook Groupsplus
cohoctonwindwatch@gmail.com

RIWT is open to the public

Risks of Industrial Wind Turbines is a group of citizens and organizations dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life of residents and future generations.

**************