Cohocton Wind Watch: October 2008
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud




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Friday, October 31, 2008

Enfield wind farm project is a fraud at fundamental level

There is an adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Indeed, when the subject is complex and esoteric, the common person needs to be on guard. Self-proclaimed proponents of energy and the environment have a notorious history of taking advantage of our good intentions. A contemporary example for the Ithaca community is the ludicrous proposal of John Rancich to deface the Finger Lakes landscape with windmills under the guise of “sustainable energy.”

Rancich has offered to do you a favor you don't recall asking for. The esoteric reality is that the proposal is a fraud at fundamental levels, and so fundamentals are what he will publicly avoid like the plague! Let's take a look at just a few.

Fundamental: All of the components Rancich will use to build his personal memento will come from factories powered by everything but wind. Indeed, the only reason these wind farm components are manufactured at all is because the profit margins are supported by non-wind powered factories and high prices that abjectly ignorant politicians are cajoled into paying, but from the taxpayer treasury!

Fundamental: Study after study also proves that if wind farms were the energy source for their own manufacture, the return-on-investment (ROI) would be so out of whack that no objective person would even consider it. In other words, even with the alleged savings in energy, a wind farm is such a dead end, it cannot even pay for itself! So how can it be justified, except by fraud or politics? Indeed, the ROI's are supportable only when the taxpayer is being taken for a ride by elected officials. Ask yourself this: Why are there no examples of a private company putting up a wind farm to power their factory or store? If a decent ROI stood on its own merit (i.e. no help from the taxpayer), don't you think those greedy, capitalists would have already done it!? The only examples of these eyesores are the politically mandated, taxpayer-funded charades lobbied for by the likes of Rancich.

Fundamental: If a project is not financially viable, how can it be “sustainable”?

Fundamental: You can also assure yourself that trendy politicians will be prioritizing their career mementos but only covertly. Publicly the politicians will proclaim energy independence as their motivation.

Let's step back and think about the ‘big picture' that got us here in the first place. Here we have George Bush in the White House chasing the priorities of his military contractor and oil baron suitors. Having driven the price of energy to the highest levels in human history, the Bush/Cheney crowd has ostensibly forced well-meaning people to take a second look at silliness like wind mills. Now that the proverbial price is right, and whether he admits it or not, Rancich is essentially declaring that the viability of his wind farm is based on the shenanigans of Bush/Cheney. Rather than taxpayer-funded wealth promoting schemes like wind farms, shouldn't Rancich help us revolt against an “administration” in Washington that has repeatedly failed to enact even a grammar-school level national energy policy? The Bush energy policy amounts to ‘no windfall profits left unexploited.' Alternatively, has anyone looked at the national energy policy of, say, France? How is it France has decoupled itself from a dangerous dependence on imported hydrocarbons? How is it France was able to shut down and stop all power plant usage of coal in 2004? Do you think that the nation of France powers its modern society and economy with Rancich-style wind farms? Spare me!

Trust me, I love the wind and I love the sun. I will do everything I can to protect the wildlife and the environment. I have always revolted against the abject incompetence of not having a national energy plan for the United States. Indeed, it is in these contexts that the Rancich wind farm is not viable.

On a personal note, I must admit my displeasure with an intrinsic part of the Rancich PR: The process of labels and labeling. In this case he has made the claim that the primary rejection he has heard from the Ithaca community is “not in my backyard” (NIMBY). I doubt that claim. Since I am writing this from Dearborn, Mich., this Rancich stunt only served to put me on guard. He states that the majority of the people “he's asked” have been in favor of the project. But when they're not in favor he resorts to slanders with the NIMBY label. His wind farm highway is full of fundamental potholes and should be dropped from consideration.

For those that need an esoteric primer on the physical and political fundamentals of wind farms, see Professor Howard Hogan's “The Solar Fraud: Why Solar Energy Won't Run the World.”

Paul Sheridan lives in Dearborn, Mich.

Nipping corruption in the wind

ALBANY — Following allegations of self-dealing by municipal officials and bullying by energy companies, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on Thursday put out ethical guidelines for the state's booming wind power industry.

The voluntary guidelines create "rules of the road that are very specific and very clear," said Cuomo, who was joined by local district attorneys and a pair of wind company executives at the Capitol.

The Wind Industry Ethics Code prevents wind companies, which need local zoning approval, from hiring municipal employees. The code also aims to prevent other conflicts of interest between local officials and wind firms. The guidelines also exposed a rift among the more than two dozen power companies ferociously competing for turf in the state.

The head of one group suggested Cuomo may be exploiting "not in my back yard" sentiments against wind companies.

The code includes "reasonable requirements," said Carol Murphy, head of the Alliance for Clean Energy. She added the guidelines should be extended beyond wind energy companies to all companies engaged in significant projects necessitating municipal permits. Murphy, whose group represents 22 wind companies, said she believes the industry is being singled out.

The two companies that joined Cuomo and have signed the code — Noble Environmental Power and First Wind — are not members of the alliance.

But Noble and First Wind are among several companies being investigated by Cuomo and, in some cases, county district attorneys. Landowners have complained of bullying behavior by companies, while other critics describe deals offered to town officials who may have conflicts of interest since some of them must create zoning ordinances that allow wind turbines.

Cuomo has developed ethical guidelines for other industries, such as college lenders, said John Milgrim, a Cuomo spokesman. And while ethical guidelines should pertain to all land developments, Milgrim said wind farms are unique in that they require large tracts of land.

"The nature of this development cuts wider and effects more people than most typical developments," Milgrim said, adding that district attorneys in the counties as well as the state Association of Towns welcomed the clarity Cuomo's guidelines create.

Wind farms, where turbines can rise more than 300 feet high, are becoming a hot topic . As companies scour breezy hilltops for turbine locations, there have been complaints from some areas that local officials who own land they've leased to the companies have been self-dealing by passing favorable zoning rules or ignoring opponents.

"We have gotten dozens of complaints from all across the state regarding these issues," Cuomo said. While such investigations, focused mostly on Franklin, Steuben and Wyoming counties, won't be halted by the guidelines, officials said they should help prevent problems.

There's also a developing land rush in the southern Albany County hill towns of Berne and Knox , where several wind companies hope to construct turbines. Berne Supervisor Kevin Crosier said he's fielded complaints from some residents who say that wind companies have made threats, saying they would get construction rights through eminent domain if property owners didn't voluntarily allow construction of turbines on their land.

Cuomo announces wind farm ethics code

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo Thursday announced a new Wind Industry Ethics Code that establishes guidelines to facilitate the development of alternative energy in New York while assuring the public the wind power industry is acting properly and within the law.

The code calls for new oversight through a multi-agency task force, and establishes transparency that will deter any improper relationships between wind development companies and local government officials.

The ethics code is a result of the Attorney General’s investigation into, among other things, whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, and whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their official actions relating to wind farm development.

Part of the investigation centered on alleged misconduct in Prattsburgh over a proposed wind farm.

Town Supervisor Harold McConnell admitted accepting a payment to broker a land deal for First Wind, an energy company, but denied it influenced two votes he cast for the company to acquire private land through eminent domain. McConnell’s actions prompted a lawsuit that was recently argued in state Supreme Court in Bath and a ruling is expected.

(Click to read entire article)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NY sets code to axe dirty business in clean energy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Attorney General launched an ethics code on Thursday that seeks to fight dirty business in the state's emerging wind power farm business.

"Clean energy requires clean government," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told reporters.

Wind power is a bustling business in upstate New York offering jobs in poor regions. About 450 wind turbines have been installed, and another 900 are planned.

But residents have charged that wind power companies have intimidated them and given gifts to officials in an effort to locate wind farms.

The code is a result of Cuomo's investigation into dozens of complaints from throughout the state.

In July Cuomo had subpoenaed two wind companies, First Wind, based in Massachusetts, and Noble Environmental Power, LLC based in Connecticut, seeking documents.

Among other things, the code bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving annual gifts of more than $10, and knowingly using confidential information acquired by municipal officers in the course of their duties.

It also requires wind companies to produce public websites to disclose names of municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development.

First Wind and Noble Environmental Power both signed the ethics code, saying they were the first companies to do so voluntarily.

Noble is majority owned by funds affiliated with JPMorgan Chase & Co's private equity division JPMorgan Partners LLC, which are managed by private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors LLC. First Wind is a private company.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ESTABLISHES CODE OF CONDUCT FOR WIND ENERGY COMPANIES OPERATING IN NEW YORK

Noble Environmental Power and First Wind first to sign Wind Industry Ethics Code

New Task Force to monitor and ensure compliance includes: District Attorneys Gerald Stout, Michael Green, and Derek Champagne, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Counties Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Towns G. Jeffrey Haber, and NYPIRG’s Legislative Director Blair Horner

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 30, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new Wind Industry Ethics Code that establishes guidelines to facilitate the development of alternative energy in New York while assuring the public the wind power industry is acting properly and within the law. The Code calls for new oversight through a multi-agency Task Force, and establishes unprecedented transparency that will deter any improper relationships between wind development companies and local government officials.

The first companies to sign the Attorney General’s Wind Industry Ethics Code are Essex, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power, LLC and Newton, Massachusetts-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind). Both companies currently operate wind farms in New York and have several others in development.

“Wind power is an exciting industry for the state that will be a cornerstone of our energy future. But it is important to make sure that this alternative energy sector develops in a way that maintains the public’s confidence, and that is what this new Code of Conduct does,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “I commend Noble and First Wind for taking the lead by adopting this Code, and we fully expect other companies that want to develop wind farms in New York to follow suit.”

The Wind Industry Ethics Code is a result of the Attorney General’s investigation into, among other things, whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, and whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their official actions relating to wind farm development. Both Noble and First Wind fully cooperated in the inquiry and their assistance was instrumental in developing the Code of Conduct that is being announced today.

The Attorney General's Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes vast new public disclosure requirements. The Code:

•Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency
•Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using, or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his or her officials duties
•Requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public Web site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development
•Requires wind companies to submit in writing to the municipal clerk for public inspection and to publish in the local newspaper the nature and scope of the municipal officer’s financial interest
•Mandates that all wind easements and leases be in writing and filed with the County Clerk
•Dictates that within thirty days of signing the Wind Industry Ethics Code, companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working with municipal employees
Attorney General Cuomo is also establishing a new Task Force that will monitor wind companies to ensure they are in compliance with the Code of Conduct. Members of the Task Force will include: a representative from the Office of the Attorney General, Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne, Monroe County District Attorney Michael C. Green, Wyoming County District Attorney Gerald Stout, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Towns G. Jeffrey Haber, and New York Public Interest Research Group Legislative Director Blair Horner.

The New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) estimates that wind power has the potential to provide 20 percent of the state’s electricity demand and a 2005 report by the state Comptroller’s Office estimates the alternative energy industry could add 43,000 jobs in New York by 2013.

Noble Environmental Power, LLC, has three active wind farms in New York; the Noble Clinton Windpark and Noble Ellenberg Windpark in Clinton County, and the Noble Bliss Windpark in Wyoming County. Other possible future locations include Allegany, Chautauqua, Clinton, Franklin, and Wyoming Counties.

First Wind has one operational wind farm in New York, the Steel Winds wind farm in Erie County. Possible future locations include Steuben and Chautauqua Counties.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne said, “This common sense approach by Attorney General Cuomo will help ensure the promise of clean, renewable energy is not tainted by shady deals and improper relationships between wind power companies and local government officials. I look forward to taking part in the new task force and applaud the Attorney General for his leadership on this important issue.”

Wyoming County District Attorney Gerald Stout said, “Wind power not only provides us with clean, renewable energy, it can also serve as an economic engine for New York. Attorney General Cuomo’s Code of Conduct and the introduction of the new task force are both important steps in making sure corrupt influences do not put this growing industry in peril.”

Monroe County District Attorney Michael C. Green said, “I commend Attorney General Cuomo for establishing this new Code of Conduct for the wind-power industry. When properly developed, wind power can and should play a vital role in our state’s energy future, but it cannot happen in a way that erodes public confidence with allegations of self-dealing and corruption. The Attorney General’s new code of conduct and task force will ensure that wind companies stay in compliance without unduly burdening the companies’ ability to do business in New York.”

Senator George Maziarz, Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee said, "Attorney General Cuomo has again proven that the best way to tackle challenging issues is through cooperation at all levels of government. By working together we can ensure that this promising industry will continue to flourish in New York."

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee said, “Wind power will play an important role in achieving energy independence through a growing reliance on clean, renewable resources. In order to reach that goal effectively, it is essential that all parties involved play by the rules and adhere to the highest standards of ethics. I applaud Attorney General Cuomo for his efforts on this issue.”

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said, "Local governments have taken the lead in siting wind energy generating facilities, which provide essential renewable energy into the electrical grid. Simultaneously, county ethics boards continue to take their role in policing conflicts of interest pertaining to the siting of wind power very seriously. Attorney General Cuomo's Code of Conduct is an important step in helping make sure public confidence remains strong as this burgeoning industry develops across our counties."

Executive Director of the New York State Association of Towns G. Jeffrey Haber said, “This is a new rapidly growing industry with exciting potential - as well as new challenges - for all of us. Attorney General Cuomo, working with all interested parties, has taken a strong leadership role in developing guidelines to help us all as the industry develops and evolves across New York state.”

Blair Horner, Legislative Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group said, “Good ethics requirements helps build a better business climate. Companies that play by the rules should never be put at a competitive disadvantage. And the public should know that private-public deals are made in the public’s best interest. This Code will help ensure that this important industry grows and prospers in New York.”

Walter Q. Howard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Environmental Power said, “Noble has always been fully committed to the ethical and transparent development of renewable resources, and has supported the work of the Attorney General and his staff in the development of the new Wind Industry Ethics Code. We are gratified that going forward there will be clear guidelines with respect to ethical behavior and conflict of interest, and are committed to continuing to operate in conformity with the principles laid out today in this Code."

Paul Gaynor, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Wind said, “We are pleased to have cooperated with the Office of the New York Attorney General in its efforts to bring clarity to the wind industry in New York State. We have always held ourselves to high standards, and we hope that other firms will join us in signing on to this Code of Conduct. We believe it is good for us, good for the industry and good for New York.”

Any complaints about wind development companies should be sent to the newly created Task Force by e-mailing them to WindTaskForce@oag.state.ny.us. Complaints about other industries or local officials should be made to the Office of the Attorney General by e-mailing them to public.integrity@oag.state.ny.us or by calling 1-800-428-9072.

The matter is being handled by Special Deputy Attorney General Ellen Nachtigall Biben, who oversees the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau, Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Stamm, Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Heffner and Robert Vawter, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Robin L. Baker.

Wind power companies, Cuomo reach agreement

ALBANY -- Two wind power companies under investigation for possible improper dealings with local government officials agreed this morning to adopt a set of ethics principles designed to provide a level of transparency into the rapidly expanding alternative energy sector.

The agreement between the companies, one of which is the developer of the Steel Winds project on the old Bethlehem Steel plant site in Lackawanna, does not close the investigation begun earlier this summer by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is looking into possibly shaky deals offered by the companies to local government officials in return for land-use agreements for placement of the controversial wind turbines.

The code of conduct principles was signed by Massachusetts-based First Wind, developer of the Lackawanna facility, and Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power, which has three wind farms and another five under development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Clinton and Franklin counties.

Cuomo said the companies have been cooperating with his probe of whether the growing number of wind firms trying to do business in New York illegally obtained land agreements from municipalities by cutting deals with government officials or citizens. The two companies are the first to sign onto the code of conduct.

The code bans wind companies from hiring local government officials or their relatives for one year after approval of a wind energy deal. It also bans companies from seeking, using or receiving "confidential information" obtained by a locality about a pending project. Companies also will have to post on a web site the names of any municipal officials or their relatives with any financial stake in the firms.

Wind easements and leases will have to be publicly filed with county clerks. Companies must conduct seminars to educate their workers about preventing conflicts of interests in dealings with local officials.

Subpoenas were served in July on the two companies as part of Cuomo's investigation into questionable dealings with local officials around the state. The office had gotten complaints about "improper relations" between wind companies and local officials, including in Erie County. Cuomo has not divulged any details of the investigation.

In July, Lackawanna Mayor Norman Polanski said the wind power project in his city was not a part of the probe.

Cuomo also announced creation of a new task force -- composed of members of his staff, local district attorneys, including Wyoming County District Attorney Gerald Stout, and local government organizations -- to monitor the companies to ensure they comply with the new code. He asked residents to send complaints about any wind company developments to windtaskforce@oag.state.ny.us.

"Wind power is an exciting industry for the state that will be a cornerstone of our energy future. But it is important to make sure that this alternative energy sector develops in a way that maintains the public's confidence," Cuomo said in a statement.

False Renewable Energy Job & Economic Benefits Claims

- 12 Common Flaws and Faulty Assumptions –

Renewable energy advocates have been very active in issuing press releases claiming that their “studies,” “analyses,” and “reports” show investments in “renewable” energy projects will produce big increases in jobs and economic benefits.

Reporters and editors parrot the claims, apparently with no serious attempt to evaluate them.

Federal and state officials – executive, legislative and regulatory – accept renewable energy lobbyists’ claims as if they are facts, and even repeat false and misleading claims to justify proposals to provide even more tax breaks, and subsidies for “renewable” energy.

Unfortunately, many in media and government apparently are unable (or have no desire) to tell the difference between valid and false claims from renewable energy advocates. Federal and state energy agencies (e.g., the US Department of Energy --DOE) and its contractors add to the problem when they use tax dollars to finance and publicize studies and reports that include false and misleading claims.

Consumers and taxpayers who bear the costs of tax breaks, subsidies, and unwise energy investments deserve protection from the results of false and misleading claims but, sadly, experience suggests that they will get little help from the media or from elected or appointed government officials.

Twelve Common Flaws and Faulty Assumptions

Gross overstatements of job creation and other economic benefits are often the result of twelve common flaws and faulty assumptions that are either purposely or inadvertently made by those who prepare the “analyses,” “studies,” and “reports” that allege big benefits. The twelve flaws and faulty assumptions, listed below, are particularly common in the case of wind energy.

1. Ignoring the fact that much of the capital spending is for equipment purchased elsewhere, often imported from other countries. (This is a common error in the case of "wind farms" where as much as 75% of the capital costs are often for turbines, towers and blades – many of which are imported.)

2. Assuming that employment during project construction results in new jobs for local workers -- when many of the construction jobs (particularly in the case of wind energy) are short term (6 months or less) and filled by skilled workers who are brought in temporarily. Similarly, assuming that "permanent" jobs are new jobs and filled by local workers -- when they are filled by people brought in for short periods (e.g., for maintenance work).

3. Assuming that temporary workers who are brought in for short periods spend their pay checks and pay taxes locally when, in fact, these workers spend most of their wages where they and their families have permanent residences -- and where the workers spend most of their weekends and pay taxes.

4. Assuming that the full purchase price of the goods and services purchased locally (which often are minimal anyway) has a local economic benefit. In fact, only the local value added may have a local economic benefit. This is illustrated by the purchase of a gallon of gasoline -- let's say for $2.50. Only the wages of the service station employees, the dealer's margin, and the taxes paid locally or to the state will have a local or state economic benefit. Economic benefits from the share of the $2.50 that pays for the crude oil (much of it imported), refining, wholesaling, and transportation generally flows elsewhere.

5. Assuming that land rental payments in the case of "wind farms" all have local economic benefit. In fact, these payments will have little or no local economic benefit when the payments are to absentee landowners OR if the money is spent or invested elsewhere or is used to pay income taxes that flow to Washington DC or state capitals.

6. Using "input-output" models that spit out "indirect" job and other economic benefits but which are based on untested or flawed underlying data and assumptions and unproven "multiplier" effects.

7. Ignoring the COSTS imposed by the development. In the case of wind energy, these would include but are not limited to (a) the environmental and ecological costs associated with the production of the equipment, (b) constructing and operating the "wind farm" (e.g., site and road clearing, habitat destruction, noise, bird and bat kills and migration interference) , (c) scenic impairment, (d) neighboring property value impairment, and (e) local infrastructure costs.

8. Ignoring the fact that electricity produced from wind, has less real value because it is intermittent, volatile and unreliable and most likely to be produced at night in colder months, not on hot weekday late afternoons in July and August when demand is high and the economic value of electricity is high.

9. Ignoring the "backup power" costs; i.e., the added cost resulting from having to keep reliable generating units immediately available (often running at less than peak efficiency) to keep electric grids in balance when those grids have to accept intermittent, volatile and unreliable output from "wind farms.

10. Ignoring the fact that electricity produced from renewable sources located in remote areas result in high transmission costs, including (a) construction of additional transmission capacity, the costs of which are passed on to electric customers and which imposes other environmental, scenic and property value costs, (b) electricity "line losses" because part of the electricity that is produced by generating units never reaches customers or serves a useful purpose, and (c) inefficient use of transmission capacity because the output is intermittent and generally unpredictable – resulting in high unit costs of transmission.

11. Ignoring the true higher cost of the electricity (or other energy form) resulting from the renewable energy source -- and the associated fact that electric customers then have less money to save or to spend on other needs (food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care -- or hundreds of other things normally purchased in local stores), thus reducing the jobs associated with that spending.

12. Perhaps most important, ignoring the very important fact that the investment dollars going to "renewable" energy sources would be available for investment for other purposes that will often produce greater economic benefits.

In summary, it’s well past the time that writers, editors and government officials STOP accepting and repeating misleading false and misleading “renewable” energy job creation and economic benefit claims! Consumers and taxpayers should demand that they do so – repeatedly, if necessary.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dr. Nina Pierpont - Wind Turbine Syndrome - excerpt links

The book is written, the peer reviews are in. All that remains are explanatory side-bar notes. Consider the following paragraph.

"The second critical element is central processing: how sensory information about motion and position is integrated by the brain, what other brain centers are activated, and what kinds of signals the system then sends back out to the body. Balaban and colleagues describe how the parabrachial nucleus network receives motion and position information from visual, vestibular, somatosensory, and visceral sensory input, and is linked to brain centers and circuits that mediate anxiety and fear, including serotonin and norepinephrine-bearing neurons from the midbrain and the amygdala, a key mediator of fear reactions. Neurologically, fear or anxiety and a sense of balance or stability in space are closely connected."

Wouldn’t you like to read this in plain English? So would I. That’s the reason for the side-bars: to render the tough clinical stuff into layman’s language.

The good news is, the majority of the report is readily comprehensible to laymen. (At least we think so.) However, where it launches into mind-numbing passages like that above, Dr. Pierpont is writing simple, non-technical explanations of what’s being discussed and its significance for Wind Turbine Syndrome.

Back to the excerpts. You will notice they are all in manuscript (typescript) format. In each case they represent the latest version of the ms. Be aware that the final, published version may differ somewhat from the text you read below, since the ms. is still, as of this writing, a work in progress. Nevertheless it is very close to final draft. Whatever revisions are made between now and publication will likely be minor. The Editor

»Preface

»Abstract

»Body of report: Text

»References

»Body of report: Tables

»Glossary

Published by K-Selected Books (Santa Fe, NM)

Peer reviews - Dr. Nina Pierpont - Wind Turbine Syndrome

Professor Lord (Robert) May of Oxford University OM AC Kt FRS calls the book “impressive, interesting, and important.”

(Click here and here for further information on Lord May’s prodigious research accomplishments and honors, including President of the Royal Society and Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government. Lord May is currently at the forefront of global warming research.)

Excerpts from peer reviewers (referees):
This “report … deserves publication…. The careful documentation of serious physical, neurological and emotional problems provoked by living close to wind turbines must be brought to the attention of physicians who, like me, are unaware of them until now.”

—from the referee report by Jerome Haller, MD, Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York. Dr. Haller is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Neurology (Child Neurology Section), and the Child Neurology Society.

“This [report] addresses an under-reported facet of Noise Induced Illnesses in a fashion that is detailed in its historical documentation, multisystemic in its approach and descriptions, and painstakingly and informatively referenced…. [It] opens up the area of low frequency vibration to the medical community….I applaud her.”

—from the referee report by Joel F. Lehrer, MD, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons,
Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.

“Let me congratulate you on your case-series investigation on Wind Turbine Syndrome…. As an epidemiologist I fully appreciate your truly remarkable effort, one that smacks of being well done and with a full respect for honest inquiry….

“Your high level of scientific integrity is revealed both in your [research] design decisions and in your writing, both of which are of the highest order….

“You have laid a remarkable, high quality, and honest foundation for others to build upon with the next stages of scientific investigation. In doing so, you have made a commendable, thorough, careful, honest, and significant contribution to the study of (what we can now call) Wind Turbine Syndrome.”

—from the referee report by Ralph V. Katz, DMD, MPH, PhD, Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology,
Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion
New York University College of Dentistry

“Dr. Pierpont has gathered a strong series of case studies of deleterious effects on the health and well-being of many people living near large wind turbines. Furthermore, she has reviewed medical studies that support a plausible physiological mechanism directly linking low frequency noise and vibration (like that produced by wind turbines and which may not in itself be reported as irritating) to potentially debilitating effects on the inner ear and other sensory systems associated with balance and sense of position. Thus the effects are likely to have a physiological component, rather than being exclusively psychological….

“It is … clear that many people are affected at far greater distances than the minimum set-backs currently allowed between turbines and residences. Accordingly, it would be prudent to establish much longer set-backs from houses as a criterion for siting new turbines, pending further studies on this newly documented Wind Turbine Syndrome. Documentation of the syndrome itself is strong evidence that current set-backs are woefully inadequate.”

—from the referee report by Henry S. Horn, PhD, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Associate of the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University

Texas consumers to pay steep price for rush to wind energy

Foundation report looks at costs, challenges of harnessing wind for electricity

AUSTIN – Texas’ efforts to make it the nation’s leading wind energy state have come at a cost – at least $60 billion between now and 2025 – that will be borne by consumers and taxpayers, according to a report released today by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

“The combined cost of subsidies, tax breaks, market disruptions, and increased production and ancillary costs associated with wind energy in Texas could top out at more than $4 billion per year, and total at least $60 billion through 2025,” according to Bill Peacock, Director of the Foundation’s Center for Economic Freedom.

The report, “Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future,” examines the growth of wind energy in Texas over the last decade. While many policymakers and business leaders foresee wind as a major contributor to America’s electricity supply, the report identifies several practical obstacles that stand in the way of achieving that vision.

“Wind power is, and will continue to be, part of Texas’ energy supply,” said Drew Thornley, the report’s author. “However, Texas’ policymakers must thoroughly examine both the benefits and limitations of wind energy, particularly the issues of reliability, transmission, and cost.”

The Public Utility Commission’s recent approval of a $5 billion plan to connect proposed West Texas wind farms to Texas’ metropolitan centers is just the beginning of the costs to Texas’ electric ratepayers. “These costs do not include escalating labor and material costs or financing costs during construction,” Thornley said. “Thus, the installed costs, which will be used to establish future transmission rates, should be considerably higher. The total cost of transmission construction should increase electricity prices by about $17.1 billion through 2025.”

Texas wind energy will be subsidized to the tune of $28.3 billion through 2025. Besides transmission costs, the subsidies include Texas’ program for mandating production of wind energy through the renewable portfolio standard and renewable energy credits ($1.4 billion) and the federal production tax credit ($9 billion). Texas consumers and taxpayers should expect to bear more than $20 billion of this directly, with the rest paid by U.S. taxpayers. The remainder of the $60 billion cost of Texas wind energy comes from increased generation and system management costs, economic costs from disruptions of service due to unreliability, and from additional tax breaks.

In addition to the cost, Thornley identified the three major challenges to the expansion of Texas wind energy as the intermittent nature of wind, the inability to store electricity on a large scale, and the limitations on electric transmission infrastructure.

“The greatest impediment to wind’s large-scale contribution to our energy supply is its intermittent nature,” Thornley said. “The wind must blow in order for wind turbines to produce power. In Texas, however, wind blows the least during the summer months when we need power the most.” He added that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas relies on a mere 8.7 percent of wind power’s installed capacity during peak summer hours.

Thornley debunked the notion that wind could replace natural gas as a fuel source for electricity. “Because there is presently no adequate wind-power storage system, wind-generating units must be backed up by units that generate electricity from traditional fuels,” Thornley said. “In Texas’ case, that has most often meant natural gas.”

“Wind power is not an energy-supply panacea,” Thornley said, “but rather a supplement with the potential to play a beneficial role in Texas’ energy mix for years to come.”

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas. The report, “Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future” is available online at http://www.TexasPolicy.com.

Bill Peacock is Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Drew Thornley is a natural resources and economic freedom policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ill Wind: FPL Cites Bad Third-Quarter Breezes

Wind is free, but you can’t make it blow.

FPL Energy, the biggest U.S. renewable-energy operator, said wind conditions in the third quarter were the worst it has seen since starting a wind-power database in the early 1970s. Electricity generated by FPL’s wind farms—esecially in prime wind-power country like Texas and the Great Plains—came in well below the expected output. FPL’s Texas wind generation, for example, was just 72% of expected output in the quarter—and just 53% in September.

That affects the bottom line. Variable weather (including some good news for hydropower) in the end knocked off about 7 cents a share for FPL, the company said.

Granted, variable wind is just that. FPL enjoyed a better-than-average second quarter of wind, and for the year the company’s wind-power operations have generated 98% of the juice they expected.

But the third-quarter doldrums underscore one of the lingering concerns about massive use of renewables like wind power. Even though wind-farm developers use sophisticated tools to pick sites with the best wind, wind turbines generally only produce about one-third as much electricity as advertised.

That variable output gets even harder to predict when normally windy areas, like Texas, get suddenly calm. FPL recently detailed (p. 32) all the variables that affect its wind-power earnings—expected wind speed, actual wind speed, the theoretical turbine output, the actual output, and the price the electricity finally fetches on the market.

For now, though, FPL is more worried about stormy weather than a lack of wind. The utility said it would push back some wind-farm development next year, given the financial crisis, and shave about $1.7 billion off capital expenditure next year.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Windmills in farm country and furrowed brows

I'm obviously not an acoustical engineer, and I had no measuring equipment with me on a recent windy day as Derek Gee, a Buffalo News photographer, and I took a look at the wind turbines in Wyoming County. But I can say this. You can certainly hear these giant tubes with their huge blades.

From a distance, they look like a field of Mercedes Benz emblems, spinning in the wind. As we stood on Telegraph Road in the Town of Eagle, looking at a landscape of turbines erected by Noble Environmental, on a beautiful October day when the wind was blowing, at probably 15 to 20 miles an hour, one turbine in particular almost seemed to whistle. The rest of them raised a steady whoosh, whoosh, woosh.

Maybe it was just one errant whistling turbine, and a field of them may be scenic, but what if New York fulfills its alternative energy goal, and there are thousands of these 400 foot towers in the upstate countryside? Would you live next to one?

With New York's goal of having 25 percent of its electricity produced by alternative energy in just five years, it's a future that all of New York now faces, whether you live in the countryside, spend time there, or just enjoy driving through it.

-- Michael Beebe

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catastrophic Turbine Failure At Vermont Wind Farm Raises Doubt

Turbine #10 at the Searsburg wind energy facility in Searsburg, Vermont experienced a catastrophic failure when one of the blades came in contact with the turbine's tower causing it to buckle during high winds. This turbine's 28-ton nacelle and 3-blade rotor assembly crashed to the ground scattering debris several hundred feet from the structure. Approximately 20-gallons of heavy oil spilled from the unit when its fluid reservoirs were damaged. The 11-turbine Searsburg facility was brought online in 1997 and according to preconstruction documents, the Zond Z-P40-FS turbines had an expected lifespan of 30-years[1].

[To see photos, click http://www.windaction.org/pictures/18387 and http://www.windaction.org/pictures/18386 ]

Industrial Wind Action (IWA) Group's executive director, Lisa Linowes, was not surprised by the failure. "The Searsburg towers are located at an elevation of nearly 3000-feet in some of the harshest weather conditions in New England. Performance issues and blade failures have plagued this project for some time, " she said pointing to incidences in May 2006[2] and again in May 2008[3].

While the eleven-year old Searsburg turbines are failing, newer models have not improved the safety record. "Wind developers today tout life expectancies of industrial wind turbines that exceed 20 years," Linowes said, "but the fact remains that estimates of the functional lifespan of modern utility-scale wind turbines are speculative and cannot be substantiated since so far very few have been operating for ten years."

Unfortunately, unless a person or property is damaged in a turbine failure, there is no obligation for the owner of an industrial wind turbine to report the incident. Information on the number and types of failures is sparse and poorly reported, and thus this vital data is not adequately incorporated into estimates of turbine longevity. The Searsburg failure occurred on September 15th.

"What's more ominous," Linowes said, "is that reports of turbine failures in the United States are increasing. These failures include blade throws, oil leaks, fires, and collapse." IWA attributes the increase in reporting to the fact that the machines are more visible, being erected close to where people live, and also due to the growing interest in wind energy development. In the last year alone, IWA has tracked catastrophic failures in Idaho, Minnesota, California, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, raising concerns about public safety.

While weather conditions and climate are taking a toll on the machines, reports from the industry indicate the rush to erect industrial wind turbines is being accomplished at the expense of quality assurance and safe installation practices. Business Week published a report[4] in August 2007, which found, "The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting." A report this year found that turbine owners were not conducting regularly scheduled maintenance necessary to ensure the mechanical towers remain in good operating condition. An informal survey of approximately seventy-five wind farm operators in the United States found as many as sixty-percent were behind in their maintenance procedures[5].

"Public safety should be paramount when siting industrial wind turbines," Linowes said, adding "there's a perception that the 400-foot structures can safely be erected merely a few hundred feet from property lines, public areas and rights-of-way." She pointed to a private high school in Massachusetts[6] as an example where a massive turbine was installed just feet from the school's driveway. Barrington, Rhode Island is deliberating on the location of an even larger turbine that will stand within 200-feet of the public high school building[7], although that turbine might be relocated in response to parents and residents raising concerns over noise and safety. In both cases, the turbines exceed the size of the destroyed Searsburg tower.

Manufacturers recommend a safety zone with a radius of at least 1300 feet from a wind turbine, and that children be prohibited from standing or playing near the structures[8]. "Green energy should not override common sense," Linowes said.

Wind power is changing the landscape in WNY

SHELDON –Wyoming County, the farming community that’s home to Letchworth State Park and the state’s leading dairy region, now lays claim as the wind capital of Western New York.

Wind has brought a whole new industry to Wyoming County, with $655 million spent so far on three projects already built and at least three more on the books.

It’s conceivable that within the next few years, the wind industry will have spent $1 billion on wind turbines in Wyoming County.

The only business with a billion next to it here now is the dairy industry, which produces 1.02 billion pounds of milk a year, making Wyoming County the state’s top producer.

But along with the money here and elsewhere has come a change in the landscape in upstate New York. An industry has come to the farmland, and not everyone is happy.

People either seem to love the turbines or hate them. There is little common ground.

“I see communities being split

down the middle because of the money coming in over the years,” said East Aurora attorney Arthur Giacalone, who represents wind opponents in Sheldon.

“They’ve destroyed this town,” said Sheldon resident Nadja Laska, who sued to stop the project with four of her neighbors.

(Click to read entire article)

Friday, October 24, 2008

First Wind Holdings Inc. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Amendment No. 1 Form S-1

Suzlon's Shares Drop After Turbine-Tower Accident

Shares of India's Suzlon Energy Ltd., the world's fifth-largest maker of wind turbines, crashed 39% on Friday after a report that a 140-foot-long blade had shorn off a turbine tower at a project financed by Deere & Co. in the U.S. Midwest.

The accident is the latest and most serious in a series of blade splitting and other technical problems in the U.S. and India which have hurt Suzlon's image. The share-price decline Friday also reflected investor concerns that Suzlon will be unable to raise the money it needs in coming months to fund an ambitious global expansion plan, and may be forced to sell assets, analysts said.

In a statement, Suzlon said the incident in the U.S. was "extremely rare and unusual." The company added: "Other turbines owned by that customer and our other customers at various locations in the U.S. are operating without interruption." It gave no further details.

A report Thursday in the Peoria Journal Star, an Illinois.-based newspaper, quoted Richard Shertz, a farmer from near Wyanet, Ill., as saying he heard a noise like thunder Wednesday morning and later found the huge blade lying in one of his cornfields, 150 feet away from the turbine's tower. A photo accompanying the article shows the Suzlon turbine tower with a stump near the central hub where one of the blades should have been attached.

Stewardship Energy LLC, an Illinois.-based wind farm developer, began operating four 2.1 megawatt Suzlon turbines on Mr. Shertz's farmland in mid-2007. The project was financed by John Deere Wind Energy, a unit of Deere & Co., according to Stewardship Energy's Web site. A spokesman for Deere couldn't be immediately reached.

Two other turbines, which sit atop 80-meter towers, were turned off after the accident, local media reported. A fourth turbine, reports said, hasn't worked all summer because of cracks on its blades.

Earlier this year, Suzlon said it was recalling 1,251 blades, or almost the entire number it has sold to date in the U.S. after cracks were found on over 60 blades on turbines run by Deere and Edison International's Edison Mission Energy.

Suzlon acknowledged the blades were too thin near the point where they attach to the turbine's tower to deal with strong gusts. The company, which is based in Pune, India, planned to replace blades that had split and add an extra layer of lamination to the remainder. It is unclear whether any other blades have come off completely.

Suzlon's share drop weighed on an Indian market already buffeted by concerns over the credit crisis and the Indian central bank's decision not to cut interest rates. Suzlon's shares closed 39% lower at 47.25 rupees. The benchmark Sensex index on the Bombay Stock Exchange closed 11% lower at 8701.07 points, its lowest level since November 2005. Suzlon's shares have now lost 88% since the start of the year; the Sensex is down 57% in the same period.

Investors are increasingly worried about the fact that Suzlon plans to raise $380 million by mid-December to complete its $1.7 billion takeover of REpower Systems AG, a German wind turbine producer, analysts said. Suzlon had lined up euro-denominated bank loans for the purchase before the credit crisis, but late last month said it was instead planning a rights issue to raise the cash, sparking a major fall in its share price.

Suzlon already has a majority stake in REpower but, under strict German corporate laws, needs to acquire one more large block of shares and offer to buy out minority shareholders before it can transfer technology out of the German company. Suzlon needs access to REpower's cutting-edge technology, including blueprints for blade designs, to overcome its current technology problems, say people who know the two companies. Suzlon has said the REpower takeover was driven by a desire to penetrate the European market and get access to large offshore wind turbines, not for other technology.

The market is now nervous that Suzlon may have to sell stakes in other units like Belgian gearbox maker Hansen Transmissions International NV, says one analyst who covers Suzlon. Both shares in REpower and Hansen have also fallen sharply since Suzlon announced its rights issue.

Noble Sells Michigan Wind Farm to John Deere, Lays Off Staff

Connecticut-based project developer Noble Environmental has sold both phases of its 159MW Noble Thumb wind farm to John Deere and has laid off an unspecified number of staff.

The move appears to be part of a company effort to raise cash and reduce costs. New Energy Finance could not reach a current spokesperson for comment.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the sale of the Noble Thumb project on October 14, according to a commission document. The two companies first notified FERC of their intentions on August 27.

Noble Thumb is being developed in two phases. In July, Noble announced it had begun construction of 69MW phase one, which will use 46 GE 1.5MW turbines. RMT WindConnect began performing construction.

Last spring, Noble announced plans for a $450 million IPO on Nasdaq but the company's prospects of a successful float are now very much in doubt. Since filing its prospectus with the Securities Exchange Commission, one of the company's underwriters on the offering, Lehman Brothers, has gone bankrupt. It has also since been revealed that the company is under investigation by the New York State attorney general's office for allegedly attempting to influence local officials with gifts. Finally, tax equity capital has dried up in recent weeks as major players, including GE Energy Financial Services, have retreated from making such investments.

A spokesperson for Deere did not return a call seeking comment.

Blade break: Is wind sailing against Suzlon?

MUMBAI: Suzlon Energy Ltd, world’s fifth largest supplier of wind turbines seems to be facing rough weather following the breakage of v2 blades on its s.88 turbine in USA. The US media reported that entire energy production at a small wind-scale farm southwest of Wyanet had come to a halt following the blade rash.

According to reports, on Wednesday the blades measuring 140 ft long and 15 ft wide crashed with a loud sound and it was recovered 100 to 150 feet away from the structure. The blades were installed in June 2007.However, Suzlon has informed the National Stock Exchange that there has been no shut down of turbines in USA and dismissed media reports as “baseless and speculative”

In its communication it said that "There has been an accidental breakage of a single V2 blade on a Suzlon S.88 turbine in the United States. This is an extremely rare and unusual incident. The cause of this incident is presently under detailed investigation. Other turbines owned by that customer and our other customers at various locations in the US are operating without interruption, and the planned retrofit programme of the V2 blades is also progressing towards completion as scheduled by the end of this financial year.”

This is not the first time complaints about the Suzlon blades is reported in the media. In April, there were reports that the Indian industrialist-led Suzlon Energy had withdrawn most of the blades it sold in US market following detection of cracks in the blades. The Wall Street Journal reported then that the company had recalled 1,250 blades from its top-of-the-line turbines.

With the company still investigating into the causes of blade break, it isn’t clear why the Suzlon blades are crashing. In a press release, Suzlon has said that the accidental breaks is not deterring the company from installing v2 blades on its s.88 turbines in USA.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Energy Financing Is Gone with the Wind

Financing for wind farms has disappeared and fewer companies will be able to develop the kind of "mega projects" needed to feed the growing demand for energy, said Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP's (BP) wind and solar operations, at the Dow Jones Alternative Energy Innovations conference Wednesday.

In just the last month, money that typically would be available for building renewable-energy projects has "completely dried up," thanks to the financial market crisis, Fezzani said during a keynote and on-stage interview with Yuliya Chernova, editor of Dow Jones' Clean Technology Insight.

To weather the downturn, BP and other companies will have to fund those wind farms and solar-power plants using equity finance. They can then refinance when the credit crunch eases, Fezzani said.

"This is a serious issue for those who don't have equity on the balance sheet to continue to operate," he said. "You probably will see behind the scene, frantic activities to bridge the gap."

Fezzani's remarks reaffirmed what many solar, wind and biofuel industry executives have expressed since the fall of a series of U.S. investment banks and mortgage lenders (see Lehman's Fall to Create Greentech Woes and VCs to Solar Startups: A Deal You Can't Refuse).

His comments also came the same day that Carpinteria, Calif.-based Clipper Windpower (CRPWF.PK) said it had completed a joint-venture agreement with BP Wind Energy to develop a 5,050-megawatt wind farm in South Dakota.

Fezzani said the South Dakota project represents the "next frontier" for wind-farm development, and one in which only a small group of companies can participate. Iberdrola, the Spanish wind energy giant, is another player (see Iberdrola to Spend $1B on Renewable Energy).

Despite the difficult times ahead, Fezzani said Americans' demand for electricity shows no signs of lagging, making wind and solar projects good bets in the long run. Fezzani also sees a trend in which wind-turbine makers will devote less money and energy on building wind farms to create a market for their products.

"You will find that the days of wind turbine manufacturers bidding into projects are behind us," Fezzani said. "We need them to invest in R&D to prove the efficiency of their products."

Chernova asked Fezzani about his company's plan to nix a solar factory expansion plan in Maryland, and Fezzani largely evaded the question with statements about how bullish he feels about the solar market in the United States.

"When it comes to deciding where we focus on investments, we do it like everybody else," Fezzani said. "It's economically driven."

BP Solar recently halted a $97 million plan to build a silicon-ingot factory at its headquarters in Maryland, citing intense competition from low-cost producers in Asia (see BP Solar Nixes Factory Expansion).

How to get Wind Turbines to Turn

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Town enacts moratorium on wind farm applications

FARMERSVILLE –The Farmersville Town Board voted Monday to place a moratorium on wind farm applications while changes are made to a 2007 law regulating wind-energy conversion facilities in the town.

The updated law will require a host community agreement with a wind-energy developer prior to the town’s approval of a wind farm, according to the town’s wind-energy attorney, Eric Dadd. The moratorium was enacted after a hearing on the issue.

Acting Town Supervisor Joe Brodka said he believes wind energy developers are taking a chance and the money is a “good deal” for the town.

Dadd said he expects to provide a new wind-energy regulatory law to the board within a week, with a public hearing and approval as early as Nov. 15, when the moratorium would be lifted.

Noble Environmental Power has obtained leases from town landowners for placement of turbines, and a project application is expected to link up with a smaller turbine project in the Town of Freedom, where officials have already drafted a host agreement with Noble.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Clean Energy Meltdown: Now GE’s Bailing

Meltdown watch, continued. Capital is quickly drying up for new clean-energy projects, and what is available costs more, throwing a wrench into companies’ plans to expand renewable energy.

General Electric is the latest to throw in the towel, after the abrupt departure of Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. The conglomerate, which makes energy gear like wind and gas turbines as well as underwriting renewable-energy projects, says it is bailing out of the clean-tech investment game for now, once it finishes with existing projects. From Dow Jones Clean Tech Insight:

“Right now we can’t price a deal,” said [GE Financial Services managing director Timothy] Howell in an interview with Clean Technology Insight on the sidelines of the Solar Power International conference in San Diego, Calif. “We can’t go out and borrow. So we can’t commit to a deal today.”

GE Financial Services, like GE’s energy-infrastructure unit, was very bullish on the sector’s prospects just a few months ago. Most clean-energy projects like wind and solar power depend on investments by companies like GE or big banks, which put up development capital to get their mitts on years of tax breaks. That’s the main way that tax credits help fuel the growth of alternative energy.

But while the financial bailout bill extended tax credits for clean energy, the bill hasn’t yet goosed the credit markets into lending freely. That—not uncertainty over federal subsidies—has now become clean-energy’s bogeyman.

Alternative Energy Suddenly Faces Headwinds

HOUSTON — For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new challenges because of the credit freeze and the plunge in oil and natural gas prices.

Shares of alternative energy companies have fallen even more sharply than the rest of the stock market in recent months. The struggles of financial institutions are raising fears that investment capital for big renewable energy projects is likely to get tighter.

Advocates are concerned that if the prices for oil and gas keep falling, the incentive for utilities and consumers to buy expensive renewable energy will shrink. That is what happened in the 1980s when a decade of advances for alternative energy collapsed amid falling prices for conventional fuels.

(Click to read entire article)

Wind farm being studied by LARRY RULISON

ROTTERDAM — A Vermont wind energy company is in the very early stages of developing a wind farm in Schenectady County.

A site for a 79.2-megawatt wind farm is being studied in the towns of Rotterdam and Princetown by Reunion Power LLC of Manchester.

Steve Eisenberg, Reunion's managing director, said the company has not yet acquired land for the project, although a meteorological tower has been erected to collect data.

The 197-foot tower is located off Crawford Road in Pattersonville near the border of Rotterdam and Princetown.

"We're pursuing options and leases (on land)," Eisenberg said Monday.

A 79.2-megawatt wind farm would have between 30 and 50 wind turbines, depending on the size of the machines.

Such a development could power about 20,000 homes, although it's important to note that Reunion has not determined the actual size or scope of the project — or if it even plans to move forward.

"Like a lot of companies, we are pursuing the possibility of wind power in New York," Eisenberg said.

Reunion is also working to develop projects in Warren and Otsego counties. The Warren County project is a 30-megawatt wind farm proposed for north of Gore Mountain.

Eisenberg said Reunion has not submitted formal plans to the towns of Princetown or Rotterdam. The company has yet to decide if the project is feasible both in terms of the amount of wind available in the area and its economics.

The project has been dubbed Gateway Wind Energy, according to a filing made with the New York Independent System Operator, the East Greenbush nonprofit group that oversees the state's electrical grid.

The Reunion project is not the only Schenectady County wind project under consideration. General Electric Co. also is planning to erect a wind turbine in Schenectady at its GE Energy plant there. The two projects are not related.

Reunion is affiliated with Edison Mission Group, the fifth largest owner of wind energy projects in the United States, with 14 projects totaling 654 megawatts, the company says.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Winds Shift for Renewable Energy As Oil Price Sinks, Money Gets Tight

The prospects of renewable-energy companies soared with oil prices, but the global credit crunch and the easing of energy costs have brought them back to earth with a thud.

With banks reluctant to lend and their stock prices tumbling, many green-energy concerns are struggling to find the long-term funding they need to expand in a capital-intensive industry.

In the past three months, global renewable-energy stocks tracked by New Energy Finance, a London-based consultancy, have dropped about 45%, compared with a 23% decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same period.

The sector's problems have been compounded by the ..

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Read excerpts from the book - Wind Turbine Syndrome

The book sections, below, are all in manuscript (typescript) format. In each case they represent the latest version (draft) of the ms. Be aware that the final, published version may differ somewhat from the text you read here, since the ms. is still a work in progress. However, it is very close to final draft. Whatever revisions are made between now and publication will likely be minor.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New info calls statements into question

BATH - New court documents appear to contradict sworn statements by Prattsburgh Supervisor Harold McConnell about his involvement in a windfarm land deal.

Kevin Bernstein, attorney for Windfarm Prattsburgh, submitted additional information about the transaction Monday to state Supreme Court Justice Marianne Furfure.

McConnell, a real estate agent, is under fire for voting on issues involving the wind developer after he received payments for his role in selling property to Windfarm Prattsburgh.

McConnell has maintained the payments were for token assistance and should not have prevented him from voting twice in favor of eminent domain proceedings on behalf of the energy company.

Bernstein's report indicates McConnell was actively involved in the sale, but still maintains Mc- Connell's votes were proper.

The transaction is at the heart of the on going lawsuit charging McConnell with violating codes of ethics.

McConnell was paid $1,900 for his role in the transaction late last year, several months before the town board began to consider eminent domain proceedings.

Windfarm Prattsburgh's parent company, First Wind, requested the board consider seizing sections of road owned by eight property owners needed to lay underground transmission lines for the 36-turbine project.

But board members deadlocked on both the proposal to hold a public hearing on eminent domain in April, and a second proposal in June to begin the proceedings.

McConnell's votes broke 2-2 ties, despite requests by board members he abstain because he received money for the earlier land sale.

According to McConnell's sworn affidavit Aug. 21, he "had little or nothing to do with the transaction at all."

In the affidavit, Mc- Connell said he was approached by a Windfarm Prattsburgh representative and asked for advice on how to acquire the land. Mc- Connell said he recommended the Nothnagle agency in Naples and acted largely as a messenger after that.

But Bernstein's report says McConnell completed the initial purchase agreement form for $65,000, then prepared, delivered, and reviewed a revised offer, acted as an intermediary between First Wind, then known as UPC Wind, and Nothnagle.

McConnell is listed on the Oct. 26, 2007 final offer as the "selling agent" along with Nothnagle, according to Bernstein's document.

The new report confirms McConnell's statement he was first told he would not receive a commission, then later received money for his work.

Bernstein said the windfarm developer did not have formal agreements with Mc- Connell and did not pay him to influence his votes. Mc- Connell's consistent support of the project shows there was no conflict, Bernstein said.

First Wind spokesman John LaMontagne said the firm had no comment on ongoing litigation.

McConnell claimed he was unaware of the new report, adding: "To the best of my knowledge, I stand by what I said."

But McConnell could face new legal charges, ranging from a misdemeanor count of filing a false written statement to first-degree perjury, a Class D felony.

Town Councilman Chuck Shick said he has written to county District Attorney John Tunney asking for an investigation into Mc- Connell's sworn affidavit, and may also consult with state police.

Shick said Bernstein's move was "extraordinary."

The new submission also could affect other litigation pending against First Wind and other agencies.

Last July, the state Attorney General's office announced an investigation into alleged improprieties by two wind developers, including First Wind and its dealings in Prattsburgh.

"I just talked to the (attorney general's office)," Shick said. "And they are absolutely interested in this. Absolutely."

Wind firm hit by legal, financial troubles

Noble Environmental Power is having financial and legal difficulties, but it was unclear Thursday what that will mean for the proposed wind farm at Grandpa's Knob.

New York media reported Thursday that Noble had laid off employees and stopped work at two planned wind farms there, linking the development to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, one of the company's chief backers.

Meanwhile, the New York Attorney General's Office announced in July it would subpoena Noble and another company developing wind farms in upstate New York as part of an investigation into a variety of allegations against the companies, including bribery and anticompetitive practices.

Noble's office in Rutland appeared to still be operational — papers were visible on a desk through the office's Center Street window — but nobody could be found there Thursday, and project manager Brad King did not return phone calls.

Calls to Noble's corporate headquarters in Connecticut were a little more productive. A spokeswoman said she was unable to answer specific questions, but offered to send a statement provided to other media outlets and to relay questions about Grandpa's Knob up the chain of command.

As of 5 p.m., the Herald had not received any statement or phone call from anyone else in Noble.

Representatives from Noble began floating the idea of a wind farm at the Grandpa's Knob ridgeline with local officials in early 2007. In meetings with the Select Boards of Castleton, Hubbardton, West Rutland and Pittsford, the company said it believed it could build the largest wind farm in the state at the site.

The company began testing the site in January, erecting two meteorological towers to measure wind speed, wind direction and temperature. At the time, the company said data-gathering would take a minimum of six months and could take as long as five years.

Castleton Town Manager Charles Jacien said he met informally with King on Sept. 24 and got the impression the project was going forward.

"Brad laid out that various studies are being concluded and public hearings are probably starting some time next year," he said, adding that King said the company planned to propose 19 turbines along a 6-mile stretch of ridgeline. "What I understand from their proposed schedule, it's only a few months off."

District 1 Environmental Coordinator William Burke said his office has not received an Act 250 application for the project.

According to a statement released in July, the New York Attorney General's Office received numerous complaints about Noble and Massachusetts-based First Wind from residents, organizations and public officials.

Complaints included that the companies improperly sought land-use agreements, gave improper benefits to public officials to influence their actions and entered into anticompetitive agreements or practices.

Nobody involved with the investigation could be reached Thursday to comment on its status.

"You would think that clean and green energy would be of the highest ethical standard," Pittsford Town Manager John Haverstock said. "We'll try not to jump to conclusions."

Haverstock said he had an informal meeting with company representatives when he took over as town manager in June, but had not heard from Noble since. He said the project was not at the forefront of local discussion, so it was hard to gauge support for it in the community.

Jacien said he had only seen support for the proposal in Castleton.

"If you look at the back bumpers of all kinds of different vehicles, you'll see a whole lot of support," he said.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catastrophic turbine failure at Vermont wind farm raises doubt about turbine safety, longevity

NEW HAMPSHIRE (October 16, 2008). Turbine #10 at the Searsburg wind energy facility in Searsburg, Vermont experienced a catastrophic failure on when one of the blades came in contact with the turbine's tower causing it to buckle during high winds. This turbine's 28-ton nacelle and 3-blade rotor assembly crashed to the ground scattering debris several hundred feet from the structure. Approximately 20-gallons of heavy oil spilled from the unit when its fluid reservoirs were damaged. The 11-turbine Searsburg facility was brought online in 1997 and according to preconstruction documents, the Zond Z-P40-FS turbines had an expected lifespan of 30-years[1].

Industrial Wind Action (IWA) Group’s executive director, Lisa Linowes, was not surprised by the failure. “The Searsburg towers are located at an elevation of nearly 3000-feet in some of the harshest weather conditions in New England. Performance issues and blade failures have plagued this project for some time, “ she said pointing to incidences in May 20062 and again in May 20083.

While the eleven-year old Searsburg turbines are failing, newer models have not improved the safety record. “Wind developers today tout life expectancies of industrial wind turbines that exceed 20 years,” Linowes said, “but the fact remains that estimates of the functional lifespan of modern utility-scale wind turbines are speculative and cannot be substantiated since so far very few have been operating for ten years.” Unfortunately, unless a person or property is damaged in a turbine failure, there is no obligation for the owner of an industrial wind turbine to report the incident.

Information on the number and types of failures is sparse and poorly reported, and thus this vital data is not adequately incorporated into estimates of turbine longevity. The Searsburg failure occurred on September 15.

“What’s more ominous," Linowes said, “is that reports of turbine failures in the United States are increasing. These failures include blade throws, oil leaks, fires, and collapse.” IWA attributes the increase in reporting to the fact that the machines are more visible, being erected close to where people live, and also due to the growing interest in wind energy development. In the last year alone, IWA has tracked catastrophic failures in Idaho, Minnesota, California, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, raising concerns about public safety.

While weather conditions and climate are taking a toll on the machines, reports from the industry indicate the rush to erect industrial wind turbines is being accomplished at the expense of quality assurance and safe installation practices. Business Week published a report4 in August 2007, which found, “The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting.” A report this year found that turbine owners were not conducting regularly scheduled maintenance necessary to ensure the mechanical towers remain in good operating condition. An informal survey of approximately seventy-five wind farm operators in the United States found as many as sixty-percent were behind in their maintenance procedures5.

“Public safety should be paramount when siting industrial wind turbines,” Linowes said, adding “there’s a perception that the 400-foot structures can safely be erected merely a few hundred feet from property lines, public areas and rights-of-way.” She pointed to a private high school in Massachusetts6 as an example where a massive turbine was installed just feet from the school’s driveway. Barrington, Rhode Island is deliberating on the location of an even larger turbine that will stand within 200-feet of the public high school building7, although that turbine might be relocated in response to parents and residents raising concerns over noise and safety. In both cases, the turbines exceed the size of the destroyed Searsburg tower.

Manufacturers recommend a safety zone with a radius of at least 1300 feet from a wind turbine, and that children be prohibited from standing or playing near the structures8. “Green energy should not override common sense,” Linowes said.

IWA_RELEASE_20081016.pdf

Cape rethinks turbine areas

The members of the committee formed to produce a zoning amendment to deal with wind farms changed their minds about boundaries for the area in which turbines would be allowed.

About three weeks ago, the committee tentatively agreed to set Route 6 as the western boundary for a wind overlay district. But Wednesday afternoon, the committee decided that the entire agricultural-residential district should allow turbines.

That once again adds some land west of Route 6 and south of Bates Road. That land had five turbines planned for BP Alternative Energy's Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

"I'm always on the lookout for being sued for something," Supervisor Thomas K. Rienbeck said. "I can only see this being a very controversial issue if we eliminate turbines that are planned as part of an ongoing project."

He suggested not allowing any wind facilities in that area after this project is completed.

"There's nothing out there," Planning Board Vice Chairman Thomas D. Ingersoll said. "It's the agriculture district."

Village Trustee Robert G. Doud said, "When it comes to wind farms, our goal is to protect the lake district."

At first, Mr. Doud wanted to stick to the standards the committee developed in September.

But the committee decided to add a setback from the lake shoreline from Humphrey Road south to the town boundary line with Lyme. The setback is 1,000 feet plus one and a half times the height of the windmill.

"That's a compromise I can agree with," Mr. Doud said.

That rule will mean at least two of the turbines will not meet the setback guidelines.

Richard H. Macsherry, Tibbetts Point, asked if the committee would share information with other towns about their zoning laws. He brought the noise analysis rules that had been adopted by the town of Lyme. Those rules told developers exactly how they should measure background ambient noise levels, which is the basis for noise clauses in siting laws.

"It seems like each town is trying to reinvent the wheel," he said.

Beth A. White, president of Voters for Wind, said, "I would look to someone like Tocci, someone like that to advise us. Let's not look at Lyme."

Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, an acoustic engineering firm in Sudbury, Mass., analyzed BP Alternative Energy's noise study for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm draft environmental impact statement.

Mr. Ingersoll suggested looking to the state for rules on conducting sound studies.

"It does not have a standard as far as the assessment of sound goes," Mr. Macsherry said.

The committee will ask the town's engineer to attend the next meeting for advice on what to do about noise standards.

The committee agreed to add a phrase in the purpose statement of the law saying the law would be enacted to "preserve private-use-only rights for non-participating landowners."

Mr. Macsherry said he thought it was necessary to protect against eminent domain by the state or county for adding to wind farms.

"At least it is an attempt to say we want landowners to have control," he said.

The next committee meeting will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at the town office, 1964 Route 12E.

New York officials have questions about a company with growing ties to the Islands

Winds of doubt are swirling around one Northeast-based wind farm developer with projects in Hawai’i.

Newton, Mass.–based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) has found itself one of the targets of an ongoing investigation conducted by the New York attorney general’s office.

On July 15th, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced his office would commence a probe into the business dealings of both First Wind Holdings, Inc., and Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power.

First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne told Honolulu Weekly that the company is “cooperating fully” with the investigation.

Cuomo’s office is investigating whether First Wind and Noble “sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.” The New York AG’s office did not respond to the Weekly’s requests for an interview.

The Kaheawa connection

The probe of is of special interest to island energy and business affairs, since First Wind has built and operates a wind farm on Maui and has designs for more farms on Moloka’i and on O’ahu.

Kaheawa Wind Power on Maui has been operational since 2005. The $65 million wind farm is made up of 20 turbines with each turbine producing 1.5 megawatts of power which–according to First Wind’s website–meets 9 percent of Maui’s electricity needs.

This wind farm is one of only three owned by First Wind in operation in the country, the other two being the $94 million, 28-turbine Mars Hill farm in Maine and the $35 million, eight-turbine Steel Winds I farm in Lackawanna, N.Y., which are producing 42 and 20 megawatts of energy, respectively

Wind power is increasingly seen as one possible way to wean Hawai’i from its dependence on oil. Fossil-based fuels such as petroleum account for more than 70 percent of the fuel sources powering the state.

With wind power seen as an alternative energy source, First Wind is looking to consolidate its presence in the islands. On O’ahu, the company is looking to build a dozen turbines on a 500-plus acre spread in Kahuku near tiny Charlie Road. First Wind has a permit for continual use and is in contract negotiations with Hawaiian Electric.

Moloka’i up next

Another more ambitious project sets its sights on Moloka’i. On the Friendly Isle, First Wind’s proposed wind farm could consist of 140 turbines on about 12,000 acres of land.

The proposed acreage involved would necessitate building the turbines on lands owned by major landowner Moloka’i Ranch and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands primarily near the Ho’olehua area.

To that end, First Wind’s local representatives have been meeting with homesteaders and working with island community groups like the Moloka’i Community Service Council (MCSC) for more than a year to garner local support for their project.

First Wind made one big move last November when the company announced it would pledge $50 million to the MCSC’s “Ho’i I Ka Pono” campaign to purchase the more than 60,000 acres owned by Moloka’i Ranch which shut down its ranch, hotel and other business interests this past spring.

MCSC has been seeking to buy Moloka’i Ranch since 1998 with the intention of reopening the company’s lodge and other hotels and providing much needed jobs to residents on the economically depressed island. The County Council has been looking to raise $200 million–the estimated appraised value of the company’s lands–to buy out Moloka’i Ranch which is owned by Asian conglomerate Guoco Leisure through Moloka’i Properties Ltd.

Moloka’i Ranch has continually and emphatically stressed over the years–and especially in recent months–that their lands are not for sale and that they have no intention of selling their properties. They have contended the lands are valued at $300 million.

First Wind’s $50 million pledge and its courting of community residents and groups appears to have paid off. On March 29, members of a number of community organizations gathered at Moloka’i Community Services Center to talk about the proposed First Wind project. According to an article in the April 3 issue of the Molokai Times, those present chose–after a two- hour discussion–to vote unanimously to back First Wind’s Moloka’i project.

Blowback

Before Moloka’i activists and residents seal any deal with First Wind, they might consider what has been taking place in the tiny town of Cohocton, NY.

Located in the western arm of the state, the township of Cohocton consists of just under 2,600 residents and is 56 square miles in length but is home to a huge wind farm project under development by First Wind.

How huge? How about 50 turbines located on 5,700 acres to the price tag of $265 million?

Cohocton Wind Watch (CWW) is a small community group of about 35 active members who have been fighting First Wind’s development in their town for three years.

According to CWW Treasurer Judy Hall, members of the group met with representatives from the New York AG’s office last November to call for an investigation of First Wind.

In a telephone interview with the Weekly, Hall said the trouble first started in Spring of 2005 when First Wind sent letters out to town residents informing them of the project and that work would commence.

“(First Wind) said that they had been dealing with the Town Board for several years and they had leases in place and were ready to move forward with construction,” stated Hall.

Hall said that First Wind’s tactics are anything but open, honest, above board and transparent.

“This is what happens all over the country: they sneak into town, buy up huge parcels of land,” said Hall, who noted further that “in New York state they approach some of the poorest areas in the country” where “there’s no business” and “a lot of poor elderly people.”

“They tell you all these grandiose things” Hall said. “People in our town still think they are going to get free electricity and have no taxes and none of that is true.”

Hall said that First Wind representatives have come out to Cohocton several times to give 5–10 minute presentations to the Cohocton Town Board, but the gist of their talks were that the project was fait accompli.

CWW has accused First Wind officials of using money to influence permitting and approval of the project not only in Cohocton but in other towns in New York.

“There are affadavits signed all over New York state with the attorney general’s office by people who have been offered bribes and did not take them or witnessed other town board members (accept bribes),” said Hall.

CWW’s position can be seen in a letter addressed to Steuben Country District Attorney John Tunney. In the May 5 letter, the group makes four specific charges against First Wind–Making false claims, filing false documents, larceny, fraud and bribery of public officials–and briefly lays out support for each charge.

Hall said she thinks that the town supervisor and four members of the town board may have been bribed to provide First Wind with necessary legal backing and permits necessary to go forward with the mammoth wind farm.

Asked to comment about these and other charges, Lamontagne said that “to paint the company with one brush because of what one person or one group says would be unfair.”

Since its inception three years ago, CWW has informed other towns approached by wind developers of the occurances in Cohocton. As result, local groups have “sprang up overnight” in various New York and Northeastern communities to oppose companies like First Wind, according to Hall.

CWW has had little success so far in the courts. The community first sued the town of Cohocton over local laws that favored the wind developer in the Steuben County Supreme Court of New York but Judge Marianne Furfure dismissed CWW’s cases.

In August 2007, the group filed three lawsuits against the town and First Wind, alleging they violated New York’s open meeting laws, among other charges.

In September, Furfure again ruled against CWW, allowing work on the multi-million dollar Cohocton I wind farm–now nearly completed–to continue.

Hall said that the town has been “split down the middle” over the First Wind project. “It causes a lot of problems in the town,” she said.

Big money in the wind

On July 31, First Wind filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking an Initial Public Offering of nearly $450 million.

Coming after the New York AG office’s investigation, the move at first appeared to be a case of bad timing although now it appears to be as much about providing continuity for First Wind. “We are still moving forward as a business” First Wind spokesman Lamontagne told the Weekly.

According to financial records filed by the company, First Wind lost $134 million before March 31, more than half of which it lost since December.

Thus, the IPO proceeds would partly go to debt payment. “We intend to use net proceeds of this offering to pay indebtedness and fund capital expenditures” states the S-1 document.

However, First Wind is backed by big-time investors such as major equity firm D.E. Shaw and Madison Dearborn. Also, the IPO will be jointly managed by such giants as Goldman, Sachs, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan.

Since the company launched in 2002, First Wind has sought to be a firm that can “develop, own and operate a portfolio of wind energy projects in favorable markets” such as the East and West Coasts and Hawai’i.

Hall is disdainful of the S-1 Prospectus, calling it “a fairy tale.” She noted that wind developers like First Wind especially target small towns in New York because obtaining tax credits and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) are easy because RECs are unregulated in the Empire State. “The production tax credits and the RECs are where these companies make their money–not in the production of electricity because they could less about whether they could produce electricity,” stated Hall.

First Wind’s S-1 document seems to lend some support to Hall’s contention. The prospectus notes that First Wind has been “targeting regions with high electricity prices” as well as “favorable renewable energy certificate prices,” “state-sponsored renewable portfolio standard programs” and “desirable wind characteristics.”

Hall also stated that First Wind avoids paying taxes on wind farm projects by signing a PILOT-Payment in Lieu of Taxes-agreement with local towns that sidesteps potential yearly taxes by reducing them to a one-time lump sum payment. After 20 years have passed and firms are required to pay taxes, they will have already reaped sizable profits and made back their initial costs.

“They are absolutely dependent on welfare from the government, ” said Hall.

“We depend heavily on government policies supporting renewable energy,” states the prospectus.

Prevailing breeze

While groups like CWW in Cohocton and even local organizations in the nearby New York town of Prattsburgh have battled First Wind development, the attitude and mood on Moloka’i–an island known for its vociferous and indefatigable local activists–is almost the opposite.

“Our own experience with First Wind has been positive” MCSC Director Karen Holt wrote in an e-mail. “We have seen no evidence of any shady business practices in our dealing with them.”

Holt confirmed that the MCSC has worked with First Wind for a couple of years to “determine whether the community is supportive” to building a wind farm on the island. The director wrote that “First Wind’s work with our community has been transparent” and the organization was “greatly encouraged” by their $50 million pledge to help buy Moloka’i Ranch.

Holt’s comments echoed what Noe Kalipi, MCSC Director of Government and Community Relations told the Weekly, namely that her firm has also been transparent and is engaged in an “on-going dialogue” with residents.

Kalipi could not go into details about the Moloka’i and Kahuku wind farm projects or about two other Hawai’i projects that the company has on the drawing board because of the “quiet period” engendered by S-1 filing and the IPO. She said that First Wind remains “committed” to its $50 million offer to help buy Moloka’i Ranch.

Holt notes she had “never heard any allegations of unfair dealing” with First Wind during the planning and construction of the Kaheawa Wind Power project.

Still, despite Kalipi’s emphasis that First Wind wants to be “part of a bigger solution” for Moloka’i, the company’s $50 million pledge to MCSC has all the earmarks of a quid pro quo offer. If the MCSC were to raise the money and somehow buy Moloka’i Ranch, First Wind would clearly benefit by concluding leases with the new owners who would recieve royalties from the lands on which the wind farms stood. The pledge seems born of economic pragmatism.

Then, there is the matter of the benefit to the people of Moloka’i. The proposed wind farm with more than 100 turbines spinning their blades will–if built and implemented–provide the vast majority of its energy to O’ahu via underground cables, with Moloka’i only receiving a small percentage of residual energy.

First Wind’s record will likely come under more scrutiny as its projects move forward. The company has only three wind farms in operation and many more projects in places in states such as Oregon, Utah, Vermont and in Canada that are either in development or under construction.

While First Wind enjoys a good reputation in Hawai’i, developments in towns like Cohocton provide a less savory picture of the wind developer. Which image will be believed may depend on the results of the New York AG office’s investigation of the firm, which have not yet been released.

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
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