Cohocton Wind Watch: May 2009
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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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anne Britton WLEA Radio Interview

Windmills destroying health and land

Companies and families are leaving New York state to avoid the high taxes we will be paying. There will be a large share of our tax dollars going to windmill companies that are completely foreign-owned. In fact, our entire country will be completely owned by foreign countries if the U.S. government keeps going at its present pace.

Not only will we be paying more taxes for the windmills, but don’t you people realize that the cost of health care will skyrocket out of sight when people become ill from the effect of the windmills.

These farmers who will be receiving money for each windmill on their land will have nothing left by the time they pay the taxes. The only thing they will have is a farm destroyed by the windmills and the knowledge that they have destroyed much much more for and to the people who live among them. Shame on you. You people are not only destroying the area and country but are destroying the health and welfare of everyone young and old alike.

Mabel B. Walker
Watertown

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Councilman Kula's May 30, 2009 Reply Letter to Prattsburgh Supervisor McConnell

Steven R. Kula
11470 Davis Road
Prattsburgh, NY 14873
(607)522-3377
steve.kula@yahoo.com

May 30, 2009

J. Harold McConnell
Supervisor
Town of Prattsburgh
19 North Main Street
PO Box 427
Prattsburgh, NY 14873

Dear Supervisor:

I was pleased to get your response. You were, as always, self-serving and misleading, allowing me more opportunity to expose the truth to the public. I am surprised that you take such exception to my allegations of misconduct, with your decades-long history of such behavior.

You claim that I have used my “position as Town Councilman to disrupt Town Board meetings in order to grandstand and campaign…” Actually, I have used my position to seek accurate information and make informed decisions on behalf of our citizens, unlike former board members who have allowed you to do as you please from your position. I have strived to obtain all the information I possibly can from all sides of every issue we have faced over the course of the last year and a half. I have been elected to ask questions and make decisions on behalf of all of our citizens, and I intend to continue to do so. I have repeatedly attempted to work with you in a professional manner, only to be lied to and threatened by you and Mr. Leyden.

As for the purpose of the May 21st meeting, it was very clear that we voted to have a special Town Board meeting. We clarified this at our regular meeting on May 19th. Video of both meetings confirms this. Regarding the Open Meetings Law, if it is your position that it applied, why did the Town Clerk not take minutes of the proceedings?

You claim that I “chose to storm out” of the meeting. Actually, I very calmly walked out without incident when I found out that I once again would not be able to have the ability to ask questions of the developer. Don’t think for one second that I don’t know what happened. You have only seen that meeting once, as it was happening. I have carefully reviewed the video of the evening, taking notes of every misleading statement made. I noticed Ecogen representatives repeatedly refusing to answer questions, telling people that the information that they were looking for was “public information” and could be found at the IDA, the Town of Italy, online, etc. I have heard from citizens who have told me that their questions were not asked. I watched Mr. Burgdorf read comments from contractors who were not in the room, while skipping over questions from other citizens who had left in disgust. I am more than willing to make you a copy of the video of the meeting, as your recollection seems to be somewhat skewed from reality. There were only a handful of people at the meeting “pleased with the format.” The vast majority was absolutely disgusted that this type of behavior can be allowed take place.

As for the “numerous claims and statements from different purported sources” that I raised, Ecogen has never once asked me to provide any documentation to them. Mr. Leyden told me to submit my information when he attempted to stop me from asking any questions of Ms. Bottoni and Ms. Quigley regarding their trip to Canada. As I was not afforded the opportunity to take this trip, I thought that the information they gained should be shared with me, as well as the public. The truth is, I mentioned the source of every piece of information I had. I have repeatedly offered to share my information with members of the board, and any member of the public interested. I have written letters to the editor, letting the public know that I am available to answer their questions and explain my position at any time.

If you recall, at our special meeting (I believe on March 24th), Ms. Bottoni shared her concerns and made a number of statements. When I attempted to share my concerns and ask questions, the meeting was ended, at my objection. I have never been afforded the opportunity to ask questions of Ecogen representatives publicly.

It is unfortunate that you have chosen to turn this issue into a battle between you and I, because it is our citizens that will suffer the consequences of our actions, or inaction as the case may be. Harold, this is not about you and I, or any members of the board. The decisions that we are now making will have repercussions that will affect our town for decades to come. My anger does not stem from any personal feelings towards anyone. I simply do not understand how you could possibly justify refusing to even look at the facts.

It is ironic that you call my maturity into question, as you and our Town Attorney sat in the back of the room grinning and snickering at the concerns of the citizens that we represent. When I hear about our public being threatened with eminent domain (not road shoulders, but huge sections of their property), I take it seriously. When I hear one of our citizens voice her concerns about the health of her autistic son, I take it seriously. When I have citizens calling my house, stopping me on the street, and e-mailing me about their concerns, I take them seriously. The truth is, I don’t agree with much of what the anti-wind folks say or do, but I feel obligated to hear their concerns and treat them with respect.

It has been brought to my attention that you have not received Councilman Shick’s request for a special meeting. He has re-sent it via certified mail, as I did, and I expect to have a response from you soon.

At this meeting, I expect to be allowed to ask questions of Ecogen representatives, and share all of my concerns.

Sincerely,
Steven R. Kula
Town Councilman
Town of Prattsburgh

Prattsburgh Supervisor McConnell May 28, 2009 Letter to Councilman Kula


Councilman Steven Kula May 30, 2009 Letter to Prattsburgh Supervisor McConnell

Steven R. Kula
11470 Davis Road
Prattsburgh, NY 14873
(607)522-3377
steve.kula@yahoo.com

May 30, 2009

J. Harold McConnell
Supervisor
Town of Prattsburgh
19 North Main Street
Prattsburgh, NY 14873

Dear Supervisor,

At our regular Town of Prattsburgh board meeting, held on April 21st, our board voted unanimously to hold a special town board meeting on May 21st at The Prattsburgh Central School. The purpose of this meeting was for Ecogen to make a presentation to the board and the public, and to afford both the opportunity to ask questions of Ecogen regarding their proposed project in our town.

At our regular Town of Prattsburgh board meeting, held on May 19th, citizens and board members were asked to hold their questions and comments until the special meeting, when both Ecogen and the board would be prepared to facilitate.

I arrived at our meeting and was told by an Ecogen attorney that they were having a meeting, but I was welcome to stay and listen. The audience was then informed that we would not have the opportunity to make comments or have any discussion with the developer.

I am disgusted with your conduct as a public official. We are elected to represent the citizens of this town, and are obligated to make the best, most informed decisions possible on their behalf. I have found that anyone that has a defensible position does not fear an honest, open debate. The issues pertaining to the proposed development are not black and white, and it is unfortunate that you desire to hide the truth from the public.

I understand that I am in a minority position on our town board. Your majority was elected by the citizens of this town, and you have the right to feel, and vote, as you do. However, as an elected official, I too have rights. By law, you must schedule a special board meeting within 10 days of written request of two board members. I am requesting that you call a special meeting, to be held in a venue large enough to accommodate the expected crowd, for the express purpose of discussing the many issues surrounding this project, as well as the misconduct of our public officials. I am of the hope that councilman Shick will make the second request.

I also request that you invite Ecogen representatives to this meeting, in the hope that they will change course and answer some of the concerns of our citizens.
I am unavailable on June 2nd, 4th, and 5th. I am available on any other days at any time. As I understand that the other board members also have other obligations, I will not hold you to the 10 day limit imposed by the law. I believe that a meeting scheduled prior to June 20th would be reasonable.

Sincerely,

Steven R. Kula
Town Councilman
Town of Prattsburgh

Cc: Prattsburgh Town Clerk, Chuck Shick, John Leyden, Eric Massa, NYS Office of the Attorney General, local media

Friday, May 29, 2009

Zone benefits to be voided

Businesses ranging from Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece law firm, Watertown, to Erie Boulevard Hydropower, Potsdam, likely will lose their Empire Zone tax benefits following Empire State Development Corp.'s announcement on the status of the 8,000-plus businesses enrolled in program.

In the north country, the biggest losers are Erie Boulevard Hydropower in Potsdam's Empire Development Zone, which filed for about $9,035,000 in benefits. Maple Ridge Wind Farm, in Lewis County's zone, would lose $7,197,197 in tax benefits.

The projected tax benefits are from 2006 filings obtained by The Post-Standard, Syracuse.

Gov. David A. Paterson signed the new Empire Zone requirements into law April 7. Under new regulations, businesses must match wages and capital investments dollar-for-dollar with the tax breaks they received. The reworking of the Empire Zone tax breaks also excludes "shirt-changers" or companies reincorporated as different entities that claimed they created jobs when, in reality, they transferred employees from one entity to the other.

(Click to read entire article)

Committee To Draft Wind Power Resolution

AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Medical Association Public Health Committee has decided to take a closer look at the potential health effects of wind turbines.

Last week the Public Health Committee formed a subcommittee to draft a resolution that will focus on four key points:

Encourage the development of government energy policy and improved generation methods that mitigate direct and indirect health effects;

Discourage the granting of waivers by the Maine DEP regarding noise and light effects;

Assist in the development and encourage the use of a "Code of Conduct" used voluntarily by the industry; and

Encourage studies on health effects of wind turbine generation by independent qualified researchers at entities such as schools of public health.

The subcommittee plans to present the resolution to the Public Health Committee for a vote at it's August meeting.

NEW YORK RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD MARKET CONDITIONS ASSESSMENT - Final Report

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lincoln group appeals First Wind project

A citizens group in Lincoln is appealing the Department of Environmental Protection's decision to permit the $130 million wind farm that Massachusetts-based First Wind wants to build on Rollins Mountain in Lincoln, Lee, Burlington and Winn.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes claims DEP officials and First Wind did not sufficiently consider the impact that noise, vibrations and light flicker from the 40-turbine wind farm would have on humans and wildlife, according to the Bangor Daily News. The group also contends that the turbines would lower land values and typically generate a fraction of the 60 megawatts of electricity that First Wind claims it would generate at peak capacity.

The DEP permitted the project on April 21. The group argued its case before the DEP in its intial review, but the agency largely dismissed it for lack of evidence, the paper reported. The group wants the DEP to grant it a public hearing to present its argument. The group also has a pending appeal with the Lincoln Appeals Board, which claims the planning board violated land-use ordinances when approving the wind project.

Outraged by Town Board's deception by Carl M. Wahlstrom, Prattsburgh

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday May 27, 2009

Prattsburgh officials continue to cloak wind project in veil of secrecy and deceit

At the Prattsburgh Town Board meeting on May 19, it was revealed that some Town Board members are actively negotiating on behalf of the Prattsburgh Fire District by requesting that EcoGen provide the district with a new ambulance.

Councilman Steve Kula asked Councilwoman Stacey Bottom why it is that the town has not also negotiated for similar compensation for the town residents protected by Naples Fire and Ambulance District.

It appears that the negotiations did not involve the entire Town Board and consequently did not represent the entire community. The benefits - including new sidewalks for downtown Prattsburgh - do nothing for the residents living outside of town who are in the Naples fire district, who pay a considerable amount of property taxes, and will be most directly impacted by the proposed industrial wind project.

Stacey^ response? "They didn't ask."

Evidently Stacey is a member of Prattsburgh Ambulance and her uncle is a member of the Prattsburgh Fire District's Board of Commissioners. The negotiations have taken place behind closed doors, and unless you are Stacey, you are not aware that there is anything to "ask" for.

This whole wind project has been cloaked in a veil of secrecy and deceit. Conflict of interests don't seem to matter at all in Prattsburgh. David Hall, an ex-board member who was not re-elected in the last election, was then appointed the deputy town supervisor by Town Supervisor Harold McConnell. It has been reported that Mr. Hall's father has signed a contract for over $450.000 for turbines on his property.

At the Town board meeting, members of the board discussed hiring a sound engineer to do sound studies regarding the decibel levels generated by the turbines. This is quite interesting since it comes after John Servo hired an independent sound engineer to conduct sound studies. His report to the board was most informative. He warned the board that if the project was done correctly there would be no problems, but if done incorrectly you would have problems for the life of the project.

Evidently a decibel is not a decibel for certain members of the Town Board since at the May 19th meeting EcoGen was asked if they would hire a sound engineer to do studies. We all know how objective EcoGen is regarding this issue. I guess that for some board members a pound of bricks is heavier than a pound of feathers.

When I tried to ask about the sound expert hired by Mr. Servo Mr. Hall basically imposed gag order and stated that no topics relating to the industrial wind project would be discussed at the meeting when, in fact, the board had previously done so.

Stacey Bottoni, an ardent supporter of the wind project, is related by marriage to James Sherron, the executive director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, which has a vested interests in the proposed industrial wind farm and is the lead agent on the Prattsburgh projects.

As a Town of Prattsburgh resident who pays fire and ambulance taxes, I am outraged that our Town Board has forced these turbines on us who live in the Naples fire and ambulance and school districts, and is actively excluding us from the negotiated financial benefits in favor of residents not affected by the turbines, including citizens of the town of Wheeler!

Orangeville public meeting gave much food for thought

I attended Orangeville's public meeting on May 7 to give support to residents who care to save their town from industrial wind turbines. I also wanted to observe the antics of the wind company pushing their way into the lives of residents who will be forever be affected by these monstrous machines. It was interesting to note how the majority of the residents in attendance researched their fact findings about the ill effects wind turbines. Most of these residents were in agreement that solutions for energy technologies can be welcomed for the future, but not 420 foot wind turbines, near their homes which have too many side effects.

The Town Board called it a privilege and not a right to speak, let concerned residents present their fact findings. The wind turbine company was ready in the end, to "wrap up" the final presentation. This even included a resident from the town of Sheldon, my town, who failed to tell Orangeville residents that he too was a benefiting Town Board member. He said he loves the wind turbines. (Not to mention they have made him a very monetary rich man, and the hell with his neighbors who have been sickened by his fortune.)

The wind turbine employees sat together and clapped for one another. They also had the privilege to speak. One such person was the owner of the trucking company making millions from the project. (Is it really true he just built a new home in Florida? Does he have a 420 foot wind turbine next to it?) Anyway, back to the residents who are trying to save their own town. They clapped loudly, too. Especially, for one man, who somehow snuck into the final "wrap up" from somewhere. He said he foresees this future technology as huge dinosaurs that will be left after the wind turbine companies make their money, and move out.

This was not to be overshadowed by the complete final "wrap up" from the wind turbine company's lawyer, from Hodgson Russ, one of Buffalo's largest and most powerful law firms. He spoke on how we live in a democracy in decision making. Really? Wasn't he the same lawyer who had closed sessions with the Sheldon's Town Board and the Wethersfield Town Board, as we residents were made to wait in the parking lot, only to be told the meetings were over? Oh yes, now the new buzz word is he will be "transparent." So he will just "wrap up" the meetings instead.

It is not chicken feed being subsidized by the taxpayer, to these wind turbine companies. It is real money, big money, your money. It is making some neighbors very rich, at the expense of others. For Orangeville, like Sheldon, it is too late to fix a divided town. When a big business such as this comes in, if you don't give them what they want, then your neighbor will forever hate you (oops, can't use that word anymore) because you are the reason he is not a millionaire. On the other hand, you will despise them (I am trying to find a new word for hate) when nearly 100 of these 420 foot monsters cause your property values to go down, you lose sleep from the noise, and the flicker effect sickens you. When an Orangeville resident can get up in front of the podium to say he loves all the red lights blinking at night, every night, in the middle of the country, you know either he has a loose screw, or he will be monetarily benefiting.

To sum this, I have one more taxpayer tidbit, in this time of a so-called "bad" economy. Did you know that the same landowners who can make millions from wind turbines, can put their property in agricultural land trust programs, and be paid by your tax dollar, even though their land is compromised from the 420 foot industrial turbines?

Linda George lives in Sheldon.

Citizens group challenges DEP wind farm permit

A Lincoln-based property owner’s group is appealing a Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit issued for a $130 million industrial wind site on Rollins Mountain in Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes charges in the appeal that DEP officials and project applicant First Wind of Massachusetts failed to fully consider the impact that noise, vibrations and light flicker generated by the 40-turbine wind farm would have on humans and wildlife.

“The impacts of industrial wind farms, particularly in residential zones, where this project is sited, is an ever evolving science of assessment,” according to the appeal filed with the Board of Environmental Protection, which oversees the agency. “It is troubling that the DEP would not wish to consider all relevant evidence.

“While the DEP considered this evidence as ‘preliminary and unrefined,’ it did not suggest that it was either invalid or unreliable,” states the appeal, which is dated May 21, but was made public by DEP officials Tuesday.

Attorney Lynne Williams of Bar Harbor, who represents the Friends group, said she hopes the board will grant Friends a hearing where all of the group’s evidence can be presented.

“We want to present a number of experts for them to hear from,” she said Tuesday.

John Lamontagne, a spokesman for First Wind, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment on Tuesday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing First Wind’s application, company officials have said. Company officials also are seeking financing for construction, which they hope will start this year. No construction dates have been set.

Proponents have praised First Wind as a conscientious creator of wind power, saying the Lincoln Lakes project would create as much as 60 megawatts of pollution-free electricity in peak winds.

The Friends group contends that the turbines would lower land values and threaten human and animal health with light flicker and low-decibel sound; disrupt the pastoral nature of Rollins; and typically generate a fraction of their capacity.

DEP awarded the permit to First Wind on April 21. In its 64-page report on the project, DEP reviewers found “that the applicant has demonstrated that the proposed project will provide significant tangible benefits to the host community and surrounding area.”

The group argued its case to DEP, but the agency largely dismissed it for lack of evidence.

Of the two nonproject dwellings that will be affected by light flicker, according to the DEP report, one would see less than 17 hours of flicker a year. The second would get 40 hours annually “if no reductions occurred due to cloud cover, fog, wind direction, or vegetation.”

EnRad Consulting, a third-party evaluator DEP hired to review First Wind’s noise assessment, found that the company’s work “is essentially reasonable and technically correct according to standard engineering practices” and state regulations. It “yields reasonably conservative estimates for hourly sound levels,” the department’s report states.

EnRad rejected Friends arguments that turbine sounds and subsonic vibrations would disrupt sleep, saying that Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention “finds no evidence in peer-reviewed medical and public health literature of adverse health effects from the kinds of noise and vibrations associated with wind turbines other than occasional reports of annoyances.”

If the group is denied a full public hearing, the board likely will hear the appeal at a future meeting, Williams said. No date has been set.

The group’s civil court appeal of a Lincoln Appeals Board decision is still pending, Williams said. The group seeks a rejection of the board’s February decision dismissing the group’s right to appeal the town planning board’s approval of the wind farm.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Wind confirmation of major turbine repairs for spring summer of 2009

April 24, 2009

Landowner
Cohocton
New York

Dear (Landowner):

I want to thank you for your continued partnership with us on the Cohocton and Dutch Hill wind projects. I am writing to update you on turbine repairs that will be performed by Clipper Windpower, the manufacturer of the projects’ turbines, under the supervision of First Wind personnel.

Although unfortunate and an inconvenience to all concerned, it is necessary for Clipper to undertake blade warranty repairs and other warranty maintenance this spring and summer on all units at the Cohocton and Dutch Hill projects.

The repair of most of the turbines will require the use of cranes to lower the blades and hub (and perhaps the nacelle in some cases) to the ground. The first crane is now on-site; a second crane is scheduled to arrive within two weeks. Some of the turbines may not require cranes, as Clipper is developing blade remediation techniques that may avoid the use of a crane.

As the repair process progresses, we will be contacting affected landowners to discuss what is happening on a site by site basis. Furthermore, where appropriate, we will process crop damage claims directly with affected landowners. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this process, please contact me at 207-653-9325 or cfullarton@firstwind.com.

Again, thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Chris Fullarton

Project Manager
First Wind Energy, LLC
As Administrator to
Canandaigua Power Partners, LLC and
Canandaigua Power Partners II, LLC

Monday, May 25, 2009

Property values could drop if windmills rise

The group fighting Shear Wind’s Glen Dhu turbine project says property values could drop in the area if the development goes ahead.

Susan Overmyer, media relations for the Eco Awareness Society, said several recent studies show home values could deteriorate by “20 to 30 per cent” if turbines are built in the proposed area near Baileys Brook.

“These turbines are 40 storeys tall, and they’ll create a loud, deep noise,” said Overmyer. “Recently, one gentleman in the area was trying to sell his home, and the buyer passed when he found out there would be turbines built in the area. It will affect our quality of life, and mark a significant change to the community.”

One study – of people living near the Mars Hill Wind Turbine Project – presented to the Maine Medical Association in March showed that 100 per cent of respondents in the study felt quality of life was affected and 100 per cent considered moving. The study further concluded that 73 per cent said they could not afford to move and 90 per cent said a recent professional appraisal showed loss of home value made it impossible to move away.

The society admits that reaction to their protest of the site is mixed in the community. Still, they insist the turbines won’t be an environmental cure-all, and could actually have negative repercussions on the surrounding habitat.

For instance – the EAS is concerned that these turbines will be directly in the flight path of a slowly increasing eagle population, and fears they will diminish the population due to accidents.

“We’re very concerned about losing our eagles, and clearing the forest in that area is robbing us of our best carbon capture system – trees,” said Overmyer. “On top of that, there’s an abundant bear population here, and they’d be moving closer to our homes when they are displaced.”

The project could mean temporary jobs for the area, with a total of 75-100 employees needed for construction and clearing of the site. After that, Overmyer only expects less than a dozen employees stationed at the facility, and those would likely be skilled workers brought from out-of-county.

Overmyer said recent information handed out by Shear Wind has also been confusing – it says only one turbine is to be built, rather than the 30 originally proposed.

“I’m not sure if that means they’ll get started and build the rest later, because one doesn’t make much sense,” Overmyer said.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ecogen reps meet with residents by Mary Perham

Representatives of the Ecogen energy company attempted to soothe growing concerns about a proposal to build electricity generating wind turbines in Prattsburgh.

The company wants to erect 34 400-foot tall turbines in the town of Prattsburgh and its neighbor Italy, in Yates County.

Recently, residents in the town have become concerned with noise the wind turbines make. Fueling their worries has been complaints by residents in the town of Cohocton who live near wind turbines and claim they sound like jet engines. Those wind turbines are owned by the First Wind energy company.

Ecogen attorney Robert Burgdorf told 150 attendees at its informational meeting Thursday night that noise, safety and jobs were legitimate reasons for the board's concerns and that Ecogen has dealt with those issues "vigorously and in good faith."

Burgdorf said Ecogen will use a Siemens turbine, which the developer claims is quieter than the Clipper Wind model used in Cohocton. Currently, Siemens is working on a part that will reduce noise made by the machine's exhaust fan, Burgdorf said.

According to Ecogen sound consultant, Peter Guldberg, the Siemens model will produce "the same electricity with a lot less noise."

Ecogen tailored the meeting to issues raised by the Prattsburgh Town Board at its April 21 meeting - a decision that led to angry outbursts from some residents who wanted to present new concerns and information.

Prattsburgh Councilman Steven Kula walked out of the meeting shortly after it start¬ed at 6:30 p.m. when he was told the meeting would fol¬low Ecogen's format.

Councilman and residents had been told at the town board's meeting Tuesday that any new concerns would have to wait until they could be raised Thursday.

Ecogen representatives also fielded other, written questions and comments after the initial presentation.

Those comments ranged from support from residents, and a dozen of the 60 union leaders and contractors who said the project would create needed jobs.

But while there was support for the project, other residents raised health concerns ranging from sleep disorders and autism to long-term vascular illnesses. Burgdorf said there is very little credible information on reported health problems.

A number of residents charged Ecogen has used unfair tactics to negotiate leases, backed out of agreements and attempted to buy their silence - charges Burgdorf denied.

Several residents questioned Guldberg's assertion the Siemens model is quieter, since its specifications place its maximum decibel level near other, similar machines.

But Guldberg insisted at the end of the three-hour meeting, noise will not be a problem in the town.

Ecogen Ad for Contractors

Cohocton road repairs may wait

Bath, N.Y.

Steuben County legislators may be asked Wednesday to postpone a portion of an agreement between the First Wind energy company and the county Public Works Department.

The county board is set to meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday instead of the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, which falls on Memorial Day.

The agreement calls for First Wind to pay $765,293 for repairs to county roads 35 and 121 in the town of Cohocton. The roads were used to transport heavy equipment during the construction of the 50 turbine wind farm in the town of Cohocton last year.

But the recent announcement by Cohocton Town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus that First Wind is using town roads to haul new blades for a number of turbines led Public Works officials to question whether county roads will be used, too.

“We expect they’ll be coming over Route 35,” County Public Works Commissioner Vincent Spagnoletti said. “We very well may wait until they finish this repair before we work on that road.”
He said work on county Route 121 is expected to go forward as scheduled, at an estimated cost of $85,269.

Some repairs to County Route 35 damaged by heavy trucks were made earlier. The estimated cost for the county to make further repairs to that road is $680,024.

No work on the roads will be done until the county receives advance payment from First Wind.

Payment for the repairs is guaranteed through a letter of credit from the German-based HSH Nordbank, located in Manhattan.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CLIPPER WIND TURBINE GEAR FAILURES STOP "STEELWINDS" IN LACKAWANNA , NEW YORK

The Buffalo News reports today that the complicated gearboxes on the Clipper wind turbines in Lackawanna, New York have caused the facility to shut down. The photo above was taken in September of 2007 and shows the eight Clipper turbines on the old Bethlehem slag heaps with Buffalo in the left hand background.

The US designed and built Clipper turbines are a radical departure from the direction turbine engineering is headed in Europe.

For the last decade in Europe the goal in wind turbine engineering has been the elimination of any gearbox or gears between the turbine rotor and the generator. The privately held German firm Enercon produces what I believe are the most advanced gearless turbines using a large diameter annular generator. On my visit to the wind energy trade fair in Hamburg, Germany in 2004 large sections of the multiple convention halls were dedicated to gears, gearboxes, gear machining, gear face surface finishing, gear lubrication, gear lubrication heat, noise, and particulates monitoring, gear lubrication cleaning, etc etc about gears. It was clear from the number of gear engineering, gear maintenance and gear service vendors that gears and gearboxes were a big problem in the wind turbine industry. A problem to avoid, not embrace - as Clipper chose to do.

So when Clipper engineers went in the opposite direction and designed a turbine with four generators driven synchronously by a huge gearbox with one low speed input shaft and four high speed out shafts – I was very skeptical.

The present gear problems in Lackawanna were, I believe, predictable. In my April 4, 2007 field report on Clipper’s Lackawanna installation I wrote: “My bet is that this complex gear train will have maintenance issues”. And I do not believe the present Clipper gear problems will be fixed by re-manufacturing specific gears or gear teeth or changing gear surface hardness, gear lubrication, etc, etc.

Unfortunately, this will probably have a negative ripple effect right here in Cleveland where Advanced Manufacturing is machining the gear boxes for Clipper.

Clipper will also be seen as a horse with a broken leg – an injury from which I believe it will be difficult for Clipper to recover.

(Click to read entire article)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Prattsburgh Town Board Steven Kula Member's Request for Special Meeting

Steven R. Kula
11470 Davis Road
Prattsburgh, NY 14873
(607)522-3377
steve.kula@yahoo.com

May 22, 2009

J. Harold McConnell
Supervisor
Town of Prattsburgh
19 North Main Street
Prattsburgh, NY 14873

Dear Supervisor,

At our regular Town of Prattsburgh board meeting, held on April 21st, our board voted unanimously to hold a special town board meeting on May 21st at The Prattsburgh Central School. The purpose of this meeting was for Ecogen to make a presentation to the board and the public, and to afford both the opportunity to ask questions of Ecogen regarding their proposed project in our town.

At our regular Town of Prattsburgh board meeting, held on May 19th, citizens and board members were asked to hold their questions and comments until the special meeting, when both Ecogen and the board would be prepared to facilitate.

I arrived at our meeting and was told by an Ecogen attorney that they were having a meeting, but I was welcome to stay and listen. The audience was then informed that we would not have the opportunity to make comments or have any discussion with the developer.

I am disgusted with your conduct as a public official. We are elected to represent the citizens of this town, and are obligated to make the best, most informed decisions possible on their behalf. I have found that anyone that has a defensible position does not fear an honest, open debate. The issues pertaining to the proposed development are not black and white, and it is unfortunate that you desire to hide the truth from the public.

I understand that I am in a minority position on our town board. Your majority was elected by the citizens of this town, and you have the right to feel, and vote, as you do. However, as an elected official, I too have rights. By law, you must schedule a special board meeting within 10 days of written request of two board members. I am requesting that you call a special meeting, to be held in a venue large enough to accommodate the expected crowd, for the express purpose of discussing the many issues surrounding this project, as well as the misconduct of our public officials. I am of the hope that councilman Shick will make the second request.

I also request that you invite Ecogen representatives to this meeting, in the hope that they will change course and answer some of the concerns of our citizens.
I am unavailable on June 2nd, 4th, and 5th. I am available on any other days at any time. As I understand that the other board members also have other obligations, I will not hold you to the 10 day limit imposed by the law. I believe that a meeting scheduled prior to June 20th would be reasonable.

Sincerely,
Steven R. Kula
Town Councilman
Town of Prattsburgh

Cc: Prattsburgh Town Clerk, Chuck Shick, John Leyden, Eric Massa, NYS Office of the Attorney General, local media

Ecogen meeting in Prattsburgh

I will be away for the next week so I did want to drop a quick note about the Ecogen meeting last night. I cannot give a full report because I did not have the patience to sit quietly and listen to the absurd claims made by Ecogen representatives who insisted that their industrial machines were so very quiet and that there is just no evidence to prove that noise is an issue at existing wind factories.

For those of us who attended the most recent town board meetings, you will recall that at the April meeting, the board voted to have a special meeting of the town board where Ecogen would provide information. When people at the meeting questioned if we, their constituents would have a chance to speak and ask questions, our town board assured us that we would.

At the May town board meeting the public was not allowed to discuss wind issues and John Servo, who was listed on the agenda, was stopped from speaking since he would have his chance to speak at the Thursday night meeting.

When we arrived at the meeting, we were advised that we would NOT be allowed to speak and that we could submit question that Ecogen representatives would answer. Many people vehemently argued that the format was not what was promised and Steve Kula and Chuck Shick walked out in protest as Stacy Bottoni 5224979, Sharon Quigley 5224189, and Harold McConnell (607) 522-3730 sat by and said nothing to defend a format that they had promised on 2 occasions.

If you have not complained to these members of our town board in the last hour, please do so. We need to replace these people. If you own property in Prattsburgh, please find out what you need to do to register to vote in Prattsburgh and help us to replace the board. I do not believe that Stacy is up for re election, but in many communities people have resigned their positions on the board due to public outcry.

Nancy Wahlstrom

Mars Hill wind turbine project health effects: preliminary findings

http://www.coalcandothat.com/assets/resources/Mars%20Hill%20(Nissenbaum)%2003%202009%20.pdf

Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, a radiologist at the Northern Maine Medical Center, conducted interviews with fifteen people living near the wind energy facility in Mars Hill, Maine. His preliminary data suggests the residents are experiencing medical problems (sleep disturbances, headaches, dizziness, weight changes, possible increases in blood pressure, as well as increased prescription medication use) due to noise emissions from the turbines near their homes.

Dr. Nissenbaum presented his preliminary findings before the Maine Medical Association Public Health Committee on March 25, 2009. The full presentation can be downloaded by clicking on this link.

Brief professional bio for Dr. Nissenbaum:

Education:
Medical School: University of Toronto
Diagnostic Imaging Residency: McGill University
Fellowship Training: University of California

Current position:
Radiologist, Northern Maine Medical Center, Fort Kent, Maine

Previous position:
Junior Faculty at Harvard University and
Associate Director of MRI at a major Harvard teaching hospital

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Faulty turbines deepen losses at Clipper Windpower

Losses widened to $313.3 million at Clipper Windpower in 2008, as the wind turbine maker was forced to spend $300 million over two years fixing faults.

The Carpinteri, California-based firm has also reduced its head count and said it will continue to be affected by the credit crunch in 2009, as difficulty securing financing forced some customers to defer or reduce turbine orders.

In its annual results, the US manufacturer said revenues grew to $737.3 million in 2008, from $23.8 million in 2007, as it increased sales of its 2.5MW Liberty turbines to 248 last year, from only nine in 2007.

But it reported a net loss of $313.3 million, compared to a net loss of $192.5 million in 2007.

This was largely down to a remediation programme to correct faults, including defects identified in drivetrains and blades in 2007, and faults detected in 2008 with the blade skins of its Liberty turbines. By October 2008, the manufacturing process was changed to prevent the faults occurring, but Clipper said it spent $300 million fixing problems in 2007 and 2008, contributing to higher losses last year.

“These remediation programs, while common in the early stages of deployment and operational shakedown of wind turbines, have been very expensive and disruptive to the group’s operations,” said Clipper’s CEO and president Doug Pertz and chairman James Dehlsen, in a joint statement.

“Clipper has worked with its customers in a straightforward, open manner to develop agreed solutions, and has thus earned their confidence in Clipper as a trusted supplier,” they added.

Meanwhile, Clipper warned that the credit crunch will continue to impact its business in 2009, saying that it “expects continued dislocation of the debt markets resulting in a continued unfavourable impact on our current customers and the wind market”. It cut 90 jobs in early 2009, reducing its workforce by 11%.

But the company is eyeing prospects arising from the US government's clean energy push. Pertz said: “We are aggressively meeting the challenges presented by the current difficult market conditions, while ensuring we retain the flexibility to scale up the business when growth returns. The Obama administration has set a goal of doubling US wind generating capacity within three years and has approved legislation to support technologies essential to accelerating wind deployment.”

Naples still vulnerable to wind turbines despite zoning code by Robyn Rime

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday May 20, 2009

Despite the intended protection provided by the town's zoning laws, Naples could be as vulnerable to potential industrial wind developers as the Town of Italy. Discussion at the Naples Town Board meeting on May 11 revealed just how inadequate the town's laws could be, should a wind developer prove interested.

Naples' town code currently prohibits industrial wind turbines within the geographic limits of the town, stating that "industrial wind turbine electricity generating facilities are not compatible with the Comprehensive Plan and general intent of the Zoning Chapter of the Code of the Town of Naples and are not conducive to the good health, safety or general welfare of the residents and property owners of the Town." (The code does allow turbines for residential and commercial purposes with appropriate setbacks and height restrictions.)

"Neither Prattsburgh nor Italy had zoning that could prohibit industrial wind turbines," said Supervisor Frank Duserick.

However, Italy did place a moratorium on wind development projects in 2004. The wind developer EcoGen sued, claiming - among other things - the moratorium was unconstitutional. The town won the case and went on to develop a strong anti-wind develop-ment stance to their comprehensive plan. EcoGen sued again, finally agreeing to put the suit on hold provided the town consider incentive zoning. With an incentive zoning agreement, EcoGen would essentially pay the town in order to go through with the project.

Italy, which spent $100,000 on legal fees in its first court bat¬tle and was threatened with additional legal expenses should EcoGen's suit continue, was basically "offered incentives to change their law," said Town Attorney Ed Brockman. Brockman, who also serves as attorney for the Town of Italy, was instrumental in proposing incentive zoning to its board.

Incentive zoning designates areas hi the town where wind turbines would be allowed and developers would provide financial incentives. The proposed zones in Italy encompass two locations in the southeast and southwest areas of the town.

"Could the same thing happen in Naples? Absolutely," said Frank Mueller, code enforcement officer for the Town of Naples. "Any law in the Town of Naples can be challenged. That's what happened in Italy."

Whether such a wind project is likely for Naples is another matter. "No one has expressed an interest in wind farms in Naples yet," said Mueller. "Naples has too many valleys - the wind doesn't blow at constant enough rates."

Naples resident John Cowley isn't reassured by the fact that no one is aware of any proposed projects for Naples. Numerous landowners in Cohocton and Prattsburgh signed leases with wind developers before the projects were ever officially proposed to the towns, Cowley pointed out.

"Does anyone on the board know of any leases and/or sales in the Town of Naples to industrial wind development?" he asked. "Will you tell the public of your knowledge of such sale or leases?" Such leases provide the developers with leverage against the town, he argued.

"Haven't developers pressured towns to change laws in their favor because they have leases signed and have an investment in the community?" Cowley asked.

Brockman agreed that it's difficult to know if there are any recent property sales to or current leases with wind developers in Naples. Should anyone choose to research this issue, he said, recent land sales can be checked with the county clerk's office. Leases should also be registered there, which guarantees a developer a continued lease with any new property owner in the event of a sale.

Cowley inquired whether as a method of improving the transparency of land transactions it was possible to require landowners to get a permit from or viewing by the town before signing a lease with an industrial wind developer. Brockman replied such a change could only be accomplished at the state level, and Duserick wondered who would champion such an effort.

Cowley also suggested the possibility of zoning setbacks for industrial wind turbines large enough to effectively shut out wind projects, but Brockman believed such setbacks were unnecessary because of the town's prohibition of industrial wind projects.

"It's a discovery for me that even though we have prohibitions in our code, we are still exposed," said Duserick.

"If someone proposes a turbine project for Naples and derides they want to go for broke, yes, we are," replied Brockman.

The town continues to seek a meeting with the New York State Attorney General's office to address problems with wind developers in Naples and surrounding towns. The board agreed to partner with the Finger Lakes Preservation Association (FLPA) in requesting that FLPA act as facilitator to arrange such a meeting.

Orangeville Town Board urged to 'do the right thing' by Mary Kay Barton

On Thursday, May 7, the Orangeville Town Board held a public hearing on its proposed changes to their zoning laws. Over 200 people were estimated to be in attendance at the three-hour hearing.

Despite the Wyoming County Planning Board's recommendation that Orangeville address the section specific to Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) in a separate law, the Orangeville Town Board chose to ignore the county's recommendation. Predictably, the hearing became entirely about the wind issue. The bulk of the complaints were against their "woefully inadequate" proposed setbacks of only 700 feet from property lines, 1,250 feet from foundations of non-participating neighbors' homes, and 600 feet from roads, while most who spoke in favor of the project were those who stand to gain or Invenergy employees.

Orangeville Supervisor Susan May, prefaced the comment period of the meeting by saying that the proposed changes to Orangeville's zoning laws were for the purpose of protecting the health, safety, and well-being of residents of the Town of Orangeville. Furthermore, their goal was to protect open spaces, preserve property values, and conserve the rural character of the town.

Peter Humphrey kicked off the comment period. He asked, "I struggle to figure out how the board answered "No" to the question, 'Will the noise created by the project surpass the town's current ambient noise levels?'"

Environmental attorney Gary Abraham, who represents Clear Skies Over Orangeville, addressed the board's proposed acceptable sound levels of 50 dBA further. Abraham said that ambient noise levels in Orangeville are approximately 25 dBA. Abraham said that according to DEC classifications, increases of 6 dBA will definitely cause problems, increases of 10 dBA cause a perceived doubling of sound, and increases of 20 dBA over current ambient noise levels are labeled as "intolerable."

Lonnie Day cited the fact that noise travels through bedrock. Mr. Day said, "Google 'sound as a weapon.' You'll find some very interesting stuff there."

Mark Geoghegan went to the podium with the intent of having his wife read his comments, as is allowed by federal law because he is dyslexic, only to have Supervisor May and Attorney DiMatteo say, "No -- not allowed!" Mrs. Geoghegan cited the fact that her husband was learning disabled and allowed this right by federal law (i.e. the American Disabilities Act of 1990). May and DiMatteo again said, "No -- not allowed!"

Mary Nevinger was refused the right to read her brother-in-law's, David Bassett's comments. Bassett has been a landowner and tax-paying citizen of Orangeville since 1974. His 38-year career in renewable energy with the U.S. Deptartment of Energy, certainly makes his comments probably more helpful and relevant to the discussion than most -- had they been allowed to be heard.

The voice of common sense on property values came from Attica representative, Stu Hemple. Mr. Hemple said Attica voted in a restrictive law banning industrial-sized WECS. Hemple said that the property value loss that will occur as a result of these projects "far exceeds years and years of no town tax." He went on to say that what they'll get is "short-term gain for long-term pain." He also stated that it's very clear why the wind industry will have nothing to do with Property Value Protection Plans.

Town of Orangeville resident, Joseph Zampogna, PhD, added to the discussion on property values. His research has shown that properties within three miles of industrial wind installations decreased by as much as 37 percent, and 8 percent were unable to sell at all. The average decline in value ranged between 20-25 percent.

Jim Nevinger asked why the town doesn't consider controlling the project themselves so they could minimize the number of turbines and impact to the town, while maximizing the benefit. "The Indians sold their land for a bunch of glass beads and trinkets. I'd hate to see Orangeville do the same," he said.

Both Steve Moultrip and Joe Delvecio cited how 700-foot setbacks from property lines would render their properties unusable for further development by their families. Mr. Delvecio stated, "It's un-American to think that one neighbor could do something on their land that would take away the rights of another!"

Nadja Llaska, a Sheldon resident now stuck surrounded by industrial-scale wind turbines, testified about the ill-effects she now suffers resulting from the constant noise and shadow flicker. Symptoms she cited included nausea, migraines, and the inability to sleep.

Harold Hopkins said he objected to 700-foot setbacks from property lines when turbine manufacturers recommend a minimum of 1,300-foot setbacks for the safety of both employees and neighbors.

Daryll Dickinson, Orangeville Planning Board member, said that the Town Board specifically changed the setbacks the Planning Board had recommended of 1,000 feet from property lines (minimum they deemed necessary for safety of residents), to 700 feet from property lines becase Invenergy directed them to so they could fit the project in.

Ed Hume said, "Yes -- I've profitted handsomely from these projects. And yes -- I'm for this project." He went on to say, as he choked back tears, "But let's not let it tear up our town."

Invenergy salesman Jay Schoenberger contended, "It's a workable ordinance." His coworker, Eric Miller, decided to attack Clear Skies Over Orangeville members by declaring that CSOO was using "scare tactics."

Invenergy attorney Daniel Spitzer's statements were both ridiculous and polarizing. Spitzer was simply displaying Big Wind's warfare tactics of "divide and conquer," when he ranted, "Do not be bullied by those who oppose democracy."

Last I knew, Democracy meant that people have every right to get engaged in the issues and voice their concerns so that the best possible solution, which will best serve and protect the greatest number of people, can be found. Democracy does not mean you can dismiss your neighbor's concerns, or discount his importance and worth to the community as being less than someone else's.

This issue is not simply about science (or in the case of industrial wind, the lack thereof!), it is also about civility -- the obligations in a civil society one neighbor has to another. It's about what's right and what's wrong. As another Orangeville citizen pleaded to the board, "Do the right thing!"

Mary Kay Barton lives at Silver Lake.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nancy Wahlstrom's wind related Public Gallery

Cohocton official wants to know why no notice for construction

Atlanta, N.Y.

First Wind officials hope to get their 125-megawatt wind power plant in Cohocton back up and running after less than five months in service, but town officials are not backing down over what they see as violations of the project’s special use permits.

Cohocton town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus announced at the town board’s meeting Monday the construction work is restarting and town officials are looking to see what will become of the project.

“Clipper Windpower, the turbine manufacturer, is conducting reinforcement work to the blades,” said John Lamontagne, director of communications for First Wind. “Clipper has brought two cranes in to lower the blades and hub to the ground so that work can be conducted.”

This is the second project Clipper and First Wind have had to dismantle and rebuild. The eight-turbine Steel Winds project in Lackawanna was dismantled in 2007 following damage to gearboxes. That project was the first run of Clipper turbines, which are the same model as those used in Cohocton. Gearbox problems also have been reported by town officials, but Lamontagne did not mention any related issues.

The plant became operational in January, around the same time the damage was noticed.

“The need for blade reinforcements was first noticed this winter,” Lamontagne said. “To date, 19 turbine blades have some need for reinforcements. However, Clipper will conduct reinforcements on all of the blades as part of the warranty maintenance.”

The work means construction traffic will continue for Cohocton residents, as long as town officials grant clearance for the work, as posted weight limits approved Monday may hinder the fix.

“The reinforcements started earlier this month,” he added. “We expect work will continue on all the blades into the fall.”

Lamontagne said the town has been informed of the work schedule, and two First Wind officials met with the town two weeks ago.

Zigenfus, however, said town officials did not receive any official notice of the work until after it began.

“In there (the special use permits for the project), they have to notify the town if they’re going to bring back the heavy equipment. Unfortunately, they had some of these cranes in here before we even knew about it,” he said, adding the town first learned about the work when town Highway Superintendent Tom Simons saw heavy trucks moving the cranes along the hillsides. "That’s what created this whole thing.”

Zigenfus said the weight limit restrictions follow the same tactic used by Steuben County shortly after construction work on the project began in the fall of 2007.

So far, Zigenfus said this morning, no word has come from First Wind over the weight limits or the discussion of legal action.

Dirt first started moving on the project Sept. 18, 2007, with tower construction commencing in November. Work on the first two towers, complete with turbine blades, was finished Jan. 3. Of the 50 towers, 47 are spread across Lent, Pine and Dutch hills, dominating much of the view around Cohocton, North Cohocton and Atlanta. The three remaining turbines are on Brown Hill to the south of the village, where the project connects to the regional energy grid.

Think big on wind energy by David Bassett

The Town of Orangeville held a public hearing on May 7, 2009, to obtain the views of its citizens and taxpayers regarding a proposed industrial-scale wind farm. There are a number of important issues that need to be considered fully, including issues of scale and equity, big business vs. landowner, mismatch between promises and reality, energy supply vs. energy efficiency, migration patterns of birds, and many more.

In the heat of current discussions, it might be easy to lose sight of a bigger picture. Reflect for a moment on our grandparents and the struggles they probably had in developing farms and businesses in Wyoming County. Some own land that has been in the family for generations. If you travel to Germany, England, Scotland or Wales, you can see why this beautiful area in Orangeville looked like home to our immigrant forefathers. What is being proposed will change all of that.

If I could have found a job in Western New York when I finished college, I most certainly would not have been in the right place at the right time to hear first-hand stories regarding wind energy -- stories that eventually would play out in Western New York in places like Orangeville. So in addition to the insights and thoughtful comments of colleagues and fellow taxpayers, I can offer several snapshots that provide some extra insight into the current situation facing many townships in Western New York.

The first snapshot comes from a meeting in Washington, D.C., at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during a formal review of the Administration's budget for fiscal year 1996. The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Office of Utility Technologies) proposed increases in the amount of research and development (R&D) funding for large utility-scale wind turbines. Concerned about public acceptance, the OMB budget examiner asked DOE management and the Wind Program why funding should be granted ... particularly if it resulted in large machines that nobody wanted. Where did the DOE imagine that such giant machines would be sited? The answer was that the large machines were intended for remote, relatively unpopulated parts of the Upper Midwest and offshore. The big machines would be designed to harness the substantial wind resources of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, etc. So, our taxes helped develop large wind turbines, but they were not intended for around here. It's just highly profitable to stick them here using the roads and transmission lines that we have already paid for.

The second snapshot comes from a similar meeting where funding was requested for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories to update the National Wind Energy Resource Map. Some in the room joked that the funding was unnecessary. All that one had to do to find good sites for wind turbines was to look around for economically-depressed rural places with prisons. The view was that if such a rural population would accept a prison, then there should be no problem siting wind turbines.

I was offended -- in part, because I feared that there was an element of truth in this simplistic insight.

So the future of Orangeville seems to boil down to a classic choice: Do we choose to be small cogs in someone else's big machine? Or: Do we choose to exercise some leadership and independence?

Thinking about the people who came before us and thinking about the generations yet to come: Should we take the first offer that comes our way? Do we possess the independence to put our interests before those of big business? Can we honestly say that the Sheldon or Cohocton landscapes are enhanced? ... That the many power transmission lines in Bliss are things of beauty?

Somewhere between the two extremes -- mindless cheerleading for Big Business on the one hand and dogmatic resistance on the other -- must be some reasonable middle ground.

One of the best proposals I have heard so far is that the Town of Orangeville consider creating a municipal utility to harvest and manage its own wind resources. This would allow for much greater revenues; a more equitable distribution of wealth; selecting fewer, smaller, reasonably-sized turbines; exercising more care in site selection; and more control over the entire operation.

The Town of Orangeville could produce as much or more wealth than is currently being proposed from far fewer turbines. Rather than littering the skyline with equipment that would produce wealth for those outside investors living elsewhere, fewer turbines could produce equal or greater wealth for local residents.

This could mean that every Town of Orangeville property owner could benefit by: 1) a reduction in town taxes, 2) an elimination of town taxes or 3) a share of wind revenue based on tax assessment -- depending upon the size and number of turbines deployed. This would allow the revenue stream from a small number of turbines to be enjoyed by all Orangeville property owners, not just by a select few. And it would solve a big problem: The developer suggests that their payments to the Town might eliminate taxes but, they have no authority to deliver on that promise. The Town has the authority, but so far at least, is not willing to make this a binding legal commitment with the taxpayers. Also, the tax assessment and tax levying machinery is already in place to help make this work.

Democracy works best when all voices are heard. The best sort of representative government considers all points of view and acts in ways that produce the greatest common good for the greatest number of citizens. The recent public hearing is a step on the path to good governance. This and other hearings should be viewed as opportunities to explore options, and not just as necessary legal hurdles that must be overcome.

It's time to think a bit more creatively about our future. The wind resource in Western New York has been here since the last ice age. We should not be railroaded into accepting a less-than-optimal outcome.

David Bassett has worked for the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board. He was the first director of the Erie County Energy Office in Buffalo during the late 1970s. His background includes mechanical engineering at Purdue University and meteorology at Cornell.

Hammond wind meeting gave few answers, some say

HAMMOND - An informal public session for town of Hammond residents with Iberdrola Renewables, a commercial wind-farm developer, left at least some residents complaining that their questions were not answered.

About 100 people came to the meeting, most armed with a list of questions and data sheets. Many said they were disappointed by the one-on-one format, with no formal presentation and participants approaching the panel to ask questions one at a time. Several who attended the meeting said a town hall-style forum would have been more successful.

Scott L. McDonald, a senior meteorologist with the company, and four colleagues answered questions and discussed a proposed project to bring about 60 wind turbines to the town. No specific location for the wind farm has been set.

"We were looking for a chance to stand up and ask some questions, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case," said Mary Hamilton, a member of the Concerned Residents of Hammond.

Gary Parish, also a member of the grass-roots organization, said none of his questions was answered.

"We thought it was going to be a meeting, but this was just a joke," he said.

The informational session was a typical first step in the development process, according to Jenny L. Burke, a business director with Iberdrola.

"We're looking to give the community members a chance to meet the development team and for them to provide us with their questions," she said.

Town Supervisor Janie G. Hollister said she came to the meeting to ask about low-frequency noise limits and the turbine motors. Although the officials answered only her question about the motor, she said she has a better idea of how to develop the town's wind law because of the talk.

"Any time we have a meeting it seems like we're coming back with more information," she said. "Did this meeting work? I don't know. It depends on what people take away."

According to officials at the meeting, there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to wind in Hammond.

Kristen Goland, a permitting expert with Iberdrola, said the company plans to begin studies for an environmental impact statement after the test towers go up. The EIS, which is part of the state environmental quality review, will include studying the effect on wetlands, outlining where transmission lines will be and studying the acoustic impacts on birds, bats and town residents.

Iberdrola now is looking to add at least two test towers here during the next year.

"What drives design is the data you collect here, so the more the better," Mr. McDonald said. "We are in the very early development phase."

The meteorological towers will be from 200 to 250 feet tall and will measure the power of the wind with directional vanes. The towers also will have temperature and pressure sensors.

Mr. McDonald could not say when the towers will be going up or when they would come down. In 2006, PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., which is now part of Iberdrola, put up a test tower along County Route 6.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cracked blades lead to likely showdown between town, First Wind

Atlanta, N.Y.

With construction ramping up again unexpectedly in Cohocton, town officials are looking at their legal options in keeping the work by developer First Wind in line with agreements signed between the parties — even if it means a court date.

Town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus announced at Monday night’s town board meeting major work is being performed on the 50-turbine wind-powered electricity generation project on Pine, Lent and Dutch hills. The turbines, he said, need to be overhauled, leading to traffic, road damage and late nights of work — which may be in violation of the agreements between the town and First Wind.

“It’s my belief every blade has to come off,” he said. “It requires another round of construction and heavy traffic.”

Some of the problems come from cracking or the potential of cracking on the turbines where the blades attach to the nacelles in the center — the same basic problem that required the dismantling of the Steel Winds project in Lackawanna, which was a First Wind project using the same Clipper turbines used in Cohocton.

Code Enforcement Officer Joseph Bob said he believes 17 of the turbines were shut down because of the problems, and some of the gearbox problems might have been a cause for some of the noise complaints lodged with the town and First Wind.

The problem is that the town needs to give special permission for the weight limit to be lifted for certain traffic, which has not happened because it was not until recently the town knew of the problems.

“I don’t believe we were given the proper heads-up,” Zigenfus said.

Resident Jim Hall, a petitioner in three Article 78 lawsuits against the town and developer to halt the project, said his vehicles have been damaged from the poor road conditions caused by construction traffic on Moore Road.

“What provisions will there be to enforce the agreements? How are we ever going to get usable roads back in our town?” Hall said.

Other residents at the meeting complained of late-night truck traffic and lights on at the sites around the clock, which Zigenfus said is a violation of agreements made before construction began.

That construction is also a violation of the permits and agreements signed in 2007, Zigenfus said.

“They still have to go under the permits. They didn’t just go away,” he said.

To stem the construction work, the town board approved a series of 4-ton weight limits on town roads, including Lent Hill Road, Pine Hill Road and Dutch Hill Road — the main routes to the turbine locations.

“This is the beginning of our ability to control it,” Zigenfus said, adding Cohocton police, as well as Steuben County Sheriff’s deputies and state police, will be asked to patrol for violators.

The town also passed a resolution informing Fisher Associates, a subcontractor for the project, that the firm cannot inspect or inventory the town’s roads without the approval of the town board or Cohocton Highway Superintendent Tom Simons.

The final resolution approved was for the Albany-based law firm Whiteman Osterman and Hanna — the firm paid by First Wind to draw up the town’s wind law and agreements — to investigate legal recourse up to and including lawsuits.

“We will be paying for that,” Zigenfus said, adding if the town spends $10,000 in legal fees to get $200,000 for road rehabilitation, the town will have saved plenty of money in the process.

Zigenfus said the town will consider all of its options to get a settlement, but he is not afraid to take First Wind into court over the agreements.

“If it includes court actions, so be it,” he said.

John Lamontagne, director of communications for First Wind, said he will look into the reports and respond when he has answers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Concerned Citizen vs. DOE on Windpower

Dr. Steven Chu
Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Secretary Chu:

You and other officials of the US Department of Energy should be ashamed of yourselves because:

· Despite thousands of employees and billions in our tax dollars, you have found it necessary to have some low level “energy analyst” from a CONTRACTOR organization reply to an email from a US citizen and taxpayer, and

· The reply was so lacking in substance (see attached) that your contractor (and, presumably, your staff) apparently assumes that citizens and taxpayers outside Washington have no knowledge of DOE programs or the true costs and benefits of wind energy – the subject of my email.

It certainly appears that DOE officials have forgotten that they have an obligation to citizens, consumers, and taxpayers who provide all the money that flows through the DOE to employees and contractors. Instead, DOE officials and contractors behave as if their sole obligation is to special interest groups, including the wind industry, that are enjoying billions in tax dollars.

I have studied wind energy for several years and I am well aware of its true environmental, energy, and economic costs and benefits and I am well aware that DOE officials—especially those in your Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE-EERE), your national “laboratories,” and especially the National Renewable Energy “Laboratory” (NREL)—are highly biased and repeatedly engage in:

1. Distribution of information about wind energy that is false and misleading. For example, DOE officials and contractors consistently overstate the environmental, energy, and economic benefits of wind energy and understate or ignore its adverse impacts – including adverse environmental, scenic and property-value impacts.

2. Sponsoring studies, reports, analyses, and “models” that produce findings that are highly biased in favor of wind energy, and overstate the benefits. For example, the JEDI Model developed for NREL by a wind industry advocate and widely promoted by NREL overstates the economic and job benefits of wind energy projects.

3. Supporting state “wind energy work groups” that are not representative of the interests – especially the interests of citizens, electric customers, and taxpayers –who are adversely affected by wind energy projects. Such work groups, funded in whole or part by DOE-EERE and/or NREL are generally biased in favor of wind. They are a “clever” way for DOE to avoid the spirit of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) which requires that membership in “advisory” committees be balanced and representative of all interests.

To repeat, DOE officials and contractors behave as if their sole responsibility is to the special interest groups – while ignoring the interests of the citizens, consumers, and taxpayers who should be THE most important “stakeholders” served by DOE and its contractors.
The “energy analyst” from Sentech Inc. who responded to my email to DOE is somewhat correct in stating that the US will have to depend on a “portfolio” of energy sources. This should be obvious since it has been the case for decades. However, the “energy analyst” is not correct if he blissfully assumes that DOE has no obligation to take into account the full, true costs and benefits of various energy sources or that it should promote all sources regardless of their cost effectiveness. In other words, his statement is naive.

The “energy analyst’s” use of generating capacity to support his misleading claim about the great contribution of wind energy during 2008 is nothing short of arrogant obfuscation. Anyone with an ounce of understanding about electric generation should know that generating capacity is not a useful measure of the contribution of wind turbines because those turbines have inherently low capacity factors. That is, they produce only small amounts of electricity because they produce only when wind is blowing within certain speed ranges. Therefore, the electricity they produce is intermittent, volatile, unreliable and low in value. Wind speeds are most likely to be sufficient to produce significant amounts of electricity at night in colder months, not on hot weekday late afternoons in July and August when electricity demand tends to be highest and the electricity has its highest value.

Why should DOE officials and contractors get away with such misleading claims and why should they be so biased towards the wind industry when it is the citizens and taxpayers of the US who pay their salaries?

The “energy analyst” also fails, conveniently, to acknowledge that wind turbines have very little, if any, capacity value. That is, they cannot be counted on to produce electricity at the time of peak electricity demand. Perhaps DOE officials and contractors simply aren’t aware of this fact – which has been demonstrated clearly by experiences in New York, Texas, and California and which can be seen by anyone with access to the electricity production records of wind turbines. More likely, ignoring this significant limitation of wind energy is simply one more indication of DOE officials’ and contractors’ bias towards the interests of the wind industry and against the interests of citizens, consumers and taxpayers.

This weakness, of course, has huge significance because it means that reliable generating capacity must always be immediately available to “back up” the intermittent, volatile and unreliable output from wind turbines. It means that areas needing additional generating capacity to meet increases in peak electricity demand or to replace old generating capacity will have to add reliable generating capacity whether or not they install wind turbines.

Again, why should DOE officials and contractors get away with ignoring these critical limitations of wind energy and continue to pretend that the limitations are insignificant?

The “energy analyst’s statement that “…wind power prices have become competitive with wholesale power market prices” is one more example of DOE officials’ and contractors’ penchant for making false and misleading claims about wind energy. Anyone who has studied the truths about wind energy knows that the full, true cost of wind energy – including the cost of massive federal and state tax breaks and subsidies and the costs of providing reliable backup generation – are far in excess of the costs of electricity from existing generating plants powered by coal, natural gas, nuclear energy or hydropower. DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has demonstrated that the cost per kWh of tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy far exceeds the cost of tax breaks and subsidies for traditional energy sources.

Again, why should DOE officials and contractors get away with ignoring facts while issuing false and misleading claims on behalf of special interests aligned with the Department?

I will not spend a lot of time responding to the “energy analyst’s” claims about DOE’s ridiculous “20% wind energy by 2030” report. The most significant fact shown by that report is that most anything can be demonstrated by a government sponsored report if one makes the “right” assumptions. DOE should be ashamed to have published that report and even more ashamed to claim that it presents realistic findings.

Finally, I am quite aware that DOE will spend millions of taxpayer dollars in the years ahead in attempting to improve wind energy. I am also quite aware that DOE has already spent hundreds of millions of our tax dollars on wind energy R&D during the past 3 decades. Furthermore, I am quite aware that the logic for DOE’s subsidies for the wind industry were predicated on the idea that a “fledgling” energy technology needed taxpayer funded subsidies to gain a foothold in competitive energy technology markets. In case DOE has not noticed, there are now a significant number of wind turbine manufacturers who are selling into highly subsidized and profitable markets that should be able to fund their own wind energy R&D. Perhaps they have concluded that there are few technological advances likely that will improve wind turbines and perhaps DOE is merely wasting tax dollars by continuing to pour money into wind energy.

The continued failure of DOE officials and contractors to be responsive to the interests of US citizens, consumers, and taxpayers makes a mockery of President Obama’s claim to make the activities of the federal government more transparent, honest, and responsible.

Mr. Secretary, I suggest that it is time for you to get control of the DOE establishment and put your employees and contractors to work on behalf of the real “stakeholders.” The fact that DOE has hired contractors to respond to citizens’ correspondence suggests that your department is out of control. What are your thousands of employees doing to earn their taxpayer-provided salaries and benefits?

Sincerely,
Sue Sliwinski
Sardinia, NY

Friday, May 15, 2009

Clipper Windpower Reports Revenues Of $737.3 Million In 2008

Clipper Windpower Plc (Clipper Windpower) has reported revenues of $737.3 million for the year-end 2008, compared with the revenues of $23.9 million in the previous year-end. It has also reported a net loss of $313.3 million, or $2.56 loss per share, for the year-end 2008, compared with the net loss of $192.5 million, or $1.79 loss per share, in the previous year-end.

(Click to read entire article)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Turbine noise will cause serious harm by Charles A. Shick

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday May 13, 2009

Prattsburgh officials shouldn't allow themselves to be bought off at the expense of its citizens

After recently hearing about the noise problems in Cohocton, the tower collapse in Altona, and the mechanic hens placed on homeowners in Franklin County, it is beyond any rational thought to continue placing wind turbine generators too close to homes.

The medical evidence of neurological problems with children under six years old and the elderly caused by living, too close to turbines is well documented in Europe and other places around the world and is currently being studied in Maine. Turbines that are erected too close to people's homes impose threatening health and safety issues.

The setbacks in Cohocton are 1,500 feet from a home. Whereas, SCIDA has setbacks in Prattsburgh at 800 feet from your home and 480 feet from your property line. Most of Europe now has incorporated a one mile or greater setback law. Even the prowind town Supervisor of Cohocton, Jack Zigenfuss, has written a letter pleading with the developer to fix the severe and pressing noise issues there.

This is not new information; SCIDA and the Prattsburgh Town Board have known it for years and have chosen to ignore the facts. The Clipper Turbines used in Cohocton and the Siemens Turbines chosen for Prattsburgh are rated in the same intermediate category and have the identical noise rating of 106 decibels. State agencies and elected state and federal representatives are well aware of the issues and yet few have come forward to stop this travesty.

Environmentally conscious Prattsburgh residents who are opposed to the Prattsburgh project have always supported clean, green energy with the importance of proper placements of turbines. SCIDA chose the setbacks based on being able to get enough turbines in an area to make the project worthwhile for the developers. Corporations should not be put before people. Never was there a concern for the non-participating land owner's health and safety. Based on faulty data and information, provided by the developers, small towns have set noise levels that are completely inadequate.

The DEC says an increase in ambient noise of 6 decibels will cause a disturbance. The ambient noise for rural areas is about 20-25 decibels. So, the noise level should not be over 31 decibels at the property line. Measurements in Cohocton are just under the limit of 50 decibels. This is 19 decibels above the DEC's
recommendation and that is why the people of Cohocton cannot sleep at night.

We have all paid for government agencies (DEC, PSC, and NYSERDA) to study issues and make recommendations to avoid problems like those in Cohocton. Now the Prattsburgh developer wants to hold a special meeting to explain its plan and answer questions. I am sure they will offer the town many incentives like fire trucks, town barns, road signs and the like.

The Town Board shouldn't allow itself to be bought off at the expense of its citizens. The Ecogen turbines have the same noise rating as the turbines in Cohocton, but our setbacks are considerably less. This will cause serious harm to our citizens living in the area. To allow this project to move forward without significant change is negligence at best. The issues are health and safety, plain and simple!

Councilman Charles A Shick, Prattsburgh

Steven R. Kula Letter to the Editor - May 14, 2009

Steven R. Kula

11470 Davis Road
Prattsburgh, NY 14873
(607)522-3377
steve.kula@yahoo.com
May 14, 2009

To the Editor:

I began to provide an overview of the unethical behavior that has taken place in Prattsburgh over the last few years surrounding the wind turbine issues. Unfortunately, as I finished my second page, I realized that I was only about half done. In light of space considerations, I will confine my remarks to the present issue, and hope that the voters have been paying attention to the events leading up to the present.

I have a clear record of speaking out about the blatant corruption that I have seen. I have been quite vocal about the conflicts of interest and the misappropriation of tax dollars. At one point developer Tom Hagner, of Ecogen, told me that it would be better to work on an agreement without including the whole town board. He thought that since I had experience in highway matters, we could work something out between ourselves and the highway superintendent, and then present it to the rest of the board. It should be clear that I am not one of the members of our board that has chosen to work privately with Mr. Hagner. This is why I am completely astonished at the deal that has been offered to me by Mr. Hagner, and town attorney John Leyden.

Mr. Leyden believes that I should recuse myself from “official participation, action and duties in connection with the Windfarm development”, as “one of the qualified local contractors…which Ecogen desires to use, is ‘Kula, Inc.” There is no matter before the board at this time. I am not being requested to recuse myself from any particular vote, but to stop working to expose the truth about this project and the corruption surrounding it. The inference is clear- if I stop making noise, and stop doing the job that the taxpayers have hired me to do, my father’s company may receive contracts worth potentially millions of dollars.

Mr. Leyden and Mr. Hagner, I will not negotiate behind closed doors. Consider this my response. Neither my vote, nor my silence, is for sale.

Steve Kula
Town Councilman
Town of Prattsburgh

Steel Winds First Wind Project Lackawanna NY - May 2009



This is the second time that blades on the industrial turbines Steel Wind First Wind Project have needed to come down. Photo taken May 2009. Where are the news reports from the Buffalo press?

Photo taken by David Accardi

(Click to read Steelwinds turbines undergo repair -- again

Turbines at the Steelwinds facility in Lackawanna, New York are undergoing substantial repair -- again. The Steelwinds Project went online in the summer 2007 with eight Clipper 2.5 megawatt turbines. The project was the first to use the Clipper units, touted as the new standard for reliable performance. By late summer 2007, the facility was shut down due to damage in the turbine gear boxes (http://www.windaction.org/news/13133 ) The repairs occurred in early 2008. This photo taken May 12, 2009 shows the facility down again. First Wind, formerly UPC Wind, has provided no information on the root cause of the turbine failure.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

John Servo Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

My house and land is in Prattsburgh, across from turbine sites for the Ecogen wind project, and my wife owns adjacent property in Naples. I've heard some people say "what's happening in the hills with the wind turbines won't affect me". What these folks may not yet realize is that, if these turbines are allowed to damage the value of adjacent properties, THEIR taxes will go up. And the first step in this one-two process has just started.

Last month, I appealed the property assessment for a 25-acre parcel owned by my wife in Naples. This property is located close to Ecogen turbine sites, across the line in Steuben County. This appeal for a lower assessment was based upon a re-appraisal, which considered the proximity of the proposed wind turbines, impact on the selling price of comparable properties across from turbine sites in Cohocton, and our resulting inability to build on the property. Last week the Naples assessor lowered the assessment by 60%.

Why did we get 60% lopped off our tax bill? The reason is starkly clear: the value was sucked out of the property. When wind turbines are built and sited near this property, the land will be bathed in constant industrial noise. It is not only unwise to build there, it would be virtually impossible for any sensible bank to give us a mortgage were we foolish enough to do so. I believe the Naples assessor did a fair and honest job. And while lowering taxes is good, this victory is like ashes in our mouths. What do we really want? Give us back the higher taxes, along with the ability to build on our property!

There are two issues which the citizens of Prattsburgh - and any town considering wind turbines - need to consider. Yes, adjacent non-participating landowners will be ruined, hosed by the developers big-time. The 60% lowering of our assessment is peanuts compared to what will happen to the value of homes in the shadow of noise-making, health-threatening industrial wind turbines. What the rest of our fellow property owners in town need to realize is this: they will have to help foot the bill.

Let's think it through. Assume our Town's budget stays the same. When the many negatively-impacted property and home owners have their assessments justifiably LOWERED, all the other taxpayers will have to take up the slack - and pay HIGHER taxes. Welcome to the new reality of life in Prattsburgh.

Welcome to the "benefits" of hosting a wind project with horrendous, damagingly-short setbacks. And this doesn't even begin to address an even more immediate impact on the Town - that these negatively-impacted landowners will be forced to sue their Town for the damage the Town Board majority decided to stick to us for some perverted vision of "the greater good". The only ones who make out in this mess are the developer, their foreign financiers, and whoever helped "grease the wheels of progress" - leaving Prattsburgh to sort out the damage and find a way to pay for it.

John Servo

Spain Is Tilting at Windmills

President Barack Obama has praised Spain as a global leader in renewable electricity generation and has lauded its success at creating so-called “green jobs.” However, a recent Spanish university study concluded that Spain’s mad rush to meet overly aggressive renewable standards has destroyed jobs and driven up the real cost of electricity, without cutting carbon emissions.

Dig a Little Deeper

While visiting an Ohio company that provides parts for wind turbines in mid-January, President Obama presented his vision of a nation that is more energy efficient and more reliant on renewable energy. “Think of what’s happening in countries like Spain, Germany, and Japan, where they are investing in renewable energy,” Obama said. He went on to describe these countries as surging ahead of the U.S., not “because they’re smarter than us, or work harder than us, or are more innovative than we are. It’s because their governments have harnessed their people’s hard work and ingenuity with bold investments…. there’s no reason we can’t do the same.” The truth is: Spain’s renewable leadership is more fantasy than fact.

The Spanish government legislated goals for renewables a decade ago that have since made Spain the world’s third-largest wind power producer, after the U.S. and Germany. Spain’s renewable energy growth continues at a rate of 30% per year. Today renewables produce about 30% of Spain’s electricity. The country’s 2004 Electricity Act, requiring 20 GW of wind generation by 2010, subsidized a “Special Regime” for renewable plants that guaranteed grid access and long-term power purchase agreements paying premium prices for renewable electricity. For example, energy from a photovoltaic plant gets seven times the mean price from Spain’s power pool. Wind plants receive up to 209% of the market price.

Study the Statistics

Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, PhD, an economics professor at King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, completed Spain’s first comprehensive review of the long-term effects of Spain’s renewable energy policy on jobs and the economy. His report, “Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources,” was released in March. Some of its most surprising findings include these:

The premium paid for renewable power in Spain that’s charged to consumers translates into $774,000 for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000. In an interview with Bloomberg, Álvarez stated: “The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices.”

The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created. The report notes that Obama’s estimates of job creation gloss over jobs lost due to lost opportunity in the private capital market or the higher efficiency of private capital employed in renewable energy investment. Álvarez concluded that each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, and 5.05 by mini-hydro.

The study also assessed the quality of green jobs created. Despite its hyper-aggressive (expensive and extensive) “green jobs” policies, it appears that Spain has created a surprisingly low number of jobs. Two-thirds of them came in construction, fabrication and installation; one-quarter in administrative positions, marketing, and projects engineering; and just one-tenth at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance.

Money paid by consumers for renewable energy from 2000 to 2008 amounted to approximately $10 billion more than what the market cost would have been. The government spent more than $36 billion to subsidize renewable projects. For perspective, Spain’s economy is roughly on par with California’s.

“The price of a comprehensive energy rate (paid by the end consumer) in Spain would have to be increased 31% to begin to repay the historic debt generated [by the subsidies],” the report says. This is an important point: Direct government investment in power generation infrastructure hides the real cost of generated electricity because the government debt does not appear in the utilities’ books and keeps rates artificially low. Álvarez called these “self-inflicted economic wounds.”

“The high cost of electricity due to the green job policy tends to drive the relatively most energy-intensive companies and industries away, seeking areas where costs are lower.” Spain’s average electricity rate for a medium household was 15.2 cents/kWh in 2008, according to Eurostat — among the highest in the European Union (EU). The average U.S. residential price of electricity is less than 10 cents/kWh.

Not a Policy Model

The irony is that Spain’s entire renewable industry was built on the promise of creating millions of new, high-paying “green jobs” while simultaneously meeting EU requirement for reducing carbon emissions — the same policies now promised by President Obama.

Spain’s renewable energy policies have failed on both measures: Jobs have disintegrated, and Spain’s CO 2 emissions have increased 50% since 2000, according to data from the European Environment Agency, forcing Spain’s purchase of allowances from Eastern Europe to meet its EU-mandated carbon limits. Let’s not repeat these mistakes.

Dr. Robert Peltier, PE, Editor-in-Chief
May 1, 2009

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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