Cohocton Wind Watch: February 2011
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, February 27, 2011

Cape Wind left out of Mass. deals

Though the prices on the recent deals weren't disclosed, a 10-year deal NStar has with TransCanada to buy power from a Maine wind farm is a flat 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The three new contracts represent about 1.6 percent of NStar's demand, and the utility is required to secure 3 percent of its electricity demand through long-term contracts with renewable-power producers by mid-2014. The company will be trying to secure more deals to meet that requirement in the coming years, Allen said.

According to court filings, the roughly 29-megawatt Hoosac project, in Monroe, Mass., and Florida, Mass., is set to be running by July 2012, the 32-megawatt Blue Sky East wind farm in Eastbrook, Maine, is scheduled to be operating by May 2012, and the 48-megawatt Groton project in Groton, N.H., is scheduled to be operating by December 2012.

The Blue Sky deal is for 15 years, while other two are both for 10. All are fixed-priced deals, meaning the price per kilowatt-hour won't increase over time. The Hoosac and Groton projects are owned by the Spanish power utility Iberdrola SA. Blue Sky is owned by Boston-based First Wind.

Cape Wind, which hopes to begin generating power by 2013, is by far the state's largest offshore wind and renewable-power project and has been repeatedly touted by officials as a cornerstone of its emerging renewable-energy industry.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Allegany Town Board Rejects Change In Sound Ordinance

Allegany Town Board members voted down a proposed change in the current noise ordinance Thursday.

Pat Eaton, town supervisor, said the board voted 3-2 against changing the sound ordinance, which currently allows for the noise level to be raised 3 decibels above the ambient level of 25 decibels. Town officials had considered changing the sound ordinance to allow for 40 decibels of noise that could be emitted by a proposed wind turbine farm for the Chipmonk and Knapp Creek areas.

Mr. Eaton said he and town board members John Hare and Jim Hitchcock were in favor of keeping the sound ordinance at its current requirements, while board members Ray Jonak and Hans Sendlakowski had voted to change the ordinance allowing for 40 decibels of sound.

Horse Creek wind proposal trimmed

The new Horse Creek Wind Farm application presents a slightly smaller, less productive project than the original application.

The project cuts out 12 turbines and knocks down generating capacity from 130 megawatts to 100 megawatts.

"There are not major changes," Jenny L. Burke, business developer with project developer Iberdrola Renewables, said on Jan. 6 when the project application was submitted to the Clayton Planning Board. "A lot of it is similar to what you have seen from the first time."

The remaining turbines can generate up to 2 megawatts, slightly less than the 2.1 megawatt-turbines originally proposed. But the turbines will be taller than the first proposal, which expected to use turbines with a maximum height of 407 feet. The new application expects to use Gamesa turbines, either model G90 or G97, which have maximum heights of 476 feet and 454 feet, respectively.

Read the entire article

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wind PILOT must protect property values

Jefferson County legislators may soon have to approve a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the St. Lawrence Wind Project in Cape Vincent. In the rush to embrace economic development, tax revenue and the purported advantages of wind power, the county better ensure there is some provision to protect landowners from potential property devaluation.

The wind industry has gone to great lengths to claim wind turbines will not devalue nearby, nonparticipating properties. On the other side of the debate, however, leading professional appraisers and realtors demonstrated losses of 25 percent and more for distances up to two miles from turbines. My intention is not to settle this argument, but to only conclude there is uncertainty and with uncertainty there is risk.

For most north country residents our homes represent our biggest financial investment and asset. If we were informed by our local bank that they were going to change their savings program so there would be no FDIC insurance and that there may also be a possibility for a loss in our savings of 25 percent or more, how would we react? My guess is that most of us would say no way and probably pull savings out for the mere mention of the idea.

What makes sense for our bank savings makes sense for our property value as well. From my understanding, zoning laws and land use planning are intended to prevent "significant" negative impacts on property values and the use and enjoyment of our property. Massive industrial scale wind development definitely has the potential for "significant" negative impacts.

Read the entire article

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cohocton confirms decibel levels for windmills

The Cohocton town board passed a local law Monday setting maximum decibel levels for residential windmills.

Councilman Wayne Hunt said Tuesday the law establishes 50 decibels as the maximum level on the lines of properties with windmills. The decibel level can’t exceed 45 decibels at the closest dwellings.

The law relates only to residential windmills, which can reach a maximum height of 150 feet. The larger industrial turbines can exceed 400 feet.
Studies showed the decibel levels at the residential windmills in the town to be close to 50 decibels already, said Hunt. If the boards had lowered the legal decibel level, it would not have impacted the three residential windmills already constructed.

Read the entire article

Opponents of Vermont wind project stage protest

Opponents of a plan to build a wind farm atop a Vermont mountain ridge are taking their message to the Statehouse.

The state Public Service Board is currently weighing the merits of the Kingdom Community Wind project, which would erect 20 or 21 turbines more than 400 feet tall in Lowell. Voters there approved the project last year, but a group that opposes it is still trying to stop it. Two weeks ago, Gov. Peter Shumlin endorsed the plan, which had been opposed by his predecessor, Gov. Jim Douglas.

On Thursday, the opponents — including students from Sterling College, representatives of Eden Dog Sledding and a group called Energize Vermont — will gather in Montpelier, encouraging Shumlin to visit Lowell so he can see the potential impact of the project.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Analysis: No one satisfied with Ontario energy policy

John Laforet, now an ex-Liberal and the provincial head of a network of 57 anti-wind groups, says the organizations have already recruited hundreds of volunteers for a planned campaign to take down Liberal candidates across Ontario.

“It’s truly a multi-front war for the government and they’re losing on all of them,” said Mr. Laforet with characteristic bravado. “We have the strength to work in coalition with like-minded parties and candidates ... If one party is prepared to stand up and take the political risk and support this, they will be handsomely rewarded.”

Meanwhile, the green-energy plan, designed to phase out coal-fired generating plants encourage a range of renewable electricity sources from garbage-dump gas to water power, is also under fire from builders of small-scale solar-energy projects, after the province put curbs on those in the past couple of weeks too.

Mr. Laforet’s movement may or may not wield the power to change election results. As the rest of the country watches Ontario’s ground-breaking experiment in alternative energy, however, the wind farm and solar episodes highlight the web of controversy slowly enveloping a policy that, in some ways, has been surprisingly successful.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Iowa wind energy industry expected to see slow recovery

After California-based Clipper Windpower chose Cedar Rapids in April 2005 as the location for its wind turbine assembly plant and Acciona Energia of Spain chose West Branch in 2007 for a plant to assemble wind turbines, there were rosy predictions that Iowa was poised to become a world leader in renewable energy. Local and state economic development representatives pursued domestic and global suppliers of blades, generators, towers and other components.

Clipper Windpower ramped up employment at its plant, 4601 Bowling St. SW, hiring about 390 people to assemble the company’s 2.5-megawatt Liberty wind turbines. In January 2009, the Carpinteria, Calif.-based company furloughed 90 of its 830 global employees as orders for wind turbines fell due to tight credit markets and a weakened world economy.

By the end of the third quarter of 2010, Clipper Windpower faced serious operating cash problems due to lower deposits and progress payments from customers under new and existing orders. The company’s consolidated cash position had fallen nearly 40 percent from the end of June, leaving it with $80 million to finish pending turbine orders and pay ongoing operating expenses.

Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp., which owned a 49.9 percent share of Clipper, bought all the remaining shares in December. Analysts believe the buyout will give Clipper Windpower the financial stability it needs for continued growth as well as leverage United Technologies’ blade, turbine, and gearbox design technology.

“United Technologies wants to grow the company,” said Mary Gates, Clipper director of global communications. “We are seeing an improvement in the wind turbine market,” Gates said. “We have delivered turbines to customer sites in the United States and Mexico since June 30.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wind power — the complete picture

I have read with great interest the latest communication from the industrial wind turbine company Invenergy. After reading it one would think that there is an economic bonanza going on in Wyoming County. They lead you to believe that since the construction of three wind farms in the towns of Eagle, Wethersfield and Sheldon money and jobs are just raining down on these towns. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Invenergy usually neglects to give the complete picture when they are speaking about finances. Here are some interesting figures that were ignored:

Total tax exemptions received by the wind turbine companies in Wyoming County alone are $15,183,665 as of 2008. This figure was reported in the 2008 NYS IDA report. This is money that we as taxpayers will end up paying as Wyoming County can’t sustain that kind of loss in revenue. This figure doesn’t even take into account all the subsidies that wind turbine companies receive from the federal government and utilities. Subsidies that we all pay for as taxpayers and utility ratepayers.

PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments made to these three towns for the period of 2007-09 are $6,009,408. The figures for 2010 have not yet been released to the state Office of the Comptroller by the towns in question. PILOT payments are the money that we have paid already as taxpayers being generously returned to us by the wind turbine companies. That still leaves the wind turbine companies ahead by $9,174,257 when you compare the payments with the tax exemptions they have received. Don’t let these wind turbine companies fool you. Property taxes are still being paid and collected by these three towns. For the period 2007-09, Eagle collected $290,543, Sheldon collected $991,996 (for 2008 and 2009) and Wethersfield collected $548,786 for property taxes.

Let’s not forget about all the jobs created by the wind turbine companies. The Noble Bliss wind farm, 17 jobs created. Cost per job to create $2,764 for a total cost of $46,988.

Sheldon Invenergy wind farm, nine jobs created. Cost per job to create $1,477,778 for a total cost of $13,300,002! Noble Wethersfield wind farm, three jobs created. Cost per job to create $612,228 for a total cost of $1,836,684. This is what the Wyoming County IDA states it cost us as taxpayers to gain only 29 jobs with the wind turbine companies.

All of the figures I have cited in this article have come straight from the New York State Office of the Comptroller. If you have a chance go to their website (http://www.osc.state.ny.us/). You’ll get a real eye opener in regards to how your hard-earned money is being spent.

If things were as great as Invenergy claims why do you see so many for sale signs in Sheldon, Wethersfield and Eagle. Property owners are taking tremendous losses if they are able to sell and get away from the health and noise issues created by industrial wind turbines.

Kathy Jensen

Orangeville

Galloo developer pushes NYPA deal

Galloo Island Wind Farm's developer is lobbying state officials to push the New York Power Authority to give the project a contract for its power.

Attorneys for Upstate NY Power Corp. have talked to local officials and at least the chairmen, if not the members, of the state Assembly and Senate Energy Committees.

"Upstate Power is committed to bringing clean renewable power, economic benefits, and jobs to the area," its representative, Robert W. Burgdorf, an attorney with Nixon Peabody in Rochester, said in an e-mail. "As part of that effort, it routinely briefs legislators who share these important goals."

Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, said representatives told him they need to have a power-purchase agreement. The developer has told the Public Service Commission that NYPA is the only outlet in upstate New York for such an agreement.

Read the entire article

Friday, February 18, 2011

“It’s our money!”

After reading Invenergy’s self-serving pontifications in their recent article, “Invenergy and NYSERDA enter renewable energy credit purchase agreement,” it seems we need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture here:

•I (and most citizens) agree we have environmental and energy issues; and
•I (and most citizens) agree that these technical matters should be solved using real science — not propaganda being put forth by corporate salesmen.
Real science is not a collection of theorems, but is a process — the core process being the scientific method. The scientific method consists of a hypothesis (e.g., that wind energy is equivalent to our conventional power sources) being subjected to a: (1) comprehensive, (2) objective, (3) independent, (4) transparent, and (5) empirical-based assessment.

The fact is: This has not been done for wind energy — anyplace!

Said in an another easy-to-understand way:

Since we are in agreement that we have energy and environmental issues, let’s say that some entrepreneurs step forward and present us with a black box they claim holds a partial solution to these issues. Due to “confidentiality” reasons, they can’t tell us what’s in the box, but they assure us that it will work. Would we just say, “Great — who do we make the $100 billion check out to?”

I think not.

We would say something like, “Thanks — that sounds good, but first we need to see the proof that your product will be an effective cost-benefit solution before we mandate your product on citizens.”

Again, this is exactly what has not been done for wind energy. All the Invenergy and NYSERDA propaganda puff-pieces in the world will not change this simple fact. As we’ve been asking for years now, show us the proof!

The fact is: Because industrial wind is not reliable, predictable, or dispatchable — it provides virtually no capacity value (specified amounts of power on demand) and, therefore, needs constant “shadow capacity” from our conventional power sources. Thus, wind has not and cannot replace our conventional power generators (i.e., coal plants), and has not been proven to significantly reduce CO2 emissions anywhere.

The “economics” of wind are just as grim (Click here.). Let’s take a look at just a few of the government programs that enable the boondoggle of wind to exist:

Of the $2.2 billion of stimulus money that went to renewables (mostly wind), 80 percent of that went overseas (see “Renewable energy money still going abroad, despite criticism from Congress“).

Another is the direct cash grant program from the U.S. Treasury, worth 30 percent of the value of these industrial wind projects, which had been due to expire Dec. 31, 2010. However, thanks to politics in Washington, this very generous federal grant program (our money) was extended for another year when it was inserted at the last minute into in the recent federal tax compromise bill.

The project manager of the Lackawanna Steel Winds Project told us three years ago that each turbine cost approximately $5 million. (Could be much more by now, as in December 2010 the U.S. Energy Information Administration determined that the cost of new wind projects increased by 21 percent last year.) Forty-five turbines make Invenergy’s proposed Stony Creek project in Orangeville worth $225 million — with a 30 percent direct cash grant totaling $67,500,000 of our taxpayer dollars. We wouldn’t even be talking about the Stony Creek project anymore if this “free taxpayer money handout program” had not been extended.

This my friends, is corporate welfare! (For even more infuriating details, see “Wind Jammers at the White House: A Larry Summers memo exposes the high cost of energy corporate welfare.”)

Adding insult to injury, as cited in Invenergy’s press release, now NYSERDA is paying Invenergy for the “RECs” (Renewable Energy Credits) using ratepayer dollars that NYSERDA collects from us every month in our electric bills via the “Systems Benefit Charge” (SBC).

And wait — there’s more! On Jan. 25, 2011, NYSERDA announced another $250 million of ratepayer dollars that’s collected in your electric bill each month for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will be going to renewable developers (i.e., wind) — transferring ever more of our money from U.S./NYS citizens’ pockets to the international developers’ pockets (click here).

What part of “It’s our money!” don’t our political leaders get? Industrial wind salesmen offer to give communities back a mere pittance of their own money in return for permission to destroy the very environment they claim they wish to save.

Those who are content to participate in this energy scam, drawing in dollars by bellying-up to the corporate welfare bar, are — unwittingly or not — hurting us all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Critics deride wind rules

Columbia Law School has put its name on a model ordinance for wind turbine zoning, but local critics of wind power development say it isn't restrictive enough.

The Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School released the draft ordinance Tuesday.

"Certainly in New York state, wind power is the most frequently mentioned new source of renewable energy," said Michael B. Gerrard, the center's director and the Andrew Sabin professor of professional practice. "So a local ordinance seemed to be very appropriate. The overall effort is to help local entities adopt rational, legal structures for structures aiming to address climate change. We're hoping to save time and effort by doing some of the spade work for them."

The ordinance includes rules for commercial wind energy facilities on permits, approvals, oversight and operations. It is designed for municipalities in New York, but could be modified for use in other states. The center will issue a revised version after receiving comments on this draft.

Read the entire article

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

“Systems for producing 0.0% energy at low wind speed”


Editor’s note: There’s a new website which is both brilliant and hilarious. Even the name tickles: fenbeagleblog by Beagle Blog Cartoons. (The beagle cartoon, here, is from their site, with a little editorializing by us.)

The guy’s a master satirist—whoever he (she) is. Anyone who quotes Lewis Carroll and Dr Seuss liberally, and writes verse in the spirit of both, is worth a roar of approval!

The following was pinched (“borrowed”) from the site. (I would have sought permission from the creator—and heaped praise!—but in the final satire of all, there’s no contact information.)

We’ve bookmarked the site. Many of the “slings and arrows” are aimed at British politicians. Nevertheless, even if you’re unfamiliar with the individuals being lampooned, you will appreciate the gentle (and not so gentle) mockery of an industry whose claim to legitimacy is rapidly approaching 0.0% credibility.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vermonters for a Clean Environment's Blog

Vermonters for a Clean Environment Shines Sunshine on Wind in Vermont

VCE is beginning a new series where we will be blogging regularly about activities surrounding wind development in Vermont. A lot is happening, and while there has been some press nowhere near enough of the story is being told.

Thousands of Vermonters are now being impacted by the way Vermont is going about developing wind. In upcoming posts we will be shining sunshine on details you have not been reading in the newspaper. Check back regularly.

Watch the video of VCE’s Press Conference on wind energy, Nov. 17, 2010:

VCE Press Conference on Utility Scale Wind Energy, November 17, 2010 from VCE on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wind farm opponents claim victory in moratorium

Opponents of industrial wind farms are declaring a victory this week after the Ontario government imposed a moratorium on off-shore wind projects.

The government made the surprise announcement on Friday, saying it would not move forward with off-shore wind projects until more scientific research had been done.

The moratorium put on hold applicants as well as those that had received approval to move ahead with off-shore wind farms. Toronto Hydro had proposed posting about 70 wind turbines in Lake Ontario.

But opponents of wind turbine farms in Ontario are suggesting the announcement is proof that Ontario had whisked into the wind energy movement without doing due diligence.

"We see this as a major victory. It is an indication that the government of Ontario did not do the science before moving forward," John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, told CTV News Channel on Sunday. "We plan on using this to redouble our efforts on shore, to get justice for those who have been harmed by industrial wind development and stop the progress there as well."

Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of more than 50 community groups that oppose wind farms and claim turbines pose a threat to personal health as well as the environment.

Energy Minister Brad Duguid has said fresh water wind turbines are a relatively new concept and their impact on the environment needed to be studied before the province would move forward. He said, however, that there was decades of research into the effects of on-shore turbines, which have found no evidence of health concerns.

Laforet disputed that statement, saying more than 100 people have reported issued they believe are linked to the 700 turbines currently built in Ontario.

Duguid says part of the reason for the delay is a lack of interest in the off-shore opportunity. Of the 1,500 green energy applications in front of the government, only five are for off-shore wind projects.

Ontario plans to generate 10,700 megawatts of power from renewable sources each year, about 90 per cent of that from wind power.

Both the Progressive Conservative Party and the New Democrats have derided the Liberals' Green Energy Act and have questioned the government's motives for the sudden moratorium.

Wind farm hearing ‘thorough’.

Rochester, NY — The long-awaited court hearing last week on a proposed Prattsburgh wind farm project was thorough and extensive, according to town representatives.

“It was scheduled for one day, with maybe more,” Town Supervisor Al Wordingham said. “It took five.”

The purpose of the Jan. 27 hearing – which included sworn testimony from key town and wind farm officials -- was to resolve the years-long dispute between Prattsburgh residents and wind farm developer Ecogen.

Matters reached a head in January 2010, when a new town board rescinded a month-old agreement between Ecogen and the previous town board. Ecogen then took Prattsburgh to court, after months of threatening the town with lawsuits if an agreement was not reached.

“I don’t think these guys wanted to hear ‘If you don’t do this we will sue you,” Prattsburgh’s attorney Ed Hourihan said. the bottom of this, it’s a local town’s right to self-government and the right to regulate their land resources.”

Ecogen has declined throughout the lawsuit to comment on litigation. But the developer’s stance during public meetings has been it was ready to begin construction immediately and had invested in millions of dollars in equipment and studies.

The developer maintains new concerns raised in 2009 about harmful noise at a wind farm in neighboring Cohocton were only designed to scuttle the project.

But Ecogen representatives failed during the hearing to prove they have been ready to begin construction for the past two year, Hourihan said.

Hourihan said Ecogen reps also contradicted each other, with one man saying the firm did not need to construct a second wind farm in the town of Italy, while a second man said the Italy project was critical to the Prattsburgh project.

The developer proposes to put up 16 turbines in Prattsburgh and 18 turbines in Italy, in Yates County. For years, Italy residents have resisted the proposal, which include building an essential substation there.

The Ecogen representatives, John Calloway and Thomas Hagner, made it clear the wishes of residents -- who elected the new town board by a 2-to-1 margin – were unimportant, Hourihan said.

“The positions taken by Ecogen are ever changing,” Hourihan said. “They are deceptive, untruthful and there an air of arrogance and condescension that permeates everything they do.”

Calloway reportedly spoke several times with town Supervisor Al Wordingham last fall in what appeared to be in an effort to compromise. Calloway abruptly broke off discussions in December, Wordingham said.

A key issue for both sides is the road use agreement, which the former town board balked at until Ecogen threatened to sue. When two pro-wind board members were soundly defeated in November, the board swiftly passed a 3-2 agreement in December allowing Ecogen to determine road uses and other matters involved in the project.

The newly elected board, including Wordingham, swiftly rescinded the agreement 4-1, saying it violated home rule laws. Councilwoman Stacey Bottoni voted against the rescinding the agreement and has been a staunch, vocal supporter of the wind farm developer.

Wordingham said state Supreme Court Justice John Ark had clearly educated himself on the topic.

“His questions were right on target,” Wordingham said. “He was well in-tune with what we were saying. He was really asking questions.”

Italy town representatives will be in Ark’s court next week, Wordingham said.
“And then we’ll just have to see,” he said.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ontario Rules Out Offshore Wind Projects

McGuinty Government Committed to Renewable Energy While Protecting the Environment - Ontario is not proceeding with proposed offshore wind projects while further scientific research is conducted.

No Renewable Energy Approvals for offshore have been issued and no offshore projects will proceed at this time. Applications for offshore wind projects in the Feed-In-Tariff program will no longer be accepted and current applications will be suspended.

Offshore wind in freshwater lakes is early in development and there are no projects operating in North America. The recently installed Lake Vanern pilot project in Sweden is one of the only operational freshwater offshore projects in the world and a pilot project has been proposed in Ohio. Ontario will monitor these projects and the resulting scientific knowledge. Ontario will work with our U.S. neighbours on research to ensure any future proposed projects protect the environment on both sides of the Great Lakes.

Ontario remains committed to renewable energy. Renewable energy is a key part of our Open Ontario Plan to create clean energy jobs while improving air quality by closing coal-fired generation.

Holland slashes carbon targets, shuns wind for nuclear

In a radical change of policy, the Netherlands is reducing its targets for renewable energy and slashing the subsidies for wind and solar power. It's also given the green light for the country's first new nuclear power plants for almost 40 years.

Why the change? Wind and solar subsidies are too expensive, the Financial Times Deutschland , reports.

Holland thus becomes the first country to abandon the EU-wide target of producing 20 per cent of its domestic power from renewables. This is a remarkable turnaround from a state that took the Kyoto Agreement seriously and chivvied other EU members into adopting renewable energy strategies. The FT reports that instead of the €4bn annual subsidy, it will be slashed to €1.5bn.

Holland's only nuclear reactor, the Borssele plant, opened in 1973, and was earmarked for closure by 2003. In 2006 the plant was allowed to operate until 2034, and the following year the government abandoned its opposition to new nuclear plants.

Critics of wind turbine expansion have found it difficult to get figures to judge whether the turbines are value for money. In January, Ofgem refused to disclose the output of each Feed-In Tariff (FiT) location.

The UK is expected to urge the installation of 10,000 new onshore turbines, even though some cost more in subsidies than than they produce, even at the generous Feed-In rates. Holland's policy U-turn means the EU renewable targets aren't set in stone - and there are more cost-effective ways of hitting the targets.

Is this the UK's most useless wind turbine? It cost £130,000 in subsidies last year... to raise electricity worth just £100,000


Passed by millions of drivers a year, it is one of England’s best known wind turbines. It is also one of its most useless.

According to latest figures, the 280ft generator towering over the M4 near Reading worked at just 15 per cent of its capacity last year. And although it generated electricity worth an estimated £100,000, it had to be subsidised with £130,000 of public money.

Since it was switched on in 2005, it has been given £600,000 in public subsidies while working at an average of 17 per cent of its capacity.

The revelation came as the Government pledged to crack down on ‘cash cow’ turbines in locations that simply are not windy enough.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry warned developers it was wrong for inefficient wind turbines to get ‘significant’ public subsidies.

The Reading wind generator, which is on a ‘green’ business park and is owned by the power company Ecotricity, is one of England’s flagship turbines, visited by 20,000 schoolchildren a year.

At full power it can generate two-million watts (two megawatts) of electricity at any given time. Its annual output is calculated in megawatt-hours (MWh) – the total number of megawatts measured in hours.

The Renewable Energy Foundation, using data from the regulator Ofgem, said it worked at just 15.4 per cent of its maximum capacity last year, producing 2,692MWh of electricity.

Under the Government’s Renewables Obligation Certificate subsidy scheme, paid for through household bills, owners of wind turbines earn around £48 for every MWh they produce on top of the cash they raise selling electricity.

Last year, Ecotricity earned £130,000 from the scheme, which is designed to give energy companies incentives to build wind turbines.

It is far more expensive to generate electricity from wind than it is from nuclear or fossil fuels. Without the subsidy system, energy firms would invest in cheaper ways to produce electricity, such as coal.

But critics say it distorts the energy market and is over-generous to companies that build turbines in areas with too little wind.

Lee Moroney, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: ‘If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases then you should put wind turbines in the most efficient sites, rather than have a scattergun approach.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wind opponents appeal to Vt. Supreme Court

Opponents of a wind farm in the Northeast Kingdom are taking their fight to the Vermont Supreme Court.

UPC Wind has state approval to put up 16 towers in Sheffield. Opponents say building the roads to the tower sites will cause storm water pollution that will damage fragile head waters. That claim was rejected by the Vermont Environmental Court but the opponents are appealing -- saying the environmental court misinterpreted and misapplied the state's water quality laws.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Howard seeks more turbines

Bath, NY — An energy company wants to add more wind turbines proposed for the Town of Howard, a change that could bring in more local revenue without altering plans.

EverPower now wants to build 27 wind turbines in the town, it was disclosed in a public hearing on the project Monday morning.

The hearing was to hear comment on the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency being the lead agency on the project and go ahead with an environmental review.

SCIDA Executive Director Jim Sherron said the hearing went “relatively well,” and added some residents opposed the project.

Kevin Sheen, EverPower’s senior director of development, said the company is moving to begin construction this year as soon as roads are passable. Trailers are in place, roadwork has been completed and construction crews were cutting down trees Monday, Sheen said.

However, EverPower has not yet learned whether it will receive state backing for the project, Sheen said later.

EverPower was poised last year to begin construction when it learned it had not been awarded crucial renewable energy credits from the state Energy and Research Agency (NYSERDA).

Competition in recent years has been stiff for the energy credits issued to projects using “green energy” methods to generate electricity. The credits can be traded and sold on the open market, generating millions of dollars in revenues.

Sheen would not comment on whether EverPower would proceed with the project if the credits are not awarded to his company this year.

“I can say we are as committed to the project as ever,” he said.

SCIDA’s action Monday means a full scale environmental review of the two new turbines, with a public hearing on the findings likely to take place in March, according to Frank Pavia, a consultant on the project.

Adding the two turbines also may change slightly EverPower’s tax incentive with SCIDA.

The tax break for EverPower’s 25 turbines calls for nearly $14 million to be split during a 20-year period between Howard, the Canisteo-Greenwood Central and Hornell City school districts and the county.

Under the 20-year payment plan, Howard will receive 51.5 percent of total, or $7.1 million, and the county will take in 16.5 percent, or $2.3 million. The schools districts will split the remaining 32 percent, with the amount determined by the location of the turbines.

More information on the project can be found at www.howardwind.com.

Monday, February 07, 2011

APOV: The corporate welfare bar

After reading Invenergy’s self-serving pontifications in their recent article, “Invenergy and NYSERDA enter renewable energy credit purchase agreement,” it seems we need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture here:

1. I (and most citizens) agree we have environmental and energy issues; and

2. I (and most citizens) agree that these technical matters should be solved using real science — not propaganda being put forth by corporate salesmen.

Real science is not a collection of theorems, but is a process — the core process being the scientific method. The scientific method consists of a hypothesis (e.g., that wind energy is equivalent to our conventional power sources) being subjected to a: (1) comprehensive, (2) objective, (3) independent, (4) transparent, and (5) empirical-based assessment.

The fact is: This has not been done for wind energy — anyplace!

Said in an another easy-to-understand way:

Since we are in agreement that we have energy and environmental issues, let’s say that some entrepreneurs step forward and present us with a black box they claim holds a partial solution to these issues. Due to “confidentiality” reasons, they can’t tell us what’s in the box, but they assure us that it will work. Would we just say, “Great — who do we make the $100 billion check out to?” I think not.

We would say something like, “Thanks — that sounds good, but first we need to see the proof that your product will be an effective cost-benefit solution before we mandate your product on citizens.”

Again, this is exactly what has not been done for wind energy. All the Invenergy and NYSERDA propaganda puff-pieces in the world will not change this simple fact. As we’ve been asking for years now, show us the proof!

The fact is: Because industrial wind is not reliable, predictable, or dispatchable — it provides virtually no capacity value (specified amounts of power on demand), and therefore, needs constant “shadow capacity” from our conventional power sources. Thus, wind has not, and can not replace our conventional power generators (i.e., coal plants), and has not been proven to significantly reduce CO2 emissions anywhere.

The “economics” of wind are just as grim (See: Link. Let’s take a look at just a few of the government programs that enable the boondoggle of wind to exist:

Of the $2.2 billion of stimulus money that went to renewables (mostly wind), 80 percent of that went overseas (See: Renewable energy money still going abroad, despite criticism from Congress: Link.

Another is the direct cash grant program from the U.S. treasury worth 30 percent of the value of these industrial wind projects, which had been due to expire Dec. 31, 2010. However, thanks to politics in Washington, this very generous federal grant program (our money) was extended for another year when it was inserted at the last minute into in the recent federal tax compromise bill.

The project manager of the Lackawanna Steel Winds Project told us three years ago that each turbine cost approximately $5 million. (Could be much more by now, as in December 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration determined that the cost of new wind projects increased by 21 percent last year.) Forty-five turbines make Invenergy’s proposed Stony Creek project in Orangeville worth $225 million — with a 30 percent direct cash grant totaling $67,500,000 of our taxpayer dollars. We wouldn’t even be talking about the Stony Creek project anymore if this “free taxpayer money handout program” had not been extended. This my friends, is corporate welfare!

(For even more infuriating details, see: Wind Jammers at the White House: A Larry Summers memo exposes the high cost of energy corporate welfare: Link

Adding insult to injury, as cited in Invenergy’s press release, now NYSERDA is paying Invenergy for the “RECs” (Renewable Energy Credits) using ratepayer dollars that NYSERDA collects from us every month in our electric bills via the “Systems Benefit Charge” (SBC). And wait — there’s more! On Jan. 25, 2011, NYSERDA announced another $250 million of ratepayer dollars that’s collected in your electric bill each month for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will be going to renewable developers (i.e., wind) — transferring ever more of our money from U.S./NYS citizens’ pockets to the international developers’ pockets (See: Link ).

What part of “It’s our money!” don’t our political leaders get? Industrial wind salesmen offer to give communities back a mere pittance of their own money in return for permission to destroy the very environment they claim they wish to save. Those who are content to participate in this energy scam, drawing in dollars by bellying-up to the corporate welfare bar, are — unwittingly or not — hurting us all.

Mary Kay Barton lives in Silver Lake.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Wind Turbines, Health, Ridgelines, and Valleys

It is a medical fact that sleep disturbance and perceived stress result in ill effects, including and especially cardiovascular disease, but also chronic feelings of depression, anger, helplessness, and, in the aggregate, the banishment of happiness and reduced quality of life.

Cardiovascular disease, as we all now, leads to reduced life expectancy. Try and get reasonably priced life insurance if you are hypertensive or have suffered a heart attack.

If industrial wind turbines installed in close proximity to human habitation result in sleep disturbance and stress, then it follows as surely as day follows night that wind turbines will, over the long term, result in these serious health effects and reduced quality of life.

The question is, then, do they?

In my investigation of Mars Hill, Maine, 22 out of about 30 adults (‘exposed’) who live within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of 28 1.5 MW wind turbines were evaluated to date, and compared with 27 people of otherwise similar age and occupation living about 3 miles away (Not Exposed).

Here is what was found:

82% (18/22) of exposed subjects reported new or worsened chronic sleep deprivation, versus 4% (1 person) in the non-exposed group. 41% of exposed people reported new chronic headaches vs 4% in the control group. 59% (13/22) of the exposed reported ‘stress’ versus none in the control group, and 77% (17/22) persistent anger versus none in the people living 3 miles away. More than a third of the study subjects had new or worsened depression, with none in the control group. 95% (21/22) of the exposed subjects perceived reduced quality of life, versus 0% in the control group. Underlining these findings, there were 26 new prescription medications offered to the exposed subjects, of which 15 were accepted, compared to 4 new or increased prescriptions in the control group. The prescriptions ranged from anti-hypertensives and antidepressants to anti migraine medications among the exposed. The new medications for the non exposed group were anti-hypertensives and anti-arthritics.

The Mars Hill study will soon be completed and is being prepared for publication. Preliminary findings have been presented to the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario, and have been presented to Health Canada, by invitation. Earlier partial results were presented to the Maine Medical Association, which passed a Resolution calling for caution, further study, and appropriate modification of siting regulations, at its annual meeting in 2009.

There is absolutely no doubt that people living within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of turbines 1.5 MW or larger turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects.

The study was undertaken as a pilot project to evaluate for a cluster of symptoms after numerous media reports, in order to present data to the Maine Medical Association, after the Maine CDC failed to more fully investigate.

While the study is not perfect, it does suggest a real problem that warrants not only further more detailed investigation, but the tenderest caution, in the meantime, when decisions on how to site industrial wind turbines are made.

What is it about northeast USA ridgelines that contribute to these ill effects, and how can they be avoided?

Consider, the Northeast is prone to icing conditions. Icing will increase the sound coming off of turbines by up to 6 dBA. As the icing occurs symmetrically on all blades, imbalance detectors do not kick on, and the blades keep turning, contrary to wind industry claims.

Sound is amplified coming off of ridgelines into valleys. This is because the background noise in rural valleys is low to begin with, increasing the sensitivity to changes, particularly the beating, pulsatile nature of wind turbine noise, and sound sources at elevation do not undergo the same attenuation that occurs from groundcover when noise sources are at ground level. The noise travels farther and hits homes and people at greater amplitude that it would from a lower elevation. Even though this is not rocket science, it was conclusively proven in a NASA funded study in 1990.

Snow pack and ice contribute to increased noise transmission. Vermont valleys have both, I believe.

Preconstruction sound modeling fails to take the tendency of the homes that people live in to respond and vibrate perceptibly to sound at frequencies that the occupants of the dwellings cannot necessarily hear. They hear, and feel, the walls and windows rattle, and the floors vibrate, in a pulsing manner at a frequency or the turbine rpm.

When preconstruction modeling fails to take the pulsatile nature, propensity for icing, and ridgeline elevation into account, as well as a linear as opposed to point source of noise, problems can be expected. What distance is safe? It depends on the terrain, the climate, the size of the project and the turbines themselves. Accurate preconstruction modeling with safe targets in mind is critical. The WHO says that 30dbA is ideal, and noise levels of above 40dbA have definite health consequences. At Mars Hill, where affected homes are present at 3500 feet, sound levels have been measured at over 52.5dbA. The fiasco there has been acknowledged by the local wind energy company, and by a former Maine governor.

Vermont would do well to learn from the affected people in Mars Hill.

I have seen the preliminary plans for the planned Deerfield Wind Facility, and have particular concerns regarding the dwellings to the north and northeast of the northernmost extension of the turbine layout. These homes are well within a mile, generally downwind, and downhill from what I am told may well be 2 MW turbines (or larger?), in a snowy and icy part of the Northeast.

The parallels to Mars Hill are striking.

We know that preconstruction sound modeling failed at Mars Hill. No matter what the preconstruction modeling at Deerfield shows, the real world experiment at Mars Hill suggests that there will be problems for homes at the setbacks that seem to be planned for Deerfield on the attached image.

The people who live within 3500 feet at Mars Hill are truly suffering. Learn from Mars Hill. It is not a matter of not having wind turbines. It is a matter of putting them where they will not affect people’s health.

Newer technology to accurately measure sound at a quantum level improvement in temporal, frequency and amplitude resolution over commonly used acoustician’s equipment now exists, though it is costly and not readily available. But it will be widespread, soon, well within the tenure of the individuals responsible for making siting decisions today.

Avail yourselves of these findings and familiarize yourselves with the new technologies. You will not only be future proofing your current decisions, you will also be helping people who would otherwise end up too close to industrial wind turbines escape the fate of the exposed residents of Mars Hill, and many other sites in North America (Mars Hill, Maine, merely represents the first small ‘controlled’ study).

I have seen the results of this cutting edge equipment, and how it has revealed drastic short duration excesses over allowed sound levels, levels that set homes vibrating and rendering them unlivable, but also levels of lower frequency transient noise at the audible level, that demonstrates not only failure of preconstruction sound modeling as currently practiced, but also the inadequacy of the measuring tools in the toolkit of the everyday practicing acoustician-consultant who generates reports for industry and local government.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Clayton reviews wind project

CLAYTON — The joint town and village Planning Board will move swiftly to push through its review of the Horse Creek Wind Farm's environmental impact documents.

Developer Iberdrola Renewables submitted the draft environmental impact statement during the board's meeting on Wednesday night. By the end of the month, the Planning Board could release it to the public.

First, the board must decide whether the project needs a full environmental review under the state Environmental Quality Review Act. And it must assert lead agency and deem the draft statement complete, meaning that it addresses all environmental aspects that could be helped or harmed by the project. Those steps could happen at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Paynter Senior Center, 914 Strawberry Lane.

"You don't have to agree with it," town attorney Joseph W. Russell said. "You just have to agree all the issues are discussed."

Read the entire article

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lawmakers oppose Power Authority windmill project

LOCKPORT—The Niagara County Legislature voted, 14-4, Tuesday to oppose the New York Power Authority’s Great Lakes wind power project.

“We listened to our citizens, and we reflect the voice of the people,” said Legislator David E. Godfrey, R-Wilson.

But Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, a project supporter, said the Legislature’s special committee investigating the project had ignored 3,000 letters she said had been received in favor of it. She said she has had the letters since October.

Committee Chairman Clyde L. Burmaster, R-Ransomville, said he looked at the letters and concluded most were photocopies or form letters sent by Erie County residents.

“I just feel the work of the committee is not complete because we haven’t reviewed those letters,” Kimble said. She and three other lawmakers from the Falls—Democrats Dennis F. Virtuoso and Jason J. Cafarella and Republican Vincent M. Sandonato — voted no. Richard A. Marasco, D-Niagara Falls, was absent.

The committee was appointed last summer to short-circuit a resolution opposing the possibility that the Power Authority might allow windmills to be installed in Lake Ontario between Youngstown and Wilson.

Power Authority spokeswoman Connie Cullen on Tuesday again refused to disclose which companies have bid on the project and which Great Lakes sites they are interested in. She said this is supposed to be revealed “early in 2011.”

Local opposition was led by the Youngstown Yacht Club, which holds races in the potential project area, and users of Old Fort Niagara. Godfrey said many e-mails came from 18th century military re-enactors.

“The view was of the most concern,” he said, citing 316 e-mails, almost all opposing the project.

“A lot of the opposition was driven by residents from Erie County,” said Kimble, who noted that Lake Erie is more likely to be one of the windmill sites than Niagara County’s Lake Ontario shoreline.

“Why would we put forth this resolution at this time?” she asked.

In another matter, the Legislature voted to sue the owners of the Barton Hill Hotel in Lewiston to seek about $24,000 in payments in lieu of taxes the hotel failed to pay before the Industrial Development Agency canceled its tax break last summer.

The hotel also failed to pay about $43,000 in regular taxes and is currently on the county’s tax foreclosure list. The hotel’s mortgage holder also is trying to foreclose, although hotel owner Diane Finkbeiner vowed last month it will stay open.

Legislator Richard J. Soluri, R-Lewiston, who as mayor of Lewiston was a key supporter of the project, abstained on the vote in committee.

Also Tuesday, the Legislature approved County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz’s appointment of John J. Cicchetti of Lewiston as interim probation director, replacing Anthony Mauro, who retired last week.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Looks Like Two More Wind Turbines For Town of Howard

HOWARD - Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Director Jim Sherron tells WLEA/WCKR news that too more wind turbines might be added to the Steuben County Town of Howard's wind project, so what had been scheduled to be a 25 wind turbine project might become a 27 wind turbine deal.

Sherron also says that the Steuben Country Industrial Development Agency has given their okay to installing those two turbines.  The final approval for adding two wind turbines will have to come from the Howard Town board.

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