Cohocton Wind Watch: September 2012
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, September 23, 2012

Tax Credit in Doubt, Wind Power Industry Is Withering

Last month, Gamesa, a major maker of wind turbines, completed the first significant order of its latest innovation: a camper-size box that can capture the energy of slow winds, potentially opening new parts of the country to wind power.

But by the time the last of the devices, worth more than $1.25 million, was hitched to a rail car, Gamesa had furloughed 92 of the 115 workers who made them.

“We are all really sad,” said Miguel Orobiyi, 34, who worked as a mechanical assembler at the Gamesa plant for nearly five years. “I hope they call us back because they are really, really good jobs.”

Similar cuts are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs.
At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s principal trade group.

About 10,000 of those jobs have disappeared since, according to the association, as wind companies have been buffeted by weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and cheaper options from Asian competitors. Chinese manufacturers, who can often under-price goods because of generous state subsidies, have moved into the American market and have become an issue in the larger trade tensions between the countries. In July, the United States Commerce Department imposed tariffs on steel turbine towers from China after finding that manufacturers had been selling them for less than the cost of production.

And now, on top of the business challenges, the industry is facing a big political problem in Washington: the Dec. 31 expiration of a federal tax credit that makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity.

The tax break, which costs about $1 billion a year, has been periodically renewed by Congress with support from both parties. This year, however, it has become a wedge issue in the presidential contest. President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has said he opposes the wind credit, and that has galvanized Republicans in Congress against it, perhaps dooming any extension or at least delaying it until after the election despite a last-ditch lobbying effort from proponents this week.

Opponents argue that the industry has had long enough to wean itself from the subsidy and, with wind representing a small percentage of total electricity generation, the taxpayers’ investment has yielded an insufficient return.

“Big Wind has had extension after extension after extension,” said Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for the American Energy Alliance, a group partly financed by oil interests that has been lobbying against the credit in Washington. “The government shouldn’t be continuing to prop up industries that never seem to be able to get off their training wheels.”

But without the tax credit in place, the wind business “falls off a cliff,” said Ryan Wiser, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who studies the market potential of renewable electricity sources.

The industry’s precariousness was apparent a few weeks ago at the Gamesa factory, as a crew loaded the guts of the company’s newest model of the component, a device known as a nacelle, into its fiberglass shell. Only 50 completed nacelles awaited pickup in a yard once filled with three times as many, most of the production line stood idle, and shelves rated to hold 7,270 pounds of parts and equipment lay bare.

“We’ve done a lot to get really efficient here,” said Tom Bell, the manager of the plant, which was built on the grounds of a shuttered U.S. Steel factory that was once a bedrock of the local economy. “Now we just need a few more orders.”

Industry executives and analysts say that the looming end of the production tax credit, which subsidizes wind power by 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour, has made project developers skittish about investing or going forward. That reluctance has rippled through the supply chain.

On Tuesday, Siemens, the German-based turbine-maker, announced it would lay off 945 workers in Kansas, Iowa and Florida, including part-timers. Last week Katana Summit, a tower manufacturer, said it would shut down operations in Nebraska and Washington if it could not find a buyer. Vestas, the world’s largest turbine manufacturer, with operations in Colorado and Texas, recently laid off 1,400 workers globally on top of 2,300 layoffs announced earlier this year. Clipper Wind-power, with manufacturing in Iowa, is reducing its staff by a third, to 376 from 550. DMI Industries, another tower producer, is planning to lay off 167 workers in Tulsa by November.

Wind industry jobs range in pay from about $30,000 a year for assemblers to almost $100,000 a year for engineers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The industry’s contraction follows several years of sustained growth — with a few hiccups during the downturn — that has helped wind power edge closer to the cost of electricity from conventional fuels. The number of turbine manufacturers grew to nine in 2010 from just one in 2005, according to the United States International Trade Commission, while the number of component makers increased tenfold in roughly the same period to almost 400, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Aside from Clipper Wind power and General Electric, most of the turbine manufacturers operating in the United States have headquarters overseas, especially in Europe, where wind power took off first, spurred by clean energy policies and generous subsidies.

As the United States put in place mandates and subsidies of its own, several large outfits, including the Spanish company Gamesa, set up shop stateside. Because the turbines, made of roughly 8,000 parts, are so large and heavy — blades half the length of a football field, towers rising hundreds of feet in the air, motors weighing in the tons — they are difficult and expensive to transport.

As a result, manufacturers invested billions to develop a supply chain in the United States. More than 100 companies contribute parts to Gamesa’s 75-ton devices, which are the most expensive and complex major components of high-tech windmills.

Some longtime Gamesa partners like Hine Hydraulics followed the company from Spain, investing millions in building plants in the United States and sending workers to Spain for expensive training.
Rich Miller, who works for Hine in Quakertown, Pa., said that when he went to Spain to learn how to build and test power units for its hydraulic systems, it was his first trip out of the country.

“That was quite an experience in itself,” said Mr. Miller, who is 58, adding that he probably learned more in four years at Hine than at previous jobs.

Now he worries about having to move on. “Hopefully it will go back to the way things were.” Losing his job at his age, he said, “would be devastating for me.”

Source

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wind Turbine Co. May Dodge First Wind's $60M Attachment Bid

Private equity-owned Clipper Windpower LLC doesn't have to tie up $60 million over First Wind Energy LLC's concerns it will collapse before a contract arbitration wraps up — as long as the floundering turbine company hands over its financial statements, a New York state judge ruled Friday.

Judge O. Peter Sherwood denied First Wind's bid to attach $60 million of Clipper's assets only on the condition that Platinum Equity LLC's Clipper give First Wind its financial statements within three days, in a bid to allay First...

Source

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wolfe Island property assessment reductions of over $3 million

Dear Huron East Council,

Further to my deputation(s) regarding property devaluation by wind projects – I wish to forward some information I finally received from MPAC (as promised) regarding what has happened on Wolfe Island with regard to property assessment reductions.  It hosts the province’s second largest wind farm.  I am including the list of property assessment reductions from MPAC since 2008.  The list shows 78 significant assessment reductions since 2008 (the wind farm became operational in 2009) totaling $3 million in reductions.  The 6 largest reductions are listed below and are situated very close to the turbines themselves and very clearly shows what can happen to property assessments when wind farms are erected around residential areas.  I do not wish to waste council’s time with another deputation-but would like to know what progress has been made with regard to creating a by-law (as discussed) to protect this from happening to Huron East ratepayers (and the municipalities’ tax base)?  It was indicated that proof needed to be provided before attempting to put in place such a bylaw.  I think that I have upheld my end of the bargain.  Many of my neighbours are eager to know if there will be some protection put in place from potentially losing their life savings in their property equity?

Here are the addresses of residents (near the wind project) who were granted assessment reductions of over $100,000 by MPAC in the Township of Wolfe Island from 2008 until Jan. 2012.

Reduction

  • 82  - Oak Point Rd.:           -$118,000
  • 23 -  Nine Mile Point Rd.   -$143,000
  • 429- Nine Mile Point Rd.    -$119,000
  • 433 -Nine Mile Point Rd.    -$117,000
  • 496 -Nine Mile Point Rd.    -$107,000
  • 136 – Lucas Point Lane      -$101,000

Some of these properties are on Wolfe Island and the rest are on Simcoe Island.  Simcoe Island is located just off the west end of Wolfe Island where the Wind Project is sited (see map attached).  According to an e-mail I received from Gail Kenney (the prominent resident appealing their ARB decision on Wolfe Island) the Wind Project can be seen and heard from most of the south shore of Simcoe Island.  She indicated that property sales have all but shut down on Simcoe Island.  She now has this list from MPAC as well (they did not have it at the time of their ARB hearing)  .Wolfe Island Assessment Reductions
 

Is Wind Back for Hartsville?

Everpower Is Interested

HARTSVILLE, NY - EverPower Wind, which has a wind project in Howard, is looking to possibly come to Hartsville. Hartsville officials tell WLEA/WCKR News that the Hartsville Town Board has been contacted by representatives of Everpower.
 
The wind company wants to put up what’s called a “Met” tower, to test the wind in Hartsville.
 
Hartsville officials say they have to review the town’s wind law, and should have an answer for Everpower by next month.
 
"EverPower has had a great deal of success in Steuben County with the Howard Wind Project and we have received a lot of calls and emails asking us to develop projects in other surrounding areas," said Kevin Sheen Senior Director of Development. "After making preliminary inquiries into the Hartsville area we have decided to study the area in greater detail. The first step in the process would be a Met Tower to study the wind. We are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive comments we have received from the community and are looking forward to beginning the process."
 
Sheen also notes that if the application for the tower is approved by the Hartsville Town Board, Everpower will proceed with the installation in late October.
 

Wind Power, Article X, and the Production Tax Credit

Future Of Wind Riding On Next Presidential Election
 
Article X is a part of the Power New York Act of 2011. Article X rules state that a 7 member board, five state agency officials and two community members from local towns, can vote on whether a wind project happens in certain towns, and where the turbines would be located.
 
Critics of Article X say it takes away a town’s right to vote against a wind project, supporters maintain that there are two community local votes involved. Both State Senator Tom O’Mara (R, Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) voted for the new Article X.
 
However, experts on both sides of the wind issue maintain that the survival of wind depends more on the Federal Production Tax Credit. The tax credit is subsidy money that goes to wind and other alternative energy companies. The production tax credit is up for renewal after the November elections.
 
President Obama says he’s for extending it, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is against.
 

Tax Credit in Doubt, Wind Power Industry Is Withering

Last month, Gamesa, a major maker of wind turbines, completed the first significant order of its latest innovation: a camper-size box that can capture the energy of slow winds, potentially opening up new parts of the country to wind power.       

But by the time the last of the devices, worth more than $1.25 million, was hitched to a rail car, Gamesa had furloughed 92 of the 115 workers who made them.
      
“We are all really sad,” said Miguel Orobiyi, 34, who worked as a mechanical assembler at the Gamesa plant for nearly five years. “I hope they call us back because they are really, really good jobs.”
      
Similar cutbacks are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs.
 
Read the entire article       

BP Submits Article X Pre-Application Filings with NYS Public Service Commission

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Cost of Wind-Energy Jobs

Proponents of wind-energy projects frequently claim that wind is free. That may be true, but creating jobs in the wind-energy business is a very expensive proposition.

The battle over the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind, which amounts to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour and expires at the end of the year, is heating up. Last month, the Senate Finance Committee approved a plan to extend the PTC. Republican nominee Mitt Romney has said that, if elected, he will let the credit expire. President Obama wants to extend it: Last week, in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, he declared that “thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines.”

How expensive are these jobs? Let’s look at the numbers. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has repeatedly claimed that if the PTC isn’t extended, 37,000 wind-related jobs will be lost. Now consider the figures from the Joint Committee on Taxation, the non-partisan congressional entity established in 1926 that assists legislators on tax-related matters. Their number crunchers put the cost of extending the PTC at $12.18 billion from 2013 to 2022. Divide that figure by the 37,000 jobs claimed by AWEA, and you get $329,000 per job.

A wind-energy supporter might claim that the $329,000 figure is too high — that it should be spread out over a decade, just as the costs calculated by the tax committee are. If we take that approach, then each wind-energy job costs $32,900 per year. But even with that more conservative methodology, wind-energy employment is still expensive, particularly when compared with jobs in traditional energy sectors.

Once again, the numbers tell the story. In March, the Congressional Budget Office reported that tax preferences extended to the fossil-fuel sector total about $2.5 billion per year. The American Petroleum Institute has estimated total direct employment from the oil-and-gas sector, not counting service stations, at 1.2 million jobs. That works out to about $2,100 per job, per year. To be fair, that comparison pits the number of jobs that might be saved in the wind sector by an extension of the PTC against permanent jobs in the oil and gas business. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it does provide a sense of the comparative tax treatments of the industries.

Using that comparison, wind-energy jobs likely cost taxpayers about 15 times as much as jobs created by the oil-and-gas sector. And while that’s a significant finding, keep in mind that both numbers for wind-energy jobs — $32,900 and $329,000 — may be too low.

In December 2010, Susan Combs, the Texas state comptroller, reported that each wind-related job in Texas, which has more wind-energy production capacity than any other state, cost the state’s taxpayers $1.6 million.

Or consider the most egregious case of wind-energy corporate welfare: the Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon, which is getting a $490 million cash grant from the federal government. The project, backed by General Electric, Google, and other companies, will create just 35 permanent jobs. Cost of each one of those long-term jobs: about $14 million. Even if we include the 400 temporary construction jobs the project created and count them as permanent jobs, taxpayers are still spending about $1.1 million per wind-related job.

Recall that during the first few months of the Obama administration, wind proponents claimed that their turbines were an essential method of cutting carbon dioxide emissions. But as the economy continues to limp along and a flood of low-cost natural gas is making wind energy less and less economically viable, Big Wind has defaulted to the claim that 37,000 jobs might be lost.

It’s instructive to compare the parallel tactics of Big Corn and Big Wind. About a year ago, as Congress was debating an extension of the tax credit for corn-ethanol production, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) abandoned its absurd claims about “energy independence” and instead began running ads touting the “70,000 quality jobs” that rely on ethanol production. The ethanol industry, according to the RFA’s CEO Bob Dinneen, was a “job-creating engine fueled by innovation.” Implicit in Dinneen’s message: We need subsidies for just a little while longer.

That’s awfully similar to a statement made by AWEA’s top executive, Denise Bode, that the PTC is an “effective, job-creating tax policy.” Letting it expire, she claims, will put “good American jobs” in peril.

And that brings us to another parallel: Until last year, Big Corn had both a mandate and a subsidy. Congress finally killed the ethanol tax credit, which cost taxpayers $6.1 billion in 2011, but the corn-ethanol scammers still have a federal mandate that requires motorists to use their hydrophilic, corrosive fuel adulterant.

Big Wind has a mandate: Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia are subject to mandates for renewable electricity production, which is affecting the cost of electricity for their 220 million residents. And just as Big Corn did last year, Big Wind is campaigning hard because it wants to keep both the mandate and the subsidy.

The “our industry creates a lot of jobs” argument is the last refuge of a subsidy seeker. Congress took away Big Corn’s subsidy last year. It should do the same for Big Wind.

Are wind farms saving or killing us? A provocative investigation claims thousands of people are falling sick because they live near them

It was Uplawmoor’s tranquillity and wild beauty that drew civil servant Aileen Jackson to settle there 28 years ago.

She’d had enough of life in the big city. Now she wanted somewhere quiet and rural to start a family, keep her horses, and enjoy the magnificent views down the valley and out to sea to the western Scottish isles of Arran and Ailsa Craig.
Then, two years ago, she says, it all turned sour.

A neighbour with whom she and her family had been friends decided to take advantage of the massive public subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.

He put up a 64ft-high wind turbine which, though on his own land, stood just 300 yards from the Jackson family’s home.

The sleepless nights caused by its humming were only the start of their problems. Far worse was the impact on their health.
Aileen, a diabetic since the age of 19, found her blood glucose levels rocketing – forcing her to take more insulin and causing her to develop a cataract, she says.

Her younger son, Brian, an outgoing, happy, academically enthusiastic young man, suddenly became a depressive, stopped seeing his friends and dropped out of his studies at college.

A turbine beside a house near Hartlepool

Aileen’s husband William, who had always had low blood pressure, now found his blood pressure levels going ‘sky high’ – and has been on medication ever since.
So far so coincidental, you might say. And if you did, you would have the full and enthusiastic support of the wind industry.

Here is what the official trade body RenewableUK has to say on its website: ‘In over 25 years and with more than 68,000 machines installed around the world, no member of the public has ever been harmed by the normal operation of wind farms.’
But in order to believe that, you would have to discount the testimony of the thousands of people just like Aileen around the world who claim their health has been damaged by wind farms.

You would have to ignore the reports of doctors such as Australia’s Sarah Laurie, Canada’s Nina Pierpont and Britain’s Amanda Harry who have collated hundreds of such cases of Wind Turbine Syndrome.

Read the entire article

Report: Wind tax credits should be allowed to expire

http://washingtonmerry-go-round.blogspot.com/2012/09/report-wind-tax-credits-should-be.html

A new economic analysis concludes that the Wind Production Tax Credit should be allowed to expire at the end of this year because it “destabilizes” the electricity market and will lead to a less reliable electrical grid in the future.

“Our findings lead us to conclude that the PTC should be allowed to expire under current law,” says the report by the NorthBridge Group.

“As a matter of both economics and public policy, no government production tax subsidy should ever be so large that it creates an incentive for a business to actually pay customers to take its product,” the report continues.

Wind producers receive a $22 per megawatt hour federal subsidy which in some “wind-rich” regions of the country allows them to essentially pay electrical grid operators at times there are power surpluses. This creates what’s known as a “negative price,” meaning producers are selling at a loss to earn taxpayer dollars.

“This taxpayer-funded subsidy artificially depresses wholesale power prices, and in hours of the year when demand for electricity is low it can result in negative pricing,” the report notes.

While at first glance, negative prices may seem to save money for electricity users, these prices actually require enormous taxpayer subsidies, distort electricity prices, and harm conventional electricity generation and electrical grid reliability.

Wind often doesn’t produce enough power during times of the day when electrical demand is highest, but overproduces at times of the day when demand is lowest, researchers maintain.

The subsidy encourages wind producers to keep producing at high levels when power demand is low because they can still make money due to the federal subsidy they earn when they generate.

“The failure of wind generators to curtail output when wholesale prices approach zero has both short term and long term negative consequences,” the study notes. “In the short term, the failure of wind producers to curtail output makes it more difficult for system operators to maintain reliability, and also makes it more costly for them to operate the regional electric grid.”

In the long run, this means less investment will go into conventional power generation, imperiling the reliability of the electrical system.

“In recent years, about 85% of total wind capacity has not operated during the peak hours on the highest demand days of the year, on average,” the report adds. “Controllable conventional generation is thus needed to backstop wind and ensure the lights stay on.”

The federal Wind Production Tax Credit was enacted in 1992 get the wind industry off the ground. Congress has renewed the credit seven times and let it expire three times since it was enacted, and now lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are debating the merits of another extension.

While the tax credit extension seems less likely in the Republican-controlled House, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he was “very confident” that the tax credit extension would pass his chamber as several key Republicans sponsored legislation extending the tax credit, including Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Dean Heller of Nevada.

President Obama also favors extending the wind tax credit.

“You can expect to see this will be a top priority for the administration,” a senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has come out against an extension.

“He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,” said Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Annus horribilis for Wind turbine manufacturers II (Indian, American and Chinese manufacturers)

As Chicken Little (Zach Braff), a piece of sky seems to be falling for wind industry.In my last post, a review of H1 results for European wind OEMs was provided. In this second post, I will deal with all the rest: main Indian, American and Chinese manufacturers.

Suzlon (SUZL.NS)

India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd is the world’s fifth-largest wind turbine maker. Suzlon whose huge borrowings for expansion started to hurt, said it had redeemed its $360 million of foreign currency convertible bonds through various instruments. Also Indian manufacturer is looking to cut 20% manpower costs by end-2012. The delay in raising funds for repayment had worried investors, causing an erosion of more than a fifth of Suzlon’s market value in the last three months.

Suzlon said it used $300 million in new loans and the balance was met through internal accruals and the sale of windfarm assets.

Kenersys

Kenersys specialises in turbines for low to medium wind speeds, and currently offers 2MW, 2.4MW and 2.5MW products. Lately it has been reported by Reuters that Kenersys’ Indian owner –Kalyani- is looking to sell a $300 million stake in the firm to potentially decrease both its own holdings in the firm at those of private equity firm First Reserve.

GE Wind

General Electric (GE) turbine sales fall 37% in Q2 2012 as well, compared with the same quarter in 2011.

Clipper Windpower

United Technologies Corp said on Tuesday it has sold its Clipper Windpower unit to Platinum Equity. United Tech bought a minority stake in Clipper in early 2010, intending to slowly explore the then-fast-growing wind market. But Clipper ran into liquidity problems later that year and United Tech wound up buying the rest of the company, reasoning that was a safer bet than lending money to a firm that had well-financed competitors including General Electric Co, Siemens AG.

Mingyang

The leading Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Mingyang suffered a CNY 27.5 million ($4.3 million) loss in Q2 of this year, compared to a profit of CNY 74.6 million in the same period of 2011.

Sinovel

Sinovel saw its net profits down 96.3% from the same period of last year, to the value of 24.7 million yuan ($3.9 million), in the first half of this year attributed to falling sales prices and reduced sales revenues. Furthermore China’s intensified grid-access management and stricter project approval policy have reduced both the number of wind farms being built and their speed of construction. This has increased price competition and significantly cut sales revenues. In the first six months of 2012, Sinovel had 3.086 billion yuan ($485.7 million) operating revenues, down 42.04% on the same period last year. Sinovel said it had raised overseas sales to the value of 281 million yuan, occupying 9% of the total sales, compared with less than 1% in the first half of 2011.

Goldwind

Goldwind earned -in the first half of 2012- 3.199 billion yuan ($503 million) from the sale of wind turbines and components, down 37.09% year on year with net profits falling by 83%, when compared to the same period last year. Post-tax profits were just 72.1 million yuan ($11.3 million). This was largely due a change in government policy last year that slowed the commissioning of projects in China. Goldwind also attributed the poor performance to ferocious market competition, which reduced the sale prices of wind turbines. Among them, the gross profits of 1.5MW turbines were 10.8% and for 2.5MW turbines amounted to 7.2%.

Though the firm is focusing in operating costs reduction that dropped 29.9% year on year, the rate of decline was smaller than that of the gross revenues, and this led to a big fall in gross profits.

On the contrary, solar seems to be one step ahead the Gartner cycle -if this can be applicable to B2B-, particularly on the slope of enlightenment.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Infrasound from Wind Turbines Is Indisputable, and Moreover It Makes People Ill

I am a professional consultant engineer, and my company is based in the United Kingdom,” begins Dr. Malcolm A. Swinbanks in his testimony to the Michigan Public Service Commission, “but fourteen years ago I was asked to come to the US to lead an advanced research project for the Office of Naval Research. My American wife & I now live in Port Hope, Michigan. During the course of my career, I became a consultant to many different companies and research organizations on a wide variety of problems related to unsteady dynamics, noise, vibration, shock and acoustics.

“I have worked personally with both Professor J.E. Ffowcs-Williams, and Dr. H.G. Leventhall, two of the foremost UK acousticians. Twenty to 30 years ago, I worked directly in collaboration with both on several low-frequency noise installations, thus gaining first-hand experience of the problems associated with low-frequency noise and infrasound. My actual time-on-site addressing low-frequency noise probably well exceeds either”—Malcolm A. Swinbanks, PhD

In his 2006 Canadian paper relating to infrasound and wind turbines, Leventhall criticised Dr Nina Pierpont for having referred to the impulsive noise from wind-turbines as “infrasound,” arguing that the relevant paper that she had quoted by G.P. van den Berg did not relate to infrasound at all, but only to dBA levels.

In 2003 & 2004, G.P. van den Berg actually published two separate papers, both relating to the specific windfarm in Holland that he (van den Berg) had assessed. The first paper did indeed only relate to dBA levels, but the second paper referred explicitly to low-frequency and infrasound, and described how the turbine blade passing in front of the tower could generate extremely low frequency impulses. Van den Berg did not consider that this infrasound was audible, but there is no doubt that he fully acknowledged its presence.

This second paper was presented at the conference on Low Frequency Noise in Maastricht in August/September 2004. Dr H.G. Leventhall was one of the conference organisers, and subsequently edited the proceedings.

In 1989, NASA identified & reported that a windfarm in Hawaii, with modern-style upwind rotors, was generating impulsive infrasound & low frequency sound which they attributed to the effects of the rotor passing through wind-gradients and shadowing. They analysed the sound characteristics, and then simulated numerically how different wind-gradients could give rise to such effects.

I have myself analysed data from a windfarm in Michigan, which was generating unambiguous impulsive infrasound (emphasis added). It was possible to identify separate impulsive contributions from six different turbines at distances of 1500 feet to 1.2 miles.

The maximum power spectral levels for the discrete frequencies associated with the harmonics of the impulses was 64dB SPL (Sound Pressure Level). But the overall rms (root mean square) sound power level was 77dB SPL, and the peak of the time waveforms of the impulses was 88-90dB.

This indicates one of the major errors that has consistently been made in assessing infrasound from wind-turbines. Examining rms power spectrum peaks shows only 64dB, while comparing time domain impulsive peak levels shows 88-90dB. This represents ~25dB difference in the assessment of the infrasonic intensity.

I explicitly pointed out this feature at the Stratford Conference on Low-Frequency Noise in May 2012, and at the Internoise Conference in New York in August 2012.

I would comment that I first became aware of the physical effects of infrasound when working extensively on site with an industrial gas turbine in 1980. I identified specific aspects which were closely related to some symptoms of sea-sickness with which I was very familiar, being a keen offshore sailor.

Thus I did not doubt that infrasound under some circumstances can cause adverse effects, and the relationship to sea-sickness implied that there was probably some interaction with the balance mechanisms of the inner ear.

So the more recent work of Dr Nina Pierpont did not strike me as heresy—rather, it endorsed an opinion that I had formed from my own direct, first-hand experience in an entirely different context, almost 30 years earlier.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WORSE THAN SOLYNDRA: OBAMA ADMIN BUYING MAINE SENATE SEAT WITH CRONY ENERGY LOANS

http://washingtonmerry-go-round.blogspot.com/2012/09/worse-than-solyndra-obama-admin-buying.html

The Obama administration is famous for its crony capitalism. It’s famous for wasting money on disastrous investments like Solyndra to pay off its political allies. It now appears, however, that they go a step further: they put public funds in bad investment loans, then double down on their bad loans with free cash grants.

Here’s the short story: Angus King, former governor of Maine, Obama supporter, and front-running independent Senate candidate, owned a wind company. Obama’s Department of Energy handed over a deeply questionable $102 million loan to that company. It appears that as that company was coming under investigation, King quickly divested himself of his interests, hoping he was doing so just in time to escape scrutiny, and as he was preparing to announce his candidacy for Senate.

But that's not where the story ends. It seems that before he left the company, King helped apply for a Department of Energy grant worth some $33 million. Which means one of two things: either the company was thriving, in which case King was helping bilk taxpayers for an additional $33 million; or the company was having financial difficulties, in which case the $33 million grant was designed to help cover the cost of the loans, $23 million of which was coming due with a maturity date of April 27, 2012.

Either way, the situation doesn’t look good for King, or the Obama Administration. Either the two were working to ensure that King’s company got paid millions so that King could reap the benefits, or they were working to cover up a troubled company and highly questionable investment subsidized with federal tax money.

Here’s the more complete story.

In 1997, Governor King signed into law a bill that would require utilities to generate at least 30 percent of their energy from “green” sources like wind. In 2007, King decided to take advantage of his mandate and founded a wind energy company, Independence Wind. The first major project of Independence Wind was to build the Record Hill wind farm, near Roxbury, Maine.

Ironically, King once said, “In the process of rebuilding Maine, we must never compromise the integrity of our environment. It’s not only immoral, it’s bad economics.” Yet his wind project has blasted the tops of mountain ridges along many of bucolic Maine’s well-known and beloved mountaintops to make way for a new and much less attractive landscape consisting of hundreds of windmills.

In 2011, King’s company received a $102 million for development of Record Hill. The loan came through the same stimulus program that funded Solyndra. The original federally-guaranteed loan was as questionable as the Solyndra loan. As it turned out, there was no need for a federally-guaranteed loan on the surface; the company supposedly had $127 million in liquid assets available, assets it had to have under Maine state law in order to commence construction. The loan program was specifically designed to help companies that couldn’t get private loans otherwise.

Furthermore, the company may not have been eligible for the loan, since its technology wasn’t innovative under the applicable regulation. But the company got the loan anyway, from an Obama administration eager to help out its cronies. Angus King was, of course, an Obama supporter, endorsing him and having contributed at least $10,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign.

Record Hill promptly used the money on foreign companies. Just a quarter of the cash was reinvested in the State of Maine; 58 percent of the cash went to Siemens to pay for building 22 windmills. The turbines themselves were manufactured in Europe “because that’s where the biggest turbine market is, and the tower sections are made in Asia, because that’s where the new efficient steel mills are,” said King’s partner in Record Hill, Rob Gardiner. About 467 people worked on the site, reportedly, but “at least some of these jobs could measure their duration in days rather than weeks or months.” Today, nobody is employed by the wind farm itself.

In March, King declared his Senate candidacy. He would run as an independent, but he would likely caucus with the Democrats. He was a solid lock to replace Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

But the loan was coming under scrutiny. As steam picked up on the curiosity about Record Hill, King spoke out. “The project is operating and actually is ahead of its production schedule,” he claimed. “The risk now basically is that the wind won’t ever blow again, and that is a pretty low risk.”

Despite King’s assessment of the situation, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by Darrell Issa, released a report bashing the Department of Energy and singling out Record Hill as a loan that shouldn’t have happened. Two days before the report was released, King dropped his association with Record Hill, dumping all of his stock. He told a Maine news outlet the timing was an “amazing coincidence.” Actually, Record Hill was notified that they’d be mentioned, and King almost certainly wanted to avoid blowback. Gardiner admitted that he’d received a letter of notification from the Committee two days before King sold his stock.

But wait, there's more! From August 2011 to January 2012, the federal financing bank signed checks worth $101.5 million to Record Hill. In March 2011, King and Gardiner said they’d expect another $70 million in stimulus funds; as of July 2012, they’d received another $33.7 million in Section 1603 cash grants. A grant, not a loan.

Was the grant designed to help Record Hill cover loan repayments that the company couldn’t pay? Or was it just double-dipping by a highly-connected company?

If it’s the former, this is fraud. For the federal government to guarantee a loan, know the loan is going bad, and then give a “grant” to a company to pay off that loan is cooking the books.

If it’s the latter, King and company were all too happy to grab more and more taxpayer money.

King, for his part, continues to maintain that the company is in solid financial shape. But if it is, why should the Department of Energy give it a $33 million grant? What need would the company have for such a grant? Angus King and his former partner are wealthy magnates; the company supposedly had $127 million in liquidity when it began. If these 1 percenters are so flush, why do they insist on taking money from the 99 percent to pay for their already-flourishing company?

This isn’t Solyndra. This is far worse than Solyndra. It wasn’t just a Solyndra-like loan to a wind energy company designed to make a Senate candidate rich – although it appears that the Department of Energy loan was Solyndra-lite. It’s the follow-up grant that’s even more troubling. The cash grants arrived just two months after King cut ties with the company – and it takes several months for such grant applications to be filed. If the company was doing well, it wouldn’t need a grant; if it was doing poorly, it didn’t deserve a grant. But it got a grant nonetheless.

This is not the first time that Angus King has been involved in a Solyndra-like situation. King’s son, Angus III, is vice president of First Wind, another wind boondoggle that received federal stimulus dollars and almost went bankrupt.

King’s wind fixation certainly enhanced his wealth. It hasn’t enhanced the wealth of Maine or American taxpayers, though. It’s cronyism at its finest. And it’s a double-down Solyndra story that should make any
taxpayer cringe.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wind Production Tax Credit Facts

AWED (Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions) is an informal coalition of citizens and organizations who believe that: 1) we do have energy and environmental issues, and 2) such technical matters should be resolved by applying genuine science. For more info about who we are, see the Contact US page.

What is the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC)?

In brief, the PTC is a tax that is collected from all U.S. taxpayers, and provided as a federal subsidy to all qualifying wind developers (typically owned by foreign conglomerates). These substantial cash payments amount to 2.2¢ per kWh of electricity produced, and last for ten (10) years after a qualifying project goes online. This handout has been in effect for most of the last twenty years, but the eligibility for new projects is currently set to expire on 12/31/12. See this for more details.

The fundamental question is: should taxpayers continue to fund the wind business?

[Note: Congress estimates that a one year extension of the PTC will cost taxpayers over $12 Billion (see item III-11).]

This is a complicated question concerning a very technical business. The PTC extension advocates are focusing on job claims. Information in our presentations below, and on the Job Claims page of this site, indicate that there is a net jobs LOSS from wind energy.

Our assumption is that readers are interested in getting a more balanced and in-depth picture of this important taxpayer, energy and environmental matter. Towards that end we have created the following two slide presentations…

Does the PTC Make Sense? (Professional Version)

See the PTC story in its proper perspective!

Click on the image above to see the full-length slideshow version, which is intended for Congressional energy aides (and citizens with energy experience). Most of what has been written about the PTC to date has been churnalism — where lobbyist material and lobbyist viewpoints are passed on as “news” by the media. This is about putting some balance into the situation. Our overall objective is to promote sensible energy solutions — i.e. those that have had a proper scientific assessment as to their technical, economic and environmental merits.

Does the PTC Make Sense? (Executive Version)

This is a very abbreviated edition (about half the slides) of the professional version above. This is intended for those who have less experience with energy matters, or who don’t have the time to study the details. (Note: references for this version are on the last three pages of the professional version.)

What Next?

This matter will be resolved by the US Congress. Before citizens talk to legislators, it is extremely important to be up-to-speed on this matter. Lobbyists have flooded the media with a LOT of misinformation which needs to be understood for what it really is: self-serving propaganda.

Start by carefully reviewing one of the slide shows above. For even more information on the PTC and its proponents’ claims, go to the Job Claims and More Info pages of this site.

Then proceed to the Contact Congress page, where it’s explained what to do. To find out more about us, or to ask any questions, please go to the Contact Us page.

The Wind PTC’s Adverse Impacts on the Electric Sector

Summary:
Exelon's presentation details how the wind production tax credit is distorting the wholesale power market and financially harming other clean, reliable resources. An excerpt of the presentation is below. The full presentation can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of the page.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Wind PTC Distorts Energy Markets

Wind Power Producers Pay the Market to Run to collect the PTC

• To collect the PTC, wind producers increasingly engage in negative pricing - paying the market to let them run, when there is little demand for their power, ultimately crowding out base load generation like coal and nuclear.

• For example, in western Texas in March 2008, prices were negative 33% of time largely due to wind producers attempting to collect the PTC.

• Because the PTC is worth approximately $35 per megawatt hour (pre-tax) of electricity produced, a wind producer could pay the market $10 to take their power and still collect $25 from taxpayers!

• This threatens around-the-clock base load power producers, forcing them to pay to run their plants as well or to shut down for long periods of the day when their power is needed most.

Crowding out Private Sector Energy Investments

• Oversupply of wind is causing market distortions which is artificially suppressing prices and hampering investments in base load technologies.

• Investments in traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear are not being made because there is a glut of subsidized and intermittent wind in certain areas

Web link: http://www.eenews.net/assets/2012/09/10/document_p... Download File(s):
ExelonPresentation-opposePTC.pdf (223.15 kB)

Ecogen properties up for taxes in Steuben County

Wind developer Ecogen is now in a long list of Steuben County property owners who failed to pay their taxes this year.

According to a notice of pendency filed Thursday, Ecogen owes more than $32,000 in unpaid taxes on the 18 parcels it owns in the Town of Prattsburgh.

The notice is part of Steuben's foreclosure process which could take up to 2.5 years, according to county Treasurer Pat Donnelly.

Donnelly said in early June his sent out nearly 5,000 letters to businesses and individuals, notifying them they had defaulted on their 2012 tax payments for specific parcels. In Ecogen's case the county would have sent 18 notices on properties ranging from vacant parcels to manufactured housing.

Ecogen now has the option of contacting the county and setting a monthly installment plan to pay back the amount owed, Donnelly said.

As part of taking over the liens, Steuben will pay the town and school their portion of the tax bill, and look to recover the total outstanding tax, he said.

Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Jamie Johnson said his agency had not signed a proposes tax incentive for Ecogen, which hopes to set up 18 turbines in the town.

Johnson said Ecogen officials did contact him about three weeks ago, telling him they still intend to build the Prattsburgh windfarm.

Johnson said the county does not offer tax breaks to businesses where there is a lien against the property.

SCIDA also investigates the credit history of businesses and would expect Ecogen to explain why the taxes are unpaid, Johnson said.

Ecogen has been locked in a long dispute with residents and many town officials who object to developer's plan to build a wind farm in the area.

Opponents say the plans would put turbines too close to homes and endangers the environment and people.

Supporters say the project would bring the town revenues and provide renewable energy.

Wind developer Ecogen is now in a long list of Steuben County property owners who failed to pay their taxes this year.

According to a notice of pendency filed Thursday, Ecogen owes more than $32,000 in unpaid taxes on the 18 parcels it owns in the Town of Prattsburgh.

The notice is part of Steuben's foreclosure process which could take up to 2.5 years, according to county Treasurer Pat Donnelly.

Donnelly said in early June his sent out nearly 5,000 letters to businesses and individuals, notifying them they had defaulted on their 2012 tax payments for specific parcels. In Ecogen's case the county would have sent 18 notices on properties ranging from vacant parcels to manufactured housing.

Ecogen now has the option of contacting the county and setting a monthly installment plan to pay back the amount owed, Donnelly said.

As part of taking over the liens, Steuben will pay the town and school their portion of the tax bill, and look to recover the total outstanding tax, he said.

Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Jamie Johnson said his agency had not signed a proposes tax incentive for Ecogen, which hopes to set up 18 turbines in the town.

Johnson said Ecogen officials did contact him about three weeks ago, telling him they still intend to build the Prattsburgh windfarm.

Johnson said the county does not offer tax breaks to businesses where there is a lien against the property.

SCIDA also investigates the credit history of businesses and would expect Ecogen to explain why the taxes are unpaid, Johnson said.

Ecogen has been locked in a long dispute with residents and many town officials who object to developer's plan to build a wind farm in the area.

Opponents say the plans would put turbines too close to homes and endangers the environment and people.

Supporters say the project would bring the town revenues and provide renewable energy.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

64 Free Market Groups Announce Opposition to Wind PTC

Sixty-four non-profit groups sent a joint letter to the Hill this week that urges Representatives and Senators “to let the wasteful wind PTC expire as planned at the end of the year.” The battle lines are now fully drawn between Big Wind and supporters of free markets and affordable energy. The letter was organized by Americans for Prosperity.

On the side of continuing massive tax subsidies to crony capitalist investors in wind farms are President Barack Obama, nearly all Democratic members of Congress, and a sizable number of Republican members from States that have enacted renewable portfolio standards for electric utilities.

The opponents of renewing the wind production tax credit include Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), and the leadership (but not all the members) of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 9 to 15 in early August against an amendment that would reduce by 20% the 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour subsidy that wind farms currently receive for ten years. The Senate’s business tax extenders bill would renew (and actually expand and make more generous) the current credit for one year until 31st December 2013. The CBO estimated that the cost of the extension would be approximately $12 billion over ten years.

It is unlikely that the business tax extenders bill or any other bill that includes extending the wind production tax credit will see any floor action in either the House or Senate before the election. On the other hand, it is almost certain that there will be a big push in a lame duck session in November.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Clipper sued for $60M amid layoffs

First Wind sues Clipper WindPower

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Vote: Should Solar and Wind Power be Subsidized?

Federal subsidies have spurred the growth of renewable-energy production in recent years, but many of those subsidies are set to expire soon unless Congress acts.

Supporters say the subsidies will allow renewable technologies to grow enough to become cost-competitive with conventional energy sources—and that their benefits include reduced pollution and decreased dependence on foreign oil.

Critics want to scale back or eliminate the subsidies, arguing that renewable sources have had decades to get established but still aren’t cost-competitive with conventional energy.

Tell us what you think in advance of a special report we’ll be publishing in The Wall Street Journal. We may use some of your comments in print.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




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