Monday, March 31, 2008

Some Options When Your NY Representatives Are Not Acting Responsibly by John Droz, jr.


Burke bought and paid for?

Derek Champagne, Esquire
District Attorney
Suite 466
355 West Main
Malone, NY 12953-1826

Dear Derek,

You asked me to clarify my statement that the Burke town board violated the public’s right of participation at the board’s “work session” on 3/26/08. I have attached the relevant laws and opinions, taken from NYS Open Meetings Law and the NYS Town Manual (2006 ed.)

To begin with, a “work session” is a creation of town governments; it is not provided for in NYS statutory law. Article 4 of NYS Town Law lays out provisions for running town “meetings”; it says nothing about “work sessions.”

Hence, all work sessions are by definition town meetings.

The question becomes: when a town board meets, is it a public hearing or is it meeting to conduct the town’s business. (The law appears to make a distinction between the two.) It’s clear the meeting this past Wednesday (3/26/08) was the latter: a meeting to conduct the town’s business.

Here we encounter a sticky wicket, as the saying goes: NYS Town Law “is silent with respect to public participation. While it has been advised that a public body [town board] does not have to allow the public to speak, many [town boards] choose to permit public participation” (see, “Can I speak at a meeting?” Committee on Open Government website, NYS Dept. of State).

However, context is everything, including of course in the law. NYS law operates within the larger realm of the US Constitution, Article 1: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, … or the right of the people peaceably to … petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Hold onto this paragraph; I’ll come back to it in a moment.)

This brings us back to the purpose of last Wednesday’s public meeting in Burke: to discuss the terms of a proposed Code of Ethics. There is reason to think Burke’s proposed Code of Ethics (attached) violates NYS General Municipal Law §805(c)&(d), which forbids conflicts of interest in town board members:

“No municipal officer … shall … receive, or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any municipal agency of which he is an officer” §805(c).

“No municipal officer … shall … receive, or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any agency of his municipality, whereby his compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by such agency with respect to such matter” §805(d).

The question evidently troubling a good many people in Burke is how to reconcile these two clauses with the fact that two board members, Mr. Arnold Lobdell and Mr. David Vincent, have personal contracts (filed in the Franklin County Courthouse) with the wind developers. (See attached.)

Is this not a case of two municipal officers “receiving or entering into an agreement, express or implied [with the wind companies], for [personal financial] compensation for services to be rendered [presumably a “yes” vote] in relation to a matter before a municipal agency of which they are officers [whether the Burke town board should permit industrial wind factories], whereby their compensation [monies paid to them by the wind developers for erecting turbines on their land] is to be dependent or contingent upon an action [passage of a pro-wind law] by such agency [the Burke town board] with respect to such matter”?

Or am I misreading NYS law? If so, then a lot of people in Burke are likewise misreading the law, and clarification by you or the Department of State would settle the matter. Without that clarification it’s hard to see how one reconciles clauses §805(c)&(d) with the two attached leases.

Back to the Burke town meeting of 3/26/08. There were scores of people in the Burke town hall that evening who were there to petition the town board “for a redress of grievances” (Article 1, US Constitution)—the widespread grievance circulating throughout Burke that clauses §805(c)&(d) of NYS General Municipal Law are being violated by those two leases and by the Code of Ethics being discussed at that very meeting by the town board.

Let’s focus on that Code of Ethics for a moment (attached). It’s cleverly, if not cunningly, worded. (One would expect nothing less, composed as it was by the law firm representing Noble Environmental for the past several years.) It’s not surprising that people in Burke say they detect the fingerprints of the wind developers all over their Code of Ethics.

Looking at that Code of Ethics, everything hinges on the tricky word “Contract” (see Definitions, p. 1). A “Contract,” according to this definition, includes an “application to the Town … for any permit or permission.” So far, so good—except that the wind developers are not applying to the town for a permit or permission to do anything. The currently proposed wind law is not a result of an application for a permit or permission; it is merely a case of the town, of its own volition, passing an ordinance (wind law) to regulate any and all wind turbine development within Burke. In addition, whereas “Exceptions to Code of Ethics Requirements,” 4-h, would at first appear to “grandfather in” Mr. Lobdell’s contract with the wind developer (on file in the courthouse), on closer inspection it seems this “grandfather” clause has no bearing on Mr. Lobdell’s contract (or Mr. Vincent’s, for that matter).

What’s significant about this Code of Ethics is not what it includes, but what it excludes. It notably omits §805(c)&(d) of NYS General Municipal Law. Both of these clauses, by the way, are front and center in Malone’s Code of Ethics (attached). Like Burke, Bellmont also omits §805(c)&(d) (attached). Since §805(c)&(d) is fundamental to NYS Municipal Law, and since state law stipulates that all municipal Codes of Ethics must be at least as stringent and inclusive as NYS Municipal Law, it appears that Burke’s proposed Code of Ethics (and Bellmont’s, for that matter) fails to meet NYS standards.

I believe this is what many of the people at the Burke “work session” (3/26/08) intended to bring to the attention of their town. When they discovered their customary right to speak was gagged by order of the town board at the meeting’s outset, they immediately shifted to their Constitutional right to speak under the First Amendment: “no law … abridging the freedom of speech … or the right of the people peaceably to … petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The grievance being, “We the People of Burke believe the proposed Code of Ethics is illegal.” Keep in mind that these people were attending a public meeting whose announced purpose was to discuss adoption of a Code of Ethics which, many believe, violates NYS General Municipal Law, §805(c)&(d).

Or does it? This question lies at the core of the standoff in Burke: Does the proposed Code of Ethics violate the law?

Right here the US Constitution kicks in in yet another dimension. It kicks in because you, Derek, are too overwhelmed to get immediately involved and, moreover, you doubt the enforcement of NYS General Municipal Law is within your jurisdiction. (I’m merely reiterating what you have said all along.) Second, the Constitution kicks in because nobody in the NYS Dept. of State, the Comptroller’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, or the NYS Association of Towns is paying attention to Burke’s dilemma. They all pass the proverbial buck.

Graphing this situation would look something like this: District Attorney <> Attorney General <> Dept. of State <> State Comptroller <> Association of Towns, where the <> symbol stands for “passing the buck.” Don’t misunderstand me: they all have good reasons for passing the buck; nevertheless, as Noble’s Chuck Hinckley likes to say, at the end of the day the buck has been successfully passed. The best advice the buck passers can give the residents of Burke is: “file a civil suit.” This being yet another strategy for passing the buck. Why? Because (1) §805(c)&(d) is statutory State law, (2) it appears to be straightforward to hundreds of people in Burke, and (3) all that’s required is enforcement.

Enforcement: the golden word in this dialogue. DA <> AG <> Dept. of State <> State Comptroller <> Association of Towns says to the 300 people of Burke who have signed a petition stating their belief that town board members are breaking NYS Gen. Mun. Law: “We, the above buck passers, don’t have time or the staff to enforce the law, so it is incumbent on you people to hire an attorney and march into court to, hopefully, perform the job we are derelict in performing.”

More or less, this is what they’re being told. Let us call a spade a spade, after all.

The 300 signatories in Burke know the stakes are high. Very high. Despite the wind developers’ assertions that property values remain unaffected by giant turbines in everyone’s backyard, facts prove otherwise, and are proving otherwise in Burke as I write these words. Despite the wind developers’ assertions that there are no disastrous health effects from these 400-foot-high noise/vibration machines in everyone’s backyard, facts prove otherwise, as Dr. Pierpont’s 80-page forthcoming clinical article amply demonstrates. (Not to mention, literally innumerable reports from people living next door to industrial turbines—around the globe.)

The 300 signatories to that petition know this; they know they’re being lied to by the pretty young men whom the wind developers hire to do their business. The 300 signatories are desperate, and rightly so. There is a high likelihood that, at Wednesday’s town meeting (April 2nd), the Burke town board will perform a double-header: (1) pass a doubtful Code of Ethics and, with this in its pocket, (2) pass its pro-wind law.

Back to the “work session” of 3/26/08. Given this state of affairs, and finding themselves gagged by what many in the room consider to be a scofflaw town board (whose disregard for the law, they feel, is effectively condoned by all of the above state agencies), it’s not surprising the representatives of those 300 signatories were outraged. At the start of that meeting, they all stood, faced the American flag, and dutifully recited the Pledge of Allegiance—“and to the Republic for which it stands.” The Republic that was created by the Constitution; the Republic which is nothing without the Constitution.

This is the second golden word in this dialogue: the Constitution. When all else fails—and all else has failed (refer to the buck-passing chain above), as far as these people are concerened—then it’s time to resort to the Bill of Rights: the inalienable right to “freedom of speech … [and] the right of the people peaceably to … petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Starting with their town government—except that Constitutional right was denied them on 3/26/o8.

When is a government dysfunctional? The Burke town board desperately needs definitive guidance from the state—not the town lawyer who may have his own conflict of interest, but from the state, either in the form of you, as District Attorney, or the Dept. of State, or State Comptroller, or Assoc. of Towns, or Attorney General. This is not the time to pass the buck. Misters Lobdell and Vincent, both honorable men, need your guidance. Supervisor Darrel Bushey needs your guidance. They don’t appear to be getting it.

On the other side of the dispute, the 300 signatories (and growing) to that petition need your guidance. They don’t appear to be getting it, either.

Meanwhile, the chasm grows wider and gets uglier. Neighbor against neighbor. Friend against friend. A community fracturing and shattering.

My question to you, as senior law enforcement officer for Franklin County, is this: Is the NYS government dysfunctional in this matter?

This is a monumental tragedy for the community of Burke.

I write this in an effort to be fair-minded toward both sides in this dispute—an honest dispute that urgently requires resolution by the State of New York. Not by State Troopers arresting people at the next town meeting, but resolution by you, I suggest, as chief law enforcement officer for the county.

I write this letter with admiration and respect for you in the difficult job of being District Attorney. In fact I write it precisely because I consider you to be one of the most conscientious, diligent, vigilant, and exemplary district attorneys in the state. (Let me know when you decide to run for State Attorney General. You’ve got my vote.)

Anyhow, this is how I interpret the Burke uproar. Not unlike the ComLinks uproar, it requires a skilled umpire. Pronto. Probably before the town meeting on 4/2/08. The two critical words at that meeting will be enforcement and Constitution.

I believe that’s where you come in.


Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
Associate Professor of History (retired)
Rutgers University

Deadline extended for wind park study comments

CENTERVILLE — The deadline for comments on a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Noble Allegany Wind Park power generation project has been extended. The new deadline on the 67-turbine project in the Allegany County towns of Centerville and Rushford is April 17.

The Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power hopes to add the facility to its array that includes five proposed or electrified projects in northern New York and one each in Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire. Noble has just powered up portions of the 67-turbine Noble Bliss Wind Park in the nearby Wyoming County Town of Bliss and is in the process of beginning construction of a similar facility in Wethersfield.

The Bliss wind park will contribute power to Noble’s lucrative renewable energy contract that was awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority less than a year ago and runs through 2017. The company has not yet submitted an application for a permit in the towns of Farmersville or Freedom, next door to Centerville, in Cattaraugus County, where a number of leases for turbine sites have been secured, but has taken steps to begin prospecting for sites in the Town of Hanover in Chautauqua County.

The Centerville Town Board, as lead agency in that project’s state environmental quality review, held a public hearing last Monday that was attended by about 75 residents, property owners and officials from neighboring towns that have also been approached by Noble.

“Other than the railroad at the turn of the century, this is the biggest thing to ever happen here,” said Town Supervisor Frank Sardina when he opened the hearing.

About a dozen of the 16 people who spoke during the hearing pointed out negative impacts due to noise, tower placement near homes and the exemption from setback requirements.

But several said they believe the project will be good for the town and increase revenues to improve roads and services, as well provide additional income for residents.

Some claimed the project has infringed on their rights to develop their property and expressed fears that property values will drop. Others asked the town to require more information from Noble and faulted some of the data provided in the draft environmental impact statement, while some criticized the board for its procedures in the project review.

Several suggested board members have already decided to permit the facility, but Sardina said the board hasn’t made a decision yet.

“We still have no opinion,” he added.

Several times he urged townspeople to back up their comments with evidence and to stay involved, to pay attention to public notices and a newsletter he has published since the wind park became an issue.

“We want to hear what is substantiated by reliable resources,” Sardina said.

Babcock & Brown to sell wind farms

Babcock & Brown, the Australian infrastructure investor, is planning to sell its European wind farms in a deal that could be worth between €3.5bn ($5.5bn) and €4bn.

The group will say Monday that it has appointed Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan to sell its European wind energy assets and those owned by Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, its quoted wind energy fund. These include wind farms in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy and France.

Babcock & Brown Wind Partners owns about 3,000MW of wind generation capacity worldwide, with just over 800MW of this in Europe.

But the group said last month that the market had not recognised the value of its European assets, and it would look at selling them. The wind energy sector is attracting strong investor interest, and European wind businesses have been changing hands at high prices.

For example, in January Scottish and Southern Energy of the UK agreed to pay €1.45bn for Airtricity, the Irish wind farm operator.

Babcock & Brown said the scope of the wind farm sale was not fixed but was "very likely" to include Enersis, the Portuguese wind business jointly owned by Babcock & Brown and Babcock & Brown Wind Partners.

Babcock & Brown bought Enersis in December 2005 for €490m and then sold half of the business to its quoted wind fund.

Proceeds from any sale of the wind farms would be used to reduce debt, fund future investments and potentially return funds to shareholders, Babcock & Brown Wind Partners said last month.

The fund spent A$1.78bn ($1.63bn) on acquisitions and new projects in the second half of 2007, increasing its wind generation capacity by 67 per cent. But its shares have underperformed, and Babcock & Brown Wind Partners said it traded at a "significant discount" to its peers.

Miles George, chief executive of Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, said the fund had already received "very strong interest from prospective purchasers" of the wind farms.

A person close to the deal said the assets could be sold for between €3.5bn and €4bn.

Babcock & Brown Wind Partners said it aimed to find a buyer for its European wind farms within the next six months.

Babcock & Brown tends to invest in earlier-stage wind projects, which are more risky. It then sells them to its Wind Partners fund when they are more developed.

The fund listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2005 and has a market capitalisation of about A$1.3bn.

Web link:

Wind farms for sale

One of the world's biggest owners of wind farms has put its portfolio up for sale in a deal that could be worth up to €4bn (£3.17bn). The sale includes farms operating and in development in Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and Italy.

The wind assets are owned by Babcock & Brown, an investment company listed on the Australian stock exchange which yesterday said it had appointed JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank to advise on the sale.

European utilities are the most likely buyers in the run-up to 2020, when 20% of power in the EU should come from wind, water and solar.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cobleskill: Times Journal March 26, 2008

Red Flag

Readers considering the possibilities of wind turbines in Richmondville and Fulton should check out Patsy Nicosia's story, in last week's T-J, about forming a local power company. It sheds a little more light - unwanted, we're sure, on Reunion Power, the company trying to build the turbines.

Ms. Nicosia's story is mostly about County Treasurer, Bill Cherry's, idea of creating a power company that could provide low-cost electric power. Mr. Cherry is intrigued with the idea and so are we, because it would reduce energy costs for all and provide local jobs besides. Mr. Cherry was so intrigued, in fact, that he pursued the plan with an Albany County legislator who wanted to join in; and he prepared a resolution for the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors. But then Mr.
Cherry learned that the Albany County legislator, Sandy Gordon, was with Reunion Power - except Mr. Gordon never revealed the Reunion link.

So here's the situation: An Albany legislator cozying up to our County Treasurer, interested in Schoharie County power, and he's with a private company that wants to come into Schoharie County. How many conflicts of interest can you find in this picture? It would have been so simple for Mr. Grodon to tell Mr. Cherry at the outset, "By the way, Bill, there's something you should know". But he didn't.

All this makes us wonder what else Reunion and its principals have left unsaid. This concern touches on our original thoughts about Reunion, going back six months or more: Reunion is a fledgling power company, about which we know nothing, that wants to put its first project in Schoharie County. There's no track record, no resume, no glowing list of successful projects, no nothing. And now Mr. Gordon causes us to raise yet another red flag.

Mr. Cherry did the right thing by putting his plan on hold once he found the Reunion tie-in. We hope he pursues the local power angle, assuming it's minus Reunion and Mr. Gordon.

Glenn Schleede March 17, 2008 Letter to the Warsaw County Courier

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Below is a Letter to the Editor that may be of some use to you as you deal with false wind industry claims.

On March 13,2008, the Warsaw (NY) County Courier published a "letter to the editor" from an official of Horizon Wind Energy, a company owned since July 2007 by Energias de Portugal, S.A. (EDP), a major Portuguese utility. (The Company was originally known as Zilkha Renewable Energy. It's name was changed to Horizon when it was acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2005.)

As is often the case with information from the wind industry and its supporters, the letter from the Horizon official included various false and misleading claims.

I sent a "rebuttal" letter (shown below) to the managing editor of the Warsaw County Courier. A friend from the area talked with the editor and was told that the letter would be printed on March 20 but that didn't happen. Actually, I'm not surprised because there are dozens of reasons why an editor may exercise his or her right to reject them -- ranging from not having enough space to not agreeing with the content. (A friend in Wisconsin had letters rejected when a "farm developer" started advertising in the paper and buying printing services -- leading the publisher to overrule the previously sympathetic editor!)

Despite it's length, I think the points made in the letter should be made known to as many citizens as possible who are faced with the onslaught from "wind farm" developers. If you agree and know people in the Warsaw area (or others around western NY), please consider sending the letter along to them. Feel free to use the contents of the letter in any way you'd like.

The letter from the Horizon representative is shown below my letter.


Glenn Schleede


March 17, 2008

Ms. Dolly Pierson
Managing Editor
Warsaw County Courier
Wyoming County, NY

Three years ago, Horizon Wind Energy's Mr. Davidson might have been able to "get away with" the half-truths and false claims made in his letter that you published on March 13, 2008. However, much has been learned about wind energy and the facts do not support his claims. For example:

1. Wind turbines are not a reliable source of electricity. While they are huge machines, they produce very little electricity and that electricity is intermittent, volatile, and unreliable. Their output is entirely dependent on wind speed and wind turbine output varies widely from minute to minute. They start producing at about 6 miles per hour (mph), reach rated capacity about 31 mph and cut out about 56 mph).

Mr. Davidson is misleading when he attempts to compare the dramatic minute to minute changes in output from wind turbines to changes in electricity demand on the New York grid. Because wind turbine output in so intermittent, other generating units - i.e., those that ARE reliable and dispatchable - must be kept immediately available and operating at less than full capacity so that grid managers can keep the grid in balance.

Experience demonstrates that electricity from wind turbines can't be counted on when electricity is most needed; i.e., on hot weekday late afternoons in July and August when electricity demand reaches peak levels. During the time of peak demand, wind turbines tend to produce little or no electricity because there is little or no wind. Instead, they are most likely to produce electricity at night in colder months when wind tends to be strongest but electricity demand tends to be at lower levels.

2. The claims of large economic benefits from "wind farms" made by NYSERDA and the PSC do not stand up under scrutiny. For example, the reference to an investment of $1.9 billion cited by Mr. Davidson is particularly misleading. In fact, the overwhelming share (75-90%) of the capital cost of a "wind farm" is accounted for by the turbines, towers, blades, and other materials (e.g., electric cable, electronics, rebar, cement) that are produced elsewhere, often in other countries. These expenditures provide no benefit in the area where a "wind farm" is built. Once the "wind farm" begins producing, the money paid by customers for the electricity also flows outside the area and, perhaps, out of the country when the "wind farm" is owned by a foreign company.

3. "Wind farms" do not produce large local economic benefits claimed by wind energy advocates. Most jobs during construction, particularly the higher paying jobs, are filled by people skilled in assembling towers, turbines, electric cable, and electronics who are brought in from other areas on a temporary basis - often no more than 6 months. These people may spend some money locally (e.g., restaurants, hotels) while in the area but most of their pay checks as well as their income taxes flow to their home towns, states or countries. Among the few jobs filled by local people may be jobs such as transit mix and other truck drivers, operating engineers, and laborers. Additional business for restaurants and hotels is short lived. Very few supplies and materials are purchased locally. Very few permanent jobs are created. Even technicians who maintain and repair turbines are frequently brought in temporarily.

4. Because electricity from wind energy is expensive, any actual in-state economic benefits are almost certainly overwhelmed by the higher costs of electricity that are passed along to electric customers. As indicated above, money paid for the electricity flows to the "wind farm" owner, which may be a foreign company. Higher electric bills mean that local residents have less money to spend locally for food, clothing, housing, health care, education, and other necessities.

A few landowners may enjoy higher income from lease payments, but their relatively small gain is often at the expense of neighbors who are forced to bear the adverse impacts on environmental, ecological, scenic and property values. There is no assurance that the income received by landowners will be spent or invested locally.

5. Wind industry and other wind energy advocates consistently understate the true cost of electricity from wind. They try to ignore the fact that "wind farm" owners - including those that are foreign owned like Horizon -- receive huge tax benefits and subsidies that shift tax burden and costs from "wind farm" owners to ordinary taxpayers. Wind industry officials have admitted that approximately 2/3rds of the economic value of a "wind farm" is derived from just two federal tax breaks (i.e., production tax credits and accelerated depreciation).

6. States with large amounts of wind generation, such as Texas and California, have found that they cannot count on "wind farms" to produce electricity when needed. California learned during the summer of 2006 that, on average, only about 5% of wind capacity could be counted on during peak demand periods and that the output was even less at times during that period. As the Wall Street Journal has reported, Texas grid operators were recently forced to cut the flow of electricity to some customers when wind speeds dropped in west Texas and actual output from the "wind farms" dropped to 300 megawatts (MW) from the 1700 MW expected. Wholesale market prices for electricity jumped dramatically because of the "missing" output from wind turbines.

7. Because wind turbines are unreliable and can't be counted on to produce electricity when needed, areas experiencing growth in peak electricity demand or needing to replace older generating plants will have to build reliable generating units that can be counted on when needed. Reliable generating units that can be counted on when needed to supply electricity demand will be needed whether or not wind turbines are built. Electric customers should not have to pay twice; once for wind turbines and again for reliable generating units.

Unfortunately, actual experience and facts do not support Mr. Davidson's claims or the assertions made by such organizations as NYSERDA. There are substantial reasons to question the objectivity of NYSERDA on matters affecting wind energy.

Experience is also demonstrating that it would be foolhardy for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) to assume that the NY grid can accommodate 10 percent of generating capacity from unreliable wind turbines "…without changing the way the grid performs." Such a large share would severely tax New York's reserve margins at the time of peak demand.


Glenn R. Schleede, former western New Yorker, now living at
18220 Turnberry Drive
Round Hill, VA 20141-2574

"Claims Provided by Government and Energy Experts" by Gary Davidson (Horizon rep)

3/13/08 Warsaw Country Courier, Wyoming County, NY


A letter published in Warsaw's Country Courier on March 6 questioned some of the benefits associated with wind power because the author believes that those in the wind industry are the only ones promoting them. Bellow are some claims provided by government and energy experts based on peer-reviewed, publicly scrutinized studies and reports.

The 2002 NY State Energy Plan, a document produced by experts in energy and environmental policies, states that the "use of renewable energy provides a number of benefits. These can be broadly defined as:
- Increased energy diversity and security;
- Reduction in air emissions (particulates, NOx, SOx, greenhouse gases);
- Economic development opportunities; and
- Distributed generation.

The Energy Plan concludes that, "dependence on a limited number of energy resources can lead to greater potential for fuel supply interruptions, greater price volatility, and ultimately affect energy and economic security. Energy from renewable resources, such as wind and solar, is not fuel dependent, and therefore, is not subject to the effects of natural and artificial fuel supply constraints."

More recently, in summarizing the progress of New York's Renewable portfolio Standard, the Public Service Commission and NYSERDA estimated that the renewables facilities participating in the program would invest more than 1.9 billion to construct the renewable generation facilities awarded contracts under the RPS.

According to NYSERDA, "these investments have the potential to yield more than $720 million of in-state economic benefits over a 20-year period. In addition to these significant economic benefits, the facilities awarded contracts under the RPS could result in potential reductions of 2,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, 4,400 tons of sulfur dioxides, and 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide per year." Importantly, the facilities NYSERDA studied account for only slightly more than 25% of the state's goal for renewable energy, so these benefits will multiply substantially in the coming years. These are the words of NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission, not the wind industry.

In addition to the environmental and economic development benefits, the Public Service commission (not the industry) estimated that the increased use of renewable resources associated with the RPS would reduce wholesale prices for electricity by $362 million.

As for the letter writer's insistence that taxpayer money is being spent developing a wind resource that isn't viable, it is a fact that no tax payer money has been invested at all in the development of the Dairy Hills Wind Farm. In fact, Horizon reimburses the Town for any expenses it incurs related to the review of the project.

Further, it is not practical to say that a wind resource cannot be developed because it is a Class 2 resource. The energy market ultimately determines which resources are viable and which are not. New York has long suffered from high energy prices, due largely to the fact that it is "at the end of the pipeline" and must import resources like natural gas, coal, and oil from distant sources. The price for these fuels continues to climb.

Wind represents an indigenous fuel that cannot be depleted and is not subject to price volatility or supply disruptions. There are no emissions. Just because the output of the windfarm fluctuates does not mean it will not produce environmental benefits. Demand on the grid fluctuates constantly, too. Power plants ramp up and down to match that demand. The New York System Operator, which is responsible for the reliability of the grid in New York, accepts that wind facilities can reach as much as 10 percent of the installed generating capacity in the State (more than 3,000 megawatts0 without changing the way the grid performs.

Lastly, the author seems concerned about "foreign ownership" of Horizon Wind Energy. It's ironic that those concerned about foreign investment in the local economy seem to check those concerns at the gas pump. Ninety percent of the petroleum consumed in New York State is imported from outside the U.S. Money spent on gasoline is siphoned out of the U.S. economy to parts of the world that do not necessarily share our values or best interests. By contrast, Horizon and its parent company, EDP, are investing in rural communities across the the country to develop an inexhaustible energy resource that keeps a significant portion of our energy dollars in our own economy.

The experts responsible for energy planning, energy policy and energy operations seem to agree that wind power will produce benefits. Peer-reviewed studies support their claims. Where is the evidence to the contrary?

Gary Davidson
Horizon Wind Energy Public Affairs Manager

"Institute Senior Fellow disputes wind energy company's claims" by Mary Kay Barton

3/28/08 Batavia Daily News:

I am writing in response to the Feb. 28 letter to the editor, "Wind farm capacity not the same as efficiency," by Gary Davidson, Horizon Wind Energy's public affairs manager. I knew statements made in Davidson's letter were inaccurate, so to get the story straight, I contacted Mr. Tom Tanton, Senior Fellow with the Institute for Energy Research in California for 37 years (probably longer than Communications Major, now Public Affairs Manager for Horizon, Gary Davidson has been alive). Many will remember Mr. Tanton from the presentation he did in Stafford, NY, back in April, 2006, "Economics of Wind Turbines," which was attended by Horizon sales reps who neither rebutted, nor questioned a single thing Tanton said.

Mr. Tanton stated, "Davidson is right that 'efficiency' is irrelevant, and for FINANCIAL purposes the only correct metric is capacity factor. I believe he may also be correct that most developers already account for the assumed ~30% capacity factor (though this is an assumed number, nothing that has been verified by any actual output numbers) when making assertions about how many homes are powered by the stated number of turbines, BUT --- THAT IS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG TO BEGIN WITH!"

Tanton explained, "Capacity factor and kilowatt hours are not pertinent ... the ONLY measure that is for this application ("How many homes...") is Capacity CREDIT, also sometimes referred to as capacity value. Capacity Credit is the percentage of nameplate capacity (applies to all types, not just wind) that can be counted on every, and any hour of the year. It is most important during 'peak' hours, which can be summer or winter depending on the region."

Tanton emphasized, "Capacity Credit is a statistically determined number, but for most wind facilities is between 0% and 10%. In essence, industrial wind turbines - regardless of how many, power NO HOMES at all because it is not there when it's needed (just like a fair-weather friend). There is a vast difference between power and energy."

Mr. Tanton further elaborated, "The car analogy that Davidson used was also way off the mark. It doesn't matter at all how fast they may be capable of going according to their speedometer. Unlike an automobile, which operates at a high rate of reliability (it usually operates when called upon), 'windmobiles' often times have 'dead batteries' when called upon and may not move at all."

The constant skittering flux that is wind energy could also cause the car to speed up and slow down uncontrollably, or run out of gas in the middle of rush hour traffic. Since the grid must balance supply and demand precisely on a less than second-to-second basis, this constant skittering "wind flux", in addition to "demand flux", creates additional instability on an already seriously outdated grid system.

Consumers fail to recognize that the same conventional power sources used to balance "demand flux", are also necessary to balance "wind flux" - but this will be on top of - in addition to - the operations necessary to balance demand flux, at increased costs in both dollars and CO2 emmissions because all the other reliable, base load power sources are being run "off-design" in order to accommodate wind on the grid. Truth be told, consumers end up paying twice - once for the wind energy, and again for the compensatory energy that must remain "on". Turns out the 'windmobile' is nothing more than the most expensive lemon on the dealer's lot.

Tanton finished by saying, "Davidson should learn a bit about electricity before spouting off, but then, that's what 'shills' do."

Mary Kay Barton, Castile

Friday, March 28, 2008

Paterson must expand state’s generating capacity by Max Schulz

If Gov. David Paterson wants to make a clean break from his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, a good start would be to overhaul Spitzer’s head-in-the- sand approach to energy issues.

Thanks to high taxes and excessive regulations, New Yorkers suffer the third-highest electricity bills in the country, paying rates 60 percent higher than the national average. Those high power prices stifle economic growth and cause businesses and residents to flee.

Potentially worse than the economic malaise produced by sky-high power prices is the threat of economic catastrophe caused by blackouts and power outages. According to the New York Independent System Operator, 2,750 megawatts of power — roughly the equivalent generated by five power plants — will need to be added to the state’s electricity capacity over the next decade. The only problem is that there aren’t any plans to build those plants.

New York’s top elected officials acknowledge the dimensions of the problem, but many of their policies would only make it worse. Spitzer’s energy and environmental initiatives would raise already-high electricity rates while doing nothing to ensure New York has the power plants it needs to buttress a 21st century economy. Paterson is in a position to set a better course for New York’s energy and environmental future, and bring relief to ratepayers.

Paterson should take a hard look at the state’s convoluted Renewable Portfolio Standard, which calls for one-quarter of New York’s electricity to come from “green” sources by 2013. Currently, the state gets about 20 percent from these sources, but 90 percent of that amount comes from large-scale hydropower sources. Unfortunately there aren’t any more big hydro projects left to tap. If New York is going to meet its goal, it will have to be through massive state subsidies for expensive, inefficient, small-scale renewable technologies.

Another smart move would be for Paterson to reject the Spitzer administration’s hostility to nuclear energy, which provides 30 percent of the state’s power, and to embrace the green potential of the atom. It is the best technology available for generating large quantities of power while producing no greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, Paterson should push lawmakers to pass a siting law streamlining licensing and construction for large power plants. New York once had such a law on its books, Article X of the Public Service Law, but that expired five years ago. Spitzer last year proposed reauthorizing Article X, but excluded nuclear and coal plants from the process. That’s a mistake.

New York has garnered the wrong kind of headlines in recent weeks with tales about what happens when the lights go down. Paterson has an opportunity to ensure a much-worse “lights-out” condition does not befall the Empire State. He must flip the switch.

Steuben County Legislator Letter March 24, 2008 by Judith Hall

March 24, 2008

Steuben County Legislators,

At the Cohocton Town Board meeting on 3/18/08 Mr. McAllister a member of this legislature reported to the town that NYS is passing on budget cuts that will probably force the county to raise taxes to its residents. Yet last month this board had no problem with the SCIDA approving yet more tax breaks for foreign companies. One of the reasons the IDA’s were formed and are still in existence is that these tax breaks are to bring jobs to NY and their various counties. Yet SCIDA continually approves tax breaks for projects in which they know there is no job creation. SCIDA has in recent months approved several wind projects in the county. Construction is being done by out of state companies, which have continually broken NYS laws, and started without the proper permits. Taxing jurisdictions have not been properly or timely informed of the PILOTS and are now forced to hire legal counsel at even more expense to the taxpayers.

SCIDA is taking possession of the UPC project in Cohocton after construction was started without proper permits in place. There were no building permits, road permits or DEC permits. This is well documented. The construction crews are continually ticketed by the police for violations. There have been numerous construction accidents in which EMT services have been called upon. There is still no proper bonding in place. I ask you who is looking out for the taxpayers of Steuben County? What liability is there to the County and Town of Cohocton if a project already well into construction with little oversight, if any, by independent inspectors is taken over by SCIDA?

Mr. McAllister also sat in a meeting in which Jack Zigenfus, town supervisor of Cohocton asked the Public works committee to allow a 4-5 year repayment of $80,000 for a road project already completed when the town received $725,000 dollars for a host payment and has a huge surplus for the current budget year. The taxpayers are again asked to foot the bill. Why would Mr. McAllister not have informed the committee that Cohocton could well afford the payment for the road work that was scheduled years in advance and should have already been budgeted for? It appears to many of the taxpaying public that no one in Steuben County is looking out for us, your bosses. The folly of tax money give away by the SCIDA may have at least awakened the dragon and many of you will no longer run unopposed in subsequent elections.

I would also like to leave you with a current estimate for decommissioning a 3MW turbine in France. Since SCIDA and the town of Cohocton are not obtaining the proper bonding to cover costs, Cohocton has a letter of credit from a foreign bank for $1,087,000, and SCIDA is allowing a similar amount in Prattsburgh from UPC, it would once again seem the taxpayer will be left holding the bag. Please do you job and use proper vigilance for the residents and taxpayers who vote for you.

Judith Hall

Fairfield landowner shares his opinion on wind developers - Jimmy Salamone


Turbine burns at Ewington wind farm

Smoke pours from the top and bottom of one of the wind turbines at the Ewington Wind Farm near the Heron Lake exit north of Interstate 90 Wednesday (Mar 26) morning. The Brewster and Okabena Fire Departments responded to the scene, but upon the advice of Suzlon Wind Energy officials, the fire was allowed to burn itself out. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

Howard EverPower wind project hearing tonight by Bob Clark

Howard, N.Y.

With EverPower Renewables taking another step toward building wind turbines in Howard, town residents will sound off tonight at a public hearing hosted by the town Planning Board.

The Howard Planning Board will start the public hearing at 7 p.m. at the Howard Fire Hall to get town residents’ feedback on EverPower’s siting application.

The board accepted the application at its Feb. 21 meeting, according to town Clerk Loreen Karr. According to the town’s wind law, town Attorney Karl Anderson said, the Howard Planning Board must host a public hearing after a siting application is filed.

“It gives the public a chance to get an update on everything that’s going on,” Anderson said earlier this month.

EverPower has been planning a wind project in Howard for several years, according to Project Manager Kevin Sheen. He previously said the company is planning on erecting 25 Nordex 2.5-megawatt turbines along County Route 27 and Turnpike Road.

According to Sheen, White Construction is expected to be the contractor on the project. EverPower has tapped White Construction to build a Nordex-powered wind turbine project in Cambria County, Pa., this summer.

If all goes well, Sheen said in February, the project could begin by the end of the year, with the bulk of construction finishing up in 2009.

Town residents also will be able to sound off at a Steuben County Industrial Development Agency public hearing at 5 p.m. April 10 to discuss a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement for the project.

Under the proposal, the ownership of the project would pass to SCIDA and the project would be leased back to EverPower to make it exempt from property taxes. EverPower would then pay SCIDA a fee based on power production that would be divided between Steuben County, the Town of Howard and the local school districts.

The SCIDA hearing also will be held at the Howard Fire Hall.

Iberdrola offers remedies to US state to facilitate Energy East buy - report

MADRID, Mar. 28, 2008 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Iberdrola SA (OOTC:IBDSF) (OOTC:IBDRY) has offered the New York State remedies in order to close the Energy East (NYSE:EAS) purchase as scheduled in June, Cinco Dias reported, citing unnamed sources close to the process.

Iberdrola has offered to sell Energy East's non-wind assets, to construct renewable energy plants in NY and has agreed to be limited to one gas-powered plant in the New York State town of Russell, the newspaper said.

The Basque utility has also agreed to sell regulated assets worth around 200 mln usd, Cinco Dias added.

The utility's acquisition of Energy East has reportedly been put on hold on concerns about a possible carve-up of Iberdrola's assets in the event of a takeover bid.

The utility is speculated to be in the sights of EDF, perhaps in a joint offensive with core shareholder ACS.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bonacic should support study

Sen. John Bonacic has refused to meet his constituents to address the threats to people in his district from state government policies supporting industrial wind development. Still, we hope he will take a stand on state and regional efforts to protect endangered wildlife in his district.

The Daily Star reports the deep concerns of the Delaware Otsego Audubon Society about the impact of building industrial turbines on birds and bats, especially the endangered golden eagles, protected by state and federal law.

DOAS states, "The golden eagle is especially vulnerable to wind turbines. It has been called the species which appears to be at the highest risk ... more eastern goldens pass our site than anywhere else this far north."

We hope the senator joins the Otsego County Board of Representatives in supporting DOAS' request for state funding to study industrial wind's impact on golden eagles. After all, the senator wrote in support of state taxpayer funding for an industrial wind developer that represents part of the risk to wildlife and people in his district.

To date, environmental impact studies of wind development have not looked at the total effect on endangered species, but only at the immediate area of a single project. We hope the senator will support using the existing legal framework for regional environmental impact studies to look at the potentially catastrophic cumulative impact of hundreds of proposed turbines on the Western Catskill ridges across which golden eagles migrate.

We are still waiting for Senator Bonacic to meet his constituents to discuss the many risks to people in his district from state policies, including the funding he supported, that encourage industrial wind development. In the meantime, we hope he will be more responsive and protective of his district's endangered wildlife.

Ken Jaffe

Tower safety a concern by R.J. KELLY

Daily Gazette

Local industrial windpower opponent group Schoharie Valley Watch has asked town officials to re-evaluate the safety of a 197-foot wind measuring tower in the Warnerville hills after a similar 164-foot tower in Cherry Valley collapsed during windy weather last week. The local 197-foot tower was set up last spring by Reunion Power to measure wind and meteorological data on the Karker Road farm of David Huse.

Richmondville Code Enforcement Officer Gene DeMarco said Tuesday he expects to soon inspect the tower, but does not have any immediate concern about safety since the tower is on open land about a quarter mile from Huse's house, the nearest residence.

The annual permit was due to be renewed and inspected by May 1, DeMarco said, so he planned to move the inspection up, possibly within the next week.

DeMarco was responding to a request by Schoharie Valley Watch Co-Director Robert Nied for an "emergency inspection of Reunion's tower &#144;permilesign&#144;permilesign to ensure it does not pose a public safety issue."

In a statement distributed on its Web site and to reporters, Schoharie Valley Watch contends that the Cherry Valley incident "underscores the potential health and safety issues that must be carefully examined before industrial wind facilities are permitted in our rural residential communities."

Nied said Tuesday he was satisfied with DeMarco's response and plans.

Huse, called the concerns "just the overreaction by Schoharie Valley Watch."

"If my tower fell down, it's in the middle of a hayfield," said Huse, whose family operates a 400-head beef cattle farm. Huse said he would like to see Vermont-based Reunion Power build a wind turbine electricity generation project in Richmondville.

Although Reunion has been considering building a wind project on East Hill in the Otsego County town of Cherry Valley for several years, and has begun measuring wind in Richmondville and Jefferson, the company has not formerly proposed a project in Schoharie County.

The Richmondville tower is "standing very straight and true, and transmitting data," said Steve Eisenberg, managing director of Reunion Power.

The Jefferson tower is also working properly and sending weather and wind data daily by a wireless phone system, he said Tuesday. Eisenberg said he had no worries about their safety.

The Cherry Valley tower fell over some time last week, apparently during a period of high wind and ice storms.

The exact cause has not been determined, according to Eisenberg. "It appears one of the anchors pulled out," Eisenberg said. He said it's the only time any of the eight meteorological towers the company is using for tests around the state have fallen over.

While another testing tower is still up in Cherry Valley, Eisenberg said the company does not plan to replace the fallen one.

Plans for the proposed 24-turbine project in Cherry Valley have stalled after local opposition and restrictions that increased the distance turbine towers, potentially as much as 400 foot tall, would have to be set back from nearby property or buildings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Empire agreement goes down wind

SOMERSET — Empire State Wind Energy has been blown away for another day by the skeptical Somerset Town Board.

Council members Dudley Chafee, April Gow and Randall J. Wayner voted down the Host Community Agreement that was favored by Supervisor Richard J. Meyers and board member Dan Engert.

“If we go with another developer, we’ll get a third of what we get from Empire,” Meyers said Tuesday. The supervisor estimated that the town would get $1.3 million from Empire, as opposed to $400,000 from other developers.

“They’re unproven,” Chafee said. “This agreement was not good for the town. It was not a good proposal. They promise 75 percent of unknown figures, but 75 percent of what?”

Meyers noted that the council voted to reject the Host Community Agreement, not Empire Wind Energy. There could still be an agreement to develop wind turbine energy in the town. “I think we still have a package from Empire,” Meyers said.

The council wants a response from the Oneida-based company which is headed by Keith Pitman, the CEO, and backed by Tom Golisano, the chairman of the board.

However, the council is suspicious, according to Meyers. The dissenting members of the board and lawyer Robert S. Roberson want to know why Empire State Wind Energy is so generous. “Why would a company want to do that?” Meyers quoted Roberson as saying.

“I was shocked,” Meyers said of the Monday night meeting. “I thought we would walk out of room with document. I’m not sure what happened.”

The council’s objections were:

• Empire’s insistence on keeping an Article 78 waiver in the HCA.

• There were no firm start and stop dates in the agreement.

• There were no firm monetary projections.

• Neither Pitman, Golisano nor any representative of Empire Wind Energy showed up for the meeting.

“We asked them to come to meeting with attorneys so we could be all present,” Gow said. “They didn’t.”

The town approved windmills in 2006, and residents are ready to lease their land, according to town officials. “It’s been hanging around too long,” Chafee said. “We wanted to meet with them last night (Monday). That wasn’t a good sign. They are not too responsive. It doesn’t’ look like they are too interested in coming up here. We were hoping they would be there to iron out differences.”

Still, the council would welcome Empire Wind Energy to approach the town again, according to Chafee, a dairy farmer who has been on the town board for 18 years.

“We voted against sending them a counterproposal,” Gow said. “The one they presented us had too many flaws. It’s not our place to pursue them.”

Meyers said the residents can encourage the town to resume negotiations with Empire Wind Energy or wait for some other developer. The board has redirected Empire Wind Energy to submit a proposal to the planning board.

Meyers wanted to know why the town attorney doesn’t know anything about Empire Wind Energy.

According to Chafee, three law firms reported that the Host Community Agreement did not provide protection of the town’s interest. The law firms were from Lockport, Albany and Buffalo.

The alternate developer would likely be AES.

Chafee expects that the wind farms would be closer to the lake. “There’s only room for so many,” he said. “The landowners really control it. They want to know what company is going to build. I hope they don’t get too anxious.”

Pitman is a recognized expert in the electric utility and energy fields and as served as superintendent of two municipally owned electric utilities, according to the Empire Web site. He did not return calls.

Golisano, owner of the Buffalo Sabres, prefers to see clean power production involve and benefit the local people, local communities, and New York's economy, according to the Web site. “Tom has grown tired of seeing outsiders controlling our economy and taking jobs and money out of our area. Empire State Wind Energy has set out to inspire and revitalize community leaders, businesses, and the public — by keeping power generation development and all of its benefits at home.”

Contact reporter Bill Wolcott at 439-9222, ext. 6246.

Clipper taps investors for $195m

Clipper said that its major shareholders had agreed to buy 4.7m new shares at Thursday's closing price of 537.5p apiece. The California-based, AIM-listed company also announced a new $60m line of bank credit, to be funded by a customer, and an early payment of $85 million from another customer.

That comes after Clipper suffered a series of production problems throughout 2007, resulting in a January profit warning as the group failed to match growing demand.

While the group remained cash generative, payment delays were estimated to have reduced free working capital to between $25-$45m, against a monthly requirement of as much as $50m. The cash injection should give it around three months of flexibility to get production on track.

The fundraising will also cover additional penalty charges of $8-10m, which was on top of $33m already announced. The remediation cost will cover delays to the repair of broken blades in installed equipment, which management blamed on weather conditions.

Analysts at Lehman Brothers noted that it was the fifth time Clipper had warned about 'non-recurring' charges.

"While we accept the company is acting to reduce future warranty costs, the impact on the market perception on their ability to generate industry average, or above industry margins, is beginning to take its toll. We believe that the reputation of the company to generate cash flow and earnings will be crucial in removing the significant discount the market places towards achieving sustainable earnings," the broker told clients.

Lehman - house broker to Clipper - increased its estimates for non-recurring charges this year and next, to $25m and $30m respectively, although it saw potential upside once teething problems are resolved.

The charge adjustment led Lehman to forecast a 6 cent loss per share this year, from a 17 cent profit previously. For 2009, it cut EPS to $1.17 from $1.50.

But Lehman it repeated an "overweight" rating on with a target price of 1200p.

"The private placing at the closing market price we believe will be viewed positively as, together with significant prepayments from customers, we believe this eases the near term balance sheet issues facing the company," analysts Rupesh Madlani and Arindam Basu wrote.

On current trading, Clipper showed progress but was not yet out of the woods. Production totalled 73 drivetrains in the year to date, leading management to reiterate a full-year target of 311 turbines.

"Given the number of drive-trains required for remediation, the production of 'new' turbines seems low," commented Jason Channell, an analyst at Goldman Sachs."

Lehman's Madlani argued that Clipper's majority stake in Capital and Generation (CAPGEN), an American wind farm joint venture, underpins the company valuation.

Clipper currently holds 72% in the CAPGEN venture, and has been looking to reduce the stake. Management has indicated that the early-stage talks have centred at a provisional valuation of around 300p per Clipper share, although this is non-binding and may change significantly once due diligence is completed. This would value the venture at around $900m (£450m), compared with the group's market capitalisation of £578m.

"Clipper’s stock price has been significantly trading at a discount to peers in the wind and renewables sector for a long time. On our revised forecasts, Clipper trades on a 2009 of 9 times (earnings) against a wind sector average of 20 times and a renewables sector average of 13.5 times," wrote Madlani.

"We believe that our turbine production forecast for 2009 is achievable by the company, perhaps even more so given the capital raise to provide further flexibility towards managing working capital over the coming year. However, even assuming our worst case bear scenario and leaving Clipper missing our forecast for next year by 30%, Clipper would still trade on a prospective PE of 13.6 times. Excluding the valuation of CapGen ... this would place Clipper trading on a 2009 PE of just 6.5 times. We believe therefore this leaves Clipper as attractively valued and that therefore, the current stock price is pricing in most of the potential disappointments that could take place over the coming year."

Spanish court calls on EDF to declare intentions for Iberdrola

MADRID (Thomson Financial) - A mercantile court in Bilbao, Spain has called on EDF to declare its intentions for Iberdrola SA following a request by the Spanish utility.

The move comes after months of media speculation that the French utility has been in talks with Spanish constructor Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA over a possible joint bid for Iberdrola (other-otc: IBDRF.PK - news - people ), followed by a breakup of the group.

The court said it has asked EDF to declare if it has begun, or is preparing, a bid for Iberdrola through the acquisition of shares, swaps or securities convertible in to stock.

The court also called on EDF to say whether it was preparing a bid with third parties or is acting alone.

Clipper cash call

Wind turbine maker Clipper Windpower has tapped investors for another £25m in a placing to alleviate working capital issues that it had already flagged up. The company has been affected by problems with some turbines already in the field, which are incurring remediation costs. However, remediation has been held up recently by poor weather, which has added $8m-$10m (about £4m-£5m) extra to the cost.

Clipper has done well to raise money in these markets, but we remain unconvinced. So, until the company has finally ironed out all the technical issues with its turbines, its shares are fairly priced at 535p.

Gov's power woes; Beyond Eliot's dim-bulb plan

March 24, 2008 -- ENERGY was one of the few issue areas in which David Paterson was allowed at least briefly to play a visible role during 14 months in the shadows as New York's lieutenant governor. But now that he has succeeded the disgraced Eliot Spitzer in the governor's office, Paterson needs to break with policies that have made energy increasingly expensive and potentially scarce in New York.

New Yorkers pay the third-highest electricity rates in the country, 66 percent more than the national average - and the Spitzer-Paterson administration was in the process of driving costs even higher.

For example, Spitzer's budget proposal - for which Paterson now inherits responsibility - would sock energy companies with $40 million in new taxes and fees, costs ultimately borne by ratepayers. That may not sound like much in the context of a $900 billion state economy, but it comes on top of a variety of other direct and indirect state charges that already raise energy costs. And those are going up, too.

Take the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard. New York now gets about 20 percent of its electricity from renewable-energy sources. The RPS calls for increasing the renewable share to 25 percent by 2013. To achieve that goal, it tacks a surcharge on the utility bills of every residential and commercial customer in New York. The revenues subsidize private corporations that develop renewable-energy projects. Since the state's major hydropower sources, such as the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers, are already exploited, this growth must come from expensive technologies like solar and wind power. (Nuclear power doesn't count toward the RPS goal.)

The state's Renewable Energy Task Force, chaired by then-Lt. Gov. Paterson, recently reported that the $782 million budgeted to implement the RPS won't be enough to meet the 2013 target. Translation: Higher surcharges are on the way.

(Click to read entire article)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Evaluation of Environmental Noise Analysis for Cape Vincent Wind Power Project By Rick Bolton


Analysis of Cape Vincent Interm Noise Report by Rick Bolton

"This interim report covers only the first phase, the summertime survey, which was carried out in late August and early September of 2007. The leaf-off, wintertime field survey will be carried out when seasonal conditions permit. An impact assessment will then be prepared based on the results of both surveys." Introduction, p.3

"The measurement of existing sound levels at the site is necessary to determine how much natural masking noise there might be - as a function of wind speed - at the nearest residences to the project. The relevance of this is that high levels of background noise due to wind-induced natural sounds, such as tree rustle, would act to reduce or preclude the audibility of the wind farm, while low levels of natural noise would permit operational noise from the turbines to be more readily perceptible. Because it would be incorrect, for example, to compare the maximum turbine sound level, which occurs only during windy conditions, with the background level during calm and quiet conditions, the background sound level must be determined as a function of wind speed. For a broadband noise source the audibility of and potential impact from the new noise is a function of how much, if at all, it exceeds the pre-existing background level under comparable conditions." Introduction, P3 - ignores that the turbine may be operating while ground level winds near residences may be calm.

The evaluation of new sound sources on the basis of their audibility above the natural background level is the approach set forth in the Program Policy Assessing and Mitigating Noise Impacts published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Feb. 2001. This assessment procedure looks at potential noise impacts in relative rather than absolute terms by comparing expected future sound levels (developed from modeling) to the pre-existing level of background sound (determined from field measurements). The procedure essentially defines a cumulative increase in overall sound level of 6 dBA as the threshold between no significant impact and a potentially adverse impact. Hence the need to determine what the background sound level is. Introduction p. 3 RICK: this is true but 6 dBA is not a limit, it can be lower for sensitive persons. It is not mandatory but Hessler chose to follow it.

The L90 statistical sound level, on the other hand, is commonly used to conservatively quantify background sound levels. The L90 is the sound level exceeded during 90% of the measurement interval and has the quality of filtering out sporadic, short-duration noise events thereby capturing the quiet lulls between such events. It is this consistently present "background" level that forms a conservative, or "worst-case", basis for evaluating the audibility of a new source. RICK: I agree

An additional factor that is important in establishing the minimum background sound level available to mask potential wind turbine noise is the natural sound generated by the wind itself. Wind turbines only operate and produce noise when the wind exceeds a minimum cut-in speed of about 3 or 4 m/s (measured at a reference elevation of 10 m). Turbine sound levels increase with wind speed up to about 8 m/s when the sound produced reaches a maximum and no longer increases with wind speed. Consequently, at moderate to high speeds when turbine noise is most significant the level of natural masking noise is normally also relatively high due to tree or grass rustle thus reducing the perceptibility of the turbines. In order to quantify this effect, wind speed was measured over the entire sound level survey period at two met towers within the site area for later correlation to the sound data. RICK: GOOD

The site area is rural and can be characterized as consisting mostly of farms on relatively large tracts of land irregularly interspersed with scattered residences on smaller parcels. On the whole, the distribution of residential dwellings over the area is fairly thin but there are several areas of higher density, such as the villages of Rosiere and Three Mile Bay and along CR 57 in Lyme where there are a number of homes along the shore of Chaumont Bay. The site topography is essentially flat. In terms of vegetation, the area is a largely even mixture of open fields and wooded areas. Most of the homes and farm houses have at least a few trees immediately around the house.

RICK: villages may be more affected

Seven measurement locations were chosen to evenly cover and represent the entire area as shown in Graphic A. The specific positions are listed below along with photographs of each location. As will be noted from the pictures, a variety of settings were deliberately chosen to see if background sound levels were uniform or variable over the site area. For example, some monitors were placed at isolated farms and while others were located near the three relatively high population density areas mentioned above. RICK GOOD

Photos : microphones w/ std wind screen therefore VOID for high winds due to self induced noise

Position 3: near trees.

Position 6, fig 2.2.11 : too close to ground, near vegetation

Position 7, too close to trees

The microphones were protected from wind-induced self-noise by several different types of wind screens. Positions 1 and 4 were fitted with extra-large 7" diameter foam windscreens (RICK Known not to help much) while remaining Rion instruments had weather-treated 3"diameter foam windscreens. The Norsonic meter had a special environmental microphone housing where the microphone tip is protected from wind by mesh covered slots and an external foam windscreen. In each case, the microphones were situated at a fairly low elevation of approximately 1 m so that they were exposed to relatively low wind speeds. RICK: But inappropriately close to vegetation

Fig 2.3.1 shows std hub height 10m for noise and associated extrapolation graph. Known to be too low, winds will be 2x or more higher (van den Berg)

Wind speed normally diminishes rapidly close to the ground, theoretically going to zero at the surface; consequently, at a 1 m height the microphones were typically exposed to inconsequential wind speeds of about 3 or 4 m/s during the wind conditions of greatest interest (6 to 8 m/s at 10 m). RICK: ????? In any event, self-generated wind noise affects only the extreme lower frequencies (RICK NOT SO) and, except in very high wind conditions, has little or no influence on the measured A-weighted level (the quantity sought in the survey) since the lower frequencies are heavily suppressed before the spectrum is summed to give an overall A-weighted level. Consequently, the measured values are considered reasonably valid and free of any meaningful or significant self-generated contamination. (DOESN'T EXPLAIN MUCH)

It is important to note that the survey was carried out during summertime conditions with the leaves on the trees. Leaf rustle, even in relatively light winds, normally generates significantly higher sound levels than might be observed at the same location when the trees are bare. In addition, normal summertime noise from insects, such as cicadas and crickets, was present at the time of the survey resulting in elevated sound levels on most evenings and at other times of day. RICK: THIS VOIDS THE STUDY cicadia are known to be loud sources but the season is limited, later August only, not the entire leafing season.

e figure below, Figure 2.4.2, shows the average wind speed measured by both towers by the mast top (60 m) anemometers and the wind speed normalized to an elevation of 10 m per IEC Standard 61400-11, Equation 7. A roughness length of 0.05 was used, which is associated with "farmland with some vegetation". WHAT ARE THEY DOING WITH 0.05?) The 10 m wind speed is important because turbine sound levels are expressed as a function of the wind speed at this standardized elevation. (KNOWN BAD)

This somewhat chaotic appearing plot shows that sound levels over the site area roughly follow the same temporal trends except at Position 4 (green trace), where sound levels are consistently lower than at all other locations. The reason for this anomalous behavior is not clear but may be associated with a relative lack of vehicle noise on seldom used Fox Creek Road, a relative lack of insect noise, or the fact that the monitor was not particularly close to any trees and was exposed to less wind-induced noise. Position 4 is the EXPECTED, the others are flawed.

Position 4: only one without trees nearby or too close to the ground

In general, the continual dominance of insect noise, which is clearly unrelated to wind or atmospheric conditions, explains why the site sound levels - during the summer at least - do not exhibit any real dependence on wind speed.

A field survey of existing sound levels during leaf-on, summertime conditions was carried out at the Cape Vincent Wind Farm site in late August and early September of 2007.

Charles E. Ebbing - February 17, 2008 Letter to the Editor

I have been reading about the anticipated noise impact of wind farms on the North Country. One of the largest problems the public can have is in understanding the issue, particularly a complex, technical issue. Often understanding a problem is in itself a very big part of the problem. The purpose of my letter is to help you better understand noise as it relates to evaluating impacts of wind farms.

Background noise levels at your home represent the typical noise level when all of the transient intruding noises produced by vehicle traffic, helicopters, airplanes, snowmobiles, dogs barking and so forth, are not present. Most commonly it is the minimum noise level reading that you would read on a hand held sound level meter at that time. It is commonly approximated by the noise level that is exceeded 90% of the time and is called L90.

North Country background noise levels are extremely low. Typical levels are in the range of 25dBA to 35 dBA and are significantly lower than the noise in towns and cities.

If levels of 50 to 55dBA average noise levels from Wind Turbine Farms are permitted to intrude on your property, you will be allowing noise levels that are typical of very commercial, urban areas.

Unfortunately the loudness, color, fluctuation, and low frequency noise produced by an operating wind farm and those now present at your home are grossly different and cannot be compared and evaluated by a single sound measure such as the dBA.

So my point is simply this: the noise impacts must be evaluated on a level playing field and you cannot permit an over simplification of the problem by setting compliance levels and comparing background dBA readings with predicted dBA levels for a proposed wind farm. We need to do more!

Extremely quiet noise levels are not easily measured using automated sound data collection systems. These instruments are typically unable to measure very low background noise levels, because the wind induced noise on the microphone is often much larger than the actual background noise.

All of us are familiar with hearing the whooshing and whistling wind affect the microphones of outdoor weather broadcasts. Unless the low level background noises are recorded with special microphone wind screens and monitored to verify that wind induced measurement errors are not present the measurements become garbage in garbage out.

I am a retired Acoustical Engineer and have spent most of my adult life working for Carrier Air Conditioning in the area of product noise control, and the development and
application of noise criteria and measurement standards. I’ve had to deal with how and what to measure to provide meaningful noise ratings and how best to communicate this information to our customers. After retirement n 1999 I taught acoustics, noise control and the use of noise criteria in design at Syracuse University and RPI.

I have reviewed the Environmental Impact Statements of several local communities who are considering approval of large wind farms in their localities. The only acoustical
quantity that was considered was the average dBA which only take into account the higher frequencies. Average values can be very dangerous. Many people have drowned in creeks that have an average depth of a few feet but have many holes in which to drown.

The reality is this: these draft Environmental Impact Statements do not evaluate the annoying noises that rapidly change in noise levels, such as the cyclic whooshing noises produced when the turbine blades pass by the support pedestal or the transient noises produced at turbine cut in or cut out or those loud periodic noises produced by the turbine gearboxes.

Nor do they document the presence or absence of significant annoyance due to low frequency noises or vibrations. It is well known that low frequencies can be a very significant problem if the noise levels are high enough. The air conditioning industry has been dealing with this problem since 1978.

Low frequency noise problems are not imaginary; I have had to deal with large buildings in which the occupants were refusing to come to work if the low frequency problems were not fixed. So the bottom line is that meeting reasonable dBA target levels in a community will not insure that the low frequency noise (below 125 Hz) will not cause an unreasonable annoyance.

Much of our area affected considered for wind farm development is located on very shallow limestone shelves which will be directly connected to the massive concrete bases of the wind turbine. This means that the rotor vibrations, blade slap induced vibration on the turbine pedestal and the gearbox vibrations can be telegraphed to many houses whose foundations rest on the same slab.

I would hope that the planning boards in our area who are reviewing wind farm noise studies would insist on nothing less than comprehensive, accurate assessments. Assessments that consider all the possible noise impacts associated with wind turbines.

I would hope we decide to pay and study now rather than complain and pay later.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Summary of what has been happening in the Town of Italy

March 24, 2008

Update On Italy NY


Ecogen Wind LLC and Ecogen Transmission Corp. filed a detailed application for zoning approval to build a new proposed project on 3,775 acres in the southern portion of the town. This application was withdrawn several weeks later.


Nixon Peabody, representing Ecogen, filed a Reply Memorandum of Law with the State Supreme Court requesting pre-trial discovery that would lead to a number of causes of action against the town for their resistance to the wind project.

12-3-07 (estimated date)

A private meeting was held of Town Board members, town attorney, and representatives of Ecogen. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss what “amenities” might be given to the town by the developer in exchange for permission to build the project.


At the Town Board meeting Margaret Dunn read a brief prepared statement which said that the private meeting had been held, that amenities were discussed, but no other details were provided.

At the February Town Board meeting Ms. Dunn instructed Dave Ferry, Chair of the PB/ZBA, to consider a special industrial zone for the Ecogen project. The PB later scheduled a Special Meeting on 2-29-08 to discuss this matter. At the next Town Board meeting on 3-11 Dave made the recommendation to the Board that they consider changing the town comprehensive plan and zoning laws to create the “amenity zone” for the project. This recommendation, although consistent with Ms. Dunn’s request, surprised other Board members who could not understand how such a sweeping change could be proposed with so little review.

There is now a Special Meeting of the PB/ZBA scheduled for 3-27 at 7pm to “unschedule” the PBA Public Hearing that had originally been set for 3-29. That Public Hearing may not take place until May.

Energy East danced with others before choosing Iberdrola by Larry Rulison

The state Public Service Commission has ruled that Energy East Corp. must reveal the names of companies that sought merger deals with the utility before it accepted a $4.5 billion offer from Iberdrola SA last year.

The ruling is part of the ongoing case before the PSC.

Based in Maine, Energy East has 1.4 million customers in upstate New York through its New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric subsidiaries. About 45,000 of its customers are located in the Capital Region.

Last summer, Iberdrola, a Spanish utility, announced it planned to acquire Energy East. The merger needs approval from the states where Energy East does business, and New York is the last state that needs to give its approval.

As is often the case in PSC proceedings, staff at the agency have sought confidential records and financial records from Energy East and Iberdrola. Staff has been seeking more information about “alternative transactions” that Energy East may have rejected before agreeing to be be acquired by Iberdrola.

“Staff states that the company’s September proxy statement indicated that management of Energy East was approached about alternative transactions,” the PSC wrote in an order approved Wednesday. “The proxy statement, according to staff, reveals that the board of directors of Energy East discussed the potential beenfits of the alternative transactions and determined that the benefits of the Iberdrola acquisition outweighed the benefits of these alternative trasactions.”

The Times Union reviewed that proxy statement, which notes that the Energy East board met June 8 to discuss the Iberdrola merger. Here is what the company said happened at that meeting:

“The board of directors discussed the potential benefits of the two other pending strategic transactions under consideration at the time and determined that the benefits of completing those transactions were outweighed by the benefits associated with the proposed transaction with Iberdrola.”

The Iberdrola-Energy East merger is currently before an administrative law judge who wrapped up hearings yesterday. Now the PSC staff and the companies will submit motions to the judge, who will eventually make a recommendation to the PSC’s five commissioners whether to approve the deal or not.

Under state law, the public must benefit from the deal.

Iberdrola has already offered several concessions including rate cuts and investments in wind power that would benefit the state’s renewable energy plans.

Energy East has 10 days from last Wednesday to reveal the names of the suitors, but PSC spokesman James Denn said the names would not become public information and would only be revealed to those involved in the case, such as PSC staff.

NYSEG Covers Up Alternative Bids in Favor of Spanish Company Takeover by Jim Willis

At least the New York State PSC (Public Service Commission) is not sleeping while Energy East, parent of NYSEG (New York State Electric & Gas) seeks to sell out to a foreign owner. See PSC holds off approval of Energy East-Iberdrola deal in today’s Press & Sun-Bulletin.

The PSC is digging and has found there were two other offers for Energy East. But the big guns at Energy East don’t want to disclose who, or what, those offers were. I wonder why? Could it be the other offers lacked some of the gold in the golden parachutes the people at the top of Energy East will get from Iberdrola? You can be sure the people at the top are looking out for themselves and themselves only, and don’t care a wit for the workers or the ratepayers. No doubt they will move out of the area once this deal is done, meaning they won’t have to live under the higher rates that will surely come as a result of their actions.

The whole thing stinks to high heaven if you ask me. I have been against this from the start on the grounds that key infrastructure should not be foreign-owned. As I state every time I write about this, I am not xenophobic–I have many friends in other countries. It’s nothing against Spain or the Spanish people. My objection has everything to do with the security of our homeland.

Perhaps wiser people than I, who read this blog, can answer a question for me. I’ve noticed in following this story that there are rumors another company is trying to buy out Iberdrola itself! Of course Iberdrola denies the rumors out-of-hand. But ‘what if’? What if Iberdrola buys NYSEG and say, a French company buys Iberdrola? And then, because France freely engages in commerce with Iran, an Iranian company buys the French company and becomes the new owner of NYSEG? Or instead of France, a company from North Korea buys Iberdrola? Or a company from a country with hostile relations toward the U.S.? What happens then? Can we prevent and control who the ultimate owner is once ownership of NYSEG transfers off-shore? Perhaps approval of the sale of an American utility is always subject to approval by our country–I’m not sure but would like to know.

Equally disturbing to me is lack of control at the local level. When Iberdrola sends down the word to “reduce the workforce” (i.e., fire people) to boost the bottom line, or to “invest” all sorts of money in “green technologies” (socialist pap that increases our gas and electric rates), local managers will have little control. Yes, the PSC must approve rate increases and the like. But those who own this monopoly, and it IS a monopoly, will be able to do with it what they want and there is no way to ultimately control them. The owners, instead of being here in the U.S. of A, are a continent away.

Yeah, maybe I’m a bit paranoid on this topic. But something instinctively tells me this is not a good deal for New Yorkers, and not a good deal for America. What do you think? Leave a comment and make me feel better about NYSEG being sold to a foreign country.

EdF and Iberdrola, a Renewable Energy Powerhouse? by Denis Du Bois

The French utility Electricite de France SA has had exploratory talks with a construction company in Spain, with its eye on the Spanish energy market, according to an AP wire story.

The Wall Street Journal reported that EdF and Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA (ACS) are in advanced talks about teaming up to buy Iberdrola DS and Union Fenosa SA -- two major Spanish utilities -- for US$134 billion.

The combination of these two giants of renewable energy would create a global powerhouse with considerable clout in the supply chain and in politics.

EdF is the world's largest utility. Its subsidiary Energies Nouvelles is a major player in the renewable energy sector. One of the company's larger endeavors in 2007 was to start construction of a 300 MW wind farm off the coast of Belgium.

Energies Nouvelles operates four U.S. wind farms with 508.5 MW of total capacity owned by MidAmerican Energy Company. Energies Nouvelles Reparties (ENR) is a new EdF venture in equipment manufacturing, such as solar water heaters, photovoltaic modules, heat pumps and wood-fired heating equipment.

Iberdrola Renewables is a major operator of utility-class wind and solar installations, claiming 7,704 MW in clean energy production capacity worldwide.

Within the last few weeks it completed commissioning of the 223 MW Klondike III wind farm in Oregon.
The utility group last month acquired rights to a portfolio of 50 wind projects, with a total of 1,600 MW, in Romania. In 2007 New Energy Finance ranked Iberdrola Renewables as the world's leader in installed wind power capacity.

The acquisition deal has been only partly confirmed by EdF, and could face insurmountable resistance from regulators or the acquisition targets.

Cohocton residents complain about country roads by Bob Clark

Cohocton, NY,

Big trucks carrying thousands of pounds on dirt roads can cause big road problems, as Cohocton highway Superintendent Tom Simons knows well.

At this week’s Cohocton town board meeting, several residents complained about the conditions of the roads to Simons.

Repairing the roads, however, has been an on-going process for wind turbine contractor Mortenson Construction, Simons said. Mortenson is the main contractor on the 50-turbine industrial wind development on Pine, Lent and Dutch hills by UPC Wind Management.

“The windmill people are up there whenever there’s a problem,” he said.

Simons said most of the times Mortenson is called after he drives the roads himself to check for problem areas.

“I drive the roads and when I see it is impassable to the public, I give them a call,” Simons said. “I really haven’t had many complaints (from the public).”

In the last few weeks, however, the roads deteriorated after Mortenson’s grader was ticketed for operating without a license plate.

Simons added at the town board meeting it was mistakenly reported the town grader was out of commission.

“I received a bunch of calls over that one,” he said.

According to Cohocton Wind Watch leader Jim Hall, “the roads are just unpassable.” Hall, who lives on Pine Hill, said his vehicle had to visit the repair shop due to damage from the road conditions.

“It wasn’t that much,” he said, adding a plastic radiator shield was ripped off by the uneven road surface and a passing truck kicked up a rock into his windshield.

Hall, who drives a all-wheel drive Subaru, said it takes a lot for his vehicle to get hung up.

“That’s a pretty bad road,” he said. “It’s not just us (complaining), it’s everybody up here.”

But, bad roads from big trucks was to be expected, Hall added.

“But that comes with the territory,” he said. “I’m a little more lenient about detrimental conditions from construction.”

And as long as UPC keeps its side of a bargain with the town and county and repairs the roads after they are done, it will be OK.

The problem, according to Hall, is the trucks driving over the roadways in the late winter months, adding a lack of ground frost means the roads become almost impassable after a truck goes through.

“They’re flagrantly disregarding the agreement,” Hall said.

According to Simons, UPC has suspended hauling more turbine parts until the weather improves.

UPC Public Outreach Coordinator Rick Towner did not immediately return a call asking for comment.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reunion Power’s C.V. test tower is toppled by JIM AUSTIN

CHERRY VALLEY — One of Reunion Power’s 164-foot meteorological towers designed to measure wind strength was apparently blown down in a storm recently.

Andy Minnig, an East Hill resident and one of the founders of the Advocates for Cherry Valley which opposed Reunion’s plan to put as many as two dozen wind turbines there, said his wife noticed following a wind and ice storm that the normally visible tower suddenly wasn’t there anymore.

Minnig said he reported the ``disappearance’’ to Cherry Valley planning board chairman Walter Buist.

Buist reported the fact that it appeared the tower was down, and during last week’s town board meeting councilman Jim Johnson said he would go to the site and take a look. Johnson was accompanied by councilman Mark Cornwall, Buist and former planning board chairman Ed Harvey.

Town supervisor Tom Garretson said they did find the tower was down, and that it looked like one of the guy wires had worked loose from its mooring.

Reunion Power’s Managing Director Steven Eisenberg said Monday that he had heard the tower was down and planned to have someone at the site this week to assess the situation.

The company’s former Project Manager David Little had commented in the past that he believed East Hill had some of the best wind in New York State, but the kind of wind that reportedly took down the tower is not what they’re after.

``Extreme events are not desirable,’’ Eisenberg said. ``You don’t want super-high wind events. They don’t make energy, they just make a mess.’’

The town had been in discussions with Reunion about the removal of the towers, which were supposed to be temporary. Garretson said this week his position was that the met towers were erected on a temporary basis, and that after three years it was time for them to come down.

The planning board approved a three-year permit for the towers in November 2004. Eisenberg declined to comment on the discussions with Cherry Valley concerning removal of the met towers. He said it would be inappropriate to comment while he is still researching the issue.

The met tower that went down was erected in January 2005, and is one of two on East Hill.

It went up in Sure Wood Forest, a property on Route 50 owned by the families of Daniel and David Wightman, who operate Wightman’s Specialty Woods in Portlandville. Met towers are temporary wind measurement masts erected to collect wind data at the site and, according to Little, small devices measure wind characteristics at various heights on the 164-footby- 8-inch tower.

Planning board chairman Walter Buist could not be reached for comment.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New York PSC seeks more info from Energy East

The state Public Service Commission said it seeks more information from Energy East Corp. before it can decide whether the company's planned acquisition by Iberdrola is in the public interest.

The administrative law judge assigned to the case granted PSC staff's request that Energy East be required to identify operating subsidiaries of the company that were subject to alternative transactions.

The judge also determined that Energy East produce all material presented to its board of directors for its deliberations regarding the potential deals and Iberdrola's acquisition.

However, the judge determined that Energy East does not have to identify the proposed buyers involved in each of the alternative transactions.

"Consideration of the Iberdrola acquisition and whether that acquisition is in the public interest requires both an assessment of the merits of the acquisition and the merits of available alternatives that were considered at the time and rejected in favor of the proposed transaction," the PSC said in an order issued Wednesday. "In this case, the board of directors of Energy East indicated that two alternative transactions were considered and rejected in favor of the Iberdrola acquisition."

Energy East must disclose the identity of the entities to PSC staff within 10 days of the order.

The PSC said that Energy East initially refused to provide the information based on confidentiality grounds. Energy East later said the information was irrelevant to whether the proposed deal with Iberdrola was in the public interest.

PSC March 21, 2008 Letter on Energy East/Iberdrola by Bonnie Palmiter

March 21, 2008

To: Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling
Secretary to the Commission
New York State Public Service Commission
Agency Building 3
Albany, NY 12223-1350

From: Bonnie Palmiter
10139 Wagner Gully Road
Cohocton, NY 14826

Ref: Case 07-M-0906-Iberdrola Merger.

Secretary Brilling:

Iberdrola owning both energy producing and distributing facilities in this state creates a monopoly situation that will be bad for New York’s residents and its economy.There is no regulation or protection for us and it is up to you, the PSC to protect us whom have chosen to stay and live in New York. You can not allow a wind developer to own the distribution rights and pricing of our utilities. Wouldn’t you then be allowing a monopoly of electric utilities, therefore adding the burden onto us the consumer.

Wind certainly isn’t sustainable and is proven more expensive and defiantly not reliable without any perks to the consumer. Only the developers and corporations will be making out while the consumer is being burdened with the cost and foreign corporations are making money at the expense of New York residents.

If the PSC allows Iberdrola to own New York electric, wouldn’t you be selling New Yorkers out, not looking at the best interest of the people living here. Why would you put New York in a tight spot of allowing a foreign company to own our utilities? Is it not your job to be looking after the people of NY and our best interest. Allowing a foreign company to come in and buy our electric facilities out from under our own control will be very dangerous to us. Where is the guarantee that our service and repairs will be of high standards that we have now with our current companies in the U.S.?

The cost to New Yorker’s will be added onto the customers electric bills. We already pay high enough utility bills and to have to pay for foreign developers and corporations to own NY is appalling.

Wind developers have already come into New York and disrupted many country folks way of life in many ways. You have allowed them to infringe on the value of our homes, taken our scenic views where we chose to live in the country away. You have allowed non sustainable, unreliable source of power and significant increases for energy at the expense of New Yorker’s.

I truly hope the Public Service Commission is truly looking out for the taxpayers of New York, already much has been taken away from us, who have chosen to live in rural areas.