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

READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All You Need To Know About Industrial Wind Turbines - Audio Public Service Message

Office Of Sheriff County Of Steuben PRESS RELEASE - 4/30/08


Eminent domain question difficult to answer

To the Editor:

The statement is released relative to a request directed to the Garrett Board of County Commissioners by John Bambacus in which he asks "Will Garrett County use its power of eminent domain to unlawfully seize private property in the event a citizen refuses to grant an easement of any kind to permit an industrial wind turbine company right of way for a cable crossing, access road, etc.?

What is the county's position on the use of eminent domain as it relates to siting, permitting, or constructing anything to do with a 440-foot industrial wind turbine?"

First of all the board of county commissioners will not "unlawfully" seize property, period. Since the Supreme Court decision several years ago, the traditional limits that have existed on the use of eminent domain have been removed. As a result, local governments can use that power, if they choose, for nontraditional purposes, including economic development.

While the board of county commissioners appreciates the question, it is still a question in hypothetical form. Garrett County government has used the power of eminent domain on only three occasions that we can recall, all having to do with Glendale Road. One was for the location of the bridge abutments on the west side and two were the recent attempts to eliminate a dangerous curve in the road. In all of these uses agreements were reached with the property owners without the necessity of a trial.

Perhaps more important to an understanding of this issue is the reluctance that the county has had in using the power even for its own uses. It is important to note that it has been much more frequent that the board of county commissioners has directed staff to look for alternatives that would protect the property rights of the residents and citizens of Garrett County.

The limited use speaks to this and represents those circumstances where there was no other option. With all of that said, and realizing that this is a power that the board of county commissioners has, we have no expectation that it would ever be used. While they have the right, what purpose would there be in saying it could or would never be used?

If the board of county commissioners took that position they would also be giving up the right to seek to remove windmills by the use of eminent domain if they wanted to be consistent in their policies. It is that type of a dilemma that makes answering hypothetical questions so difficult.

Lamont Pagenhardt, county administrator
Gorman Getty, county attorney

Wind turbines 'could trigger fits'

Wind turbines which rotate quickly could cause seizures, a new study has said.

Blades should not spin more than 60 times a minute, according to researchers at the Universities of Essex and Aston.

They said people who were photosensitive could be in danger if they were too close to fast-spinning turbine blades.

Professor Arnold Wilkins, who works in the University of Essex's psychology department, and his colleagues analysed the effect of "shadow flicker" on photosensitive people.

"Turbines that rotate faster or have more blades will produce unacceptable levels of flicker," said a spokeswoman for the research team.

"Smaller variable-speed turbines range between 30 and 300 revolutions a minute and some have more than three blades, so their flicker is within the range for which seizures are likely.

"In addition, photosensitive people would need to be at least four kilometres away to significantly reduce the possibility of seizures, a distance approximately 100 times the height of an average turbine."

The spokeswoman added: "They were looking to identify what type of flicker from wind turbines could bring on seizures and as a result have come up with guidelines to minimise impact.

"Planning permission for wind farms often consider flicker, but current guidelines relate to annoyance and are based on physical or engineering considerations rather than the danger to people who may be photosensitive."

Three years ago an energy firm started switching off a wind turbine near a top-security prison during the early morning because the flickering shadows it created annoyed inmates. Longhill Energy agreed to halt the turbine outside Whitemoor Prison near March, Cambridgeshire, because of possible "security problems" if prisoners became upset.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

PSC approves wind farm transmission line

ALBANY – The New York State Public Service Commission Wednesday approved the construction plans for a 5.6 mile 230 kV transmission line along with necessary infrastructure improvements needed for the construction of a 127-megawatt Noble Wethersfield wind farm project in Wyoming County.

In granting final approval of the Environmental Management and Construction Plan, the Commission will allow construction of the substation, the switchyard, access roads and the transmission facility. The transmission line will run from Wethersfield, Wyoming County to Orangeville, Wyoming County.

“Wind farm projects such as Noble Wethersfield, which generate electricity from renewable sources, increase energy diversity and promote a cleaner, healthier environment,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “Approval of the environmental management and construction plan, while taking into account environmental and construction-impact concerns, is an important step for this particular project.”

DEC to head turbine study by ROBERT BRAUCHLE

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has declared itself the lead agency for a state environmental quality review of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Project — a ruling that may set a precedent of state review of future turbine projects.

The ruling by DEC Commissioner Alexander B. "Pete" Grannis on Friday afternoon is the first time the state has stepped in to perform a SEQR for a wind project. In the only other case where the commissioner made the lead agency determination, the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency was awarded lead agency status.

Upstate NY Power Corp. has proposed to construct 77 turbines on the island. The company has submitted plans for temporary residential, food service and health care structures to support about 250 workers during the project's construction.

Town officials were upset by the decision.

"This just adds to the overall turmoil of the whole project," Hounsfield Supervisor Jean H. Derouin said. "I anticipated this. It just shows the outside pressure being put on local people."

The ruling comes after the state Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Office of General Services all sent letters to the commissioner supporting the town Planning Board as lead agency.

DEC spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler said the regional office, in Watertown, will be the "folks on the ground giving feedback," despite the commissioner's decision to perform the review from the department's Albany office.

Mr. Litwhiler said he spoke with Judy Drabicki, DEC Region 6 director.

"She did say she was happy with the decision," he said.

The commissioner listed three primary criteria for this decision: The turbines, transmission line and infrastructure all will affect the largely undeveloped island, he wrote.

Also noted is the potential archaeological significance on the island from Native America and European settlers.

"I conclude that potential impacts associated with this project are primarily of regional and even statewide significance and, thus, that DEC would be most appropriately designated as lead agency under this criterion," the commissioner's decision read.

Mr. Grannis noted that the sewage and water infrastructure built for the island's temporary workers during construction will need DEC approval.

"DEC will have jurisdiction ... for all work under the water, including docking slip construction," the ruling states. "Likely impacts to the numerous and extensive wetlands on the island, from construction of the various components of the project including turbine sites, water and wastewater systems, housing, and all roadways, would require approvals from DEC."

DEC has more in-house staff and experts to serve as the lead agency, according to the commissioner.

Hounsfield officials take issue with that argument.

"This decision shows the DEC thinks we're not smart enough or we don't have backbone to do it right," Mr. Derouin said. "This just gives the DEC staff in Albany the chance to walk around in the different agencies to say, 'Look at what we've accomplished.'"

This does not set a precedent for DEC to declare itself lead agency for future wind turbine projects, Mr. Litwhiler said.

That may not be true, said Dennis G. Whelpley, the town's attorney.

"If you follow the law and their reasoning, the DEC can be lead agency on every project," he said. "They are basing their jurisdictional analysis on speculation, and they're not supposed to do that."

The attorney said that filing an Article 78 lawsuit to try to have the decision reversed is an option, but he had not talked with town officials Friday night to determine whether they want to pursue legal action.

"It's always about bats and birds, but what about the people?" Mr. Derouin said.

The Hounsfield Town Council has said that emergency services will be provided by the town, making the project a town issue. The DEC ruling flipped the argument, saying Hounsfield will need mutual aid to respond, making it a regional concern.

With that argument, DEC could become the lead agency for any project that needs mutual aid, Mr. Whelpley said.

"If the Salmon Run Mall wants to build an addition, that would be DEC," he said.

Mr. Litwhiler said DEC now will determine whether the project has a significant environmental impact.

"We're anticipating a positive declaration," he said.

Times staff writer Nancy Madsen contributed to this report.

Update from Anne Britton



Monday, April 28, 2008

A Prime Location for a Wind Turbine - Spring Time for Blow Hards

Alice Sokolow April 28, 2008 Letter on Prattsburgh Comprehensive Planning Committee


To Prattsburgh Town
Pam Kula Clerk
Comprehensive Planning Committee
For Meeting of 4/28/08 on review of draft

From Alice Sokolow 6901 Cayward Hill Rd as well as 34 Avonmore Way Penfield, NY 14526

Critique of Prattsburgh's Comprehensive Planning

General: As found in Comprehensive Planning

Prattsburgh's Plan is Missing:
1. The plan must specify the maximum intervals at which the adopted plan will be reviewed.
2. A newly adopted plan or amended plan must take into consideration any applicable county agricultural and farmland protection plan.
Prattsburgh's Plan mentions the following but does not have data driven analysis attached to the document:
Typical Components
"As suggested by state law, many localities organize their comprehensive plans into six major components. These components and their contents are as follows:

(Click on above link to read entire letter)

Gerald C. Sahrle II Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

In response to the April 21st article titled: "Alexander's majestic new residents", I have to ask, who really is protecting America's most beloved bird, the American Bald Eagle? How much money and time has been spent over the years bringing our national symbol back to life. Alexander's Town Supervisor Ruth Hulshoff definitely has one thing right, they're wonderful and a sight to behold. My family and I were able to have the same feelings back in March of 2005.

My mother had the same experience in October of 2005. It took 36 years of my life to see our national symbol in the wild. Both of these eagle sitings were located near wind turbines #11, 12, 13, 68, 69, and 70 of the proposed Dairy Hills Wind Plant. We also have eagles nesting in the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, with another Horizon proposed Industrial Wind Plant. Now eagles are nesting in Alexander. Last I read in the Daily, Alexander was considering Industrial Wind Turbines 480' tall.

After Western N.Y. has 3000-5000 IWT's, how many American Bald Eagles will be left? Is our government, along with the wind turbine salespeople going to team up to train this bird how to fly around all these moving objects. How does a wind turbine company mitigate killing a national symbol? With over half of these companies being foreign owned, one has to wonder if they care at all about our heritage.

This all leads back to my original question- who is protecting our beloved bird? Is it the DEC, our Planning boards, Town boards, or how about our County Planning boards? Ultimately, who will be held responsible when the eagles are slaughtered by the wind turbines? Will it fall to the wind companies, the landowners, or Town and County boards? For those boards who have taken the time to protect this bird and so much more, I thank you.

With all these turbines coming, I just wonder if our future generations will ever have the pleasure of seeing what my family saw back in 2005.

Greed money from a wind big deal. Seeing our American Bald Eagle in the wild.....PRICELESS!!!

Gerald C. Sahrle II Castile, NY

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo April 27, 2008 Letter by James Hall

April 27, 2008


The Honorable Attorney General Andrew Cuomo,

As you are aware from the Cohocton Wind Watch letter of September 26, 2007, (copy enclosed) that our organization urges New York State to prosecute the numerous industrial wind developers for criminal conduct. It is crucial that the ordinary citizens are able to petition their government to enforce laws that must be obeyed. The recent investigations by District Attorney Derek Champagne of Franklin County will end with indictments and needed convictions.

Your direct involvement into the uncovering and prosecution of corrupt officials and dishonest business enterprises is central to judicial accountability. The ultimate responsibility to safeguard the integrity of government administration rests with the Attorney General. When the personal conduct and actions of elected and appointed officials violate the law, the AG must step in and restore confidence in the process of fair, honest and lawful decisions.

CWW totally supports your efforts to use the full weight and power of New York State government to engage in a comprehensive and coordinated effort to bring justice to the way industrial wind developers are conducting business. While the State Legislature and Governor contemplate adoption of an Article X policy, the abuses being committed by depraved local officials continues unabated.

Home rule is a cherished principle, but when town officials forgo their responsibility to protect the public safety and render decisions that defy any standard of rational balance, the State of New York needs to intervene.

Cohocton Wind Watch does not oppose alternative energy projects when done correctly. However, when the Enron wind industry model continually misrepresents economic projections, sufficient wind resources and verifiable electric production evidence, the only rational conclusion is that they are perpetrating a massive fraud on New York State and the taxpayers.

Please demonstrate the kind of effective public leadership that we all want and will enthusiastically support. CWW pledges our full cooperation with your office and emphatically endorses a statewide prosecution of the illegal business practices of companies like UPC Wind.


James Hall for CWW

MDPSC Administrative Hearing Comments re Case No. 8938 (Sic) on Criterion Wind

Some years ago, a high schooler, after reading that Harriet Tubman had taken an evasive flight to escape her bondage, assumed she had boarded an airplane, ignorant that the Wright Brothers wouldn’t fly for another 54 years. We cringe each time a report surfaces about how many high school students don’t know the seminal events of history or literature, or how few know basic geography. Yet we seem to give our politicians a pass when it comes to providing evidence in support of public policy decisions. Governor O’Malley, for instance, recently justified his support of wind technology because, he said, it’s a necessary part of the energy mix that would free us from the tyranny of foreign oil imposed by Arab jihadists—evidently ignorant that wind only produces electricity and that we use oil for only .3 of one percent of our electricity generation. Moreover, Canada and Mexico rank one and two respectively among the countries supplying the United States with “foreign” oil.

Mr. O’Malley is a busy man who surely cannot know everything. He must rely on staff, particularly the people he appoints to our regulatory agencies, to provide the essential information on which to base his policy decisions. In this instance, the state’s public service commissioners should be the source of enlightened information about potential power producers. What are the you, the PSC commissioners prepared to tell the governor and the public about this limited liability Criterion Wind project beyond the report filed by PSC staff in this case?

How about a statement of facts that will expose what a scam this project is? The twenty-eight 430-feet tall turbines proposed here would have a rated capacity of 70MW. However, because of its likely capacity factor, it would, on average, produce about 18MW to the PJM grid, which has a peak generation of around 140,000MW. Further, more than half the time it would produce less than 20% of its rated capacity and, at peak times, often produce nothing. You might highlight how the PJM has granted this project only 13% of its nameplate capacity, meaning that if there is a transmission crunch, as occurs frequently, the grid will limit transmission from this installation to 9MW. Given the volatile nature of the wind, it would have no effective capacity, meaning it could never replace any reliable conventional plant, including coal, and more than a dozen projects like it would not, in any rational policy, prevent the building of additional conventional plants to meet new demand. And given the thermal implications involved in balancing wind’s volatility, among other factors, this project—and all others like it—would offset, at best, relatively miniscule levels of carbon emissions throughout the grid.

Consequently, this enormous installation, spread over ten miles of the state’s rarest, most sensitive habitat atop its most prominent mountain, cannot accomplish any of the state’s environmental goals, including mitigating climate change, making the air cleaner, improving public health, and providing reliable supply to supplant the state’s aging electricity generation plants.

On the other hand, it will environmentally devastate hundreds of acres of habitat, putting at risk much wildlife, some species of which are extremely vulnerable, while creating unlawful noise to be heard by neighboring property owners, not to mention many other nuisances that will reduce quality of life. It will mock both Garrett County’s Natural Heritage Plan and the state’s strictures about protecting scenic highways.

None should pretend that this project is not born of what may be the most contemptible law passed in the last decade, a law dedicated to the pursuit of ignorance, made for a politically connected wind developer and a prominent wind lobbyist expressly to eliminate public inquiry and a systematic search for relevant information that could protect citizens, consumers, and the environment. What are the remedies for citizens who experience unlawful noise and deleterious health effects, for wildlife mortality, for property devaluations, for energy promised and not delivered? The PSC staff report is silent on these questions.

The staff report also fails to convey what happened at the requisite public hearing last month in Garrett County. About 150 people attended this “hearing,” of whom 40 spoke. Of these only 7 supported the project, 4 of whom were either employees of the wind industry or were business partners with Criterion. There was overwhelming opposition.

That this application was slotted into the old Clipper file is yet another example of the pretentiousness involved with this case. It has been more than five years since the original case’s evidentiary hearing, which was conducted with an expedited review, during which time much has been learned about the potential for that original project to inflict a great deal of harm—and about its dim prospects for delivering on any of its claims. Surely one of the purposes of a five-year construction limitation, which ended last month for the Clipper project, is the idea that circumstances would change within this time that could significantly alter consideration of the decision to grant a CPCN in the first place. But this was casually ignored.

Given that the General Assembly has crippled PSC review for future massive wind projects, this agency will no doubt approve this application. But you, as commissioners, should have the decency to say that you do so without considering its merits. As a service to the governor and the people of the state, you should also accompany your “approval” by putting an end to the disinformation campaign that has allowed people to believe contrived claptrap about wind technology, the same scientific gibberish the legislature used to adopt recent measures about the future use of wind and other so-called renewables. We need more wind projects like a prom queen needs acne.

Is it any wonder that people have become so cynical about their government—when its regulatory agencies hide behind a contemptible law to avoid doing their jobs, deceptively securing political ends while ignoring the public they are chartered to serve? And allow the governor to spout nonsense in defense of his policies. The PSC should know better. And do better. Let me challenge you to consult the better angels of your nature. You should clear the air by providing a countervailing whiff of reality, which could provide the basis for much more effective policy, saving citizens millions of dollars, while sparing people from an endless stream of political bromide and self-serving, unsubstantiated industry claims on behalf of feckless, environmentally treacherous technologies.

Jon Boone
Intervenor in the Clipper Case
503 East Alder Street
Oakland, MD 21550
April 23, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Energy enables modern society by heating our homes and businesses, providing vast transportation systems, and producing electricity. Consumption of electricity accounts for about 39 % of all energy use in the United States (which includes nearly a third of the energy produced for heating and a tiny fraction involved in transportation). Electricity demand doubled from 1970-2000 and is on pace to increase another 20% by 2009. However, because electricity production and use has become more efficient over this time, the rate of consumption, though it continues to climb, is not nearly as large as the growth rate of the general economy.

We expect electricity to be reliable, affordable, and secure, which is made difficult because supply and demand must be kept in continuous balance. Unlike the water supply, large-scaled electrical power can’t be stored.

Ten regional networks known as electricity “grids” have evolved to:

• assemble the most dependable, economical, efficient, and controllable sources of power,
• forecast demand with 99% accuracy, in real time, and
• transmit that power at specified frequencies over a range of distances (often hundreds of miles) to a variety of users within their respective regions.

The overall goal is to achieve reliable capacity. To ensure reliability at the lowest cost, grid operators consider capacity in four basic ways as they evaluate electricity generators:

Rated Capacity, sometimes known as Installed or Nameplate Capacity, describes a power generating machine’s optimal performance output in megawatts (millions of watts—MW);

Capacity Factoris the average output of the machine over time (typically one year), and expressed as a percentage of its rated capacity multiplied by the hours in the period, often expressed as kilowatt (thousands of watts) hours—kWh;

Capacity Credit is a statistical average, for planning and security purposes, of the percentage of rated capacity forecast to be available for use at peak demand periods (for, by ordering power supply well ahead of the time it is used, the grid can lessen unit cost by purchasing bulk supplies and provide for grid security by maintaining adequate supply, including sufficient reserve margins); and

Capacity Value or Effective Capacity is the percentage of a machine's rated capacity that grid operators can be confidant will be available for use at any 15 minute time-ahead interval. (This is the key to reliable system performance, since it means the unit’s power will be available on demand when needed.)

Conventional generators—coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro, which together account for 95% of the nation’s electricity power—must pass stringent tests of reliability and performance before they are deployed. All of their electricity generation is capable of being dispatched on command. Typically, they produce their Rated Capacities when asked to do so, and they maintain a steady energy level throughout their operating time, except when they are called upon to ramp up or back in response to demand changes.

In the case of large coal and nuclear plants, their response to a grid manager’s request for power is relatively slow but within a well-understood time period. They often require days to ramp up and back. However, they are very predictable and dependable. They supply basic demand levels and have Capacity Factors approaching, even exceeding, 90%. (Last year nuclear achieved 92% in the US). They provide essential power, and are typically taken off line only for scheduled maintenance and retooling.

Power from smaller conventional units is dispatched on an “as needed” basis, primarily in response to changes in demand. These changes can be slowly incremental over the course of a day, or rapidly dynamic and measured in fractions of seconds as people and industries continually turn their appliances off and on. Small to mid-sized flexibly responsive units are deployed to handle such circumstances. These may have Capacity Factors ranging from 1%-70%. A small diesel unit, for instance, might be used only a few hours a year at times of peak demand on a hot day or in emergencies.

Conventional generators often see limited usage not because of the intrinsic nature of their power source but rather because of a combination of changing demand levels, cost factors, and scheduled maintenance necessary for efficient operation. Of course, there are rare unscheduled outages, but these are kept to a minimum by continual performance testing and maintenance. Unreliable performance would result in the unit’s removal from the system.

Because of this predictable reliability, grid operators can count on the availability of conventional generating units to meet demand forecasts (as well as normal deviations) on a variety of schedules—ranging from a year to minutes ahead of deployment—by which to contract for the lowest prices. Such predictability provides a Capacity Credit of well over 90% for each unit and a Capacity Value exceeding 99%.

How does wind power fit into this complex but delicately balanced mix? Wind turbines rarely produce their Rated Capacity, don’t generate dispatchable energy, and have frequent unpredictable daily outages. They don’t have to pass tests of performance reliability, for unreliability is the norm.

Since wind power is proportional to the cube of the wind speed, small changes in wind velocity affect output enormously. For example, a doubling of wind speed from 11 mph to 22 mph increases power from 6% to 73% of rated capacity—a 12-fold increase. Of course, the converse applies as wind’s speeds decrease. Large wind turbines typically don’t begin producing energy until wind speeds reach 5-6 mph and shut down (for safety reasons) as wind speeds approach 55 mph. They generally produce their rated capacities at wind speeds between 29-35 mph. A few wind plants located in wind-rich locations may produce some level of energy up to 92% of the time; but no one can be sure how much of their energy will be available at, say, 4:00 PM tomorrow—much less next week, or next month. The wind machines themselves may be ready for action but if the fuel isn’t there—that is, if the wind isn’t blowing in the right speed range—the units will not be available for service. Moreover, even when a turbine is producing power, it is never certain what the power level will be, since it’s continuously changing.

A wind turbine’s output varies continuously between zero and 100% of its Rated Capacity, always skittering, extremely sensitive to small changes in wind speed. This fluctuating output, averaged annually, produces a Capacity Factor of between 18% and 35% for industrial wind projects, depending upon a number of factors. In reviewing the performance of over 7000 widely scattered turbines in Germany, E.On Netz, manager of one of that country’s largest grid systems, showed that at no point in 2003 did wind power from the whole array exceed 80% of its Rated Capacity. For more than half the days in 2004, the sum of wind output to the grid was lower than 11% of its Rated Capacity. By contrast, conventional generators steadily and dependably produce nearly 100% of their Rated Capacity throughout the time they are deployed.

In most wind rich areas of the world, the wind blows hardest at times of lowest demand, and typically blows least during times of highest demand. On the other hand, most conventional generators work independently of external factors (with the exception of hydro in times of drought, although hydro, at times intermittent, is never unpredictable). The disparity between wind availability and demand, as well as wind’s skittering output, has grave implications for wind's Capacity Credit—that is, for reliable expectations of its availability at any future peak demand time.

Statistically, the historical data can show that a certain amount of wind energy was available at any critical point in a wind plant’s history. Operationally, however, because wind behavior is randomly unique for any future time (in much the same fashion as a baseball player's batting average can't foretell the outcome of his next at bat), statistical history is not sufficient to ensure firm reliability. In short, due to the random nature of its power source, wind energy can never be depended upon to be available on demand. This has consequences for increased consumer prices, for if there is a shortfall from the energy projected in wind’s Capacity Credit, grid operators must supplement supply with more expensive power purchased at the moment on what is known as the “spot market.”

Because wind energy provides no Capacity Value, it cannot be considered as a reliable source of supply for operational purposes. And neither can it be used to augment reliable power to meet new and increased demand—unless it is partnered with highly flexible conventional generators, which, as E.On Netz’s various wind reports have shown, must be maintained at levels of 80%-90% of wind’s total Rated Capacity in order to assure grid stability.

To illustrate how these concepts apply to wind installations in the real world, let’s use the Meyersdale wind facility in southern Pennsylvania as an example, and plug in the numbers. With twenty 1.5MW turbines, the plant has a Rated Capacity of 30MW. It has an observed Capacity Factor, over three years, of about 27%—meaning that it erratically produces on average 8MW (expressed in kWh) for the regional (PJM) transmission grid, which generates up to 140,000MW at peak times.

More than half the time, however, Meyersdale generates less than 15% of its Rated Capacity—about 5MW. At peak demand on the hottest summer days, it often produces nothing. According to performance data, it has a Capacity Credit of about 12% (3MW), which is produced by averaging the times when this amount of wind power was available at peak demand during the three-year history. Operationally, however, statistical history will not be good enough to ensure firm reliability at any specific future time—thereby reducing the plant’s Capacity Value to zero.

The hope for wind energy stems from a belief that it will offset significant carbon emissions as it substitutes for dirty burning coal plants. But what is the evidence for this? Many factors influence the volume of carbon emissions that wind energy might offset in the production of electricity, including calculating the CO2 emitted in the manufacture, transportation, construction, and maintenance involved in the installation of wind projects. Any analysis examining this issue must account for (1) what happens as wind energy enters the grid, causing grid operators to turn off or back conventional generators in response (or hold back generators that might otherwise have been deployed if there were no wind energy), and (2) what happens as operators seek to integrate wind’s wild fluctuations.

To keep costs low, grid systems typically dispatch the lowest cost (usually based upon the fixed wholesale price of fuel), most flexible power units to supply increments of demand. As wind unpredictably wanders into and off of the grid, it often depends upon the grid’s fuel mix, and the relative costs for each, as to what fuel(s) wind energy will actually displace or avoid.

When it enters the grid, volatile wind energy behaves much like fluctuations in demand, where appliances are continually turned off and on, often randomly, although, after a hundred years of assessing them, grid controllers can now predict demand fluctuations with great accuracy. However, wind flux is in addition to demand flux—and much less predictable. Wind adds another layer of instability that must be smoothed out so that demand and supply are balanced precisely. Controllers respond to the wind influx by dialing back the generation from the operation of conventional units, much as they do when demand decreases. And as the level of wind energy flutters about the grid, rising and falling at random, rapidly responsive conventional generators are deployed to balance this ebb and flow. When wind energy disappears from the grid, it is as if demand has again increased, and more power is required from conventional sources to match it.

Nuclear and large coal plants operate much too slowly for their steady generation to be displaced or avoided by the dynamic volatility of wind production. Wind energy cannot therefore be a sporadic substitute for these indispensable power sources, as many believe. In most cases, wind would be a stand-in for hydro and natural gas units, which can be turned on and off quickly. If the former, there would be no carbon savings; if the latter, only minimal carbon savings could accrue, since natural gas units burn 60% cleaner than coal plants. However, since their fuel is more expensive, natural gas plants are more likely to be displaced or avoided by wind generation due to economic dispatch considerations.

Integrating wind’s skittering energy levels within the mix of reliably steady conventional generation is a daunting challenge. Achieving this integration insures there will be increased financial and environmental costs. The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t nature of wind necessitates that it be continuously accompanied by reliable compensatory generation in order to maintain a steady power flow matched to demand. Consequently, wind can only be one ingredient in a larger fuel mix. Contrary to one of the industry’s most persistent claims, it cannot of itself power any home under modern standards of reliable performance.

Since the ramping limitations of nuclear and large coal plants preclude their ability to provide balancing compensation for wind volatility, in most cases that compensation will come, ironically, from the same power sources dialed back to be displaced by wind in the first place: natural gas units, supplemented by a few flexible coal-fired plants. Hydro generation could also accomplish this task in areas where water abounds for electricity production. In any case, wind’s companion generation must be deployed in a highly dynamic, off-and-on way. But the efficiency of cleaner-burning natural gas plants, when they are repeatedly throttled up and back, is reduced, effectively negating much of the greenhouse gas offsets that wind substitution may have produced. For instance, researchers from the Renewable Energy Foundation in Britain demonstrated that a 2% increase in inefficiency for such fossil-fueled units can result in a 16% increase in carbon emissions throughout a grid system, much like the increased emissions from an automobile in stop-and-go traffic compared to a steady 60 mph drive on the highway.

Between the: (1) uncertainty about what power sources wind energy would replace or avoid from minute to minute, (2) the operational inefficiencies inherent in switching conventional power sources off and on to accommodate wind’s continuously changing intensity, and (3) the emissions created in the construction and operation of the wind power facilities, actual measurement of emissions offsets due to wind installations is difficult to calculate accurately, and the results would vary from grid to grid. Moreover, consumers of electricity will be charged not only for the cost of the wind power itself but also for the cost of wind’s companion generation.

Given the possible scenarios, system-wide carbon emissions offsets are likely to be miniscule throughout most of the nation’s grids. The Electric Power Research Institute in California affirmed this circumstance, agreeing that it is technically incorrect to assume that wind energy will displace fossil generated power and decrease CO2 emissions on a kWh for kWh basis. Its report concludes that in a real operating situation, because large-scale storage of electricity is not possible, any CO2 saving will be small.

Consider an analogy between the internal combustion automobile and a hypothetical windmobile. The auto has a Capacity Factor of about 25%, limited by a combination of operator choice (people generally don't drive them 24 hours a day each day of the year) and by the need for ongoing maintenance and continual refueling. However, when it is asked to work, it will do so with a high rate of reliability—99.9% of the time. This is its Capacity Value.

Contrast this with the windmobile, which one can never be sure if it will start or not. If that wouldn’t be annoying enough, most of the time its speed lurches between extremes, often stopping without warning. And if the windmobile became popular (due to substantial federal and state financial incentives), there would soon be an array of traffic accommodations created to enable it, such as requiring a host of new traffic controls and patterns, not to mention the borrowed cars, buses, taxis, and late appointments involved in going hither and yon. This activity corresponds to the way the grid is increasingly called upon to provide special means to integrate wind’s unreliable volatility.

A 1600MW coal plant produces a reliable, steady stream of 1600MW day and night throughout the year. It is also contained within a relatively small area and can be equipped with scrubbers to eliminate most noxious emissions, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and mercury. Contrast this with a wind plant consisting of 2650 turbines, each rated at 2.0MW stretched out for hundreds of miles, delivering a skittering annual average of 1600MW based upon a 30% Capacity Factor—but producing no Capacity Value.

Although the annual energy contribution of the two facilities would be equivalent on paper, the wind plant could never replace the coal plant in terms of its capacity. In fact, one should ask how many such wind facilities must be built to equal the Effective Capacity of that single coal plant. Or any conventional generating plant. And then one should ask about the thermal implications, as well as the environmental consequences, of such a vast enterprise.

The essence of "green" technology is that it strives to leave no trace. Wind is not a “leave no trace” technology. The premise behind the idea of whether we should have wind installations instead of conventional generation is badly skewed. Better to ask whether we should have phlogiston instead of oxygen in the air we breathe. Wind is a supernumerary producer of electricity enabled because the slap and tickle of wind propaganda flatters the gullible, exploits the well intentioned, and nurtures the craven. It is made possible because there's no penalty for lying in the energy marketplace.

Jon Boone
April 26, 2008

A special thanks to Tom Tanton, Lisa Linowes, Dave Beaudoin, Art Pundt, Mary Kay Barton, and Barbara Boone, each of whom reviewed various drafts of this work and provided valuable emendations. John Droz energized both its substance and style; he infused many sections with better text and improved clarity—for which I’m most grateful.

Friday, April 25, 2008

PSC OKs transmission line for Wyoming wind farm by MATTHEW DANEMAN

The state Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved construction plans for a 5.6-mile, 230-kilovolt power transmission line for the planned Noble Wethersfield wind farm in Wyoming County.

Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power LLC plans this year to build an 85-turbine wind farm southwest of Warsaw.

The transmission line approved by the state would run from the Wyoming County communities of Wethersfield to Orangeville, where there is a New York State Electric & Gas transmission line.

Iberdrola again threatens to call off merger By LARRY RULISON

ALBANY Officials with Iberdrola SA reiterated Thursday the Spanish company is ready to walk away from its $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. if state regulators continue to require the sale of wind-farm assets in New York state.

The issue appears to be the most divisive between Iberdrola and staff at the Public Service Commission, the state agency with final regulatory say over the deal.

Pedro Azagra, Iberdrola's corporate development director, said in an interview Thursday that the company is ready to scrap the merger if the conditions aren't right.

"We do deals that make sense," he said. "We do deals that are good for the shareholders. If we can't achieve those goals, we don't do the deals."

Energy East, based in Maine, has more than 1 million customers in upstate New York through its New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric subsidiaries.

The merger has received all of the shareholder and governmental approvals it needs to be completed -- except for approval from the PSC's five voting commissioners.

Although staff at the PSC, which gives recommendations and guidance to the commissioners, do not have the final say on the merger, they have been arguing the case in a legal process overseen by an administrative law judge.

Iberdrola has agreed to several concessions in the case, including the sale of Energy East's fossil-fuel power plants in New York state and rate reductions for consumers. The company has offered to provide upstate customers $50 million in rate relief right after the deal closes.

But it has not budged on the PSC staff demand to get out of the wind-generation business in New York state.

Through a separate company called Iberdrola Renewables, the utility has a 50 percent stake in the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, the largest wind farm in the state. And it has 10 others in development in New York state.

The PSC staff argues that if Iberdrola were to maintain ownership of Maple Ridge and develop other wind farms, it would have too much sway in the state's wholesale power market, a key component of its deregulated energy industry.

Iberdrola says it would be impossible to influence wholesale pricing with wind farms, especially since wind is an "intermittent and unpredictable" power source.

The company is the largest wind developer in the world and the second-largest in the United States. As part of its offer of concessions to the PSC staff, Iberdrola is offering to promise $100 million in wind-farm investments in New York state over the next three years.

Azagra, the Iberdrola executive, said that investment could go a long way in helping the state reach its renewable energy goals. The state wants to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources like hydro power and wind by 2013. The state is currently at 19 percent renewable power, and most of the gains will have to come with wind power. Like his predecessors, Gov. David Paterson is a huge supporter of the goal.

"We don't want to do $100 million in New York, we want to do more than that," Azagra said. "How many have committed to investments in New York, in writing? No one. We want to do as much as we can in New York. We want to do as much renewables as we can. We're credible, and we can deliver."
Although several state agencies support the Iberdrola-Energy East merger -- with certain conditions -- the governor's office is taking a more arm's length approach.

"The governor recognizes the potential this plan has for New York ratepayers," said Paterson spokesman Michael Whyland. "However, it is up to the PSC to evaluate the deal and ensure it results in real savings. It's important to respect this process." Rulison can be reached at 454-5504 or by e-mail at



from Industrial Development Agency subsidies.


11 a.m. IDA Coalition Briefing
@ NYS AFL-CIO (100 South Swan Street)

12 noon Legislator Lobbying
@ NYS Capitol & Legislative Office Building

2 p.m. IDA Coalition Debrief
@ NYS AFL-CIO (100 South Swan Street)

Our thanks to the NYS AFL-CIO for hosting the coalition’s events.

Hamlin sets rules for wind turbines

HAMLIN — Voices shouted and tears flowed Thursday night as the Town Board adopted a new law regulating wind farm development.

Councilman Paul Rath recused himself from the vote and debate because he has signed a lease agreement with a wind energy company.

Of the 75 people who attended the meeting, dozens opposed the new regulations, arguing they do not do enough to protect town residents.

The rules require that there be 1,200 feet between a wind turbine and the closest dwelling and 600 feet between it and the property line. But many residents wanted at least a 1,700-foot buffer from dwellings.

"Our concerns aren't being heard," said resident Tony Callari, who lives in an area where turbines might be built. Callari called the new law "developer-friendly."

Supervisor Dennis Roach told the crowd he had researched wind turbines and believed the law was "balanced, reasonable and defensible."

All four board members who voted in favor of the resolution said the 1,200-foot setback was appropriate.

Some residents shouted at board members during their pre-vote discussion. One man called for Roach's resignation before storming out mid-meeting, and several people laughed when board members attempted to defend the details of the resolution. One woman sobbed after the vote, saying the board had just "destroyed the town."

The new guidelines allow turbines only in low-density residential areas and require developers to obtain variances, special-use permits and environmental studies to ensure any towers would not disrupt ecosystems, migratory bird paths or other town residents. The rules also include noise restrictions.

The wind-turbine debate began in Hamlin in late 2006, when wind farm developer Competitive Power Ventures Inc. erected two devices in the northwest part of town.

Leaders of the 9,000-resident town soon realized they had no rules to govern where such a farm could go. In March 2007, the board enacted a moratorium on wind farms in order to draft new laws.

Hamlin is the first town in Monroe County to catch the eye of wind power developers.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Turbine Health










Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"What's Next?" by Mary Kay Barton

4/23/08 Batavia Daily News

The 4/9/08 letter, "Positive benefits outweigh negatives for wind turbines in Perry," by Terrence Murphy, chair of the Perry Development Committee (PDC), had many inaccuracies and presumptions that needed to be addressed, so we went to speak with the group at their 4/16/08 PDC meeting. Four people showed up for their meeting, including Mr. Murphy and Mayor Wood (who admittedly helped write the letter). The meeting simply verified what we already knew - "It's all about the money!"

Meeting attendee, Amy Matoon (whom I learned following the meeting is now married to Mr. Bowman, a signed lease holder for turbines in the project) gave a brief history of the PDC, informing us that the group originated in 1992. We were told there is no official membership in the PDC, seemingly indicating Murphy's letter represented just his & Wood's opinions. The current Town of Castile Supervisor, Joe Gozelski, told us he had not been consulted about the letter prior to its publication, and that the Town of Castile had not financially supported the PDC during his tenure as Supervisor over the past 9 years as Murphy had inferred in his letter.

Murphy & Wood falsely asserted in their letter, "We believe visual impact is on top of the list ... which seems to be of importance to a rather small group of individuals." You fellas need to revisit the Nov., 2007 election results. Jim Brick may have won his Supervisor position, but he actually lost in his own district - which just happens to be the target zone of the project. Additionally, Ms. Rozanski handily beat a known wind proponent to win her seat on the Perry Town Board with nearly 650 votes. This is hardly a "small group."

Furthermore, while "visual impact" due to the destruction of priceless scenic vistas is certainly a valid concern, the biggest fears citizens who are going to be stuck living within an industrial wind energy complex have are: sound, flicker, loss of property value, and potential problems with their wells. The need for the noted "neighbor agreements"- payments of $1,000 a year (more like $700 after taxes) to those whose homes will be within 2500' of turbines, cites the fact that the very problems these folks are worried about do indeed exist!

"On top of the list" by far, however, is that the very basis for the wind industry's existence is businessmen's and multi-national investors' financially-motivated claims that 'propose' wind power as a "solution" to global warming. Scientific scrutiny requires that whomever 'proposes' a potential "solution" to a problem, PROVE its efficacy. Where is the proof that wind power saves meaningful amounts of CO2? Where are the actual output numbers to substantiate all the wind industry's grandiose claims? With some 50,000 turbines world-wide later, this proof should be very easy to find.

We asked Mr. Murphy & Mr. Wood why they would urge "proper approvals be made to move forward with this project," when exacts regarding money haven't even been discussed yet by the board? I asked if they would ever buy a house or a car, and wait to be told, by the seller, what the exact dollar amount is until after they signed the contract? Murphy and Wood agreed that would be ludicrous! Yet, they presumed to put forth the same "estimates" on "possible" dollars they "might" get in their letter - "estimates" they got from Ann Humphrey and PJ Saliterman, Horizon salespeople who they told us had regularly attended past PDC meetings.

Businesses are leaving NYS not only because of high taxes, as Mr. Murphy indicated in his letter, but because utilities are already too expensive. The excessive costs of wind energy, and the effect of the unreliability of wind energy on the grid, are going to do nothing but create even higher utility rates, and further increase our taxes. The PDC should be closely following what is already happening elsewhere as a result of wind energy, like the 3/6/08 Wall Street Journal article about the recent Texas power grid wind-caused emergency that led to a temporary shutdown. "Shortages degrade reliability and push up prices. Wholesale power prices surged to $1,055 a megawatt hour in West Texas on Feb. 26, versus $299 elsewhere in the state. Following the incident, Texas on Saturday raised its price ceiling to $2,250 a megawatt hour from $1,500. Two days later, it hit the ceiling for the first time as wind production again trailed off."

While we're sure the PDC has spear-headed many worthwhile ideas for Perry over the years, the immediate gratification mentality being displayed by the PDC in their pursuit of the quick buck in the case of wind is astoundingly short-sighted. The wind industry themselves says the life of a project may be 20 years. What then? What if the incentives and subsidies dry up long before then? The wind companies will be gone. What's the plan then? There is certainly no increasing tax base being guaranteed here - especially when no one pays any industrial land tax on a single acre of land within the footprint of the project as it stands anyway - taxes lost to the town. A Bliss man recently told us that promises of reduced taxes for the area are also blown way out of proportion, as he's saving a whopping $54 a year compared to last year.

Industrial wind certainly isn't our last resort in Perry! Why not consider the obvious development opportunities Perry has to be a mecca for tourism just because of its location between beautiful Silver Lake and Letchworth State Park, which attracts over a million people a year? Why overlook the 'golden goose' sitting right at our doorstep?

The letter's most unrealistic statement, "We don't subsidize wind, they subsidize us," is nothing less than delusional. "Wind farm" owners receive huge tax benefits and subsidies that shift the tax burdens and costs from the "wind farm" owners to us - the ordinary tax payers and utility rate payers. Wind industry officials have admitted that approximately 65% of the economic value of a "wind farm" is derived from just two federal tax breaks - production tax credits and accelerated depreciation. State incentives cover another 10% of the projects. The amount the "wind farm" owners intend to "subsidize us" back, will be less than 1% of what they intend to reap from the project. Additionally, most of the foreign-owned wind companies' profits will be monies that leave this country.

What Mr. Murphy and the PDC have made very clear is, "It's all about the money." The resulting question we are left with, since they are obviously willing to sell their citizens out for the quick buck, is - WHAT'S NEXT? Are you considering bringing in a toxic chemical waste dump? Or maybe spreading sewage sludge from human waste on our farmers' fields? Should we clear cut all of our trees just to cash in on their value? How about selling water extraction rights to a big corporate water bottler? Gee - it's amazing how many financial opportunities there are to be had when all you care about is the money!

What's really at stake here - that you simply can not put a price tag on - is peoples' quality of life! Sorry fellas, but our quality of life is NOT FOR SALE AT ANY PRICE! As environmentalist Jon Boone said, "Perhaps people would be willing to sacrifice their quality of life on the altar of 'green' energy if it actually worked as they claim."

Mary Kay Barton, Town of Castile resident,Village of Perry property owner

Wayland-Cohocton School District April 23, 2008 Letter by James Hall

April 23, 2008

WCCS Board Members
Superintendent of Schools
Wayland-Cohocton Central School
2350 Rte 63 N
Wayland NY 14572

Dear Board Members and Mr. Wetherbee,

It is very regrettable that the Wayland-Cohocton Central School District has failed miserably in their duty to protect the tax payer from the fraud of the SCIDA PILOT tax exemption for the UPC Cohocton/Dutch Hill Project.

As you should be aware, both the Naples School District and the Prattsburgh School District have filed separate Article 78’s in NYS Supreme Court against SCIDA and the PILOT for the UPC Windfarm Prattsburgh Project. A copy of both complaints is being delivered to the WCCS Board for their review and further action.

What you may not know is that the Naples Central School District will be voting on filing a second Article 78 action against SCIDA, the Cohocton Planning Board (lead agency) and UPC Wind/CPP/CPP II. The PILOT for this UPC industrial wind turbine project includes tower 1, 2 and 3 on Pine Hill that are located within the Naples Central School District.

It is our understanding that the Wayland-Cohocton Central School is represented by legal counsel, David Lippitt. The property owners and taxpayers in Cohocton, Springwater and Wayland that fall within your district; find it outrageous that our own school board has refused to challenge this SCIDA PILOT in court. Mr. Lippitt should be directed to review the entire filings of Index No 99436 and 99445 at the Steuben Clerk’s Office in Bath.

Voting taxpayers demand that the Wayland-Cohocton file their own separate action against SCIDA, Town of Cohocton, Cohocton Planning Board and UPC.
Also the WCCS needs to join in with the NCSD as an intervener in their action.

This School Board has its own conflict of interest with several board members who may well be exposed to NYS investigations. Future litigation may well include the WCCS as a party to a coordinated effort to defraud taxpayers.

The WCCS needs to act and direct their attorney to follow the lead of Naples and Prattsburgh and file a law suit. Note a Town of Cohocton assessor has represented that a value of $1,000,000 per MW will be assessed, so that the Atlanta Hatch Hose Fire District can tax at full value.

This amount would translate into well over $100,000,000 per year in property value to the WCCS. The significance to the taxpayer should be self-evident.


James Hall


What is eminent domain?

Eminent domain is “the power to take private property for public use by the state, local government and entities who exercise functions of public character.” The typical taking is for building a highway. In that case, the government tries to buy the needed land: if the owner doesn’t agree, the government has to go to court for an order to transfer the ownership of the land to the government.

So, how can New York Regional Interconnect [NYRI], a private corporation, use eminent domain to put up an electric transmission line?

I thought that only the government got to use eminent domain. NYRI is incorporated in New York under the Transportation Corporation Law [TCL]. In 1947 this law gave to electric corporations “the power and authority to acquire such real estate as may be necessary for its corporate purposesand the right of way through any property in the manner prescribed by the eminent domain procedure law.” Back then, public utilities that produced, transmitted, and serviced electricity and gas, were the ones putting up electric transmission lines. But recently, government deregulation policies have led to private companies that only do some of these services. If a land owner does not want to sell to NYRI, it can go to court and force the sale as long as it can produce a certificate of need from the Public Service Commission, called an Article VII permit. The Transportation Corporation Law made the creation of the transmission line a public use and a public purpose. That prevents the landowner from arguing in Court that this transmission line is not in the public interest.

What will happen to me if I am in or near the path, if the NYRI Powerline is approved?

You will be notified of an offer from NYRI of an amount of money for the land they want. If their offer is not accepted, NYRI will start a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the County in which the land is located (if the NY Public Service Commission is the permitting agency) or in a federal court (if the US Dept. of Energy issues the permit). The lawsuit will ask the Court to change the ownership to NYRI and declare the proper compensation for the land.

Do I have to pay for my own lawyer and expert witnesses such as appraisers?

Yes, you will be responsible for those expenses unless the Court determines that the value set by the Court “is substantially in excess of the amount of“ NYRI’s offer and the Court finds that to achieve just and adequate compensation it “may” award additional amounts for actual and necessary costs, disbursements and expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraiser, engineer fees actually incurred by the disputing land owner. Eminent Domain Procedure Law §701. The Court is not required to do this, but it has discretion to do it when the offer was substantially lower than what the Court finds the property is worth.

How will the Court decide the value of my property?

The Constitution says private property cannot be taken without “just compensation.” Generally the “market value” is used when taking residential property. If the property is income-producing, such as a business or a farm, an income analysis may be used. The value is not limited to its present use but may also take into consideration its highest and best use.

Won’t NYRI have to pay me more because I don’t want to sell my property?

No. The law says they have to pay the value of the property and it is not more valuable because you don’t want to sell.

Can I make NYRI take all of my property even if they only want to buy a small part of my land?

No. The Eminent Domain Procedure Law allows a “partial taking.”

If NYRI only takes part of my property, won’t they have to pay me more because the value of my remaining property will be less due to people’s cancer fears or because of my cancer fears?

Damage to the value of the remaining property in a partial taking will be assessed. However, the cancer fear argument has been hard to prove in New York State. The landowner will have to show through expert witnesses that the powerline has negatively affected the value of similar properties because of the public perception of a health risk. The landowner does not have to prove that the public’s perception is scientifically based.

How close can the transmission line be to my house without NRYI having to buy my house?

Current codes require new construction to be 75' from high tension rights-of-way. New distances will probably be set for HVDC lines such as NYRI proposes. Stay tuned.

What is the impact of the federal designation of a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor which includes Chenango County?

Both New York State and the Federal Government, are able to permit NYRI’s proposal for the High Voltage Electric Transmission Line. Either level of government can allow property to be taken by eminent domain. In both instances, the company does not have to get permission from the local government.


Also, we have set up a list serve (or yahoo group) for people concerned with how NYRI will be exercising eminent domain, if it is permitted to build its proposed powerline. If you join a listserve, you will be able not only to get information, but also ask questions that anyone in the group can respond to. To join the listserve, send a blank email to:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PRESS/Media Release - EMINENT DOMAIN threat from UPC Windfarm Prattsburgh

On Monday April 21, 2008 the Prattsburgh Town Board voted to approve a resolution that allows for the use of eminent domain proceeding in order to facilitate the Windfarm Prattsburgh Project. Cohocton Wind Watch is appalled by a threat of an inappropriate application of legal confiscation that only benefits UPC Wind. UPC representatives and attorney refused to provide any evidence that sufficient wind exists in Prattsburgh to generate electricity from industrial wind turbines.

When a Board member asked, what quantity of electricity can be expected to be generated and go into the grid; no total amount was provided. UPC has had six years to secure easement for transmission lines. If they are unable to buy these rights from property owners, they seem determined to rely upon state force to compel objecting land owners to give up their property rights. No meaningful benefit to the community, region or society has ever been documented or proven.

Legal actions from two local school districts over a PILOT tax exemption are pending against the Town, SCIDA and the UPC developer. The Prattsburgh Board voted 3 to 2 to approve condemnation initiatives that can apply to any property within the township. Councilman Charles Shick and Steven R. Kula courageously voted against the eminent domain resolution. Supervisor J. Harold McConnell, refused to recue himself from the vote, after admitting he took money as a commission from the sale of property to a wind developer, while overseeing the passage of wind projects approvals.

James Hall for CWW


The Castle Coalition is the Institute for Justice’s nationwide grassroots property rights activism project. The Castle Coalition teaches home and small business owners how to protect themselves and stand up to the greedy governments and developers who seek to use eminent domain to take private property for their own gain. And thanks to the gracious generosity of our donors, we're able to do this for free.

With our Eminent Domain Abuse Survival Guide, we provide activists around the country with the tools and strategies necessary to successfully stop the abuse of eminent domain in their towns. We travel the nation to meet with and educate concerned citizens about government-backed land grabs and also host training sessions for affected neighborhoods that are threatened by eminent domain abuse. Through our membership network, we give support to those communities most endangered by the alliance of tax-hungry governments and land-hungry developers.

In the wake of Kelo v. City of New London, we launched our Hands Off My Home campaign, an aggressive initiative to effect significant and substantial reforms of state and local eminent domain laws. While we're not a lobbying firm, we do provide a unique and principled perspective to legislators at every level of government on how to better protect the property rights of Americans everywhere.

Although we’re unable to litigate or become actively involved in every situation, we will provide you with the tools and tips you need to effectively fight and defeat the abuse of eminent domain in your own backyard. We’ll do whatever we can to help you keep your home, small business, church or farm from the government and its corporate allies. We look forward to working with you.

Landowners upset over eminent domain for windfarm Channel 10 Now TV

"I hate to say it but to me something stinks. That's all I have to say," said landowner Al Muscianese.

It's anger over what Prattsburgh residents are saying is against the law.

“Laws are being broken, deals are being made under the table," said another landowner James Hall.

The deals he is talking about were made between a private enterprise company called UPC and the town board of Prattsburgh. UPC wanted to place underground cables on their property to run the wind farms. If property owners didn't agree to sale portions off their land the town board could overrule them. The town did overrule them with the sanction of eminent domain where the government has the right to seize their property without their consent.

The homeowners are disappointed and stand by their firm beliefs that the wind farms are not good for the community.

"This project will not generate any meaningful electricity. We do not have the wind in this area,” said Hall.

"The turbines are too close to home owners, health and safety issues, noise, blade breakage, fire and everything else that goes along with the project, said Al Wordingham, another property owner.

UPC promises the cable lines will not affect their property once the work is done.

The board said they had to make their decision last night so that UPC could continue with the project.

Eminent Domain Possible For Prattsburgh Wind Farms

Watch the WETN Channel 18 TV Video on the Industrial Wind site, UPC Videos

The shocking picture that shows how a wind farm has disfigured one of Britain's loveliest landscapes

During a long and bloody history, it has withstood more than a dozen sieges and held firm against the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie. But now Stirling Castle has been surrounded by a new, and very modern, army - of towering wind turbines.

This extraordinary picture shows a sprawling wind farm dramatically overshadowing the famous city where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned in 1543.

Standing a staggering 328ft high, the 36 looming turbines dominate the skyline of the Braes O'Doune and have angered many local residents, who claim they have blighted one of Scotland's classic vistas.

Coming to a viewshed throughout all to the Finger Lakes!

Prattsburgh Wind Farms by Raegan Medgie

Prattsburgh - Some neighbors in Steuben County could be forced to allow a controversial wind farm project to move ahead. The town board Monday night voted to use eminent domain if needed to get the job done.

That issue is whether property owners should be forced to grant easements or permission for a cable to run underground connecting the huge wind turbines. The town board voted three to two to use the power of eminent domain, if needed.

Wind Farm Developer UPC plans on building 36 wind turbines. 48 properties in Prattsburgh would be affected by the project. They said only eight property owners have not been able to be reached, refused or they're still negotiating.

UPC told a crowd of nearly one hundred the project would provide enough power for more than 20,000 homes and save the town thousands of dollars in taxes.

UPC has been going through negotiations with the town since July of last year. The only requirement the town asked was to make sure the cables will be buried under the roads.

"This wind farm will produce electricity for many New York homes without any emissions, and also it's domestic produced in New York State. It's not having to get energy from another part of the world." said Chris Swartley from UPC Wind.

The crowd was split between neighbors against having wind farms move into their town and others who feel very strongly about wind energy being the future.

"Our town board has declared eminent domain and is taking property away from landowners in this town, something that hopefully will cause a lot of groups to join us in a lawsuit against them." said Nancy Wahlstrom.

"Nobody seems to make a difference. They're still using the same amount of gas, the prices are going up, the emissions are still going up, we've got to take the steps to make change." said Mara Parker.

UPC said they will continue negotiating with the eight property owners.

The Town Supervisor said within the next 30 days the town will hold a public hearing where you can express your concerns.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Prattsburgh meeting location change, they can run but they cannot hide

The meeting has been moved to the Prattsburgh Fire Hall Allis St. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes to locate it. It is close to the town Hall. Go past school take a left before the park. Take another left which puts you by the New Town Hall. Take the first right I believe it is Porter Street. Go a couple of blocks and you will see the firehall on the right. Hopefully you will see many cars. Harold has told Al Wordingham he will vote to have UPC steal your land rights.

Near Riot at Prattsburgh Town Meeting by Arnold C. Palmer

Last Tuesday’s Prattsburgh Town Board meeting closely resembled the scene from the original 1930’s Frankenstein movie in which the mob of angry villagers armed with scythes and rakes confront ‘Herr Doktor’. A retired New York State Trooper and now Methodist minister opened the public comment portion of the meeting by offering to pray with Harold McConnell, the Town Supervisor, in response to rampant rumors of alleged malfeasance on the part of Town Board members profiting personally. The next speaker asked the Town Attorney whether it was ethical for him to represent both the Town and SCIDA in matters relative to the project to cover the town’s picturesque hills with 400’ industrial wind turbines while accepting a small PILOT rather than tax infrastructure with a lifetime value of billions.

The issue at hand is whether the Board should “assist” UPC, the wind developer, by using eminent domain to force holdout non-participating landowners to grant easements for the necessary transmission line to connect the huge wind towers. Those who favor the project in its present form – and signed wind turbine leases - have said repeatedly that landowners should be able to do what they want with their property. What’s good for the goose is apparently not equally good for the gander.

When the UPC representative saw the angry standing-room-only and overflowing-into-the-parking-lot-crowd, some of whom non-resident landowners who had driven for hours to hear his presentation, the fellow elected that he was “inadequately prepared” and would not be speaking. Disregarding its own 10-day public notice requirement, the Town Board rescheduled the UPC “request for assistance” presentation for a Special Session of the Prattsburgh Town Board at 7 PM on Monday, April 21.

If any event in Steuben County ever deserved the scrutiny of TV coverage, next Monday’s Prattsburgh Town Board meeting is it . . . the natives are restless.

PSC to take up and vote on Iberdrola acquition of Energy East



Albany, NY – 4/18/08 – The Public Service Commission announced today the agenda for its regular meeting starting at 10:30 A.M., Wednesday, April 23, 2008, in the 19th Floor Board Room of its offices located at Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York.

Individuals in New York City wishing to view the Commission's meeting may do so in the Board Room on the 4th floor of the Commission's offices at 90 Church Street, New York City. The videocasting will be for viewing and listening purposes only. Pursuant to procedures established by the building management, anyone planning to observe the meeting in the New York City Board Room must notify Jan Goorsky at 212-417-2378, 48 hours in advance of the meeting, and must be prepared to show valid photo identification upon arrival at 90 Church Street.

In addition to the video broadcasting of the meeting in the Commission’s New York City offices, the meeting will be broadcast live on the Internet. The Internet broadcast can be viewed through NewYorkAdmin by accessing from a computer capable of using RealPlayer. RealPlayer can be downloaded from the NewYorkAdmin Web site.

The Commission has no financial interest in the Web site, its management, maintenance or administration.


Wind Farm Project by Katie Graham WETM-TV

Landowners in the town of Prattsburgh may be forced to sell some of their property for a proposed wind farm project, if the town board votes to use eminent domain.

You have a chance to learn more about the project Monday night. The key issue is whether the board should help developer, U.P.C. Wind, by using eminent domain to make way for construction of transmission lines connecting the wind towers.

A U.P.C. representative will be making a presentation at the Prattburgh Town Hall Monday night at 7 o'clock.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

RG&E; plant may be up for sale soon

Anybody want to buy an old, defunct coal-fired power plant?

Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. could soon be looking for a new owner for the 58-year-old Russell Station power generating plant, surrounded by Greece residential neighborhoods, parkland and a golf course. Spanish energy giant Iberdrola SA agreed last month that it would cede to state Public Service Commission requirements and sell several RG&E; power generating facilities, including Russell Station, if allowed to buy Energy East Corp., which owns both RG&E; and New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

If that purchase goes through — an issue in some doubt as Iberdrola is complaining about what it sees as onerous state regulatory hurdles — Iberdrola also would have to shed a power station in Allegany County and small facilities on Buffalo Road and at the Beebee Station at High Falls.

For a decade, the state has had a regulatory policy requiring that utility companies such as RG&E; get out of the power generation business and focus on power transmission. The idea is to prevent utility companies from operating their systems in a way that would favor their own power, said David Johnson, an Albany lawyer and outside legal counsel for the Independent Power Producers of New York.

That would leave Iberdrola looking for a buyer interested in a power plant needing substantial work in order to deal with emissions issues. RG&E; had planned to spend as much as $500 million over the next five years converting the plant to run on natural gas. Currently three of its four coal-powered generators are off and the fourth is scheduled to be shut down this year.

Despite its age and environmental issues, the plant is not a white elephant. Jeff Mayer, president of Connecticut-based energy broker MXenergy, said that even with such baggage, the plant likely would attract a number of bids from companies in the power-producing business.

But a retooled Russell Station plant won't be producing cheap power, Mayer said.

"Converting this plant from cheap coal to increasingly expensive natural gas is not going to result in lower prices," he said.

Prattsburgh documents host agreement, survey etc.

I have attempted to share some important documents that many of you might like to review. These are documents that I photographed at the Prattsburgh town office or photos of my copies of documents that I have received from the town. They include:

1. Host agreement
2. Decommissioning plan
3. Photos of turbine stuck in the road in Cohocton
4. Survey for comprehensive plan
5. Road use agreement
5. All the pages in the town board minutes that seemed to include discussions about turbines, moratorium for adult content stores (keep in mind our town attorney said we could not do one for turbines) All reports of the comprehensive planning committee and its various previous names.

I am not sure that the Picasa website is the best method to share these documents, but I hope that as many of you can try to become familiar with the details of the host agreement (which seems to be the instrument where the town board stopped working for us and started working for UPC) I very much hope you will also review the road use agreement is seems that “road improvement” seems to be the term used for taking huge parcels of land from taxpayers.

If anyone knows a better method to share the photographs please let me know. I tried to scan, but it is very difficult. Maybe acrobat documents, but I do not know how to do that either. If you can help, please let me know. If any of you have access to tech support (or teenagers) you might have better methods for sharing this information.

The address is:

This is how I use the site.

1. go to the address you will see the web albums.
2. double click on an folder
3. on the far right there is a tools menu- click for a drop down list and choose full screen
4. on the far right above the thumbnails you will see size – choose largest box
5. on the left of the same toolbar choose slideshow
6. when slides begin you will be able to pause from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

If you have a better way to provide directions, please let me know. I am trying to be clear. There are options to download and album or a page. I did not try to do it myself, but you may find it easier to download then manipulate with your own software. This is for information purposes only. The originals are available at the town office. I hope some of you will review the documents.

Nancy Wahlstrom

Saturday, April 19, 2008


After reading about the Howard wind hearing and the lack of public attendance, I see Mr. Sherron is still sticking with his strategy of having “public meetings” at times when most of the public cannot attend. 5 o’clock is no better than 10 am, and he knows it. He does not want public opinion. I guess it really doesn’t matter anyway, as the supposed hearing mean nothing. In Cohocton they were still having these hearing while turbine parts were stored in Dansville. In other words the whole deal was cut and dried a long time before any “hearings” were held. They were just a formality that is mandated by law to be held.

One has to ask themselves who is Mr. Sherron working for, Steuben County or Iberdolla which is the parent company to all these wind companies that are popping up all over NYS and the newest place being Steuben County. Why would Mr. Sherron allow Steuben county taxpayers to pay these companies all this money to install these inefficient, unreliable monstrosities, when a NY businessman, Mr. Golisano has stated that he would put them up himself with no cost to the taxpayers? I have heard Empire Winds proposal and even though I feel that wind farms are a huge waste of taxpayers’ money because they are so inefficient, in a time when efficiency is most important. Mr. Golisano offered to build these and pay for them himself at full tax rate; therefore taxes in the whole community would go down. New York State would have saved several billion dollars that could go towards researching and building something much more efficient and reliable than wind.

Why did Mr. Sherron and all these local town officials thumb their noses at an American businessman that lives in New York State that has the will and means to really help local communities instead of a few local landowners? New York State and Steuben county apparently needs all the money they can get, yet they want to deal with a foreign firm that is taking US dollars overseas for something that is a huge waste of dollars at a feeble attempt to produce electricity. These wind farm projects are an Industry and need our hills to operate, so make them pay full industrial taxes as Mr. Golisano offered.

In my opinion this whole wind farm deal in New York is a criminal scam starting with Iberdrola of Spain trying to take over the entire Northeast power grid, and you Mr. Sherron have allowed yourself to become involved. I’m sure this will all be investigated in the near future and it will be interesting to see how you deal with that.

Karl Palmiter

Public Service argues utility takeover proposal

A utility takeover proposal winding its way through the state’s regulatory process will potentially impact the New York operations of one of the world’s largest wind power developers.

Spanish utility company Iberdrola SA wants to acquire regional utility Energy East Corp. for $4.6 billion. It wants to retain its wind power interests as it does so, and build new wind farms as well. Regulators object to this on anti-competitive grounds.

Negotiations between staff of the Department of Public Service and Iberdrola failed to reach a resolution in March, sending the matter to a judge.

In court briefs filed earlier this week before Administrative Law Judge Rafael Epstein, staff of the Department of Public Service argued that if Iberdrola is allowed to continue to own wind energy farms within the electrical service territories it would acquire from Energy East Corp. it could enable Iberdrola to exert “vertical market power” over the price of wholesale electricity generated by wind farms in that area.

Independent Power Producers of New York President Gavin Donohue said Friday he agrees with the staff of the state Department of Public Service and their objections.

“They’re not saying Iberdrola can’t own wind farms in New York state, they’re saying they can’t own them in their service territory. They can own them … in the other utility areas. That’s a big distinction,” Donohue said. “The reason you can’t own [a wind farm] in your own service territory, from our perspective, is you control the transmission and distribution systems.”

The Independent Power Producers of New York submitted its own brief for the case, arguing that a company that owns both a service territory and wind farms within it could favor its own farms vs. other companies that might want to locate within the territory.

“Iberdrola has a great reputation as a wind developer, but the problem that we have is not so much Iberdrola as a company, it’s the whole philosophy of [companies] coming in and owning the utility [and wind farms within its territory],” Donohue said.

Energy East services 3 million customers from upstate New York to Maine and owns Rochester Electric and Gas Corp. and New York State Electric & Gas Corp. In New York’s Capital Region, NYSEG serves parts of Saratoga and Rensselaer counties.

Iberdrola argued in its court brief that it should be allowed to continue to own its wind farms, in part because the company plans to invest $100 million in wind farms in New York over the next three years.

“Iberdrola’s commitment to invest in wind generation in New York and its considerable expertise in renewables development will directly further the state’s public policy goals,” wrote lawyers for Iberdrola and Energy East. “For the goals of these programs to materialize, the state of New York needs the presence of companies, like Iberdrola, with successful track records in renewables development.

According to the brief, Iberdrola has about 7,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity installed around the world and nearly 50 percent of the company’s 41,000 MW of total installed capacity is emissions-free.

New York’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard calls for 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric power, by 2013. Without counting hydro electric power, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates New York only generated about 2 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources in 2006.

Gov. David Paterson, in his second executive order since taking office, created the state Energy Planning Board, chaired by Deputy Secretary for Energy Paul DeCotis.

DeCotis said the board will be reviewing all of the issues pertaining to New York’s energy needs and submitting a report in March 2009. He said meeting the state’s renewable energy goals will be important to the Energy Planning Board.

“There is nothing to prevent Iberdrola from investing $100 million in wind today, absent any agreement on an acquisition,” DeCotis said.

Going forward, Epstein is expected to issue a recommendation to the New York Public Service Commission within a month, along with comments on his recommendation from Iberdrola and New York Department of Public Service staff members. Then the five members of the Public Service Commission board will rule on whether Iberdrola can go forward with the acquisition.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Reality of Industrial Wind Turbines in Cohocton, NY

1) Intermittent and unpredictable wind to produce reliability electric generation.

2) PSC - Iberdrola Energy East acquisition hearings: "As a result, energy from these wind projects cannot reasonably be sold in NYISO's day-ahead market, in which the substantial majority of New York electricity is bought and sold," Iberdrola's brief states.

3) Clipper Wind C26, 2.5MW turbines used at Steelwinds have gear box and blade failures, requiring replacement. Cohocton turbines blades need re-engineering.

4) SEQR disclosures claim transmission lines less than 10 miles. Reality is over that limit which requires more rigorous PSC regulations for projects.

5) Industrial turbine siting from residents vastly inadequate. Smaller Vestas turbine safety regulations warn of a danger zone.

6) Low frequency noise UPC claims vastly underestimate the reality at Tug Hill.

7) Significant farm land area taken out of production, contrary to UPC claims.

8) Road damage from construction severe and restoration not funded by UPC.

9) Decommissioning letter of credit on a foreign bank for $1,084,000. Cost to take down a single turbine is well in excess of $1,000,000 each.

10) PILOT tax exemption wholly inadequate as fair compensation from an industrial project that alters the fundamental character of the community.

11) UPC HOST Agreement is not enforceable and developer can void terms with no penalties. Contract can be terminated by 9/1/08 with no additional payments.

12) Planning Board members and family now employed by contractor and suppliers.

13) Transmission leases lacking to complete the project, as construction proceeds.

14) Proper permitting, insurances & guarantees lacking, as construction proceeds.

15) Active legal actions pending in court that may require abandonment of project.

16) Family turmoil and neighbor discontent among Cohocton citizens.

17) Significant reduction in property values as a consequence of industrial spot zoning has already occurred with specific documentation from sales.

Wind assets put deal at risk by LARRY RULISON

ALBANY -- It appears that wind energy is still holding up Iberdrola SA's $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp.

In briefs filed this week, the staff at the state Public Service Commission continues to demand that Iberdrola sell off its interests in wind farms in New York as part of its deal to acquire Energy East, which has 1.4 million customers in upstate New York through its Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric & Gas subsidiaries.

The staff at the PSC makes recommendations to the five voting commissioners who must ultimately approve the merger. Iberdrola has already received all of the necessary state and federal approvals it needs, except for the PSC's blessing.

From the start, the PSC staff has opposed the deal on a number of fronts, and Iberdrola has offered concessions -- except when it comes to the wind generation business.

Iberdrola is one of the largest wind producers in the world and is a part-owner of the Maple Ridge wind farm in Lewis County, the biggest wind farm in New York state.

The company has also promised to invest $100 million in additional wind projects in the state if it gets PSC approval.

Although the PSC staff and Iberdrola tried to reach a settlement that would go before PSC commissioners, they were unsuccessful. Now, the case is before an administrative law judge who will issue his own opinion for the commissioners to consider as early as next month.

In briefs filed with the judge Tuesday, the PSC staff again argued that Iberdrola's ownership of any electric generation in New York would allow the utility to have too much sway over the wholesale market in what's called vertical market power.

The state's wholesale market is overseen by the New York Independent System Operator, an East Greenbush nonprofit that also watches over the state's electrical grid.

"New York ratepayers could be harmed by substantially overpaying for wind generation if vertical market power is exercised. The remedy therefore remains full divestiture of all Energy East and Iberdrola generating assets," the PSC staff said in the brief.

Iberdrola has offered to sell off fossil-fuel plants that Energy East owns in the state.

But in its own brief to the judge, Iberdrola said it couldn't exercise vertical market power with wind generation because wind power is an "intermittent and unpredictable" power source. That means it's difficult to sell wind power into NYISO's "day-ahead" market, the company said.

"As a result, energy from these wind projects cannot reasonably be sold in NYISO's day-ahead market, in which the substantial majority of New York electricity is bought and sold," Iberdrola's brief states.

NYISO announced two weeks ago it is developing a sophisticated wind-forecasting system that will allow the market to "accommodate wind power more accurately and reliably."

Iberdrola also argues NYISO and federal regulators have strong enforcement measures to curtail vertical market power abuse.

The briefs were filed at a time when Iberdrola has made it clear to the international markets that it could walk away from the Energy East deal.

On Tuesday, Iberdrola Chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan said the company would "rethink" the deal if the PSC's demands are "unreasonable." Larry Rulison can be reached at 454-5504 or by e-mail at

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