Cohocton Wind Watch: June 2009
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.

READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How realistic is 20% wind energy?

A year ago the US Department of Energy released "20% wind power by 2030", a study that envisioned the US satisfying 20% of its electricity needs through wind power. This February, the Joint Coordinated System Plan 2008 (JCSP'08) proffered a conceptual regional transmission and generation system plan to meet 20% of the Eastern region of the United States' energy needs with wind.

DOE's report called for the deployment of 305,000 MW of wind by the year 2030. The JCSP assumed 229,000 MW of new wind capacity built by 2024. In either scenario, the proposals included the need to build thousands of miles of new transmission lines towering 200-feet tall to deliver the energy from the Midwestern region of the country to points East (and West). has had several opportunities to publicly debate these scenarios with ranking US energy officials (not politicians) and what we learned, frankly, surprised us:

It is clear that most had not read the DOE report. Many dismissed it as "academic" and unrealistic. Others openly call the JCSP study nothing more than a wind advocacy plan. Both the ISO New England and New York ISO withdrew from the publication of the JCSP report and Ian Bowles, secretary of energy and environmental affairs for Massachusetts, published an editorial in the New York Times where he discouraged a "national grid system" for renewable energy, arguing for a better, lower cost option.

We agree.

Achieving widespread adoption of renewable (wind) energy is not as easy as the popular catch phrases "25 x 2025" and "20% by 2030" would have us believe. Nor will it be cheap. It is worth revisiting some of the assumptions in the DOE report:

1. Wind energy does not provide capacity; it requires separate redundant and reliable backup generation

Electricity production in the US is predicated on reliability, affordability, and security. The ability to produce capacity -- electricity on demand -- is fundamental, since electricity cannot be stored at bulk levels. Yet, the DOE report states "Wind is an energy resource, not a capacity resource." In other words, while utilities are obligated to provide electricity, instantaneously, when customers demand it, wind does not, nor can it ever, do that.

According to the DOE, as installed wind capacity increases as a percentage of energy on the grid, wind power cannot replace the need for many ‘capacity resources' and that any capacity value for wind is "a bonus, but not a necessity." Put another way, building 305,000 MW of wind to satisfy the 20% wind energy goal will be independent of our need to build additional electric generating plants needed to meet demand.

2. Unrealistic projected rate of growth

The DOE report forecasts 305,000 MW of wind development by 2030 including 54,000 MW of off-shore wind. Assuming a starting point of 28,000 MW of wind now installed in the US (with none offshore), over 13,000 MW of new wind would need to be installed year after year through to 2030 - an amount equivalent to nearly double the capacity installed in 2008, a banner year.

Even if the industry were able to overcome all manufacturing and construction barriers to meet this goal, other barriers still remain including a) the public's resistance to wind turbines sited on publicly-owned lands, national forests and wilderness areas; b) sustained and substantial taxpayer-funded subsidies to ensure project viability; and c) the requirement for expansive and expensive power lines to access remote areas of the country.

3. The numbers don't add up: Optimistic capacity factors will not meet the 20% goal

According to DOE, U.S. demand for electricity will reach 5.8 billion megawatt-hours (MWh) by 2030, with 20% or 1.16-billion MWh satisfied by wind.

Assuming DOE's figure of 305,000 MW of installed wind capacity, the entire fleet of wind turbines would need to operate at an annual average capacity factor of 43.4%. Yet, few existing wind plants in the U.S. today, and none east of the Mississippi, come close to meeting this level of annual average capacity. The fact remains that many U.S. wind projects located in areas touted as having outstanding wind resources now report average capacity factors under 25%.

What's realistic?

The true impact of a national renewable vision based on wind, whether DOE's or the JCSP, is in the public cost, both in dollars and in the impacts wrought by transforming our open spaces into massive industrial power plants with associated transmission and other infrastructure.

Too many people are acting as though the discussion is over and all we need to do is build. In fact, it has barely just begun. While we may need to diversity our nation's energy portfolio with viable alternatives to fossil fuel, we hope it's not too late to step back and establish realistic goals based on validated costs and benefits.

U.S. Senate Summary of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee cleared by a 15–8 vote a broad energy bill.

The Senate committee has not released a full draft of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act, though a summary (PDF) is available for viewing on Committee Chair Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s website. It reflects many of the same proposals as the Waxman-Markey bill that is currently being considered by a handful of House committees, but it steers clear of a cap-and-trade program. The Senate legislation is based on six major bills—all with bipartisan sponsorship—and five other bills with either Republican or Democratic sponsorship that were introduced in this Congress.

NYS’ Two Billion Dollar Energy Swindle

NYS taxpayers and ratepayers are funding what is likely a $2 Billion fraud.

I was one of a number of citizens representing 33+ NYS grassroots groups who attended the June 16, 2009, NYSERDA Environmental Stakeholder's Meeting on Wind Power in Albany. (See Meeting Summary: for a more detailed report.)

The reasons for this unique meeting were: 1.) to answer citizens' questions on industrial wind power that we have been asking NYSERDA for years now (See: Citizens' Questions: for these, and for more background), and 2.) to see if they could provide scientific proof that the $2+ BILLION dollar Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program is not a complete waste. NYSERDA failed to do either.

The crux of the problem with wind power is the fact that it is the very same businessmen and investors who stand to make "obscene" profits at NYS citizens' expense, who are claiming industrial wind is a solution that will reduce CO2 emissions and thereby reduce Global Warming.

To date, no independent scientific studies have shown evidence to substantiate their self-serving claims.

Our persistent pursuit of NYSERDA for PROOF is the reason this meeting was held.

Unfortunately, NYSERDA's one-sided stacking of the panels for this meeting, the very limited question time citizens were allowed, the wind lobbyists' PR provided on NYSERDA's website, right on down to the intimidation their lawyer used when he told us, "You better watch what you do with that videotape," all fly in the face of NYSERDA's own Mission Statement as a "public benefit corporation" who "places a premium on objective analysis" - "reaching out to solicit multiple perspectives."

NYSERDA officials told us wind energy is “not up for debate,” as this is the political agenda that's been handed down to them. Our view is that as energy experts of the state, NYSERDA should formally object to ineffective political directives in technical areas, and insist on sound scientific solutions. It appears instead, that fear of program cutbacks is guiding their actions as "multiple perspectives" are now being locked out while our government and its' agencies pursue these corporate-political agendas.

DEC's Chief of Engineering Projects, Jack Nasca suggested that NYS towns use some of the PILOT money they receive from these projects to conduct their own studies, so the towns can hold developers accountable if they don't meet set project requirements. Nasca's statements further demonstrate that the State (who is in charge of this whole matter) has no intention of demanding any accountability from Big Wind LLC's, and wants to pass the buck on to rural communities.

NYS Department of Health representative, Dr. Jan Storm, reported that the negative health impacts involving noise associated with industrial wind turbines have been reported worldwide. Yet, she acknowledged NYS still has NOT conducted any studies on these problems, while the "woefully inadequate" siting continues on unchecked across NYS.

Only two of the speakers at the meeting had anything genuinely negative to say about wind power all day. Dan Driscoll, retired noise control engineer for power projects with the PSC, sited the "many adverse health effects" associated with "infrasound" from industrial wind projects. He closed by asking, "What are you going to do about it?" but received no reply from any NYSERDA or other State agency representatives.

Retired DEC Ecologist Tom Brown really called out the State, citing the "inadequate oversite of these projects by the State" in towns who are "ill-prepared to deal with the well-financed industry," as being "tragic". Thank God there are still some highly-principled people who aren't afraid to speak out against the political pandering going on in our government today!

Before we allow the needless spending of billions more of OUR hard-earned money, to line the pockets of corporations who continue to lobby for legislation to suit their bottom lines, we must DEMAND to see independent, objective scientific PROOF to justify what they are doing.

Before we allow further environmental, health, economic and cultural devastation of our beautiful NYS landscapes - all for a scam reminiscent of the economically-devastating subprime fiasco that has harmed us all, we MUST stand up, speak out, DEMAND the TRUTH, and insist on scientifically-sound solutions to our energy issues.

We anxiously await the scientific proof that NYSERDA claims they have, but still has not produced (5 YEARS into this program!), when they post the answers to our Citizens' Questions on their website - as they promised us they would do at the 6/16/09 meeting.

Mary Kay Barton is a lifelong NYS citizen & environmental activist for Sound Scientific Solutions.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Suzlon Energy Net Falls on Cracked Blades, Currency

June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Suzlon Energy Ltd., India’s biggest maker of wind-turbine generators, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 10 percent because of the replacement of defective blades and losses from currency options.

Net income declined to 4.1 billion rupees ($85 million) in the three months ended March 31 from 4.6 billion rupees a year earlier, the Ahmedabad-based company said in a statement on its Web site today. Revenue rose 86 percent to 92.1 billion rupees.

Suzlon lost sales last year after some blades supplied by the company cracked and customers in the U.S. canceled orders. The replacements for customers will be completed in mid-August, two months behind schedule, the company said today.

“We don’t expect any more provisioning for the blade retrofit program,” Sumant Sinha, chief operating officer, told reporters in Mumbai today. “We had to hedge to protect our inflows. We had based our calculations on the basis of a strengthening rupee but it went the other way.”

Suzlon shares gained 5 percent to 123.50 rupees in Mumbai trading on June 26. The stock fell 84 percent last year on concern its equipment was faulty.

The Indian rupee fell 21 percent against the dollar in the 12 months to March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cracked Blades

The company had set aside 1 billion rupees on its blade replacement plan and 1.4 billion rupees on mark-to-market losses on foreign exchange contracts in the fiscal fourth quarter. That compares with 1.8 billion rupees for the replacement and a loss of 230 million rupees on foreign-exchange bets a year earlier.

Revenue will remain “flat” this year, Sinha said.

“The company received some orders and expects some more,” Chintan Mewar, an analyst at Finquest Securities who has an “outperform” rating on the stock, said before the earnings announcement. “That doesn’t solve the problem as it needs a substantial order flow. Orders from the U.S. and India are important.”

Suzlon completed the acquisition of Hamburg-based Repower Systems AG on June 6 after the founders, Chairman Tulsi Tanti’s family, sold 4 percent of the company’s equity on May 25 to help raise funds to buy the stake from Portugal’s Martifer SGPS SA. The company now owns 91 percent of Repower.

BP shuts alternative energy HQ

BP has shut down its alternative energy headquarters in London, accepted the resignation of its clean energy boss and imposed budget cuts in moves likely to be seen by environmental critics as further signs of the oil group moving "back to petroleum".

But Tony Hayward, the group's chief executive, said BP remained as committed as ever to exploring new energy sources and the non-oil division would benefit from the extra focus of being brought back in house.

BP Alternative Energy was given its own headquarters in County Hall opposite the Houses of Parliament two years ago and its managing director, Vivienne Cox, oversaw a small division of 80 staff concentrating on wind and solar power.

But the 49-year-old Cox – BP's most senior female executive, who previously ran renewables as part of a larger gas and power division now dismantled by Hayward – is standing down tomorrow.

This comes alongside huge cuts in the alternative energy budget – from $1.4bn (£850m) last year to between $500m and $1bn this year, although spending is still roughly in line with original plans to invest $8bn by 2015.

The move back to BP's corporate headquarters at St James's Square in London's West End made sense, particularly when the group was sitting on spare office space due to earlier cutbacks, said Hayward.

"We are going through a major restructuring and bringing the alternative energy business headquarters into the head office seems a good idea to me.

"It saves money and brings it closer to home ... you could almost see it as a reinforcement [of our commitment to the business]," he said.

Cox was stepping down to spend more time with her children, Hayward added. "I know you would love to make a story out of all this," he said, "but it's quite hard work."

The reason for the departure of Cox is variously said by industry insiders to be caused by frustration over the business being downgraded in importance or because she really does intend to stay at home more with her young children. Cox had already reduced her working week down to three days and had publicly admitted the difficulty of combining different roles.

She will be replaced by another woman, her former deputy Katrina Landis, but the moves will worry those campaigning for more women in business, especially as Linda Cook, Shell's most senior female executive, has recently left her job too.

BP has gradually given up on plans to enter the UK wind industry and concentrated all its turbine activities on the US, where it can win tax breaks and get cheaper and easier access to land.

In April the company closed a range of solar power manufacturing plants in Spain and the US with the loss of 620 jobs and Hayward has publicly questioned whether solar would ever become competitive with fossil fuels, something that goes against the current thinking inside the renewables sector.

Hayward has also moved BP into more controversial oil areas, such as Canada's tar sands, creating an impression that he has given up on the objectives of his predecessor, Lord Browne, to take the company "Beyond Petroleum".

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Babcock & Brown Divestiture Continues

Hoping to make a big splash with its first wind acquisition, private equity player Riverstone Holdings purchased Babcock & Brown's wind development portfolio this week. The new company will be called Pattern Energy.

Although financial terms were not disclosed, Riverstone Holdings is committing $400 million to the deal. An energy-focused private equity firm, Riverstone has about $17 billion under management across six investment funds.

Mike Garland, who formerly headed Babcock & Brown's infrastructure group, will be the new company's CEO. Pattern Energy retains the Babcock & Brown North American energy development team and also maintains the current Babcock & Brown wind development pipeline - which exceeds 4,000 MW of wind power in 11 states and four countries, in addition to several power transmission projects.

Meanwhile, the dismantling continues for Sydney, Australia-based global investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown, which was founded in 1977. The company will sell all of its assets in the next two to three years, according to a company spokesperson.

At its height, Babcock's global reach was significant. In addition to wind (including a majority controlling stake in offshore wind developer Bluewater Wind), Babcock's assets included real estate and transportation holdings, among others, and the company had more than $80 billion in assets under management. It is best known in financial markets for structured finance deals.

Upon falling victim to the global credit crisis, the company went into voluntary administration in March 2009 after unsecured bond holders voted down a debt-restructuring plan that would value their claims at 0.1 cents on the dollar. The rejection rendered the company insolvent because it could not meet interest payments.

According to Garland, Pattern's first wind project, the 103 MW Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm in northern California, will begin construction in the next few months.

"In the current market, it's very hard to find capital," says Keith Martin, a partner in Washington, D.C., law office of Chadbourne & Parke. "Right now, private equity is a good source of funding for established groups like the wind team at Babcock."

Riverstone Acquires Babcock & Brown's North American Energy Group

Ecogen gets new parent ownership

SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Riverstone Holdings LLC and the management team of Babcock & Brown's North American Energy Group today jointly announced the purchase of the wind development portfolio from Babcock & Brown LP to form Pattern Energy Group LP ("Pattern Energy"). Pattern Energy is one of the most experienced and best-capitalized development companies in the U.S. renewable energy and transmission industry. Pattern Energy is an independent, fully integrated energy company that develops, constructs, owns, and operates renewable energy and transmission assets across North America and parts of Latin America. Riverstone is providing the capital required to expand and support Pattern Energy's renewable energy business, which will be an important growth platform for Riverstone in North America.

Pattern Energy retains the Babcock & Brown North American energy development team, which has successfully developed, financed and placed into operation 2,000 MW of wind power across 11 states. Pattern Energy also maintains the current Babcock & Brown development pipeline that exceeds 4,000 MW of wind power in 11 states and 4 countries in addition to several power transmission projects.

Riverstone, an energy and power-focused private equity firm with the world's largest renewable energy private equity fund, is committing $400 million to expand and support Pattern Energy's renewable energy business.

"Our team of highly-experienced renewable energy and transmission experts is excited about continuing our business as the new and well capitalized Pattern Energy," said Mike Garland, Chief Executive Officer of Pattern Energy. "Pattern Energy will continue using our in-depth industry experience, combined with innovation and science, to deliver the utmost value for our partners and the communities where we work. The combination of experience, capital, and opportunities create a tremendous outlook for our company."

"Pattern Energy will continue to be on the leading edge of developing efficient financial structures for renewable energy and transmission projects," said Hunter Armistead, Executive Director of Pattern Energy. "It is exciting to be well capitalized in this current market, which puts the company in a terrific position to grow. We look forward to continuing to develop premier renewable energy projects."

"We are highly impressed with the extensive renewable energy and transmission experience of the Pattern Energy team and are fully committed to Pattern," said Chris Hunt, Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings. "We welcome the Pattern Energy team as an important new part of our renewable energy platform in North America."

About Pattern Energy Group LP

Pattern is an independent, fully integrated energy company that develops, constructs, owns and operates renewable and transmission energy assets across North America and parts of Latin America. Formerly Babcock & Brown LP's thriving North American energy group, Pattern employs 80 employees, located in four offices (San Francisco, Houston, San Diego and New York), which successfully developed, financed and placed into operation over 2,000 MW of wind power across 11 states. Pattern has a current development pipeline that exceeds 4,000 MW of wind energy and transmission projects in 11 states and 4 countries. Pattern is dedicated to delivering the highest values for our partners and the communities in which we work, while exhibiting a strong commitment to promoting environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility.

About Riverstone Holdings LLC

Riverstone Holdings LLC, an energy and power-focused private equity firm founded in 2000, has approximately $17 billion under management across six investment funds, including the world's largest renewable energy fund. Riverstone conducts buyout and growth capital investments in the midstream, exploration & production, oilfield services, power and renewable sectors of the energy industry. With offices in New York, London and Houston, the firm has committed over $12 billion to 60 investments in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit

Assembly Passes Amendments To Article X

Legislation Expands Energy Production and Strengthens Community Outreach

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill today announced that the Assembly passed legislation reauthorizing and amending the Article X process for siting power plants. The amendments will provide for enhanced community input into siting decisions and provide additional health-related protections.

The lawmakers stressed the Assembly Majority's continued commitment to provide clean, safe and cost efficient power across New York through the bill (A.8696), sponsored by Cahill. The amendments would reauthorize the expired Article X process, to provide a streamlined approval process to encourage that new electric generation is built to meet the energy and reliability needs of the state's energy consumers.

"Extension of Article X with important changes is an essential step toward meeting the state's long-term energy needs," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The residents and businesses of New York rely on affordable, reliable and safe electricity sources. This amendment will allow more electric generation to keep up with the growing demand for power while providing additional environmental and health related studies to protect families and local communities throughout the state."

"The renewal of Article X will increase New York's current energy production and bring low-cost power to consumers. By expanding and increasing our energy supply, we can attract new businesses and industry to the state," said Cahill (D-Kingston). "The Assembly Majority recognizes the urgent need for cleaner, better and faster power and this legislation allows for better planning to meet our future energy requirements."

In order to improve environmental conservation and enhance public participation while expediting siting review, the Assembly legislation is designed to collect more information and studies on health impacts, maintain the 12-month application review period for major electric generating facilities and place responsibility on the appropriate state agencies.

The amended Article X passed today includes provisions that:

•Improve local community representation on each siting board by requiring that local appointees be named by locally elected officials;

•Require analyses of health and cumulative impacts of emissions in the affected area and that environmental justice concerns be reviewed by the siting board to protect the health of families in the local community;

•Strengthen the community outreach process by requiring the use of multiple languages as appropriate as well as the use of community newspapers for notice requirements;

•Increase the amount of intervenor funding from a maximum of $400,000 to $825,000 to allow municipalities and community groups more meaningful participation in the siting process;

•Lower the "threshold" for the size of power plants for which Article X applies to 30 megawatts from 80 megawatts and for applying such threshold in cases where multiple plants are separately located but are proposed within the same community;

•Require the applicant to provide a profile of air and water emissions, including micro particulates (of "2.5 microns or smaller") which are shown to cause and/or aggravate respiratory ailments;

•Require the Department of Environmental Conservation, with the participation of the Department of Health, to conduct an examination of cumulative impacts of emissions from existing and potential sources in the community and an environmental justice analysis;

•Require the Energy Research and Development Authority to examine how a proposed facility fits into the current energy plan and conduct a cost analysis of the proposed facility in comparison to alternative sources of energy including renewable and energy efficiency measures;

•Require the Department of State to conduct an analysis of the proposal in light of state coastal zone management laws and policies and require the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to conduct an analysis of impacts on parks and open lands;

•Require the submission of a security plan, to be done in consultation with the state Emergency Management Office;

•Prohibit the Power Authority of the State of New York and the Long Island Power Authority from assuming the lead role in assessing the environmental and health impacts of facilities they either build themselves, or cause to be built; and

•Require enhanced emission reduction requirements for acid rain pollutants and regulate power plant emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and mercury.


BILL TITLE: American Clean Energy and Security Act

Democratic 211 44 1
Republican 8 168 2
TOTALS 219 212 3

---- AYES 219 ---

Adler (NJ)
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Bono Mack
Brady (PA)
Braley (IA)
Brown, Corrine
Carson (IN)
Castor (FL)
Connolly (VA)
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
Edwards (MD)
Frank (MA)
Gordon (TN)
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Hall (NY)
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Kilpatrick (MI)
Klein (FL)
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee (CA)
Lewis (GA)
Lofgren, Zoe
Markey (CO)
Markey (MA)
McCarthy (NY)
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Miller (NC)
Miller, George
Moore (KS)
Moore (WI)
Moran (VA)
Murphy (CT)
Murphy (NY)
Murphy, Patrick
Nadler (NY)
Neal (MA)
Pastor (AZ)
Pingree (ME)
Polis (CO)
Price (NC)
Rothman (NJ)
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (WA)
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Van Hollen
Wasserman Schultz

---- NOES 212 ---

Barrett (SC)
Barton (TX)
Bishop (UT)
Brady (TX)
Broun (GA)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Burton (IN)
Coffman (CO)
Davis (AL)
Davis (KY)
Davis (TN)
Deal (GA)
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Donnelly (IN)
Edwards (TX)
Franks (AZ)
Garrett (NJ)
Gingrey (GA)
Hall (TX)
Hastings (WA)
Herseth Sandlin
Johnson (IL)
Johnson, Sam
Jordan (OH)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Kline (MN)
Lee (NY)
Lewis (CA)
Lungren, Daniel E.
McCarthy (CA)
McMorris Rodgers
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Moran (KS)
Murphy, Tim
Poe (TX)
Price (GA)
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Ryan (WI)
Smith (NE)
Smith (TX)
Thompson (PA)
Wilson (OH)
Wilson (SC)
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

---- NOT VOTING 3 ---

Hastings (FL)

Friday, June 26, 2009


READ the 300 + page amendment added to the Cap and Trade Bill



(Click to read the entire text)

Environmental Stakeholder Roundtable

Dear Dr. Thorndike,

Thank you for your prompt answer to my letter. I was traveling in New England over the weekend and wanted to review the report you referenced from the National Academy of Sciences. In my review of the details of the report, it appears to agree with my own analyses and that of other analysts with whom I have been in contact over the past few years. Therefore, if the National Academy of Sciences supports wind power, that is obviously a political decision not supported by the analyses contained within its own report. I agree with you that wind energy is being promoted as the principal source of renewable energy by many governmental and quasi-scientific/environmental organizations. What is missing is the understanding that wind energy cannot replace base-load generators using fossil fuels, hydro, or nuclear energy.

Any detailed analysis of the performance of wind turbine generators, including my own work and any other analyses I have found leads to the following conclusions:

1. Wind turbines produce relatively small amounts of energy for their rated capacity and the electrical energy produced is highly variable and unpredictable. Another energy source must be kept in spinning reserve to make up for the inherent variability of wind. (Wind turbines effectively magnify the variability of wind speeds as the energy produced varies with the cube of wind velocity.)

2. The wind turbine will not, due to its variability, replace any conventional sources of power, whether hydro, nuclear, coal, gas or other fuels. The true cost of wind generated electricity must include its own high costs, including federal and state tax credits and subsidies, distribution costs, as well as local tax breaks. To this cost must then be added the cost of the necessary spinning reserve power, so that the true cost of wind power is effectively more than double that of any other common power source. (Wind developers sidestep this issue by the use of hyperbole such as "free" or "green.")

3. Wind will not play any significant role in the future of electrical power generation. The only reason for the current emphasis on wind turbines is that lobbyists for the wind industry have been successful in convincing politicians at all levels of government to create financial incentives such as tax credits to create artificial profits for wind installations.

In the meantime, our beautiful natural and scenic areas in the state of New York are being ravaged by the wind developers, intent only on their own profits. They have used corrupt methods, hopelessly divided our small towns and are ruining large areas of the state with no foreseeable benefit except to line their own pockets. I am disappointed that NYSERDA supports this sham. When people realize the amount of public funds that have gone to support wind power and that it does not effectively reduce either our greenhouse gas emissions or our dependence on fossil fuels, will NYSERDA want to be on the side of the wind developers?


Bert Bowers
Chaumont, NY

Together we can Stop Cap-and-Trade

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Once you have completed the call, fill out the form at the bottom and tell us how it went. Thank you again for your commitment to stopping the biggest tax increase in history.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

$128 Million of RGGI "Cap and Trade" Revenue Unspent Due to Legal Challenge

In a prior PULP Network blog post, we discussed the pending legal challenge to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program now being implemented by New York and nine other states in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, in advance of any national program.

New York is the only state where a Governor, through executive action and action through a agency and a state authority (DEC and NYSERDA), attempted to implement RGGI without specific enabling legislation. As a result, NYSERDA is receiving substantial auction revenue from the sale of allowances and allocation of the revenue -- $128 million to date -- is underway without any specific enabling legislation or budget appropriation.

As with any "cap and trade" program to reduce C02 emissions, the RGGI program is raising electric rates for all electricity sold at spot market rates in New York, even that which is produced with wind, water, or nuclear rather than by burning fossil fuels like natural gas or oil. See

•"Cap and Trade" Market System for CO2 Reduction Likely to Raise New York Electricity Prices, and

CO2 Cap and Trade Programs Inflate Electric Rates in Restructured States.

Also, all sellers offering to enter into long term bilateral contracts are likely to consider what they could receive in the spot markets, even if they are non fossil producers whose own costs do not rise. Litigation was commenced by a power producer with a long term contract who could not raise its prices to the buyer due to the added cost of allowances it is now required to buy under the DEC RGGI regulations.

The Petition and Complaint in the court proceeding contends, inter alia, that the Governor, DEC, NYSERDA and the PSC acted beyond the authority delegated to them by the Legislature, and that RGGI is an interstate compact not approved by Congress.

As a result of the court case and uncertainty over legal authority to operate the program, the $128 million received to date in new revenue from the auctions of CO2 allowances is not being spent by NYSERDA. See Brian Nearing, Energy Efficiency Pool Hits $128m - Lawsuit from Corinth Operator Bars State from Spending Funds, Albany Times Union, June 20, 2009.

PULP recommends -- without success to date -- that a significant portion of revenue from the sale of RGGI allowances be specifically allocated to provide energy efficiency measures to help low-income customers reduce their rising energy bills.

Low-income households typically live in older, less efficient housing with older heating systems, controls, appliances, and energy consuming fixtures. Due to their lack of income and savings, there is a chronic market failure because they cannot afford the initial cost of investments in energy efficiency measures that will reduce usage and bills over time. Thus, providing assistance to low-income households may have significant payoffs in terms of reduced energy usage and improved living standards with less distortion of markets in which affluent customers can make cost effective energy efficiency investments without the need for subsidy. See PULP Urges NYSERDA to Use RGGI Auction Revenue to Support Low Income Energy Efficiency Programs, PULP Network, January 7, 2008.

See also, NYSERDA Concept Paper - Operating Plan for Investments in New York under the CO2 Budget Trading Program and the CO2 Allowance Auction Program, which contains a brief mention of low-income energy assistance as a possible use of RGGI revenue, but there is no quantification or any proposed allocation for the purpose.

Spain Tilts At Windmills And Pays Price by GEORGE F. WILL 06/24/2009

The Spanish professor is puzzled. Why, Gabriel Calzada wonders, is the U.S. president recommending that America emulate the Spanish model for creating "green jobs" in "alternative energy" even though Spain's unemployment rate is 18.1% — more than doubl e the European Union average — partly because of spending on such jobs?

Calzada, 36, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, has produced a report which, if true, is inconvenient for the Obama administration's green agenda, and for some budget assumptions that are dependent upon it.

Calzada says Spain's torrential spending — no other nation has so aggressively supported production of electricity from renewable sources — on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs.

But Calzada's report concludes that they often are temporary and have received $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies. Wind industry jobs cost even more, $1.4 million each. And each new job entails the loss of 2.2 other jobs that are either lost or not created in other industries because of the political allocation — sub-optimum in terms of economic efficiency — of capital.

(European media regularly report "eco-corruption" leaving a "footprint of sleaze" — gaming the subsidy systems, profiteering from land sales for wind farms, etc.) Calzada says the creation of jobs in alternative energy has subtracted about 110,000 jobs from elsewhere in Spain's economy.

The president's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked about the report's contention that the political diversion of capital into green jobs has cost Spain jobs. The White House transcript contained this exchange:

Gibbs: "It seems weird that we're importing wind turbine parts from Spain in order to build — to meet renewable energy demand here if that were even remotely the case."

Questioner: "Is that a suggestion that his study is simply flat wrong?"

Gibbs: "I haven't read the study, but I think, yes."

Questioner: "Well, then. (Laughter.)"

Actually, what is weird is this idea: A sobering report about Spain's experience must be false because otherwise the behavior of some American importers, seeking to cash in on the U.S. government's promotion of wind power, might be participating in an economically unproductive project.

It is true that Calzada has come to conclusions that he, as a libertarian, finds ideologically congenial. And his study was supported by a like-minded U.S. think tank (the Institute for Energy Research, for which this columnist has given a paid speech).

Still, it is notable that, rather than try to refute his report, many Spanish critics have impugned his patriotism for faulting something for which Spain has been praised by Obama and others.

Judge for yourself: Calzada's report can be read at And at you can find similar conclusions in "Yellow Light on Green Jobs," a report by Republican Sen. Kit Bond, ranking member of the subcommittee on green jobs and the new economy.

What matters most, however, is not that reports such as Calzada's and the Republicans' are right in every particular. It is, however, hardly counterintuitive that politically driven investments are economically counterproductive.

Indeed, environmentalists with the courage of their convictions should argue that the point of such investments is to subordinate market rationality to the higher agenda of planetary salvation.

Still, one can be agnostic about both reports while being dismayed by the frequency with which such findings are ignored simply because they question policies that are so invested with righteousness that methodical economic reasoning about their costs and benefits seems unimportant.

When the president speaks of "new green energy economies" creating "countless well-paying jobs," perhaps they really are countless, meaning incapable of being counted.

For fervent believers in governments' abilities to control the climate and in the urgent need for them to do so, believing is seeing: They see, through their ideological lenses, governments' green spending as always paying for itself.

This is a free-lunch faith comparable to that of those few conservatives who believe that tax cuts always completely pay for themselves by stimulating compensating revenues from economic growth.

Windmills are iconic in the land of Don Quixote, whose tilting at them became emblematic of comic futility. Spain's new windmills are neither amusing nor emblematic of policies America should emulate.

The cheerful and evidently unshakable confidence in such magical solutions to postulated problems is yet another manifestation — Republicans are not immune: No Child Left Behind decrees that by 2014 all American students will be proficient in math and reading — of what the late Sen. Pat Moynihan called "the leakage of reality from American life."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Infigen buys Babcock & Brown wind assets

Wind power company Infigen Energy says it will spend $23.5 million to purchase key assets owned by Babcock & Brown International.

In a statement to the stock market on Wednesday, Infigen said it had settled on the terms for acquiring Babcock's Australian and New Zealand wind energy projects and its US wind asset management business.

"The total consideration for these acquisitions is $23.5 million," Infigen said in a statement.

"Additional separation costs are still expected to be approximately $8 million," the company said.

Financial engineers Babcock & Brown was delisted from the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday and is reported to have burned through $5.4 billion in their final year of operation.

In March, Babcock & Brown was placed in receivership, but subsidiary Babcock & Brown International maintained its operations.

"The acquisitions represent high quality assets and significantly add to the growth prospects and value of our operations in Australia and the US over the medium term," said Infigen managing director Miles George.

House To Vote On Energy

READ the House Bill

In a surprise switch, House Democrats have now decided that they will force a vote this week on a major energy bill - what's known as the cap-and-trade legislation. Late on Monday night, backers submitted the revised bill to the House Rules Committee, which posted the 1,201 page behemoth on the internet.

Please take a minute to leaf through it and find out what's stuffed in all those pages at

This move certainly spices up the last few days of this Congressional work period, as Democrats seem ready to roll the dice on the energy issue.

For months, Republicans have savaged Democrats on the plan, which would allow heavy industry to trade permits for emitting greenhouse gas and other pollutants.

Those permits would be a way to raise money for the federal government, basically penalizing industries that decide not to switch to new technologies to cut down on climate change emissions.

GOP lawmakers have repeatedly charged that the move will result in a huge "tax" on Americans, because the energy industry (utilities) will simply pass the cost of the cap and trade system on to consumers.

But in recent days, Democrats got a gift from the Congressional Budget Office - the same outfit that made their blood run cold with $1 trillion and more cost estimates on health care reform.

On cap and trade, the CBO reported that by 2020, the program would cost consumers $175 per year.

You can read that CBO review at

As of right now, I wouldn't put my money on the Democrats to win this vote - but that CBO cost estimate certainly makes it easier for Speaker Pelosi to argue to her flock that it's a vote they can make and not feel like they are walking the plank.

Stay tuned. This will be an interesting battle in coming days.

Wind farms interfering with Doppler radar

Maple Ridge Wind Farm is one of several farms in the state causing problems for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Buffalo.

Maple Ridge in Martinsburg, Harrisburg and Lowville has created interference for the service's Doppler radar in Montague.

"It does pose a problem for the immediate Tug Hill area," said David A. Zaff, meteorologist for the service. "The biggest problem is during a severe weather event."

The service has a Web page about Doppler radar interference. It shows how wind projects in Sheldon, Wethersfield, Eagle and Bliss create the interference with a station in Cheektowaga. The wind projects are about 20 to 35 miles southwest of the radar. Maple Ridge is less than 10 miles from the Montague station.

The turbines cause problems because they are in the radar's line of sight to the sky. They reflect some of the radar's signal, which is then interpreted as wind or precipitation.

Moving the radars is not an option. Turbines would not be a problem if they were placed out of the line of sight — farther away or lower — from the radar.

"We site the radar at the highest location possible to give us a clear view of the sky," Mr. Zaff said. "The problem with that is that people like to site wind turbines in the same place."

Mr. Zaff said adding other wind farms in the Tug Hill area, such as Roaring Brook in Martinsburg, will increase the interference.

"It's not like radar can magically pass through it; you're essentially putting a wall there," he said.

The service cannot force developers to change their plans for turbine placement. But he said that over the past decade, awareness of the problem has grown and the service has talked to towns and developers.

Mr. Zaff said the interference or clutter is noticeable both to meteorologists and to those who look at radar on television or online.

"It's a little difficult to separate the clutter from the wind farm from an actual severe weather event," Mr. Zaff said. "It's usually pretty temporary — five or 10 minutes."

But, he said, the service sometimes has only a few minutes of lead time to put out warnings on severe weather.


National Weather Service Forecast Office in Buffalo:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Climate Bill Set for Vote In the House on Friday

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote Friday on a sprawling climate-change bill, signaling the Democratic leadership's confidence that it can overcome objections from Farm Belt Democrats.

Opponents and supporters of landmark climate legislation are ramping up their public-relations campaigns ahead of the planned vote. The Obama administration is pushing the measure as a job-creator, while critics, including many Republicans, are portraying the bill as an energy tax that could slow the economy.

The legislation, co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), had stalled last week because of opposition from Farm Belt Democrats concerned their states will face heavier costs under the proposed law to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

Discussions were still continuing Tuesday. Josh Syrjamaki, chief of staff for one of those Democrats, Minnesota Rep. Timothy Walz, said his boss hadn't yet given his support for the bill because he hadn't yet seen details of a deal.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi, said in an email late Monday evening: "There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday."

The bill aims to cap greenhouse-gas emissions at 17% of 2005 levels by 2020 and at roughly 80% by 2050, creating a market for companies to buy and sell the right to emit carbon dioxide and other gases. It also mandates a new renewable electricity standard and establishes new national building codes.

It would mark the first time that either of the two chambers of Congress have voted to impose mandatory reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions -- a goal President Barack Obama wants to achieve before a round of international climate talks in December in Copenhagen.

Mr. Obama on Tuesday said the House climate bill is "extraordinarily important for our country," urging House members "to come together and pass it." The president said it would create millions of new "green" jobs that can't be shipped overseas.

Mr. Obama also sent his top cabinet officials, including his Energy, Interior, Transportation and Labor secretaries, around the country to gather public support.

Victor to tackle wind turbine codes

Victor, N.Y. — .There are no plans for wind turbines in Victor, but the town wants to be ready for the day somebody applies.

At Monday night’s Town Board meeting, Planning Board member Joe Logan outlined a possible building code to govern construction of the structures — if and when residents decide to erect windmills.

“Rather than being caught without a code for them, we felt it was time to develop a code,” said Logan, who is also a member of the town’s wind energy committee.

The committee started looking into a wind turbine code in May 2007 and began working with LaBella Associates to fine-tune possible regulations late last year. The effort was spurred in part because of generous financial subsidies provided by the state for people looking to install the turbines, and the construction of a single turbine at a home on Brace Road in East Bloomfield, he said.

As currently envisioned, the code would restrict wind turbine construction to single homes and businesses. Large-scale wind farms would be prohibited, Logan said, in part because studies have shown that Victor is not a suitable location for them.

Turbines would also be restricted to no more than 200 feet high. If they were to stand any higher, they would need to have lights, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Other features of the proposed code would include requiring owners to submit a decommission plan detailing how they would removed a turbine if the costs exceed $250,000; requirements for a visual impact study and photographic simulation; and a limit on the decibel level of the turbines.

Throughout the summer, Logan said his committee would give presentations to other town boards and the public. He will give the same presentation to the town Planning Board tonight.

After receiving input from the boards and the public, Logan hopes to have a law on the books by late summer or early fall.

New study disputes Cape noise levels

DEVELOPERS STAND BY REPORTS: Consultant says other studies showed higher background noise in town

CAPE VINCENT — The background noise in the town is not as loud as studies in two wind developers' statements say, according to a new study commissioned by the Wind Power Ethics Group.

But the developers stand by their studies.

The new study was done by Paul D. Schomer of Schomer & Associates Inc., Champaign, Ill. Mr. Schomer is chairman of the International Organization for Standardization working group on environmental noise and chairman of the American National Standards committee on noise, among other leadership roles in noise measurement.

The finding contradicts the studies done by Hessler Associates Inc., Haymarket, Va., for the draft environmental impact statement of BP Alternative Energy's Cape Vincent Wind Farm and supplemental draft environmental impact statement of Acciona Energy North America's St. Lawrence Wind Farm.

"The studies they've done have shown higher ambient background noise levels," said John L. Byrne, a member of WPEG. "That allows them to put more turbines in a smaller area and closer to homes."

With quieter conditions, the noise from wind turbines is more noticeable. If the Planning Board were to require siting according to state Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines of less than 5 decibels above ambient, the turbines would be forced farther away from residences.

Mr. Byrne said WPEG decided to hire Schomer & Associates because the group wanted noise measurements from a nationally recognized, independent acoustic engineering firm.

"Hessler was hired by the developer, not the town or citizens," he said. "Our report was done by somebody hired by citizens to give us a nonbiased report. He who pays the piper picks the tune."

The report specifically argued against the BP study, but says the Acciona study has similar problems.

"Clearly, they are trying to attack Hessler's study," said James H. Madden, project manager for BP. "But they've stretched the truth here."

In the BP study, Hessler concluded that in summertime conditions, ambient noise is about 47 decibels. The study estimated that in winter ambient noise would be 37 to 42 decibels. In the Acciona study, Hessler found an average of 44 decibels during the summer and 37 decibels during the winter when the wind is blowing.

But Schomer found the noise levels averaged at 30 decibels, with the quietest nighttime hours at 20 decibels and the entire night at 25 decibels.

"Using an inaccurate, elevated A-weighted ambient level ... allows wind developers to place wind turbines much closer to non-participating residents," Schomer's report said.

The difference is because "Hessler's BP study for the Cape Vincent Wind Power Facility appears to have selected the noisiest sites, the noisiest time of year and the noisiest positions at each measurement site," the Schomer report said.

Mr. Madden said that claim is false and misleading.

"There's enough room for debate on how you measure noise that they can come up with something that has different results," he said.

The Schomer report found that Hessler consistently sampled at the noisiest time of year and chose sampling positions near roads or machinery and sites that were industrial instead of residential.

Site No. 2 in the Hessler BP study was a farm. The Schomer report noted, "This position actually is right in the middle of noisy farm machinery and two sheds, and not as near to the house where people reside."

Mr. Madden said the farm is inactive — only horses are raised — and no heavy machinery is used.

In the BP study, Hessler took noise measurements in late August and early September, at the "peak of insect noises," the Schomer report said. Schomer said insect noises are at higher frequencies, while wind turbine noise is at lower and mid-level frequencies.

"So even if insect noise was present year round instead of for a few weeks, it should still not be included in the ambient because it provides little or no masking of the wind turbine sound," he said.

Mr. Madden said the Hessler study always was acknowledged as the summer study. The winter study, completed in December 2007, will be released with other reports as part of the supplemental draft environmental impact statement, he said.

The measurements in the Schomer report were taken in June.

"The only time of the summer when there is no insect noise is at the time of their study," Mr. Madden said.

In BP's study, Hessler threw out the measurements from a site that was consistently quieter than the rest.

Schomer's optimal position — near property lines at a rural residence and dairy farm — always garnered quieter measurements. The average result from a weeklong measurement was up to 10 decibels quieter than at a similar position in Hessler's study nearer to roads and residences.

Mr. Madden said Hessler's measurement locations were out of concern for where people live. While Schomer sites "Planning Board guidelines," Mr. Madden said the town does not have any wind ordinance and the assertion the Schomer study is more compatible with town guidelines is "incorrect."

In a footnote, the report says the Acciona study "is very similar to the first report in scope and approach, and it suffers from the same deficiencies."

Peter E. Zedick, Acciona's project manager, said Acciona also will stand by its study.

"The ambient levels in Acciona's study were representative of living conditions in Cape Vincent because we chose to conduct the study from areas of the site with an average community sound level — not the loudest or the quietest, neither of which is an accurate representation," he said in an e-mail. "The difference in location choice of the studies explains the minor difference in the findings."

Mr. Byrne said using the lower measurements when configuring setbacks will give greater protection to nonparticipating residents.

"We are hoping the town board will go ahead and do the right thing and create real setbacks and protect the citizens," he said.

$15M to Wyoming Cty wind

SHELDON, N.Y. Press release - The New York State Common Retirement Fund (the Fund) invested $15 million in Invenergy’s High Sheldon Wind Farm, located in Wyoming County, through Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today.

“Invenergy’s High Sheldon Wind Farm is a perfect example of how we can do well for the members of the Retirement System while doing good for New York businesses and the environment,” DiNapoli said. “High Sheldon Wind Farm is creating clean and renewable energy for use in New York state. This is a great investment for the pension fund, and a good step toward making New York and the country more energy independent.”

(Click to read entire article)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Councillor urges study of wind farms for health risks

OTTAWA — Ontario officials aren’t receptive to a councillor’s call for the province to halt new wind farms for 18 months until a study can assess whether the green-energy installations pose health risks.

Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Glenn Brooks was going to ask council to direct the city’s chief medical officer of health to do the study, but the officer says it would be too expensive and time-consuming for his office. So, instead, Brooks says he plans to ask council at next week’s meeting of the rural-affairs committee to call on the province to act.

Brooks says he thinks the application and approval process for wind farms should continue, but none should be built until the study is done.

“When dealing with health-related matters, you go with the science, but the science on this seems to be missing.”

“Some people say these things make people sick, some say they don’t. So let’s get the scientific answers before moving ahead,” Brooks said.

The councillor is confronting the issue because Prowind Canada is trying to get a wind farm approved in his ward, near North Gower, and some area residents aren’t happy.

And he’s right about the difference of opinion on whether the turbines can cause sickness.

Some doctors have reported that low-level noise and vibrations from the turbines cause everything from headaches and queasiness to heart problems, depression and insomnia. Others say there is no evidence the turbines cause any problems or even have the potential to do so.

Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Energy George Smitherman has been the government’s point man for the implementation of the Green Energy Act, which aggressively promotes renewable projects such as wind farms.

Part of the act takes the authority to approve renewable energy projects away from municipalities for two reasons: the fear local politicians would be swayed by not-in-my-backyard lobby groups, and to speed things up and get these projects producing power.

Amy Tang, Smitherman’s spokeswoman, said the proposed rules on how close turbines can be to residences (600 metres) and other aspects of the projects are based on the “best scientific evidence to date.”

But the leader of a group of North Gower residents opposed to the proposed wind farm says the best science to date isn’t good enough.

Gary Chandler, chairman of the North Gower Wind Action Group, said there is insufficient data on the long-term health effects of wind farms. He said opposition to wind farms in Europe, where they have existed for years, is muted because the turbines there are often community owned.

“They don’t get a lot of opposition because a lot of those people are making a lot of money (from the energy produced),” he said. “It’s like if you live in Alberta and you’re against oil drilling — you wouldn’t get much of an audience because their economy depends on it.”

Chandler, whose house is less than a kilometre away from the proposed wind farm, supports Brooks’ proposal.

“Let’s stop, get independent advice from medical and epidemiological studies, come back, show us the report and let’s move forward from that point,” he said. “There’s too much at stake here to go full-bore down this path — without knowing for sure, 100 per cent, what the long-term health impacts are going to be.”

Tang said the province will shortly be creating an office specifically to monitor the “ongoing health and environmental impacts” of various renewable energy projects, including wind farms.

She said if legitimate health concerns relating to wind power generation are discovered, changes to the program could be made.

It’s important to remember, Tang said, that the move to renewable energy is designed to allow the province to shut coal generating plants, which contribute directly to health-endangering air pollution.

Bart Geleynse Jr., Prowind’s director of Canadian operations based in Kemptville, said the allegations that turbines make people sick are just the latest in what has become a “classic reaction to technological progress,” and he predicted that Brooks’ move will fail — if not at City Hall, then definitely at Queen’s Park.

He said he, too, is concerned about people’s health, and if the health problems some people living near turbines report are psychosomatic, they need to be addressed, even “if there is no scientific basis for them.

“There are examples of this throughout history, and the negative reactions and resistance to change are sometimes based on unfounded and emotive feelings and fears,” Geleynse said. “If we gave in to these fears, we wouldn’t have cars, cellphones or lightbulbs.”

With files from Lee Greenberg.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Clipper Windpower Plc financial statements

Clipper Windpower Plc
and consolidated subsidiaries
Annual report and financial statements
for the year ended December 31, 2008
Registered number: 5425635

Clipper Windpower Plc (the “Company”) and subsidiaries (together, the “Group,” “Clipper” or “Clipper Windpower”) is a wind turbine manufacturer and wind project developer. Clipper designs advanced wind turbines, manufactures the 2.5 MW Liberty wind turbine and actively develops wind power generating projects in the Americas and Europe. Clipper’s primary offices are in the United Kingdom and in California, USA. The Company’s 330,000 square foot manufacturing and assembly facility, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is ISO9001:2000 QMS certified. Shares in Clipper Windpower Plc are traded on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and the Company’s ticker symbol is CWP.


Joint Statement by the Chairman and the President and Chief Executive Officer 3
Financial Review 10
Corporate Governance Statement 14
Statement of Directors' Responsibilities 16
Directors' Report 17
Independent Auditors' Report 23
Consolidated Income Statement 25
Consolidated Balance Sheet 26
Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows 27
Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity 28
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements 29
Company Income Statement 66
Company Balance Sheet 67
Company Statement of Cash Flows 68
Company Statement of Changes in Equity 69
Notes to the Company Financial Statements 70

Preventing Bearing Failure: Third Time Lucky at Oregon Wind Farm

Despite headline-making growth figures, the wind industry is still a relatively young one and as such, optimization of the technology continues. Indeed, it has been argued that some wind turbines have been pressed into production prematurely and have suffered from design-related failures within their first few years of operation as a result. The full cost of these failures, though often hidden by manufacturers’ warranties, can be extremely high as, in addition to expensive repair costs, owners of such facilities lose revenue every second of downtime.

One of the issues that designers have identified as a potential problem is the production of ‘trenchant’ or stray shaft currents which may occur within the doubly-fed generators commonly used in wind turbines. The existence of these sometimes quite large currents within a generator’s bearings can lead to accelerated component wear and rapid failure. Techniques for addressing these currents are therefore a key area for designers to explore to improve the longevity and reliability of wind turbine generators.

The problem

High-frequency currents, induced in the shaft of a doubly-fed induction generator through parasitic capacitive coupling, can reach levels of 60 amps and 1200 volts or greater. If not diverted, these stray currents discharge through the generator’s bearings, causing pitting and fluting, through the process of electrical discharge machining.

Bearing damage has become the Achilles’ heel of this widely used type of generator, in which the stator is directly connected to the grid, while the rotor is fed by an integrated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) voltage-source inverter. The rotor-side converter regulates the electromagnetic torque and supplies part of the reactive power to maintain the constant voltage and frequency of the stator output. This arrangement makes operation at varying wind speeds possible while maintaining a constant stator voltage and a constant frequency output to the grid. Because the inverter’s rating can be as low as 25% of the total system power, this design also reduces inverter cost. However, the system’s high-frequency switching introduces troublesome rotor-shaft voltages – exposing bearings, gearboxes, and other critical generator components to high-frequency currents.

There is significant empirical evidence (gathered from studies of large motors) that inadequate generator-shaft grounding significantly increases the possibility of electrical bearing damage. Viewed under a scanning electron microscope, a new bearing race wall is a relatively smooth surface. As the shaft turns, tracks eventually form where ball-bearings contact the race wall. With no electrical discharge, the race wall is marked by nothing but this mechanical wear. Without proper grounding, electrical discharges begin at start-up and grow progressively worse, scarring the race wall with small fusion craters. In a phenomenon called fluting (shown above), the operational frequency causes concentrated pitting at regular intervals, forming washboard-like ridges.

(Click to read entire article)

Toronto doctor warns that, if not properly controlled, the noise from wind turbines could make people sick -- literally

Since the debate over wind turbines and whether they negatively impact on human health is heating up in Ontario, let's talk to an expert on the relationship between noise and stress.

Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Irvin Wolkoff is a recognized authority on this subject and has testified on it as an expert witness in court.

(Full disclosure: Dr. Wolkoff and I are friends, but his professional views are his own.)

Wolkoff notes there has been little independent, credible research on the specific issue of wind turbine noise and what, if any, impact it has on human health. That research should be undertaken immediately, he said.

However, much is known about the impact of noise in general on health, so it's not as if we're starting from scratch.

The first thing people need to understand about noise and stress, Wolkoff said, is that many factors now being hotly debated -- low versus high frequency noise, precise decibel levels, whether one person compared to another finds a particular noise stressful -- aren't the key ones.

"When it comes to noise and how it potentially affects human beings, the two main 'stressors' are whether the noise is meaningful or meaningless to the person hearing it, and whether or not the individual can control it," Wolkoff explained.

He uses a familiar example to illustrate the point.

"Say I'm in my home playing my favourite music loudly," Wolkoff said. "To me, the noise isn't stressful because it's meaningful -- I like it -- and I can control it .

"But my next-door neighbour may be very stressed by my music, because it's meaningless to him -- it's my favourite record, not his -- and because he can't control it."


Similarly, some people living near wind turbines and wind farms could genuinely find the noise stressful, even if others don't.

To tell those affected by the noise "it's all in their head" would be true in the sense the brain affects the body, Wolkoff notes, but the added implication that the stress they are feeling must be imaginary, is incorrect.

In fact, people could be genuinely stressed even if, as the government describes it, the decibel level from the turbines is similar to "a quiet office or library," particularly because wind power is intermittent and the turbines start and stop unpredictably.

On the other hand, these affected residents could have friends visiting with them who aren't stressed by exactly the same noise, because it's meaningful to them -- perhaps they support generating energy from wind -- and because they can control it, if by no other method than driving home.

However, when noise does cause genuine stress, Wolkoff emphasizes, the adverse health effects are well known .

Even short-term exposure can result in sleeplessness, irritability, impaired functioning and inability to concentrate.

In practical terms, Wolkoff says, parents stressed by noise will not be able to care for their children as well as they otherwise would. Similarly, children under stress will not be able to concentrate, or learn, as well.

The long-term effects of exposure to unwelcome, uncontrollable noise can be extremely serious, Wolkoff said.

Prolonged stress triggers the release of too much adrenaline and hydrocortisone in the body.

Adrenaline raises blood pressure and can eventually result in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Hydrocortisone suppresses the immune system and can lead to a greater risk of infections and even cancer.

On the issue of wind turbines themselves, Wolkoff is an agnostic.

He's seen well-designed wind farms on the tops of mountains in Spain that were clearly built to minimize any potential negative impacts on people. On the other hand, he once visited a wine-growing region in Austria where a single wind turbine had the locals up in arms about its perceived negative impacts on their town.

"All I did was mention I thought it was great they had a wind turbine generating electricity and the response from these normally calm, lovely people was utter fury," Wolkoff said. "It took me completely by surprise."

Premier Dalton McGuinty, who originally warned he would not tolerate NIMBYism ("not-in-my-back-yard-syndrome") in the growth of renewable energy in Ontario, has recently taken a somewhat less confrontational approach, proposing, under Ontario's Green Energy Act, a minimum setback for wind turbines of 550 metres, and up to 1.5 km, depending on numbers and noise levels.

As Wolkoff puts it: "Making electrical power out of thin air sounds like a beautiful dream. But it must not be allowed to become a nightmare for the real people living near wind turbines."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Many roadblocks to getting wind energy going on Great Lakes

MILWAUKEE -- A U.S. Department of Energy chart shows an inherent problem with offshore wind on the Great Lakes.

When the wind is blowing the hardest, the region's need for electrical power is at its lowest -- say on a February winter night as a snow storm moves across Lake Michigan.

And, on July afternoons during a summer heat wave, the winds on the lakes are the calmest but energy needs the highest with air conditioner use.

Storing wind-generated electricity for when it is needed most is just one of the many issues facing a potential offshore industry on the Great Lakes. Other issues abound such as:

• The need for transmission lines from the lakes to the major population centers.

• Electrical rates that are at levels to make wind power competitive.

• How winter ice flows will affect the wind turbine towers.

• The lack of large work ships needed for the construction of wind turbine towers in deep water.

• Having a streamlined regulatory system to allow wind developers to get the needed permits to begin construction.

• Migratory bird patterns may alter where offshore wind farms can be located because of the potential for bird kills due to spinning turbine blades.

(Click to read entire article)

Federal Regulators to Soon Determine Fate of Controversial Cape Wind Project

(Listen to the radio report)

It's not easy to get a wind turbine approved in the Northeast that's proposed for a ridgeline or another vista. But perhaps the biggest wind power battle in the region has been over a stretch of open ocean, near Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The controversial Cape Wind project just received all of its state permits and is awaiting federal approval. As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations WCAI's Sean Corcoran reports the Cape's fight over what could be the country's first off-shore wind farm is framing the debate in other places.

Dowses Beach looks out onto Nantucket Sound, a stretch of open water between the Cape and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Glenn Wattley points out over the waves to where the wind farm would go, less than six miles from shore.

He says with blades reaching a height of 440-feet, each turbine would be taller than the Statue of Liberty. "Not only would we be able to see them, we'd be able to see pretty much the entire 130 of them."

Wattley is President of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which opposes Cape Wind. "And it's not just during the daylight hours. There's lights on these turbines for aircraft, so at night this would look like a runway, like Logan Airport, and we'd have a horizon that's traditionally just dark lit by stars, being lit by lights on these turbines."

Since the project was first proposed eight years ago, Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers says, there have been non-stop contentious meetings. But, he says, people in the industry have been watching carefully. "Cape Wind has been the iconic kind of bell weather project, and I think it's approval and passage will be a powerful signal to others interested in developing offshore wind power in the United States."

But some people on the Cape are worried about it moving forward. The local Chamber of Commerce says the wind farm could hurt tourism. Mariners are concerned the turbines would affect navigation. Fishermen say they wouldn't be able to cast their nets in the project's footprint. And Sen. Ted Kennedy, who would see the turbines out the windows of his Hyannisport home, wants it built, but someplace else.

Maggie Geist is the Executive Director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Cape's oldest environmental organization. The group recently came out in support of Cape Wind after concluding it wouldn't cause any significant ecological harm.

But it wasn't an easy decision. "You have to be willing to stand up and make the hard choice," Geist says. "And the hard choice is you might have to look at something you might not want to look at for a while. But ultimately you have to think about 'what is the world you want to leave for the children of all creatures?'"

Geist says the project would reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The Conservation Law Foundation also supports Cape Wind, but staff attorney Shanna Cleveland says all the controversy surrounding the project has had a chilling effect.

"Other wind developers who have watched this process as it's unfolded and seen the difficulties that Cape Wind has encountered have really thought twice about trying to enter the market in Massachusetts."

Although Cape Wind may have hampered the wind market locally, Walt Musial of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado says it's provided a valuable lesson for the rest of the industry. "Some of the interest that we're currently seeing for deeper water technologies -- which also implies turbines that are farther from shore -- has been driven by the Cape Wind project, which is only five to six miles from shore."

Rhode Island and Maine are two coastal states pursuing ambitious offshore wind agendas. Maine is seeking federal funding for a national offshore wind research center.

And anti-Cape Wind activist Glen Wattley says the fight on the Cape helped influence Rhode Island's decision to locate its wind farm 15 to 20 miles from shore. "The governor of Rhode Island took the bull by the horns and put forth his own process to make sure there wasn't conflict, and they have a deepwater project which is way out beyond the coast just to be considerate of all the stakeholders."

The federal government is expected to rule on Cape Wind before the summer is over, but the Obama administration could be in a tough spot. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick favors the project, and Patrick is a longtime friend and supporter of President Obama. But to approve Cape Wind, the President would have to go against the wishes of Democratic Party patriarch, Ted Kennedy. And it's anyone's guess as to how those politics will play out.

Obama plan to zone oceans - Sean Corcoran's Cape Wind Blog

The Cape Cod Commission has submitted an appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, claiming the state Energy Facilities Siting Board overstepped its authority when it overruled the commission and gave Cape Wind all the local and regional permits it needs to move forward; Gov. Deval Patrick sent some folks to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to hear people's thoughts on placing wind turbines on public lands; the first floating wind turbine has been installed; and a new survey finds that a goodly portion of Massachusetts residents are concerned that NIMBYism has impeded the Cape Wind project.

We'll get to all that. But first I want to mention a White House memorandum released last Friday to the heads of federal departments and agencies because it appears the Obama Administration wants to zone the oceans.

The memo indicates that Obama is creating a task force that within 180 days will recommend "a framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning." What's called The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force will make recommendations to the president on protecting ocean and Great Lake resources as they experience "growing demands" from "renewable energy, shipping and aquaculture."

"This framework," the memo reads, "should be a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based approach that addresses conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lake resources consistent with international law..."

I've put out calls to the White House, the region's lawmakers and wind groups looking for some clarity, but it sounds like the federal government is looking to zone the oceans for activities and uses. Presumably, "marine spatial planning" would mean specific areas of water would be chosen for things like wind farms, just as towns go through a planning process to decide what types of developments are appropriate for what locations.

The Nature Conservancy seems to have the same interpretation of this memo as I do: It's a step toward creating designated spaces in the ocean for specific activities.

"This is a critical step," wrote Sally Yozell of the Nature Conservancy in a statement on Saturday, "in ensuring that as demands on our oceans continue to grow, all stake holders in the ocean -- from industry and energy to conservation and recreation -- have a seat at the table."

"We have figured out how to balance residential, industrial and recreational uses on land, but today's announcement supports a vision that we can figure out a way to accomplish this in the ocean as well," Yozell wrote.

When I hear back from the White House and other officials, I'll update this blog.

You can find the memo on the White House website here.

And you can find the Nature Conservancy's statement here.



The oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes provide jobs, food, energy resources, ecological services, recreation, and tourism opportunities, and play critical roles in our Nation's transportation, economy, and trade, as well as the global mobility of our Armed Forces and the maintenance of international peace and security. We have a stewardship responsibility to maintain healthy, resilient, and sustainable oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes resources for the benefit of this and future generations.

Yet, the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes are subject to substantial pressures and face significant environmental challenges. Challenges include water pollution and degraded coastal water quality caused by industrial and commercial activities both onshore and offshore, habitat loss, fishing impacts, invasive species, disease, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. Oceans both influence and are affected by climate change. They not only affect climate processes but they are also under stress from the impacts of climate change. Renewable energy, shipping, and aquaculture are also expected to place growing demands on ocean and Great Lakes resources. These resources therefore require protection through the numerous Federal, State, and local authorities with responsibility and jurisdiction over the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes.

To succeed in protecting the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, the United States needs to act within a unifying framework under a clear national policy, including a comprehensive, ecosystem-based framework for the longterm conservation and use of our resources.

In order to better meet our Nation's stewardship responsibilities for the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, there is established an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (Task Force), to be led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The Task Force shall be composed of senior policy-level officials from the executive departments, agencies, and offices represented on the Committee on Ocean Policy established by section 3 of Executive Order 13366 of December 17, 2004. This Task Force is not meant to duplicate that structure, but rather is intended to be a temporary entity with the following responsibilities:

1. Within 90 days from the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop recommendations that include:

a. A national policy that ensures the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources, enhances the sustainability of ocean and coastal economies, preserves our maritime heritage, provides for adaptive management to enhance our understanding of and capacity to respond to climate change, and is coordinated with our national security and foreign policy interests. The recommendations should prioritize upholding our stewardship responsibilities and ensuring accountability for all of our actions affecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources, and be consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

b. A United States framework for policy coordination of efforts to improve stewardship of the oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The Task Force should review the Federal Government's existing policy coordination framework to ensure integration and collaboration across jurisdictional lines in meeting the objectives of a national policy for the oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. This will include coordination with the work of the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council as they formulate and coordinate policy involving national and homeland security, including maritime security. The framework should also address specific recommendations to improve coordination and collaboration among Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities, including regional governance structures.

c. An implementation strategy that identifies and prioritizes a set of objectives the United States should pursue to meet the objectives of a national policy for the oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

2. Within 180 days from the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop, with appropriate public input, a recommended framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning. This framework should be a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based approach that addresses conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

3. The Task Force shall terminate upon the completion of its duties.

The Task Force's recommendations and frameworks should be cost effective and improve coordination across Federal agencies.

This memorandum covers matters involving the oceans, the Great Lakes, the coasts of the United States (including its territories and possessions), and related seabed, subsoil, and living and non-living resources.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, regulatory, and legislative proposals.

The Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wind Turbines Interfering with Doppler Radar at the Airport

The National Weather Service says a wind farm in Wyoming County is interfering with its doppler radar at the Buffalo Airport.

The NWS office in Cheektowaga monitors conditions across the area so planes can land safely at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Meteorologists at the office also issue advisories, watches, and warnings about severe weather that could impact communities across Western New York.

On its website, the NWS comments about the wind farms, saying: "In Western New York, some of the bigger projects include the towns of Sheldon, Wethersfield, Eagle/Bliss in Wyoming county. These farms are located between 20 miles and 35 miles directly southeast of the Weather Surveillance Doppler Radar located at the National Weather Service office in Cheektowaga (KBUF) in northern Erie County. The towers are on top of ridges at elevations that exceed 1600 feet above mean sea level.

Unfortunately, the Wyoming county wind farms and their turbines are within the radar line of sight (RLOS) of the NWS doppler radar in Cheektowaga. The height of the wind turbine towers are about 265 feet above the ground, and the turbine blades extend an additional 125 feet. Hence, the top of the wind turbine rotors are about 400 feet above the ground in western and southern Wyoming County.

At this height, the rotating turbine blades of the wind farm impact the KBUF Doppler Radar beam.

A small part of the electromagnetic energy radar beam sent from the radar is reflected back by the rotating turbines. The radar processes this "returned energy" as an area of precipitation and plots it accordingly on the map."

PSC Expands Ability to Use Wind Power

Non-Residential Customers Now Eligible to Net Meter Wind Generation

ALBANY, NY (06/18/2009)(readMedia)--

The New York State Public Service Commission today approved tariff filings, with modifications, for implementation of net metering residential, farm service and non-residential wind electric generating systems in the service territories of four investor-owned utilities in New York. Net metering enables customers to sell back power to the utility. The effective date of the modified net metering tariffs is July 1, 2009.

"Net metering encourages the use of small-scale renewable energy systems, which provide long-term benefits to the environment and the economy," said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. "By using net metering, a home or business owner is able to take excess electricity created by wind energy generation or other qualifying renewable generation and in effect either banks the electricity until it is needed or sells it back to the utility at its retail value, thereby providing a benefit for the customer and the environment."

The four investor-owned utilities-Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation d/b/a National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG), Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E;), and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation (Central Hudson)-made the requisite filings by April 1, 2009, to conform their wind net metering tariffs to the requirements of Section 66-l of the Public Service Law.

Previously, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) and Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R;) filed wind net metering tariffs which were approved by the Commission in the 2009 Net Metering Order. That Order, however, provided that Con Edison and O&R; could be required to revise their wind net metering tariffs when the remaining four investor-owned utilities' tariffs were considered by the Commission.

Currently, Central Hudson, National Grid, NYSEG and RG&E; limit wind net metering to residential installations of 25kW or less and residential farm installations of 125kW or less, subject to a ceiling set at 0.2 percent of each utility's 2003 peak load.

Today the Commission approved utilities' wind net metering tariffs to: 1) expand eligibility for wind net metering to include non-residential customers installing wind generation systems sized at no more than the customer's load, up to a ceiling of 2 megawatts; 2) increase the capacity ceiling for farm wind systems from 125kW to 500kW; and, 3) expand each utility's wind generation load ceiling to 0.3 percent of the utility's peak demand for 2005 on a first-come, first-served basis. Residential installations eligible for net metering remain unchanged at a maximum of 25kW.

The Commission's written Order in Cases 09-E-0284, 09-E-0296, 09-E-0297, 09-E-0298, 08-E-1306 and 08-E-1307, when issued, may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission's Web site at and entering any one of the aforementioned case numbers in the input box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number."

The Commission's 2009 Net Metering Order in Case 08-E-1305 also can be obtained from the Commission's Web site. Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission Orders may also be obtained from the Commission's Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

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