Cohocton Wind Watch: July 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


Friday, July 31, 2009

Comments on the Ecogen application dated February 17, 2009 for a special use permit

Dear Ms. Dunn:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the above referenced application and to provide public input during the technical review of this application. Please consider this commentary as part of your technical review of the application by Ecogen for a wind farm in the Town of Italy. Please also share this letter with the other members of the Town Board and the town’s engineer Frank Sciremammano.

We strongly urge the Town Board to substantively address the points raised in this letter, especially impulsive low frequency noise at night. Because the application fails to address these points in a careful, thorough, and scientifically valid way we urge the Town Board to deny this application as currently proposed. The project should be re-designed based on sound scientific knowledge and reasoning.

We caution the Town Board to move forward on this application with great care, as “the Devil is in the details.”

(Click to read entire report)

N.Y. wind energy corruption probe reaches Vermont

MONTPELIER – New York's far-reaching investigation into allegations that wind developers paid local officials to approve their energy projects moved into the state of Vermont this week.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that his office issued a subpoena to Reunion Power, a wind energy developer with offices in Manchester Center and Hackensack, N.J., as part of its ongoing investigation.

Announced last summer, the investigation alleges that wind executives at several companies received land-use agreements for their projects from public officials and residents using cash bribes and other illegal gifts.

It's not clear whether Reunion Power, which has proposed wind projects in three New York counties, is also accused of that type of wrongdoing. The press release from Cuomo's office Wednesday only said the subpoena was issued as part of the "investigation into allegations of misconduct."

The company, which does not have any active wind projects in development in Vermont, denied any wrongdoing in a statement released Thursday. Steve Eisenberg, the company's managing director, said Reunion Power has "nothing to hide."

"Reunion Power is proud of how we develop wind farms and that we perform by the books at all times," he said in a prepared statement.

The announcement that Reunion Power was subpoenaed as part of the investigation came the same day that Cuomo's office announced that 16 companies had signed onto a code of ethics for the wind industry to combat any further alleged abuses.

His office said early Wednesday that Reunion Power was the only company not to sign onto the code. A release from his office later that day said the company had changed course and signed onto the pledge.

"New York must be equally committed to clean energy and clean government," Cuomo said. "The companies that have signed onto our Wind Industry Ethics Code are echoing that commitment – and I commend them for that."

Cuomo's office did not return a call for comment Thursday and a representative of the Vermont Attorney General's Office said they were not involved in the investigation.

A statement from Reunion Power released Thursday stated that the company signed onto an earlier ethics code released by the attorney general's office and did not know about the new code until after Cuomo's office issued a press release about it.

"Our company is one of the smallest of all the wind power developers in (New York)," read the statement. "Perhaps that is why no one notified us prior to the announcement of the final ethic code being enacted. We would have appreciated more direct communication, as it would have prevented Reunion Power as being singled out and used as an example."

Cuomo's investigation centers on at least two wind companies – First Wind of Massachusetts (formerly known as UPC Wind, a company that has worked on projects in Vermont) and Noble Environmental Power LLC of Connecticut.

According to statements from Cuomo's office, the companies are accused of attempting to acquire the necessary land permit approvals for several high-profile wind projects in New York by bribing public officials and also engaging in anti-competitive business practices.

The scandal has rocked the green-energy community and provided fodder for anti-wind activists who worry about the effect large-scale windmills have on the environment, especially scenic views.

Jodi Hall, the treasurer of the organization Cohocton Wind Watch, a group that is battling First Wind's plans for projects in that part of the state, said the emergence of Reunion Power in the investigation was a surprise.

She said the company has several projects in development, but believed that they had been delayed for several years.

"This is brand-new information for us," Hall said. "And it's not clear right now if this is because they would not sign the code of ethics or because they are targets now of the investigation."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Forests of concrete and steel

Many words could describe wind energy and green jobs. “Sustainable” is not one of them.

Paul Driessen

Boone Pickens, Nacel Energy, Vestas Iberia and others have been issuing statements and running ads, extolling the virtues of wind as an affordable, sustainable energy resource. Renewable energy reality is slowly taking hold, however.

Spain did increase its installed wind power capacity to 10% of its total electricity, although actual energy output is 10-30% of this, or 1-3% of total electricity, because the wind is intermittent and unreliable. However, Spain spent $3.7 billion on the program in 2007 alone, King Juan Carlos University economics professor Gabriel Calzada determined.

It created 50,000 jobs, mostly installing wind turbines, at $73,000 in annual subsidies per job – and 10,000 of these jobs have already been terminated. The subsidies have been slashed, due to Spain’s growing economic problems, putting the remaining 40,000 jobs at risk.

Meanwhile, the cost of subsidized wind energy and carbon dioxide emission permits sent electricity prices soaring for other businesses – causing 2.2 jobs to be lost for every “green” job created, says Calzada. Spain’s unemployment rate is now 17% and rising. That’s hardly the “success” story so often cited by Congress and the Obama Administration.

Across the Channel, Britain’s biggest wind-energy projects are in trouble. Just as the UK government announced its goal of creating 400,000 eco-jobs by 2015, major green energy employer Vestas UK is ending production. All 7,000 turbines that Downing Street just committed to installing over the next decade will be manufactured – not in Britain, but in Germany, Denmark and China.

For businesses, existing global warming policies have added 21% to industrial electricity bills since 2001, and this will rise to 55% by 2020, the UK government admits. Its latest renewable energy strategy will add another 15% – meaning the total impact on British industry will likely be a prohibitive 70% cost increase over two decades. This is the result of the government’s plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions 34% below 1990 levels by 2020, and increase the share of renewables, especially wind, from 6% to 31% of Britain’s electricity.

These cost hikes could make British manufacturers uncompetitive, and send thousands more jobs overseas, the Energy Intensive Users Group reports. English steel mills could become “unable to compete globally, even at current domestic energy prices,” says British journalist Dominic Lawson; “but deliberately to make them uncompetitive is industrial vandalism – and even madness … a futile gesture ... and immoral.”

On this side of the pond, President Obama and anti-hydrocarbon members of Congress are promoting “green” energy and jobs, via new mandates, standards, tax breaks and subsidies. However, the United States would need 180,000 1.5-megawatt wind turbines by 2020, just to generate the 600 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity that compliance with the narrowly passed Waxman-Markey global warming bill would necessitate, retired energy and nuclear engineering professor James Rust calculates.

This would require millions of acres of scenic, habitat and agricultural lands, and 126 million tons of concrete, steel, fiberglass and “rare earth” minerals for the turbines, at 700 tons per turbine; prodigious quantities of concrete, steel, copper and land for new transmission lines; and still more land, fuel and raw materials for backup gas-fired generators. America’s new national forests will apparently be made of concrete and steel.

Those miners and drillers would likely be reclassified as “green” workers, based on the intended purpose of their output. However, the raw materials will probably not be produced in the States, because so many lands, prospects and deposits are off limits – and NIMBY litigation will further hamper resource extraction.

Air quality laws and skyrocketing energy costs (due to carbon taxes and expensive renewable energy mandates) will make wind turbine (and solar panel) manufacturing in the USA equally improbable. Thus, manufacturing could well be in China or India, and most “green” jobs could be for installers, as Spain and Britain discovered.

Posturing has already collided with reality in Texas, the nation’s wind energy capital. Austin’s GreenChoice program cannot find buyers for electricity generated entirely from wind and solar power. Its latest sales scheme has been a massive flop: after seven months, 99% of its recent electricity offering remains unsold.

Austin officials admit that “times have changed,” and the recession and falling energy prices may make it impossible for the city to meet its lofty goals. The company’s renewable electricity now costs almost three times more than standard electricity, and even eco-conscious consumers care more about the color of their money than the hue of their purported ideology.

Even worse for global warming alarmists and renewable energy advocates and rent seekers, global warming patterns have reversed during the past decade. Satellite data reveal that the planet is cooling, despite steadily rising carbon dioxide levels, and summertime low temperature records are being broken all over the United States.

“You'd better hope global warming is caused by manmade CO2 if you're investing in [renewable] sectors,” says Daniel Rice, the past decade’s best-performing US equity fund manager (BlackRock Energy and Resources Fund). But evidence for manmade catastrophic global warming is dissipating faster than carbon dioxide from an open soda bottle on a hot summer day.

The crucial fact remains: wind and solar are simply not economical without major government subsidies or monstrous carbon taxes. Moreover, cap-and-tax legislation currently being promoted in the House and Senate is “not enough to do anything” about supposed global warming disasters notes Rice.

“All it does is provide Obama a pass to Copenhagen,” where the UN will host a climate change conference in December, Rice says. And those subsidies and taxes would drive energy prices still higher, killing jobs and skyrocketing the cost of everything we eat, drive, heat, cool, grow, make and do.

Congress and the Administration are dragging their feet on nuclear power, closing off access to more resource-rich lands, and imposing layers of new regulations on oil, gas and coal energy – denying Americans these vast stores of energy and hundreds of billions in revenue that developing them would generate. Meanwhile, slick wind turbine ad campaigns promote expensive, heavily subsidized, unreliable technologies that only climate activists and company lobbyists would describe as sustainable, affordable, eco-friendly or socially responsible.

The ads and lobbyists seek more mandates, tax breaks and subsidies. Wind promoters want to quiet opponents long enough to get energy and climate legislation enacted – before Americans realize how it would drive the price of energy still higher, kill jobs, curtail living standards and liberties, and raise the cost of everything we eat, drive, heat, cool, grow, make and do.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power • Black Death.

Albert H. Bowers III July 30, 2009 letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

July 30, 2009

Mr. Stephen Tomasik, Project Manager
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-1750

Re: Proposed Galloo Island Wind Turbine Project - Environmental Impact

Dear Mr. Tomasik:

We spoke recently at the hearing in Sackets Harbor about my letter to you dated May 8, 2009. In that letter I described a situation related to me by a town resident, Don Metzger, who is a ship pilot on the Seaway of some anecdotal evidence of wind turbine noise traveling over open water. It seems there is a field of turbines installed in the water off the Gaspe Peninsula, in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Ship Captains passing these turbines have commented to Mr. Metzger that they are surprised how noisy the turbines are as they pass them at a distance of 2-3 miles in the shipping channel.

I am still working with Mr. Metzger to develop some more definitive information about the turbine noise in the Gaspe, however, recently a similar situation much closer to home has come to my attention. Mr. Art Pundt, who has been active in assessing the impact of proposed turbine installations in nearby Cape Vincent recently sent me an email detailing his experience with noise being transmitted from the turbines now operating on Wolfe Island, Ontario, just across the river from Cape Vincent, New York. The text of Mr. Pundt’s message is:

“Since the Wolfe Island Wind Farm became operational in early July I have heard low rumbling on some nights from my side yard or deck at my cottage. I have heard it numerous times. I have heard the trains in Canada and traffic on the 401 in Canada as well as the city hum of Kingston on quiet nights. This was different and coming directly from the red lights of the WI turbines. I also know the low rumble of ships. There were no ships around.

I wasn't sure, so last night with a fairly strong south wind we drove down to the village of Cape Vincent. We stopped at the public boat launch in the village. I opened up the drivers side window with that side of the truck out of the wind...and sure enough there was the answer. The turbines on WI are can easily be heard. Sounds like a jet flying over at altitude and is very distinct. Or it sounds like the sound emanated from outside a large busy city. If you are in a calm spot protected from the wind the sound is really clear.

Now keep in mind the the closest turbine to me is about 7.5 miles and the center of the WI project is around 9-10 miles from my cottage. At the public dock in CV the nearest turbines is about 3 miles. This was all measured on Google Earth.

Now keep in mind the distances I mentioned above. The town (Cape Vincent) is only about 4 to 5 miles wide, and something like 12 miles long (approx) And that is 148 (proposed) turbines packed into that area. WI (Wolfe Island) is 86. You won't be able to hide anywhere from the sound based on what I heard coming from WI. I am surprised there have not been any mention of this or complaints coming from the village. Also keep in mind that the wind was blowing away from me last night. So what is the bottom line? If you think a wind law will protect you even with large sound set backs... based on what I have heard from WI and the distance at which you can hear these better think again!!!! Turbines do not belong in this
community period!

Go down to the village some night with a strong south wind and listen for yourself, then do the math."

Art Pundt

Most of us have had the experience of sound, even a person’s voice, carrying long distances over water on quiet summer evenings. The noise described by Mr. Pundt is being transmitted partly over water and partly over land and can be heard clearly 7.5 miles away. I, therefore, believe it will be necessary as I previously stated, as a part of the environmental impact study of the Galloo Project, to do studies of the noise that will be transmitted by the turbines on Galloo to the nearby points on the mainland, including Point Peninsula (Lyme) and Pillar Point (Brownsville). Transmission to these points will be entirely across the water in the direction of the prevailing winds. The nearest points of land are only about five miles from Galloo. Such noise studies should consider the condition of a stable atmosphere where the winds at ground level are still, but the turbines are operating in the steady winds at higher elevations. The sound levels should be predicted for the shoreline of the Lake on both the A and C decibel scales. Unless predicted sound levels fall within 5 dBA of the ambient nighttime levels on the lakeshore, the sound levels generated by the Galloo project may be unacceptable to the residents of those areas.

Albert H. Bowers III

cc: Lyme Town Board
Watertown Daily Times, Nancy Madsen

Ultra NIMBY – or U-NIMBY by Glenn R. Schleede

March 5, 2009

Ultra NIMBY – or U-NIMBY

For the past 25 years, virtually anyone who opposed the construction of some kind of major energy facility, such as an oil or gas storage tank, electrical transmission line, power plant, or ‘wind farm” in their area has been labeled, derisively, as a “NIMBY,” an acronym standing for “Not In My Back Yard.”

Some using the NIMBY term do so in an attempt to discredit project opponents and to avoid dealing with substantive issues raised by the opponents. Thus, “NIMBY” is an ad hominem attack on opponents.

Often, the wrong people are labeled as “NIMBYs.” The true NIMBYs are people in metropolitan areas who are the principal beneficiaries of energy facilities but who don’t want those facilities anywhere near them. Perhaps these people should be called Ultra or Urban NIMBYS, or simply UNIMBYS!

In any case, it’s time to shed light on the issue, identify the true NIMBYs, and challenge those who use the epithet in an attempt to avoid dealing with real, substantive issues raised by energy projects.

Citizen objections to certain projects

Citizens have long been concerned about adverse health, safety, noise, environmental, and ecological impacts of energy and other facilities located near them, including projects that impair scenic, property, and other values they consider important. Federal, state and local governments have enacted a variety of measures to protect private property rights and to limit adverse impacts extending beyond property lines. Governments have also exercised powers of eminent domain to permit construction of facilities that government authorities believe have public benefits that should override private property rights.

Origin of the term, NIMBY

According to Wikipedia, the term “… is used pejoratively to describe a new development's opposition by residents in its vicinity. The new project being opposed is generally considered a benefit for many but has negative side-effects on its close surroundings. As a result, residents nearby the immediate location would consider it undesirable and would generally prefer the building to be "elsewhere". The term was coined in the 1980s by British politician Nicholas Ridley…”

Who are the true NIMBYs – or UNIMBYs – when energy facilities are involved?

Objections to the location of energy facilities is not a phenomenon that begins with people living in rural areas or those who wish to protect scenic areas or the value of privately owned property. Instead, objections to the location of energy facilities really begin with people living in urban and suburban (“metropolitan”) areas and organizations located in those areas. People and organizations in these areas account for a majority of the nation’s energy demand. These people and organizations want the convenience of having reliable energy supplies -- electricity, gas or oil -- immediately available for their homes, offices, shopping centers, and cars.

However, they don’t want storage tanks, electric generating units (whether powered by coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, or wind) located anywhere near their homes and offices or impairing their parks or scenic areas or impairing their views or life styles. Also, they want the pipelines and electric transmission and distribution lines needed to bring the energy to their homes and offices to be as nearly invisible as possible – preferably buried underground.

So, while they want the convenience of immediately available energy, they also want any adverse environmental, health or safety impacts kept away and out of their sight! They insist that adverse impacts associated with the facilities should be borne by someone else -- as far away as possible. For example:

• People in California object to power plants in their area, but are quite willing to import electricity generated in Utah or Arizona using coal or nuclear energy. They also want oil and gasoline for their vehicles (even from insecure or hostile nations!) and natural gas for generating plants but do not want any production from oil and gas reserves located off California’s coast.
• People in the New York City metropolitan area demand electricity but also want necessary generating plants and transmission lines that serve their needs to be built in upstate or western New York – or even in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia or West Virginia.
• People in New England want adequate and reliable electricity but prefer that it be generated elsewhere, perhaps in Canada, and moved to them over long transmission lines.
• Political leaders are eager to override citizen and local government opposition to electric generating plants, wind farms, and transmission lines but would be aghast if a 400+ foot wind turbine with blades covering an area larger than the length and wingspan of a 747 aircraft was placed on the front lawn of a capitol building or executive mansion in Washington DC or a state capital, or if a transmission line with 125 foot towers were to be placed near their private residences.

How should people who object to energy or other facilities respond when developers or others seek to dismiss their objections by labeling them “NIMBYs”?

The short answer is “stand your ground” if you have good reasons to object to the energy facility, and work to obtain fair compensation for adverse impacts, including loss of property value. However, the situation deserves more detailed consideration, including all the following steps:

First, learn the details of the proposed project and its true costs and benefits, both for the owner, the area, and the nation. Many energy facilities are large, intrusive, and costly. They may produce, transport, or store products that are badly needed. But, large energy facilities are intrusive. They may adversely impact health, scenic vistas, environmentally sensitive or protected areas, and the value of neighboring property because of their large size, noise, or other impacts. Such facilities include:

• Transmission lines with towers that may be more than 125 feet tall.
• Large electric generating plants.
• “Wind farms” with wind turbines that are likely to be over 400 feet tall (or 40+ stories).
• Oil, gas, and LNG (liquefied natural gas) storage tanks, and oil refineries.

Second, those objecting to a proposed facility should have a sound, substantive case for objecting to the facility. Those who object to a facility should not be hypocritical by contending that the proposed facility is a fine idea as long as it is in someone else’s backyard. Clearly, this undermines their position and often ignores valid, substantive reasons for opposing a proposed facility that is NOT in the public interest. For example, as has now been demonstrated repeatedly, huge wind turbines and “wind farms”:

• Produce very little electricity and that electricity is low in value because it is intermittent, volatile, unreliable, and most likely to be produced when least needed; i.e., at night and in colder months when winds are strong – not on hot weekday late afternoons when electricity demand is high.
• Do not have the environmental, energy, and economic benefits often claimed and, in fact, have significant adverse environmental, economic, scenic and property value impacts.
• Are being built principally because of huge tax breaks and subsidies for “wind farm” owners and financiers, not because of their energy, environmental or economic benefits.
• Are very high in true cost, including the cost of tax breaks and subsidies, and the added cost of providing reliable backup generating capacity needed to maintain grid reliability because of the intermittence, volatility, and unreliability of electricity from wind turbines.
• Do not replace the need for adding reliable generating capacity in areas experiencing grow in peak electricity demand or needing to replace aging generating units.

Third, identify and understand the motives of those promoting construction of the facility, particularly those people using the “NIMBY” label in a derisive way. Expose their identities and motives. Most likely, those promoting construction of the facility will be one or more of the following:

• An Ultra or Urban NIMBY, as described above who wants the convenience of reliable energy but doesn’t want to see the facilities that produce the energy or transport it to his home or office.
• An official from a company that wants to finance, build, and/or own a “wind farm,” transmission line or other large facility that would produce the adverse health, safety, scenic or environmental impact.
• A property owner who wishes to profit by leasing or selling his property to a company that wishes to build the intrusive facility, regardless of the health, safety or environmental impact on neighbors.
• A politician who, for one reason or another, wishes to override citizen and/or local government objections, or is repaying a special interest group or facility developer for campaign contributions.
• A government official or “bureaucrat” with a rather narrow perspective that wants to force a “wind farm,” transmission line, or other obtrusive energy facility into an area that may be ill-suited for it.

Fourth, those who are labeled “NIMBYs” should not be embarrassed and should not “back off” when they are pressured. The health, safety, environmental, scenic, and property values that would be impaired are real and often valuable. The wind industry, for example, has been notorious in claiming falsely that “wind farms” with their huge wind turbines do not adversely affect neighboring property values. That industry and, sadly, some government agencies using taxpayers' money have sponsored “studies” producing such false claims. However, such studies have been shown to be biased and based on faulty analysis. Not long ago, a court in England found in favor of a plaintiff whose life was made unbearable by a neighboring “wind farm” and who could not sell the home because of the “wind farm.” Common sense alone should convince any objective person that a residential property that has a large wind turbine nearby will command a lower price than an identical property without the wind turbine.

Fifth, citizens should not be intimidated by government pronouncements concerning the energy technologies and facilities that should be constructed. Government officials and central planners are notorious for their inability to pick wining technologies. Further, both elected and appointed government officials at all levels have proven highly susceptible to undue influence from lobbyists and developers. Advocates for some energy technologies and projects (e.g., wind energy and “wind farms”) have been extremely effective in creating false popular wisdom and faulty government policies that benefit their private interests but are not in the national and public interest. Billions of taxpayer and consumer dollars have been wasted on the development, demonstration, and deployment of government-selected energy technologies that have proven not to be cost effective, environmentally acceptable, commercially viable, and technologically sound.

What should be done about necessary energy facilities?

Are some of these facilities clearly necessary and in the national and public interest? Certainly they are, but that doesn’t diminish the critical questions: (a) where should they be located, (b) who should bear the adverse environmental, scenic and property value impacts, and the health and safety risks, (c) how should those who are adversely affected be compensated, (d) should eminent domain laws be changed to give greater protection and/or compensation to those adversely affected, (e) how should people in rural areas be protected, particularly if they are not protected by zoning laws, and/or they have inadequate political representation because legislatures are dominated by representatives from urban areas?

Alternatives should be evaluated. Perhaps, more facilities such as electric generating plants should be located near or IN the heart of metropolitan areas that are being served so that long transmission lines with attendant losses of electricity are not needed. Many cities have blighted areas that could be restored with properly constructed generating plants – perhaps not as large as those plants would be if located at a distance, but still large enough to supply a significant amount of electricity for people in the urban area. Also, additional units could be added at some existing powerplant sites in or near urban areas. Still, another possibility is the construction of electric generating units at superfund sites in urban areas.

Glenn R. Schleede, 18220 Turnberry Drive, Round Hill, VA 20141-2574. 540-338-9958.

* Schleede is semi-retired after spending more than 35 years dealing with energy related matters in the federal government and private sector. He writes frequently about wind and other energy issues, particularly government policies that have adverse impacts on taxpayers and consumers.

Developers sign on to state wind ethics code

VOLUNTARY RULES: Attorney general aims to prevent corruption

All of the local wind developers signed on to the state attorney general's Wind Industry Ethics Code on Wednesday.

The developers of four local projects were among 15 companies that signed on.

"New York must be equally committed to clean energy and clean government," Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said. "Wind power has enormous environmental and economic potential for New York and it is critical that this industry continues to grow without the suspicion or shadow of public corruption or anything else outside the law."

The code was introduced Oct. 31, when two developers, Noble Environmental Power LLC, Essex, Conn., and First Wind, Newton, Mass., signed the pact after an investigation by the attorney general's office into allegations that they were bribing local officials to push through wind projects.

"The code is prospective," Mr. Cuomo said during a press conference in Albany. "It defines the rules going forward. Investigations with past actions continue."

The voluntary code calls on developers to disclose financial relationships with town officials or their relatives, release written property agreements and establish ethics training for employees. Under the code, developers are not allowed to hire local officials, give gifts worth more than $10 in one year or pay for an official's or municipality's legal fees related to a law enforcement investigation.

Violation of the code could lead to civil penalties of $50,000 for the first violation and $100,000 for subsequent violations.

All of the local developers signed on, including:

■ Acciona Wind Energy USA LLC, developer of St. Lawrence Wind Farm in Cape Vincent.

■ BP Wind Energy North America Inc., developer of Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

■ Iberdrola Renewables Inc., part-owner of Maple Ridge Wind Farm and developer of Horse Creek Wind Farm in Clayton and Stone Church Wind Farm in Hammond.

■ Horizon Wind Energy, part-owner of Maple Ridge Wind Farm.

■ Galloo Island Wind Farm developers Pattern Energy Group Holdings and Upstate NY Power Corp.

"We feel this is a positive step for the industry," said BP project manager James H. Madden. "We have some work ahead of us for documenting what is required, but we think this is going to help our project move forward."

The other local developers also praised the code and expressed readiness to comply with public notification.

"We applaud the state of New York's support of the renewable energy industry and today's announcement of formal efforts to ensure transparency and accountability across the board," Acciona project manager Peter E. Zedick said in an e-mail.

Beth O'Brien, spokeswoman for Pattern Energy, said, "Hopefully, it will give some comfort to local communities and help New York reach its renewable energy goals."

Other signatories included Ecogen Wind LLC, E.on Climate and Renewables North America Inc., Everpower Wind Holdings Inc., Invenergy Wind Development LLC, Northwind & Power LLC, Penn Energy Trust LLC, Sustainable Energy Trust Inc., and Shell WindEnergyInc. Later Wednesday, after facing a subpoena from the attorney general's office, Reunion Power also signed.

The Alliance for Clean Energy New York, a renewable energy proponent, worked on behalf of its member wind developers in the discussions on the code with the attorney general's office. It said the developers and their subsidiaries comprise more than 90 percent of constructed and proposed wind power projects.

Executive Director Carol E. Murphy said in a press release, "This set of guidelines incorporates best industry practices and sets a new standard of transparency and public integrity that goes far beyond existing state law and what other industries must comply with."

The code signed Wednesday had slight changes from the first version. The word "knowingly" was added to sections telling developers not to give gifts, honorariums or compensation to municipal officers or their relatives.

Financial interests in the development by municipal officers or family members must be disclosed before a first application is made to a town, either for a wind measurement tower or a project.

And developers are given 60 days to hold a seminar on conflicts of interest with employees. The members of the attorney general's wind energy task force are clearly defined, including representatives of the wind industry.

"We've been working closely with other responsible wind developers," said Paul N. Copleman, communications manager for Iberdrola. "It is fair to the wind industry and to the communities."

Perry Public Hearing Monday, August 10, 2009 at 7:00 PM

CHRN (Citizen’s for a Healthy Rural Neighborhood)!
Turbine Free Perry

We are asking for your support! Monday August 10th, 2009 @ 7:00 PM at the Perry High School Auditorium, Watkins Avenue

Please attend the Perry Public Hearing for the Supplemental DEIS for the proposed Horizon Wind Project here in North Perry.

The opposition group has been passing out t-shirts and invitations in the Village of Perry. We need numbers and your support!

If you want to speak you have to sign up before 7:00 PM the night of the hearing. Your comments have to reference to the SDEIS report. We have SDEIS CD’s 237-2338

You can turn in your written report the night of the hearing or at the Perry Town Hall by Monday August 31, 2009

Numbers count! Please help us out! Please attend! Just come and be present!


Valary Sahrle

17 wind-industry firms sign state ethics code

ALBANY - Seventeen companies comprising more than 90 percent of New York's wind-energy industry have signed an ethics code designed to prevent conflicts of interest between companies and municipal officials, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Wind energy is a burgeoning sector in New York, Cuomo said, and New York wants to encourage it for environmental and economic-development reasons. But there have been "significant issues about conflict of interest, etc." in the siting of turbines, and a lack of clarity with government officials on what the rules are, he said.

"In many ways, it was a modern-day gold rush," Cuomo said. "This code of conduct that was signed today basically lays out the rules of the road."
One company doing business in the state - Reunion Power of Manchester Center, Vt. - originally refused to sign the code of ethics but changed its mind Wednesday afternoon.

"This is a great step forward for the industry and State of New York, setting a new level of integrity in government and a green light for the exciting new wind industry," Cuomo said in a statement.

Before Reunion Power signed the ethics code, Cuomo's office issued a subpoena to the company as part of his ongoing investigation of allegations of improper dealings. Reunion Power has potential wind-farm development in Otsego, Schoharie and Warren counties.

Wind power has the potential to provide 20 percent of the state's electricity demand, according to the state Energy Research Development Authority. A report from the state comptroller in 2005 predicted the industry could add 43,000 jobs in New York by 2013.

Cuomo unveiled the code of conduct in late October, when he announced that two wind-energy companies had signed it - Noble Environmental Power of Essex, Conn., and First Wind of Newton, Mass. Fifteen more have signed on since then.

The ethics code grew out of Cuomo's ongoing investigation on whether wind-farm developers improperly sought land-use agreements with residents and public officials, tried to influence public officials' actions by providing them with certain benefits, and other areas.

The code:

* Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency.

* Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by municipal officers in the course of their duties.

* Requires wind companies to set up public Web sites to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind-farm development.

* Requires that wind companies submit to municipal clerks for public viewing and publish in a local newspaper the nature of a municipal officer's financial interest.

Comments on Wolfe Island by Art Pundt


Since the Wolfe Island Wind Farm became operational in early July I have heard low rumbling on some nights from my side yard or deck at my cottage. I have heard it numerous time. I have heard the trains in Canada and traffic on the 401 in Canada as well as the city hum of Kingston on quiet nights. This was different and coming directly from the red lights of the WI turbines. I also know the low rumble of ships. There were no ships around.

I wasn't sure, so last night with a fairly strong south wind we drove down to the village of Cape Vincent. We stopped at the public boat launch in the village. I opened up the drivers side window with that side of the truck out of the wind...and sure enough there was the answer. The turbines on WI are can easily be heard. Sounds like a jet flying over at altitude and is very distinct. Or it soulds like the sound eminated from outside a large busy city. If you are in a clam spot protected from the wind the sound is really clear.

Now keep in mind the the closest turbine to me is about 7.5 miles and the center of the WI project is around 9-10 miles from my cottage. At the public dock in CV the nearest turbines is about 3 miles. This was all measured on Google Earth.

Now keep in mind the distances I mentioned above. The town is only about 4 to 5 miles wide, and something like 12 miles long (approx).

And that is 148 turbines packed into that area. WI is 86. You won't be able to hide anywhere from the sound based on what I heard coming from WI. I am surprised there have not been any mention of this or complaints coming from the village. Also keep in mind that the wind was blowing away from me last night

So what is the bottom line? If you think a wind law will protect you even with large sound set backs... based on what I have heard from WI and the distance at which you can hear these better think again!!!! Turbines do not belong in this community period!

Go down to the village some night with a strong south wind and listen for yourself, then do the math.

Art Pundt

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Attorney General Cuomo's Wind Industry Ethics Code Increases Transparency While Deterring Improper Dealing Between the Industry and Local Government Officials

Vast Majority of Industry Adopts Code; Investigation into Allegations of Misconduct Continues with Subpoena to Reunion Power

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 29, 2009) Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 16 companies representing the vast majority of wind energy activity in New York state (more than 90 percent) have signed his Wind Industry Ethics Code, facilitating the development of renewable energy while helping assure that the industry is acting properly and within the law. The Code calls for oversight through an advisory Task Force and unprecedented transparency that will deter improper relationships between wind development companies and local government officials.

Fourteen companies have now joined the two that signed late last year to make a total of 16 wind industry leaders agreeing to Attorney General Cuomo s Ethics Code. According to the Alliance for Clean Energy (ACE), these companies, along with their subsidiaries, are responsible for more than 90 percent of the wind farm development (past, present or future projects) in New York State.

The Attorney General also announced that as part of its ongoing investigation into allegations of improper dealings, his office issued a subpoena to Reunion Power, which has potential wind farm development in Otsego, Schoharie and Warren Counties, and has not agreed to sign the Code.

New York must be equally committed to clean energy and clean government. The companies that have signed our Wind Industry Ethics Code are echoing that commitment and I commend them for that,” said Attorney General Cuomo. Wind power has enormous environmental and economic potential for New York and it is critical that this industry continues to grow without the suspicion or shadow of public corruption or anything else outside the law.”

The new companies to sign on to the Code are: Acciona Wind Energy USA, LLC, BP Wind Energy North America, Inc., Ecogen Wind, LLC, E.on Climate and Renewables North America, Inc., Everpower Wind Holdings, Inc., Horizon Wind Energy, LLC, Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., Invenergy Wind Development, LLC, Northwind & Power, LLC, Pattern Energy Group Holdings, Penn Energy Trust, LLC, Sustainable Energy Trust, Inc., Upstate NY Power Corp. and Shell WindEnergy, Inc.

The Code was signed previously by Newton, Massachusetts-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) and Essex, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power, LLC. Both companies currently operate several wind farms in New York and have others in development.

The Wind Industry Ethics Code is a direct result of the Attorney General's ongoing investigation into, among other things, whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, and whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their official actions relating to wind farm development.

The Attorney General s Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes public disclosure requirements. The Code:

Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency

Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using, or knowingly
receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his or her official duties

Requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public Web
site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development

Requires wind companies to submit in writing to the municipal
clerk for public inspection, and to publish in the local newspaper, the nature and scope of the municipal officer s financial interest

Mandates that all wind easements and leases be in writing and
filed with the County Clerk

Dictates that within sixty days of signing the Wind Industry
Ethics Code, companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working with municipal employees

The Attorney General s Task Force monitors the wind companies to ensure they are in compliance with the Ethics Code and receives complaints regarding the industry. Members of the Task Force include, among others, Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne, Monroe County District Attorney Michael C. Green, Wyoming County District Attorney Gerald Stout, Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario of The New York State Association of Counties, and Executive Director G. Jeffrey Haber of The Association of Towns of the State of New York.

The New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) estimates that wind power has the potential to provide 20 percent of the state s electricity demand and a 2005 report by the state Comptroller s Office estimates the industry could add 43,000 jobs in New York by 2013.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne said, More than a dozen companies committed to the smart and transparent growth of the renewable energy industry have now agreed to the Attorney General s Wind Energy Code of Conduct. The public will now be able to easily review and identify potential conflicts of interest between their government officials and wind power companies. Attorney General Cuomo is delivering real results on this issue and I look forward to my continued service on his Wind Energy Task Force.”

Wyoming County District Attorney Gerald Stout said, The Attorney General s Code of Conduct is a successful and business friendly way to ensure this growing industry realizes its tremendous economic and environmental potential. I applaud the companies that have already signed on, and I strongly encourage other wind energy companies doing business in New York to demonstrate their commitment to openness and transparency by following suit.”

Monroe County District Attorney Michael C. Green said, It is imperative for the public to know that the business of wind energy is free from conflict and corruption, and that is exactly what Attorney General Cuomo s Code of Conduct helps ensure. Wind energy will play a vital role in our state s energy future and companies that sign the Code are signaling their willingness to conduct business in an open and transparent way.”

New York State Association of Counties executive director Stephen J. Acquario said, County governments are on the front lines of helping to balance essential renewable energy growth through the installation of wind farms and policing possible conflicts of interests between wind power companies and public officials. Attorney General Cuomo s Ethics Code helps the clean energy industry sustain honest growth and continue to contribute to the goal of energy independence and job creation.”

Association of Towns of the State of New York Executive Director G. Jeffrey Haber said, The Wind Energy Code of Conduct drafted by Attorney General Cuomo and agreed to by major wind energy companies will provide guidance for growth of wind energy facilities without conflicts of interest.”

The Attorney General thanked the Task Force members for their continued assistance and guidance. Gabriel Alonso, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Wind Energy said, On behalf of Horizon and the communities across the United States that are our partners in wind energy development, we are very proud to be part of the initiative announced today by the Attorney General of New York to promote transparent and ethical conduct in the wind power industry in the State of New York. We look forward to working with the newly created Task Force and the Attorney General in order to capture the full potential of wind power for all New Yorkers.”

Mike Garland, Chief Executive Officer of Pattern Energy, said, Pattern Energy is very excited about our New York wind projects in active development and we are pleased that a Code of Conduct with the Attorney General s office is now in place. This code allows communities to have confidence that the wind project approval process is transparent, which in turn helps New York State reach renewable energy goals and receive the economic and environmental benefits from the development of renewable energy.”

The matter is being handled by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Robin L. Baker, Special Deputy Attorney General Ellen Nachtigall Biben, who oversees the Attorney General s Public Integrity Bureau, and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Heffner.

(Click to read the Industrial Wind Code of Ethics)

The Developer's Bull Does Stink


The Developer's Bull Does Stink

In May I wrote that my wife owns a 25-acre Naples, Ontario County property located across from a wind turbine site, and we had the tax assessment reduced by 60%. I stand by that statement, and I have the paper trail to prove it. To say I'm a bit displeased at being called a liar by the wind developer in "Today's Stinky Bull" is an understatement. Let me explain how this all went down.

First, the assessment on my wife's property was raised, as were the assessments on many properties in Naples. In response, I brought the tax assessor several documents which I felt indicated that the value of this property – and two other nearby properties – should be significantly lowered due to the proximity of a wind turbine site. As evidence, I submitted the letter the current Naples town supervisor wrote to the NY State attorney general, which, among other concerns, addresses the resulting inability to build on property in close proximity to turbines. I also provided the developer's turbine site map, and indicated their plan to build the project this year.

In response, the Naples assessor first granted a (quite modest) change in the assessment, based upon the percentage of the 25 acres which was field versus forest. While I didn't understand this rationale, this small reduction was appreciated. I then re-stated this didn't address the real problem. This property was severely devalued because of the close proximity of a site for a 415-foot-high, noise-making, ice-throwing, health-threatening industrial wind turbine. For this reason, no one in their right mind could build there, and even if we were crazy enough to do so, no sane banker would grant us a mortgage, and no sensible underwriter would sell us insurance. It seemed pretty straightforward to me.

The Naples assessor then stated that any further reduction in the assessment would need to be based upon an appraisal. We commissioned and submitted appraisals on this 25-acre parcel and two other adjacent properties. In response, the assessments on all three properties were reduced, and the reduction in assessment was progressively lower the closer the property was to the wind turbine site. And yes, the assessment on the property closest to the wind turbine site was reduced (to be precise) a whopping 59.5%!

Now let's think through the "stinky bull" these sweethearts have been slinging. The "Misinformation" newsletter claims that this property was "reclassified as to its current use at the request of the owner" and "she (the Naples assessor) did that and the land was reclassified from building lots to woodland and wasteland". What a whopper! I've never heard of these classifications.

First, none of these three unimproved properties was a "building lot". I'm not a housing developer, and they weren't cut up into one acre (or any other sized) sections. The problem is we WANTED to build a home for one of our sons on this 25-acre property – one house – and now we CAN'T.

Next, I didn't ASK to have this 25-acre property declared a "wasteland". The windfarm developer MADE it a "wasteland"! If that's what the assessor needed to call it in order to justifiably reduce the tax assessment, so be it. But don't tell us this is what we wanted! This 60% lower assessment is almost half what we originally paid for the property, and one-third what we were offered for the property several years ago – and turned down. Again, don't tell us this is what we wanted!

Calming down, this does open an interesting question. Is it really possible that I or anyone else can just go into the town tax assessor and say, "I don't feel like building on my property. So, uh, how about you just cut my tax bill in half? No, wait. Make that 60%." What!? Does anyone reading this claim in "The Stinky Bull" really believe this is how it works? Do you think the developers even believe it? Come now! Just thinking they believed they could get people to swallow this "stinky bull" takes my breath away.

And if (for whatever reason) your town board throws these pillaging Vikings the keys to the car and they site a 400-foot-high noise-making industrial wind turbine close to your home and land, prepare yourself for a drag-out fight if you seek a reassessment. Do you believe the town assessor wants to open "Pandora's Box" and start assessing a number of properties DOWN? Of course not!

Let's get this straight. At this point, the real issue is not the inevitable lower property assessments for those severely damaged, which will need to be balanced out by higher taxes paid by the rest of the town's property owners. The real issue is this – How much do you want the value and usefulness of your property to fall? How about not at all!

Forget about who's been "influenced", or even that your former town supervisor now works for the developer. Your future is still within your control. Stand up and tell your elected town board what you truly want. One choice is to give in to the "prophets of powerlessness", let the developer do with you what they will, and live with the consequences. Or, you can protect your homes, your property, and your way of life, and protect yourself and your neighbors from the higher taxes this havoc will cause. It's your choice.

John Servo
Prattsburgh, New York

Cape wind ban gets support

A wind-power moratorium on just a portion of a town doesn't make sense.

That's according to the Jefferson County Planning Board, which considered Cape Vincent's proposed six-month moratorium for wind power development in the lakefront and river front districts at its meeting Tuesday afternoon. The members of the board approved a townwide moratorium, which was not presented to them, rather than the town's proposed partial moratorium.

The county board, however, did not directly reject the town's proposal.

"They should look at all areas," said member Jon W. Storms.

When the Town Council introduced the moratorium idea July 9, it said it would protect the two districts which were never intended for wind power development.

"Currently, we have two projects under review in the ag district and we're not going to suspend those," Supervisor Tho-mas K. Rienbeck said at the time. "One is almost complete."

The riverfront district runs north of Route 12E, east of the village and to County Route 6 west of the village.

The lakefront district lies west of County Route 6, north of Mud Creek.

Those districts contain none of the proposed turbines in either the St. Lawrence Wind Farm or Cape Vincent Wind Farm projects.

"The Town Council acknowledges that the current zoning law is not equipped to review wind generating facilities," said Michael J. Bourcy, the county community development coordinator.

Mr. Bourcy was part of the town's most recent review of a zoning law, which was completed in January.

"The last draft we had wouldn't allow these uses in the (riverfront) or (lake front) districts," he said.

Until a law is adopted, all meteorological towers, personal windmills and commercial wind turbines are considered utilities, based on a decision from the town's Zoning Board of Appeals and may be placed anywhere in the town following a site plan review.

As part of the county Planning Board's comments, members reminded the town the state Department of State has said municipalities must make a valid argument for enacting any moratorium. Planning Board member Clifford J. Schneider, who is also a Cape Vincent resident, said, "Understanding that this is the biggest development in our county, I am dumbfounded to understand why they do not have a zoning amendment for it."

If the Planning Board had rejected the two-district moratorium, it would have forced the Town Council to approve it by at least a 4-1 vote.

Tuesday's approval of a moratorium with different boundaries acts only as a recommendation to the town.

The County Planning Board also approved a zoning amendment for the town of Watertown which combines the light industrial and business districts from the area bordering outer Coffeen Street south to the parcels surrounding outer Arsenal Street.

The new district is called "neighborhood commercial" and includes all of the light manufacturing and business uses previously allowed.

It also includes regulations on single-family and multi-family residences with minimum footprints and does not allow mobile homes.

The board encouraged the town to consider applying the new district in other business districts.

The board commented on and approved proposed regulations for Grindstone Island in the town of Clayton.

While the town told the board the regulations are meant to encourage a rural, low-density feel on the island, the board questioned whether uses including flea markets, self-storage, quarries and educational institutions meet that goal.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An unfortunate situation in Prattsburgh

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday July 29, 2009

Latest meeting dashes hope for honest debate over wind turbines

To the editor:

I attended the Prattsburgh Town Board meeting last Tuesday. I was approaching it with great enthusiasm as the members of the Town Board had all agreed that they were not themselves experts on sound and setbacks and the effect of the proposed wind turbines on the residents. My hopes were that the town would be able to learn a little more from the problems in Cohocton that have been so visible in the news.

I had even thanked two of the town board members after-wards, Stacy Bottoni and Harold McConnell for having located and invited an independent sound expert to come and speak about a study that would put to rest the endless disagreements that have dragged on and on in town meetings. I felt that finally the egos and perceptions of all five voting members have been put aside so that the Town Board can go ahead with adopting a comprehensive wind law that protects the citizens at the same time as it defines what sort of parameters outside companies have to follow while installing turbine projects in Prattsburgh.

My enthusiasm was sharply lowered as discussions about the cost of the study seemed to make the study something that would not come to fruition. My enthusiasm was lowered further when in discussions it was evident that maybe there was not a setting aside of the egos and beliefs and that regardless of any independent study it is possible that minds are already made up. This is unfortunate for Prattsburgh because the company that is profiting from the project is the one that is guiding the decisions about safety and setbacks, threatening to sue the town every time an opinion comes in that is not theirs.

I am guessing that the reason is that the bare minimum of setbacks and safety regulations are what is most profitable and allows the most 400-foot turbine towers to be placed in the town. I think that Pattern Energy, formerly Ecogen, has convinced some of the board that any change at all in noise regulations or setbacks that stems from things that we all have learned and studies and regulations that are being used all through the world, will doom the project.

I guess it comes down to whom the board feels is better to doom - the company that is here for the profit they will make or a few of the residents that call Prattsburgh home. This coming week the Town Board will meet on how to pay for the study. It is my belief that the money will not be available. Even if it is, Pattern Energy's coaching and the ever-present eyes of their lawyer have trained the majority of the board to vote to follow the breadcrumbs that Pattern Energy has laid out for them.

I hope, unlike in Hansel and Gretel's tale, no one gets pushed into the oven or lost, and everyone lives happily ever after. This decision lies in the vote of the Town Board. My dream is that logic, reason and compromise can overcome strong egos and long standing perceptions for all of the five voters. Three to two votes are becoming a regular thing. My vote is for the citizens of Prattsburgh and the future of the unique area that we all love.

Tom MacAIlister, Prattsburgh

A lack of respect

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday July 29, 2009

Prattsburgh Town Board disrespects citizens - and each other

To the editor:

Every time I go to a Prattsburgh Town Board meeting I hope that maybe this time the Town Board majority consisting of Harold McConnell, Sharon Quigley and Stacy Bottom will act in the best interests of the entire town. Last night that hope was extinguished for good. Not only did the board majority vote to ignore the advice of their own noise consultant and vote to give permission to Ecogen to keep their project maps secret, but once again McConnell allowed Bottom to speak disrespectfully to another board member. He also allowed the attorney for Ecogen to make slanderous comments as he openly disrespected a board member who tried to hold Ecogen accountable for its promises.

For months they have discussed the need for a windmill law and the need for an independent noise expert to help them write the safety regulations. Finally, two weeks ago, McConnell brought in a noise expert who was not connected to the wind projects or to the board or to anyone in the town. This guy told them point blank that the setbacks for the projects are "woefully inadequate." He sent the town a proposal for a noise study that would enable him to write the noise guidelines for the law, and McConnell, Quigley and Bottom decided that there was no value in the town spending the money for his expert opinion.

Ecogen's attorney point blank refused to reveal the project maps. Up until now every project map has shown transmission lines crossing the property of non-participating landowners. Ecogen has promised to "fix" the maps, but refuses to show the revisions. Could it be that Ecogen does not have a transmission plan and hopes to get the board majority to condemn land for the project?

I have witnessed first-hand the board majority's disrespect for citizens on a variety of issues having nothing to do with wind. In addition, they do not seem to have a good grasp of the town's ordinances and the Town Attorney repeatedly shows that he doesn't either. Prattsburgh needs and deserves leadership and integrity in its elected and appointed officials. The present board majority and lawyer consistently display neither of those qualities. November 2009 will give us a chance to make positive changes in our town government.

Al Wordingham, Cook School Road, Prattsburgh

Moratorium on wind development a good idea for Cape Vincent

Petitions are being circulated in the town of Cape Vincent calling for a one-year town-wide moratorium on any wind farm development. The petition is calling on the Cape Vincent town officials to enact such a moratorium to thoroughly examine wind farm zoning regulations appropriate for the health, safety and welfare of all the residents of the community as well as the aesthetic impacts to the town and 1000 Islands region.

A one-year town-wide moratorium seems to be a reasonable request and a warranted action given the fact the town has no zoning laws in place to protect its citizens. The town is currently proposing a one-year partial wind-farm development moratorium in the lake and river districts where no known wind developments are proposed. It would seem more logical that any moratorium would first apply to those parts of the town where wind farms are currently being proposed.

The town completed a draft wind law earlier this year, at considerable expense to the taxpayers. How can the town on the one hand consider a partial moratorium to enact a wind law, while on the other hand fail to disclose their completed draft wind law? A town-wide moratorium as well as the release of their newest draft wind law is needed.

Wind farm development in any part of the town without zoning and/or a wind law in place would be an unfairness and injustice to all the citizens of the town and certainly contrary to the interest of good government. A one-year town-wide wind farm development moratorium would provide time for the deliberation and enactment of responsible zoning.

Thomas E. Brown

Cape Vincent

Monday, July 27, 2009

Turbine moratorium gives Victor time to craft needed codes

Since it went up this past June, the wind turbine on Mark Thorn’s Brace Road, East Bloomfield, property has been quite the conversation piece in his neighborhood — and beyond. He is using it to power his home and electric car, and expects it to save him energy costs in the long haul.

With rising heating oil costs and electric bills, and the push for more environmentally friendly energy, it’s to be expected that there will be more folks like Thorn hoping to harness the power of wind. One has already surfaced: Jerry Collier told the Victor Town Board a few weeks back that he has been thinking about putting up a turbine on his Rawson Road property.

But Collier will have to wait, as the Victor Town Board has just enacted a six-month moratorium on wind turbines while it looks at getting local codes on the books to regulate them. It’s a wise move on the board’s part.

While Victor isn’t the sort of place that is being eyed by developers for multi-million-dollar wind farms, as is the case in more hilly places like Naples and Prattsburgh, it’s to be expected that more homeowners in towns across the state will seek to erect individual turbines because of state subsidies. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, for instance, is offering up to $150,000 in rebates for those who harness wind power.

And considering everything from safety to noise to aesthetics, regulations are a must.

Victor officials formed a committee, hired consultants from LaBella Associates, and started looking into wind turbine codes two years ago. An early draft of the codes would allow the machinery for private use but bar any large-scale operations. The height of turbines would be limited to 200 feet, owners would need to submit a decommission plan for projects costing more than $250,000 and limit the decibel level.

That’s a good start. East Bloomfield’s Town Board wound up retooling its turbine codes last year after realizing, among other things, they’d set a height limit too low to allow windmills to capture the most dependable wind currents. Higher towers generate more power, meaning a quicker payback for owners on their investments.

And certain incentives, like the rebates offered by the state research and development authority, diminish when the height is below a certain level.

Given the economic climate and the need to protect natural resources, folks like Thorn and Collier are not likely to long be alone in looking at alternative energy sources. Other communities would be smart to follow Victor’s lead and get some regulations on the books.

Why is Shear Wind afraid of Dr. Pierpont?

Dr. Nina Pierpont M.D. is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In the abstract to her upcoming book Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment, one reads:

“This report documents a consistent and often debilitating complex of symptoms … [that] include sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering that arise while awake or asleep. The study is a case series of 10 affected families, with 38 members age <1 to 75, living 305 m to 1.5 km (1000 to 4900 ft) from wind turbines erected since 2004.”

In their November 27, 2008 addendum to their Environmental Assessment registration documents, Shear Wind Inc., in describing Dr. Pierpont’s work, misrepresents the maximum distance from a turbine as only 457 meters instead of 1.5 km; this is more than three times less than what the abstract states. In fact, there are seven homes closer than 1.5 km to turbines in Shear Wind’s Glen Dhu project. For this and five other statements of questionable truthfulness in their addendum, Shear Wind is under a Section 115 investigation by Nova Scotia Environment with a response due July 30, 2009.

Now, in their July newsletter to the community, Shear Wind again seeks to discredit Dr. Pierpont’s work, this time by claiming her view “that people living in proximity to wind farms may suffer from ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ … is not supported by scientists.” Shear Wind cites the Canadian Wind Energy website where links to seven articles authored by these scientists ostensibly support this claim. It is reasonable to expect that these authors reviewed Dr. Pierpont’s work and criticized her methods or “wind turbine syndrome” itself. However, a thorough reading reveals that five of the articles do not even mention Dr. Pierpont and only one article makes reference to her case series study stating, “One cannot discount the information.” Shear Wind is again misleading our community. While these authors do in fact “not support” Pierpont’s work, neither do they refute it, as Shear Wind would have us believe.

In contrast, Dr. Joel F. Lehrer, M.D., F.A.C.S., one of the four doctors and scientists who, as referees, have peer reviewed the manuscript for Dr. Pierpont’s upcoming book, states, “This [report] addresses an under-reported facet of Noise Induced Illnesses in a fashion that is detailed in its historical documentation, multi-systemic in its approach and descriptions, and painstakingly and informatively referenced …. [It] opens up the area of low frequency vibration to the medical community …. I applaud her.”

Based on the growing body of evidence, doctors, such as Dr. Pierpont, are calling for a minimum 2 km wind turbine setback or construction moratorium until an independent study can assess the full impact of wind turbine noise. However, as long as Shear Wind can create doubt through disinformation, our government and the general public will turn a deaf ear to such reasoned caution and Shear Wind can continue to site turbines based on financial convenience and to recklessly gamble with the health and well being of our rural communities.

Kristen Overmyer, M.S.M.E.
Baileys Brook

Clayton holding session on local wind energy law

CLAYTON — The town will hold a public workshop to discuss its Planning Board's recommendations on a revised local law on wind energy development at its council meeting at 5 p.m. Aug. 26 in the Depauville Free Library and Community Center on County Route 179.

The joint town and village Planning Board has submitted its recommendations on a revised wind law to the town board after reviewing the Clayton Citizens Wind Committee's recommendations.

The wind committee submitted its 16-point proposal for a revised local law on wind energy production to the town in April.

The Town Council will discuss the Planning Board's review with the public and wind committee.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Perspectives on wind turbine noise

When the planning of a wind farm is in public debate, different perspectives are often used without people being aware of them. Just look at websites of opponents and proponents with wind turbines towering over buildings in the background or distant turbines seen from a pleasant foreground.

According to the British Wind Energy Association "well designed wind turbines are generally quiet in operation, and compared to the noise of road traffic, trains, aircraft, and construction activities to name but a few, the noise from wind turbines is very low. Outside the nearest houses, which are at least 300 meters away, and more often further, the sound of a wind turbines generating electricity is likely to be about the same level as noise from a flowing stream about 50-100 meters away or the noise of leaves rustling in a gentle breeze," whereas critic Pierpont states that "the noise produced by wind turbines has a thumping, pulsing character, especially at night, when it is more audible. The noise is louder at night because of the contrast between the still, cool air at ground level and the steady stream of wind at the level of the turbine hubs. This nighttime noise travels a long distance. It has been documented to be disturbing to residents 1.2 miles away from wind turbines in regular rolling terrain, and 1.5 miles away in Appalachian valleys."

The different notions are, in part, a result of the perspective of a person or an organization. The recent WINDFARM perception study has shown that annoyance from the sound of wind turbines is related to attitude towards wind energy and/or wind turbines in the landscape, and to the visibility of a wind farm. Also, residents who had economic benefits from wind turbines were hardly or not annoyed while for residents without such benefits the sound from wind turbines is more annoying than sound at the same level from major noise sources such as road, rail, or air traffic, and industry.

TNO (Organization for Applied Research) researchers have determined dose-response curves for wind turbine noise from all relevant studies. The results are shown in Fig. 1 for all respondents that did not have economic benefits from wind turbines. At left the results are plotted when annoyance or severe annoyance (as perceived either indoors or outdoors) is the response and at the right when sleep disturbance (being awakened by sound at least once a month) is the response. Here the dose level (noise exposure) is the outdoor sound level in Lden (time weighted average of daytime, evening and night time) or Lnight; Lden is 4.7 dB higher and Lnight 1.6 dB lower than the sound level would be with a 8 m/s wind speed at 10 m in a ‘standard' atmosphere (i.e., of neutral stability).

When compared to other noise sources the degree of annoyance of sound from wind turbines is surprisingly high. Major noise sources (road, rail, and air traffic, industry) in general do not cause severe annoyance below 42 dB(A). At 50 dB(A) 6% or less of the exposed residents are highly annoyed, whereas for wind turbines, severe annoyance (indoors) occurs at lower levels below 40 dB(A) and at 50 dB(A) has risen to 14.5% of the exposed and non-benefiting population. A clue to explain this could be the similarity with the high annoyance associated with the noise from shunting yards. Whereas most noise sources are less active at night, shunting yards often are not and the clanking and engine noise is even more audible in the relative quiet of the evening and night. Four out of ten residents find wind turbines louder at night than in daytime and another four do not find it clearly different. For an inland as well as a coastal location a 60 m high wind turbine produces the same sound level at any time of the day or night, when averaged over a long period. Higher wind turbines are actually louder at night than they are in the day time, though the difference is small (0.5 dB at 100-120 m hub height). Neighbors of modern wind turbines have learned to distinguish between ‘high wind' driving the turbines and a ‘low wind' that they feel themselves, and notice that these winds can be quite different after sundown.

A second explanation for the intrusiveness of wind turbine sound may be its character, the beating or thumping that may have the same effect, draw attention, as the clanking noise from shunting trains. When asked what a wind farm sounds like, three out of four residents think that swishing or lashing is a proper description. The modulation of the sound level at the blade passing frequency (approximately one a second for modern wind turbines at high speed) can be explained by the change in wind speed over the rotor area which is higher at night than it is in daytime. It can also be caused by an obstacle (such as another turbine) upwind from a turbine. It can be shown that the modulation depth (the variation in sound level) due to altitude dependent wind speed differences can increase to 5-6 dB, and even up to ~9 dB when the modulations from several turbines are in phase and the ‘thumps' from different turbines arrive at the same time. Human beings are sensitive to modulations with a frequency of the order of 1 Hz as it occurs in speech (periodicity of syllables) and musical rhythm. The beeps of a truck in reverse gear have the same periodicity.

It is interesting that a modulation of the sound level can also be observed close to a wind turbine: when standing very close to a wind turbine one could hear the swishing of the downward moving blades. This has been shown to be caused by the directivity of the blade as a noise source (more in the forward direction) and of Doppler amplification (the blade tip moves at ~ Mach 0.2). However, this explanation does not hold for a distant observer upwind or downwind from a turbine as the blades then have no changing velocity component in the direction of the observer.

It can be concluded that the research in the last half decade has given a new perspective on the impact of wind turbines. This is especially true at night, a time at which measurements usually were not performed. Sound from modern, tall wind turbines does not abate at night and it is not always a soft, noisy sound (as it may be in daytime), but at night can attract attention because of its rhythm and the contrast with a quiet environment. Proponents tend to present wind turbines as they are heard in daytime, opponents mostly use the impact they cause during the evening and night. It seems wise to me to acknowledge the visual and aural intrusion, not deny it with NIMBY ("not in my backyard") arguments that only reinforce opposition. An improvement in the assessment of the sound level would be to take into account a realistic atmosphere and a possible penalty for the amplitude modulation. A significant non-acoustical measure to reduce noise annoyance may be to involve neighboring residents in the planning of a wind farm: instead of giving them the burden of nuisance, they could share in the benefits.

Frits van den Berg is a senior advisor at the department of Environmental Health of the Amsterdam Public Health Service.

(Click to read the entire report)

Adverse health effects with industrial wind turbines and the need for vigilance

Download Health Survey Abstract, Results and Responses

NOTE: The number of people in Ontario reporting adverse health affects due to industrial wind turbines continues to rise. The first Wind Concerns Ontario community-based self reporting survey was made public on April 22, 2009 by Dr. Robert McMurtry at the Standing Committee for the Green Energy Act. The new total is now 86 which is a disturbing 62% increase from 53 as reported earlier this year.


•This is a community-based survey; members of the community were encouraged to respond to a contact flyer. It’s a self-reporting survey which is a valid approach.
•This survey reproduces the work of U.K. physician, Dr. Amanda Harry (2007).
•There were no restrictions placed on distribution or access to the survey. As a result, hard copy and electronic copies were sent on request. Standard protocal was used to protect confidentiality and data integrity.
•Victims are self-reporting. This follows the principle of Health Canada’s Canada Vigilance.
•Distribution started the end of March, 2009 and within 6 weeks, 76 responses were received with 53 reporting adverse health effects.
•A cover page was sent with the surveys giving instructions and identifying exclusions:
◦If more than 1 adult in the home is affected please have each adult fill out a separate questionnaire.
◦This questionnaire may be filled out by a person 18 years of age or older who is fluent in English.
◦This questionnaire will NOT be used by anyone with any cognitive impairment
•Some requested surveys online and there were no restrictions regarding distribution.
•Surveys were returned to designated address.
•There are 585 operating turbines across Ontario. The wind turbine complexes implicated include:
◦Melancthon Phase 1 and 2, Canadian Hydro Wind Developers, Shelburne,
◦Kingsbridge 1 Wind Power, Goderich,
◦Kruger Energy Port Alma,
◦Ripley Wind Power, Ripley,
◦Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm, Kincardine
◦Erie Shores Wind Farm, Port Burwell.
•The reports of symptoms are consistent with the work of Dr. Amanda Harry, U.K., Dr. Nina Pierpont, U.S.A. and Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, U.S.A.
•Reports of health problems are still coming in. The survey will be ongoing and results will be updated periodically.
If you have not yet received a survey and live nearby an existing windfarm please contact us and we will ensure you are provided with one.

Dr. R. McMurtry’s Deputation to GEA Standing Committee (click here)

Victims of Industrial Wind Turbines on the Rise in Ontario

July 21, 2009 Toronto - The number of people in Ontario reporting adverse health affects due to wind turbines continues to rise. The new total is now 86 which is an additional 33 new victims.

This is a disturbing 62% increase from 53 as reported in the first WCO community-based self reporting survey earlier this year. That survey was made public on April 22, 2009 by Dr. Robert McMurtry at the Standing Committee for the Green Energy Act.

Researchers and victims have reported altered living conditions and ill health. The average number of symptoms reported was 5. Sleep disturbance was the most common complaint. Other symptoms include inner ear problems, cardiac arrhythmias, headaches and mood disturbances.
Several suffered acute hypertensive episodes which are most concerning. Some have had to leave their homes in order to protect their health.

Victims describe disturbed living conditions, loss of quality of life and financial loss due to negative impact to the health of their families. There are still unanswered questions about children and pregnant women.

This community-based survey has filled a void due to the lack of a Canadian vigilance and surveillance program with regard to the impact of industrial wind turbines on human health. Modern industrial wind installations typically include large numbers of industrial scale wind turbines which stand 400+ feet in height. Some of these machines have been placed as close as 350 meters to homes, and some homes have as many as 1o turbines within 1000 meters. This is not the case in other countries such as Denmark even though it is a physically smaller country. Along with each turbine must be added the infrastructure of high voltage transformer stations and kilometers of transmission lines. Long-term surveillance of these complexes is required.

These new survey results are a startling cause for concern. Many more victims continue to come forward. More may still be sitting in silence due to non-disclosure agreements in leasing contracts with wind developers. While alarm now exists around the world with regard to this technology, the government of Ontario should not proceed with further wind development until authoritative guidelines based on the best available science are in place. The health and well-being of more people are potentially at risk.

The requirements at minimum are several:

1. Independent monitoring of
- dBA and dBC ( sound intensity or decibels)
- hertz or frequency (high, low, infra)
- time of exposure (cumulative effects)

2. Monitor wind installations at appropriate height/distance at property lines

3. Epidemiological studies of the population surrounding wind installations done annually (health surveys)

4. Clinical evaluation of victims

5. All information except medical records must be in the public domain.

Full results of the updated survey can be found at:

"We hear wind noise from turbines every evening...the setbacks are 800m, 1100m, 2000m, 1000m, 1500m, 2000m." ~Victim

"My various levels of gov't deserted me and ignore my concerns." ~Victim

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First Wind Energy LLC

First Wind Energy, LLC produces wind power in North America. It develops, owns, operates, and finances wind farms. First Wind Energy, LLC was formerly known as UPC Wind Management, LLC. The company is based in Newton, Massachusetts. As of July 14, 2009, First Wind Energy LLC operates as a subsidiary of Caliber Energy Inc.

NYSEG to boost rates

ELMIRA New York State Electric and Gas customers are getting notices included in their monthly bills about higher state utility taxes, according to state Sen. George Winner, R-Elmira, who criticized the tax hike.

The raises in utility taxes, which took effect July 1, were included in the 2009-2010 state budget.

The tax hike amounts to about 2 percent, and will cost the average upstate New York family about $40 annually, according to Winner. It will also affect businesses.

The hike was part of about $8 billion in new taxes and fees included in the budget, Winner said.

Utility providers are now required to collect a 1 percent "conservation assessment," and a tax to fund the Public Service Commission - which regulates the state's utilities - was increased to 1 percent, according to published reports.

Both increases are slated to be in effect through 2014 and should raise more than $2.2 billion for the state's general fund, according to Winner.

Prattsburgh: sound expert may be tapped for noise ordinance

PRATTSBURGH Prattsburgh town officials will meet Tuesday to consider hiring a sound expert to draft a general noise ordinance aimed at regulating wind turbines.

The board's action followed an initial report by Seth Waltz, president of Avl Designs, Inc. of Pensfield, on his preliminary study of noise in Prattsburgh, the neighboring town of Naples and wind farm in Cohocton operated by First Wind.

Waltz was hired by the board two weeks ago as an independent sound expert to give his opinion on potential noise problems generated by wind turbines. Noise has surfaced as a key issue for Prattsburgh members after residents in Cohocton complained the turbines sounded like jet engines.

Prattsburgh is the site of two proposed wind farms. Wind developer Ecogen has claimed it is ready to begin construction of 16 turbines in Prattsburgh this year, while First Wind's plans to set up 50 towers in the town is currently on hold due to the struggling economy.

But Waltz's proposed fee of $11,600 was more than the town can afford, some town councilmen said at Tuesday's board meeting. The town's 2009 tax levy is $1.7 million.

Other board members said cutting other budgeted items to find the money to pay Waltz would be worth it. Waltz's continued services include more extensive reviews, site tests, assisting in drafting the ordinance and a final report to the board.

Councilman Steve Kula said the board should be committed at the outset to passing the law if it is drafted.

However, Councilwoman Stacey Bottoni said she would have to see the final draft before agreeing to pass it.

"I'm not going to promise to enact something I haven't seen," Bottoni said.

Waltz's preliminary report said the law would be "responsible acoustically" but not restrict all background noise.

"The only way the turbines will present no change to the environmental noise … is not to install them," Waltz said in his report.

According to Waltz's proposal to the board the draft law would

· Favor using property lines instead of residences for required setbacks.

· Refer to sound in general and not specifically target wind turbine noises, with more stringent allowable levels.

· Include low frequency measurements as well as the more commonly use high frequency levels.

· Exempt wind turbine leaseholders from the protection of the ordinance.

Bottoni appeared to have the most objections to the proposal, saying she was satisfied with using noise guidelines set by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Steuben County Industrial Development Agency.

Kula and Councilman Chuck Shick, said Waltz's report validates concerns they have raised in the past about the noise that could generated by the 2.3 MW Siemens turbines Ecogen intend to use.

Waltz's report would include a review and study of the Siemens model .

Councilwoman Sharon Quigley and town Supervisor Harold McConnell said they would be willing to consider the report but are concerned about the cost to the town.

McConnell also said the board has received reams of conflicting information on noise levels.

Kula said the law from an independent agency would cut through the confusion and protect citizens from intolerable noise.

"Somebody annoyed in their garden is one thing," Kula said. "Somebody can't sleep at night? That's a whole different thing."

In other action take by the board on Tuesday, McConnell said Ecogen's parent company, Babcock & Brown North American Energy Group, has been purchased by the private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC and B&B; managers to form Pattern Energy Group LP.

Ecogen attorney Robert Burgdorf told the board the company is negotiating new leases with some landowners in order to accommodate some complaints from residents. Burgdorf declined to identify the landowners saying it would open them to harassment from windfarm opponents.

Some council members want a completed site map in order to determine whether Ecogen would use eminent domain procedures to connect cables or set up collection points.

Burgdorf also said he would ask Ecogen's head office when the firm intends to begin construction. Ecogen said at the beginning of the year construction would start up by the spring.

Wind PILOTs Too much given away to developers

A payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement being developed by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency will give away tens of millions of dollars in taxes with minimal return for the price being paid by county taxpayers.

A uniform policy plan being prepared by the agency will collect $2.5 million from developers of the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm in its first year of operation. That represents about 15 percent to 20 percent of what would be collected if the project paid full taxes.

In the first year alone, the county, school districts and other municipalities will lose out on almost $10 million that could be used to reduce property taxes, build roads or hire new teachers.

Future payments may be adjusted based on energy prices but projected out over a 15-year pilot the developer will reap a windfall worth millions of dollars.

And what will Jefferson County residents get in return?

Will we get jobs? Maybe a handful.

Will we get lower-cost electricity? No.

Will we get a better environment? No.

What other manufacturer or business receives an 85 percent tax break for something that does not yield a significant number of new jobs?

The JCIDA needs to slow down and re-evaluate this ill-conceived plan. The JCIDA is responsible to ensure a greater economic benefit to county residents. Projects without meaningful numbers of jobs should not benefit from lower property taxes.

And JCIDA must require additional conditions on wind turbine developers.

To benefit from any JCIDA program the developers must be required to sign Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo's code of ethics. The process of permitting wind developments has been fraught with conflicts of interests. Some local government officials deciding zoning and safety codes are the same people who have signed agreements with developers to site turbines on their personal property.

Additionally the developers must provide adequate upfront funds under control of local municipalities to remove the turbines once their useful life expires or the operators go out of business.

The JCIDA has undertaken an enormous task which will affect generations of Jefferson County residents, and they are doing it without public discussion and debate. The time has come for a serious discussion of the value of property tax breaks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Those Wolfe Island giants aren't so quiet

I suggest that local media provide equal opportunity for Wolfe Island community members who are not employees or landowners under contract with the Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation when these media discuss the potential impacts of the Wolfe Island wind farm on residents.

If it is unwilling to engage residents not in the employ of the company, the K-Rock radio station should consider correcting some of the misconceptions that may have arisen from the station's recent interview with the site manager of the wind farm, Mike Jablonicky.

Jablonicky referred in the interview to the turbines as "silent giants." In fact, the turbines generate 40 A-weighted decibels (with allowance for 53 A-weighted decibels in certain wind conditions, according to the Ministry of Environment's regulations governing noise from wind developments). This does not constitute silence.

The Ontario Government, in the Green Energy Act, has admitted there is a need for greater setbacks for wind turbines due to noise. It has proposed a minimum 550-metre setback from residences, with greater setbacks -- up to 1,000 metres -- for projects of more than eight turbines. Wolfe Island's setbacks are 400 metres and there are 86 turbines.

Local MPP John Gerretsen stated in an interview with the CBC that the new setbacks are needed "to best protect the health and safety of Ontarians," and that where turbines are shown to cause negative health effects, "the towers will be moved." Ministry of Environment officials who attended the public forum on the Green Energy Act held on June 25 in Toronto proposed that 5% of Wolfe Island residents in close proximity to the turbines could experience such negative health effects as dizziness, tinnitus, headaches and sleep disorders due to noise and vibration.

There are many islanders who are now quietly coming to terms with the reality that their own provincial government has declared that their health and safety may be at risk from these structures.

Gail Kenney Chair

Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment

Lightning takes down 127-foot wind blade

Lightning knocked out two wind turbines and sent a massive tower blade crashing to the ground at the Judith Gap Wind Farm last month, the company said Wednesday.

Repairs began earlier this month and will continue into September, said Susan Dennison, an Invenergy spokeswoman.

No workers were on the site at the time of the accident, which occurred at 6:20 p.m., she said.

"There are lightning strikes on a regular basis," Dennison said. "This one just happened to be pretty severe."

The 90 towers at the 135-megawatt wind farm, located on 8,300 acres of private and public land 125 miles southeast of Great Falls, are 262 feet tall. The blades are 127 feet long.

Lightning struck Turbine No. 88's three blades, and one disengaged and fell to the ground, Dennison said. The blade struck and dented the steel tower during the drop, she said.

All three of the tower's blades and its rotor will need to be replaced, Dennison said.

Technicians with General Electric Co., which manufactured the towers for wind farm owner Invenergy, began working on the repairs July 10. On Wednesday, the technicians were preparing to remove the rotor with the help of a large crane, she said.

(Click to read entire article)

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First Wind Holdings Inc. IPO public offering

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

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

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

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