Saturday, July 31, 2010

Legislators explain why they oppose offshore project

Several members of the Oswego County Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee addressed the reasons they objected to the proposed Great Lakes offshore wind turbine project at the July 27 meeting.

While at a meeting held in regard to the project, Legislator Louella LeClair related that New York Power Authority Chief Executive Officer Richard Kessel said there were no advantages for the county to host the wind turbines.

“He said there was no benefit as far as taxing or anything else for the host community,” she said. “We would get no benefit for our county as far as tax dollars and we would get no benefit as far as rate reduction.”

LeClair said she also had concerns about the impact the project could have on the fishing industry.

“It could totally destroy our fishing industry that we rely on,” she said.

Legislator Shawn Doyle, who has been actively involved with the issue, said that there was no real economic benefit to hosting the wind turbines.

While the construction of the towers could bring a short-term economic boom, when the project is completed, the boom would end, he noted.

“It would be a boom and then it would go bust and it would be a big bust,” he said.

Because the work is highly specialized, few local residents would be employed during the construction process and Doyle said while the area will benefit from the short-term stay of the out-of-town employees, they will leave once the job is completed.

The legislature voted in March to oppose a New York Power Authority project that would locate dozens of wind turbines in Lake Ontario.

A proposal made by New York Power Authority called for the construction, siting and operation of wind-turbine facilities in Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario’s eastern basin. The project would include inland transmission lines.

They thought the issue had ended until news reports suggested area officials may still be interested in hosting the project (see related story).

Legislators stressed that their decision is final and that they are not interested in bringing discussion back to the table.

LeClair mentioned the other counties that have opposed the project.

“How can all these counties be wrong?” she asked.

Doyle said the onshore wind project under development by British Petroleum in Cape Vincent has divided the community.

“It’s like colonialism all over again,” he said.

Legislator Barbara Brown brought up the Fenner wind project.

“Fenner wind power has taken away half the benefits they gave to the community,” she said. “They’ve also determined that the bases to the windmills weren’t big enough.”

Legislator Jacob Mulcahey asked if the legislators could have an opportunity to gather more information in regard to wind power.

Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann said that since Mulcahey is a member of the county’s Green Team, the issue could be explored more.

Mulcahey said he would like a primary meeting to be inclusive of only the Green Team and the legislature.

“Obviously we can’t throw the public out,” he added.

Leemann said sometime in the future the Green Team will entertain a wind developer and someone from an opposing citizen’s group. “We won’t be bringing them in together,” he added.

As for the Lake Ontario wind tower proposal, legislators said it will not be reconsidered.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scientists challenge Big Wind’s claim that “What You Can’t Hear Won’t Hurt You” (National Institutes of Health, USA)

A wind turbine is a rotary device with a gigantic propeller as big as a football field that turns in the wind to generate electricity. Although wind turbines are more often found in Europe than in the United States, they’re rapidly becoming more popular here as a “green” energy source. Most people consider that a good thing, except the rotors of wind turbines also generate noise, particularly in the infrasound range, that some people claim makes them feel sick.

Since frequencies that low can’t be heard, many scientists who study hearing have assumed they can’t have any effect on the function of the ear. But a little known phenomenon related to the infrasound generated by wind turbines is making some scientists challenge the common wisdom that what we can’t hear won’t hurt us.

Infrasound is a subset of sound broadly defined as any sound lower than 20 Hertz (Hz), which is the lowest pitch that most people can hear. It’s all around us, even though we might only be barely able to hear a lot of it. The whoosh of wind in the trees, the pounding of surf, and the deep rumble of thunder are natural sources of infrasound. Whales and other animals use infrasound calls to communicate across long distances. There is also a wide range of manmade infrasounds, for example, the noise generated by industrial machinery, traffic, and heating and cooling systems in buildings.

Alec Salt, Ph.D., is an NIDCD-supported researcher at Washington University in St. Louis who studies the inner ear. For years, he and his group have been using infrasound as a way to slowly displace the structures of the inner ear so that their movement can be observed. In their experiments, infrasound levels as low as 5Hz had an impact on the inner ears of guinea pigs.

“We were doing lots of work with low-frequency tones,” says Salt, “and we were getting big responses.” What they were observing in the lab, however, didn’t jibe with the scientific literature about hearing sensitivity, which was in general agreement that the human ear doesn’t respond to anything as low as 5Hz. Since human ears are even more sensitive to low frequencies than guinea pig ears, that didn’t make sense.

Salt and a colleague conducted a literature search, focusing not on papers about hearing sensitivity, but on the basic physiology of the inner ear and how it responds to low-frequency sounds. During the search, Salt found anecdotal reports of a group of symptoms commonly called “wind turbine syndrome” that affect people who live close to wind turbines.

“The biggest problem people complain about is lack of sleep,” says Salt, but they can also develop headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability and fatigue, dizziness, and pain and pressure in the ear.

Continuing his search, Salt began to see a way in which infrasound could impact the function of the inner ear, by the differences in how inner ear cells respond to low frequencies. In function, our ear acts like a microphone, converting sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. It does this in the cochlea, the snail-shaped organ in the inner ear that contains two types of sensory cells, inner hair cells (IHCs) and outer hair cells (OHCs). Three rows of OHCs and one row of IHCs run the length of the cochlea. When OHCs are stimulated by sound, special proteins contract and expand within their walls to amplify the vibrations. These vibrations cause hairlike structures (called stereocilia) on the tips of the IHCs to ripple and bend. These movements are then translated into electrical signals that travel to the brain through nerve fibers and are interpreted as sound.

Only IHCs can transmit this sound signal to the brain. The OHCs act more like mediators between sound frequencies and the IHCs. This wouldn’t matter if the OHC behaved the same way for all frequencies—the IHCs would respond to what the OHC amplified—but they don’t. It turns out that OHCs are highly sensitive to infrasound, but when they encounter it, their proteins don’t flex their muscles like they do for sound frequencies in the acoustic range. Instead they actively work to prevent IHC movement so that the sound is not detected. So, while the brain may not hear the sound, the OHC responses to it could influence function of the inner ear and cause unfamiliar sensations in some people.

Salt and his colleagues still aren’t sure why some people are sensitive to infrasound and others aren’t. It could be the result of anatomical differences among individual ears, or it could be the result of underlying medical conditions in the ear that cause the OHCs to be ultrasensitive to infrasound.

Regardless, it might not be enough to place wind turbines further away from human populations to keep them from being bothersome, since infrasound has the ability to cover long distances with little dissipation. Instead, Salt suggests wind turbine manufacturers may be able to re-engineer the machines to minimize infrasound production. According to Salt, this wouldn’t be difficult. “Infrasound is a product of how close the rotor is to the pole,” he says, “which could be addressed by spacing the rotor further away.”

Germany’s first offshore wind park experiencing turbine failure

The rough patch has energy executives scurrying to reassure Berlin and banks scrutinizing their billions in offshore wind energy investments.

Less than two months after celebrating its opening, the Alpha Ventus test wind park in the North Sea is already running into problems. Intended to be the initial thrust in a plan that foresees dozens of new offshore wind parks off the German coast, shoddy building materials have caused two turbines to overheat and fail. An additional four turbines will need to be replaced.

Each of the struggling turbines was manufactured by the French firm Areva, which is responsible for half of the 12 turbines in the four-square-kilometer park (1.5 square miles), located about 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the island of Borkum.

Areva said Friday that overheating was unforeseen and “not sufficiently considered” from the outset. As a result, the company will invest in a facility in Bremerhaven to test its turbines under full-load capacity before sending them out to sea.

The turbines, which had only been in operation for eight months, will be replaced by late summer, according to Areva.

Major Players Concerned

The wind park’s operators, European energy giants E.on, EWE and Vattenfall, played down the incident in a hurriedly called crisis meeting at the Environment Ministry in Berlin. Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, for his part, is an enthusiastic supporter of the wind park and described the opening of Alpha Ventus as the “best day” of his tenure.

Still, the problems encountered by the €250 million park have instilled further doubts from its already lukewarm investors. As a result of the Alpha Ventus embarrassment, they are reviewing the billions of euros they have pledged for the development of other offshore wind parks.

The wind energy industry, however, doesn’t appear fazed by the Alpha Ventus mishap. The park is a sort of laboratory in which defects and shortcomings of offshore wind parks are to be identified and corrected. Moreover, the park’s problems may be a limited one: The other six turbines, which were manufactured by Hamburg-based Repower, have so far worked without a hitch.

High Expectations

The German wind energy industry is banking on Repower’s early results to parlay into future success. The industry believes that a quarter of Germany’s energy demands can be met with wind power by the end of the decade and that as much as 27 percent of energy consumption in the EU can come from wind by 2030.

The German industry still has a long way to go. So far, only 15 wind turbines have been installed off the German coast. But a further 1,600 are planned, the most among European countries.

Planned wind farm in Cape is smaller

CAPE VINCENT — The proposed St. Lawrence Wind Farm may be two turbines smaller.

In an updated environmental impact statement delivered to the town Planning Board on Wednesday night, developer Acciona Wind Energy USA dropped the number of planned turbines to 51.

The Planning Board could choose to accept it as the final environmental impact statement three weeks from now.

One of the turbines was removed because of expected sound levels and the other because it was in habitat for a state-listed endangered species, Acciona representative Blayne Gunderman said during the meeting.

"There are some moves in other turbines," she said.

The reduced number of turbines means it would be a 76.5-megawatt project.

Three board members were present at the meeting to receive the statement.

"It's not going to be accepted — there's no vote or action tonight," Chairman Richard J. Edsall said.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Cape Vincent Recreation Park, 602 S. James St., to decide whether to accept the statement and deem it complete. If it is, the statement will be sent to other involved agencies and posted on Acciona's website.

Regardless, the two binders of documents will be available at the Cape Vincent Public Library, 157 N. Real St.; Lyme Free Library, 12165 Main St., Chaumont, and Cape Vincent town clerk's office, 1964 Route 12E, likely on Friday.

If the board deems the statement complete, it can complete its findings and end the environmental review after 10 days. The board has indicated that could happen on Sept. 15.

Acciona began the environmental review at the end of 2006 and submitted its draft environmental impact statement Jan. 10, 2007. That was followed with a supplemental statement on March 25, 2009.

The final statement includes updated studies, responses to comments on the earlier statements and mitigation plans.

Color the World with Wind Turbines

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Dean Report: A Noise impact assessment of the Waubra Wind Farm

Mr and Mrs Noel Dean requested a Report providing an assessment of the potential for adverse effects due to activity from the Waubra wind farm while living in their residences and while working on their farms. Dr. Robert Thorne undertook the study. His full report can be accessed via the link at the bottom of this page. Below is a summary of Dr. Thorne's findings and conclusions.


My research to date for this investigation indicates “ordinary” wind has a laminar or smooth infrasound and low-frequency flow pattern when analysed over short periods of time. Wind farm activity appears to create a “pulsing” infrasound and low-frequency pattern. These patterns are illustrated in sonograms in this Report. My hypothesis at this stage is that wind farm sound has an adverse effect on individuals due to this pulsing nature, as well as audible noise due to the wind turbines. These effects may be cumulative. Research into this hypothesis is described further in this Report.

It is concluded, from the information presented, that Mr Dean has been and is currently adversely affected by the presence and activity of the Waubra wind farm. The effects stated by Mr Dean as affecting his health and statutory declarations from his family and residents in the vicinity of the wind farm attest to adverse health effects. Adverse health effects such as sleep disturbance, anxiety, stress and headaches are, in my view, a health nuisance and are objectionable and unreasonable.

Windaction Editor's Notes:

[1] The Waubra wind energy facility is located near Ballarat, in western Victoria, Australia. It is the largest operating wind facility in the southern hemisphere consisting of 128-1.5 megawatt turbines for a total installed capacity of 192 megawatts. The turbines were first turned on in February 2009; the facility was fully operational by July 2009.

[2] Noel Dean and his family moved away from their farm in the spring of 2009 when the headaches and other symptoms worsened.

Special thanks to Dr. Thorne and Mr. Dean for providing us with the Dean report and permitting us to share it with our readers.

Secretary Chu Announces Closing of $117 Million Loan Guarantee for Kahuku Wind Power Project

Washington D.C. --- Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy has finalized a $117 million loan guarantee for Kahuku Wind Power, LLC, the owner and operator of the Kahuku Wind Power project. The project includes the development of an innovative 30 megawatt (MW) wind power plant that will supply electricity to approximately 7,700 households per year. According to company estimates, the project, located in Kahuku, Hawaii, will create over 200 jobs on the island of Oahu.

"This project is another example of America's leadership in the global clean energy economy," said Secretary Chu. "Through the Recovery Act, we are supporting innovative projects that are adding to our workforce in the short term while laying the foundation for additional job creation in the long term."

"This project represents what our national energy policy is attempting to accomplish: clean energy displacing imported oil in Hawaii to generate electricity, and in the process reducing our carbon output and creating green jobs," said Senator Daniel Inouye

"The Kahuku wind project will bring Hawaii 30 megawatts closer to energy independence," said Senator Daniel K. Akaka. "Reducing our reliance on imported oil will mean cleaner skies and more local jobs. This project is an important step forward."

"There is an urgent need to establish renewable energy sources in Hawaii and the state has mapped an ambitious plan to achieve this. The federal loan guarantee announced today boosts this effort," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono. "The Kahuku Wind Project is the type of project that Hawaii needs to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and keep billions of dollars in our economy."

The project is expected to be the first to meet reliability requirements for wind and solar energy set by Hawaiian Electric Company, the only electric utility operating on Oahu. Successful integration of these new, clean energy technologies is expected to result in increased renewable energy generation and wind energy expansion in Hawaii.

The Kahuku wind power plant uses twelve 2.5 megawatt Liberty wind turbine generators manufactured by Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, California and a 10 megawatt battery energy storage system (BESS) manufactured by Xtreme Power Inc. of Kyle, Texas. The BESS will modulate and smooth fluctuations in power output caused by changes in wind levels. When completed, Kahuku will produce the first-ever combined installation of Clipper wind turbines and Xtreme's battery energy storage system.

First Wind Holdings, LLC, the project sponsor and independent U.S.-based wind energy developer, successfully built and currently operates Hawaii's largest wind energy facility, the 30 megawatt Kaheawa Wind project in Maui. Kaheawa Wind serves nearly nine percent of Maui's annual electricity needs with clean, renewable energy.

Including this loan, the Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office has closed or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support 13 clean energy projects.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

STOP Great Lakes Wind Turbine Development - Sign the PETITION

On December 1st, 2009, The New York State Power Authority submitted a request for proposal to potentially build an industrial wind farm off the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, or both.

This proposal would see the construction of 40-166 450ft industrial wind turbines 2 miles off shore at depths not to exceed 150 feet, stretching through Parma, Greece, Rochester, Irondequoit and Webster with a possible power plant and storage facility location in Irondequoit Bay. There are several other potential projects targeting Niagara, Ontario, St Lawrence Counties, and the Town of Hamburg and Evans off Lake Erie.

The negative environmental aspects of these farms are too numerous to list here, but include:

An Experimental Project - never attempted in fresh water and all for 1% added to the power grid.

Winter ice storms could destroy turbine structures, crashing hundreds of tons of metal into the lake and spilling oil into our fresh water (~215 gallons/turbine with 40,000 gallons in electric service platforms.) Hardly clean energy! Will not reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Where does the used oil go? How are the oil changes done w/o leaks and spills? Who pays for it? Who supplies it? THESE ARE INDUSTRIAL TURBINES, NOT WINDMILLS!

Will negatively impact property values as the lake becomes devalued, esp. after turbines become disabled and rusted.

Noise pollution from turbines and fog horns will impact quality of life for humans and wildlife.

Flashing red lights all night on turbines will disrupt life far beyond the shoreline.

Recreational boating and the fishing industry will diminish as Coast Guard regulations prohibit boats from within at least 100ft.

Risk of boat collisions increase at night as depth perception is distorted on the water.

Serious impact on fish & Fowl, esp. to migratory birds crossing the lake. Lake Trout spawning grounds.


Do YOUR Own Research

You may also visit the NYPA website to get more information on the project proposal. PLEASE NOTE, Their disclaimer is in bold:

The New York Power Authority(NYPA) "makes no guarantees concerning the accuracy or completeness of the information from technical studies made available by the Authority. Respondents are encouraged to verify the sources and methodologies employed in the technical studies made available by the Authority through independent means."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old Fort Niagara joins battle against NYPA wind turbine project

YOUNGSTOWN — The Old Fort Niagara Association board of directors has formally adopted a resolution opposing the Power Authority’s proposed offshore wind project.

Fort Niagara joins the Town of Porter as the only two Niagara County entities to publicly oppose the project, which could see more than 150 wind turbines erected along the shorelines of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario or both.

According to Power Authority documents, a section of Lake Ontario stretching from Youngstown — just in front of Fort Niagara — to Wilson has been earmarked as a favorable sight for a wind farm and could potentially feature hundreds of turbines, which are more than 400 feet in height.

Old Fort Niagara Director Robert Emerson said a wind farm would jeopardize the historical integrity and character of the fort and potentially having a significant economic impact on the tourism industry which supports Fort Niagara’s existence.

“One of Old Fort Niagara's unique attributes is its combination of original 18th century buildings set against a stunning view of Lake Ontario. Most readers will be surprised to learn that the French Castle is eight years older than Philadelphia's Independence Hall. The placement of massive, modern industrial wind turbines in the Lake would destroy the visual aesthetic of Old Fort Niagara's historic setting,” Emerson said.

The turbines which would be situated about two miles offshore would still impede the view of the Lake Ontario waterfront, Emerson said. The Power Authority has received requests for proposals from five companies, but will not discuss where the private developers plan to put the turbines. However, a map on the Power Authority Web site does note favorable locations.

Emerson stressed wind farms should be located out-of-sight of the Fort or not at all.

“I do not believe that wind energy is so imminent that the public should have little say in the matter, especially when it concerns compromising an internationally significant historical treasure. The Niagara Region is already generating a great deal of clean, sustainable energy with proven technologies,” he said. “The construction of wind turbines in Lake Ontario behind Old Fort Niagara would make the site much less attractive to heritage tourists, which is the vast majority of visitors to the Fort. Most visitors who know about this project are appalled that it is even being considered.”

The Town of Porter adopted a similar resolution last month stating the Town is opposed to the placement of windmills offshore in Lake Ontario. Niagara County, is the only county in New York state to adopt a formal resolution approving of the construction of offshore windmills by the New York Power Authority — something County Legislator Clyde Burmaster said he plans to change.

A resolution being proposed to county lawmakers Tuesday states that a wind turbine project would be in an environmentally and economically sensitive area, affecting scenic vistas, tourism, fishing and pleasure boating as well as impacting housing values to those living along the lake.

Burmaster said Thursday he is confident the resolution will pass.

The $1 billion project could meet the energy demands of up to 615,000 New Yorkers and quell the state’s dependency on coal and oil producing power plants.

Governments in Chatauqua, Wayne, Oswego and Jefferson counties have voted to oppose the project. It is expected the Village of Youngstown and Town of Wilson will also adopt resolutions in opposition to the project.

The false promise of mountaintop industrial wind

In recent months, as I have studied the economic and ecological impacts of mountaintop industrial wind, I have been amazed at the distortions and misrepresentations of the wind developers which, unfortunately, have been accepted without question by many in the media.

As an environmentalist, I have for decades supported a move away from our addiction to oil to more eco-friendly, renewable energy, including wind. However, when I hear the developers spin the tragic Gulf oil spill to justify their desire to use our tax dollars to destroy Maine mountaintops, with as many as 1,800 400-foot turbines spread over 360 miles, I am appalled by how this “justification” is so disingenuous.

The truth is that only about 1 percent of the state’s electricity is generated by oil. In Maine, almost all of the oil consumption is used for heat and transportation. Generating 2,700 megawatts of mountaintop wind will not reduce oil consumption or prevent ecological disasters such as the spill in the Gulf.

Another favorite tactic of the developers is to promote mountaintop industrial wind as a panacea for climate change. While it may seem counter-intuitive, this also is a false promise.

There has never been a coal- or oil-fired power plant closed down due to wind generation.

Since wind is intermittent and not reliable, it is necessary to maintain back-up power or what is called “spinning reserve” to replace the wind power when the wind is not blowing. This has resulted in the need to build additional carbon-emitting power plants.

In China this has meant a new coal-fired plant coming online each week. When the wind is blowing, it is necessary to reduce power from conventional sources. It is simply not possible to just turn on and off the oil and coal power plants in response to constantly changing winds. They can be ramped down, but their efficiency is compromised and the amount of carbon emitted actually increases.

In the case of mountaintop industrial wind, it is necessary to add to the carbon calculation the loss of carbon-sequestering forests due to massive clear-cutting on ridgelines and the construction of roads and power lines.

If the 1,800 turbines were constructed, as much as 50,000 acres of carbon-sequestering forest would have to be clear-cut. In addition, the turbines require electricity to run, which does not come from the turbines and must be generated on site by diesel generators or brought in on separate power lines.

One study done in Colorado actually determined that wind power increased carbon emissions by 10 percent.

Finally, it is particularly disturbing to hear developers tout the economic benefits of mountaintop industrial wind. There is simply no way, in a cost-benefit analysis of mountaintop industrial wind, that it comes out as a good economic option.

The cost of wind generation is two to three times more expensive than conventional power. Our tax dollars in the form of huge subsidies are the only reason mountaintop wind, with its incredibly low efficiency, is being pursued.

It is ironic that public tax dollars are paying for mountaintop wind which will ultimately raise electric rates.

Developers like to tout the benefits of jobs and local and state tax revenues. Yes, it is true that during the mountaintop leveling and construction phase, several hundred temporary jobs are created, but after construction is complete, about one permanent job for each turbine is created. So 360 miles of destroyed mountaintop would ultimately generate about 150 jobs.

While local property taxes may decline, this has not been documented in any place in Maine where wind has been installed. What has been documented is that home values drop from 20 to 40 percent within a 2-mile radius of a wind turbine. People do not want to live near industrial wind plants with their noise and visual pollution.

State and county government may collect some tax dollars, but that will be more than offset by reduced tourism and declining recreational dollars. That is why North Carolina put a moratorium on mountaintop industrial wind. They realized that mountaintop industrial wind would destroy the economic engine fueled by their pristine mountains.

In the end, the only people who will benefit are the developers who will walk away with millions of our tax dollars. Mountaintop wind can be called nothing less than an economic scam, concocted by a few mountain-slayers and profiteers.

It would be far better to target the investment of the $5 billion in tax dollars earmarked for mountaintop wind toward conservation through efficiency and weatherization. That approach would actually decrease our oil consumption, reduce greenhouse gases and create thousands of permanent jobs and business opportunities — things that mountaintop wind simply does not come even close to accomplishing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Delinquent $1.5 million tax bill lost in paper trail

WAILUKU - Taxpayers, include "concerned citizen" in your prayers tonight. He just added $1,529,506.94 to Maui County's strained treasury.

Every week, the county Real Property Tax Division updates its Internet posting of the 25 biggest delinquent taxpayers. According to Tax Division administrator Scott Teruya, the list doesn't change often. But it did last week, and an anonymous resident called The Maui News to wonder if Kaheawa Wind Power LLC, which held the top spot, was "out of money."

No, but the company didn't know it was behind on its taxes until a reporter called.

Kent Smith, president of Makana Nui Associates, which is a partner with First Wind in the farm, said telephone calls and e-mails were flying among company officials Wednesday and Thursday to figure out what happened.

Here, according to Smith and Teruya, is how the tax bill got overlooked for three years:

Kaheawa pays all expenses through a state lease, but when the farm went into operation in 2007, the state didn't send the lease and permit papers to the county.

"We knew there was a wind farm there," said Teruya, but there was no paperwork to process.

Kaheawa wasn't getting bills, so it wasn't aware it was delinquent.

Earlier this year, a county tax staffer looked into it more closely, decided taxes were due and sent a bill to the last-known address of the listed owner, UPC Wind in Newton, Mass.

However, between 2007 and now, UPC's interest was renamed First Wind and the offices were moved to Boston.

The bill eventually was returned as undeliverable.

"The state and the county never assessed us and never forwarded any bills," said Smith. "They didn't find any way of contacting the local wind company."

But Teruya said: "It's not our place to go find anyone."

It took about a day for Kaheawa to reconstruct what had happened, and Smith called Teruya on Thursday to assure him that First Wind's chief financial officer, Michael Alvarez, was preparing to wire the money by Tuesday.

"One hundred percent," said Smith by telephone Thursday from a golfing holiday in California.

It could be the harbinger of a big flow of tax revenue for the county. Kaheawa has 20 turbines, and the turbines account for much of the assessed value.

Kaheawa wants to expand by 14 units; Sempra is working on a wind farm of similar size in Ulupalakua; and Castle & Cooke and First Wind are projecting hundreds of turbines on Lanai and/or Molokai.

As of Thursday, Kaheawa still held first place in the list of top 25 delinquents, but Teruya was not concerned. "It seems like their intent is to pay. . . .

"It's good that people are looking at the list," he said.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greece Town Board strikes down turbine proposal

Greece, N.Y.

The New York Power Authority’s Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project (GLOW) was unanimously struck down at Tuesday’s Greece Town Board meeting.

The project, which would install wind turbines off the shores of Monroe County, came with much opposition from local residents.

Greece resident and member of the Great Lakes Concerned Citizen group Suszanne Albright of Edgemere Drive has opposed the project from the beginning, and after months of speaking out against the project, she says the decision Tuesday was “very exciting.”

Albright says her primary concern initially was the possibility of a decline in property value. But now, she says, it is about much more.

“This isn’t even about me anymore, it’s about the Great Lakes,” says Albright. “What would be left of our lake? It would become a mud pit. Our lake provides drinking water. What would happen to our drinking water?”

If the project were to be proposed miles from her home, Albright says she is ready to fight it.

“We need to do everything we can to protect it. Even if it were proposed in Lake Erie, I would still be fighting this fight.”

Monroe County Legislator in District 7, Rick Antelli, drafted a resolution against the project that was sent out July 12.
”I’ve done my homework and there are no economic benefit for the residents in Monroe County,” said Antelli.

Antelli says wind power energy is something that he believes is still in the development phase, with unclear benefits to the community.

“The Lakeshore Monroe County is something to be treasured, and should not be used as a location for an experimental project.”

It is unclear as to what the next steps will be after the Town Board’s decision to oppose the project.

“There is a lack of information out there. We don’t know what the process is going to be and it’s a big area of concern,” says Deputy Supervisor, Jeff McCann. “The power authority has said that they would not try to locate these turbines in communities that did not want them, we’re hopeful that they will be true to that word.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Greece board: No to offshore wind

The Greece Town Board voted 5-0 Tuesday evening to oppose the New York Power Authority’s offshore wind project. The board becomes the first elected body in Monroe County, to my knowledge, to go on the record in opposition to the plan.

The resolution states that the board opposes the project “as currently proposed” because the authority hasn’t provided enough information about it, including possible locations and potential economic and other benefits.

A Monroe County legislator from Greece, Rick Antelli, is circulating a resolution opposing the project among his colleagues. Lawmakers in Wayne, Oswego, Jefferson and Chautauqua counties have voted to oppose the authority plan; their counterparts in Niagara County have endorsed it, though some are lobbying for a reversal of that endorsement.

The power authority, based in Westchester County, broached the idea of an offshore wind farm in the New York waters of Lake Ontario or Lake Erie more than a year ago. It solicited formal proposals from wind developers and reportedly received five of them on June 1. Since then, a cone of silence has descended over the authority, and officials there will say nothing about the proposals.

The Democrat and Chronicle filed a request for the proposals under the state Freedom of Information law in early June. The authority eventually denied the request, saying disclosure of any information about the proposals would impair the agency’s ability to award a contract. The newspaper filed an administrative appeal with the authority but has received no response.

Authority chief executive Richard Kessel has said in the past that the authority wouldn’t promote construction of a wind farm off the shoreline of any community that didn’t want them. But it’s not clear if he deems expressions of opinion such as that voiced by the Greece Town Board sufficient cause to site the turbines elsewhere.

One interesting sidelight: Like many Lake Ontario municipalities, the town of Greece has a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, prepared in conjunction with federal and state coastal management programs. Unlike some others I’ve read, Greece’s plan places great emphasis on preserving the lake ”viewshed.” A survey of residents by the town consultant led to the conclusion that the characteristic they valued most about the waterfront was “a very serene natural setting.”

A lawyer once casually suggested to me that a municipality whose waterfront revitalization plan placed a high value on the viewshed could argue that offshore wind turbines didn’t comply with the plan, and thus the municipality might have standing to intervene in the siting process.

Whether any municipality tries this, and whether it succeeds, remains to be seen.

Wind turbines will pose certain health complications

To the editor:

Haldimand must join with the 58 municipalities throughout Ontario demanding a halt to industrial wind turbine developments until Queen's Park states there is absolutely no link between wind turbines and adverse health effects among people who live near them.

Debilitating health problems, ranging from sleep deprivation to heart palpitations, can arise from the audible noise and vibrations produced by the spinning blades of the wind turbine.

Such health claims are being denied by the wind turbine companies who argue that it is psychosomatic.

This appears to contradict what some British scientists have already concluded and that is the swishing sound caused by wind turbines can "annoy" some people, keeping them awake at night and even causing psychological problems because of stress.

If a person is laying in bed unable to escape listening to an unwanted noise, night after night, at the very least I would describe that as distressing and loss of sleep leads to a host of other illnesses.

Last October, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdock called for a province-wide moratorium on wind turbine projects which would have forced the provincial medical and environmental experts to conduct proper epidemiological investigations of the full impact on human health.

Mr. Murdock explained "The Liberal government moved quickly with the Green Energy agenda. Bill 150 was passed into law within a very short time, and as a result very many things got over looked." Although unsuccessful he did solicit a curious response from Dr. Arlene King, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The following statements are found in the hand outs provided by Samsung at the July 8 Open House. In collaboration with Dr. Ray Copes, from the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Dr. King stated "The literature review revealed that while there are anecdotal reports of symptoms such as sleep disturbance, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, concentration and learning problems, and tinnitus, there is no scientific evidence, to date, to demonstrate a casual association between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects."


Dictionary definition of anecdotal: "a brief account of any fact or happening." Todate, Dr. King, whetherornotyouhavescientificproofdoes not make these symptoms any less real.

The comment from Dr. Copes, who presented a scientific review of the potential health hazards of wind turbines in a "webinar", is best described as irresponsible.

He said "The review concluded that there is no evidence of noise-induced health effects emitted by wind turbines: sound produced by the turbines is sometimes found to be annoying to some people which may result in stress and sleep disturbance."

I suggest one person would be too many. Your agency has a mandate to protect us, not minimize ill health effects and by doing so you have set a poor example. Samsung is required to undertake an environmental assessment of the potential impacts of wind turbines on human health and ecosystems; a draft copy was made available for the public.

Of the eight project-specific issues that were identified, Public Health and Safety was at the bottom of the list and this indicates to me the lack of meaningful initiative for research into the potential risks of living in an industrial wind factory.

Ray, come out from behind your computer and take Arlene for a drive to experience, first hand with us receptors, the heart pounding effect of turbine "blade thump."

Stantec definition of receptor: "a person on the receiving end." Bring the Haldimand Health and Family Services Medical Officer with you.

Linda Bucsis

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lackawanna School Board OKs windmill plan

Six new windmills may be on the horizon for the old Bethlehem Steel site.

The Lackawanna Board of Education last week approved a payment-in- lieu-of-tax agreement that would pay the school district more than a half million dollars over 15 years for two new windmills the company behind the project plans to erect in Lackawanna.

The company, First Wind, in January acknowledged its plans to add two more windmills in Lackawanna and four on the Hamburg side of the Bethlehem site.

While the project is tax exempt, the company would pay the Lackawanna School District a total of $525,000 over 15 years, or $35,000 a year, according to the agreement the School Board approved unanimously.

A phone call to First Wind was not returned.

Lackawanna Mayor Norman L. Polanski said the School Board’s approval is good news for the project.

“I’m very excited, because I want to see these windmills going in and that was the tie-up,” Polanski said of the School Board’s contract.

First Wind offered the city 15-year PILOT payments of $451,000 for the two new windmills, the mayor said. The county would receive about $288,000, he said.

The school district, however, originally was seeking more than the company was offering, Polanski said.

“To be honest with you, [the company] said the schools were being ridiculous,” the mayor said. “The schools were demanding $1.6 million total — for the two windmills. That’s just not going to happen. It would kill the project.”

Now, with the school district on board, the mayor hopes the city also will be signing a PILOT agreement soon.

“Basically, I told [company officials] the last time we met in my office, I didn’t care if the schools got a little more than the city,” the mayor said. “I just wanted this thing to move.”

The new towers will be about 240 feet tall, and with the blades, the windmills will be about 400 feet tall — the same as the eight turbines currently along the Lackawanna shoreline. The city receives $100,000 a year in payments for the eight windmills currently operating, Polanski said.

As for the four new windmills on the Hamburg side, the town and Frontier Central School District will split most of the payments received for those turbines.

Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters has said First Wind has agreed to payment in lieu taxes of $10,000 for each megawatt generated by the four turbines.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cape official's conduct requires explanation

The actions of the town of Cape Vincent Planning Board Chairman Richard Edsall should be a concern to everyone in Jefferson County. While he and his family hold wind contracts that could yield them over $54,000, he has voted on important wind issues.

He has also made himself a strong advocate of wind development in Cape Vincent, while declining to request an opinion from the Jefferson County Board of Ethics as to whether he should be voting on or participating in wind-related issues.

Mr. Edsall has stated repeatedly that Cape Vincent needs a wind law and yet on June 14, 2006, he wrote the town board to let them know that the Planning Board recommends the town board abandon the wind law process. This raises the question as to whether he wants a law or not. Perhaps he feels that, as an advocate of wind power, he can negotiate a project application through the site plan review process that will be friendlier to his personal financial interests.

He was also instrumental in hiring the law firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna of Albany. Their website explains how they have worked for wind developers in the past. The developer-friendly law firm has done nothing to protect the citizens of Cape Vincent and has done everything to promote the developers' agenda.

In June, I was present at a Planning Board meeting. After the regular meeting was finished, the chairman said there will not be another meeting until July. Right after that, to my surprise, I became aware of another meeting that was not announced to the public.

It was in a back room in the town office building. Present at this meeting were four Planning Board members, as well as two town board members, the Planning Board chairman's wife and the zoning officer.

Why would Mr. Edsall hold a private meeting while the town is in a controversy over wind development? He and his family are some of the largest recipients of wind lease money. I feel a public explanation would be in order to set the record straight.

John Byrne

Cape Vincent

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Clean energy bearing up in difficult times

Rumours of the death of the clean energy industry in the recession were exaggerated, it seems: new investment in clean energy technologies, companies and projects “held steady” in the second quarter at $33.9bn globally, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

This represented a slight decline of 1.5 per cent from the first quarter of 2010, and the year-on-year drop was more marked, with this year’s Q2 showing a 3 per cent fall from investment figures for the same period last year.

Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said this was good going, given the Greek and Eurozone crises, the continuing tightness of credit, and the sluggish US economic recovery.
“Despite continuing worries about the macro-economy, investors remain relatively optimistic about clean energy’s longer term prospects,” he said.

But this global figure masks a shifting pattern of clean energy investments around the world. Investments in European projects fell in the second quarter, while China continued its extraordinary build-out of clean energy, and the US showed evidence of a bounceback, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis.

Last year, China installed a whopping 14,000MW of new wind turbine capacity. Europe came nowhere near.

Europe is falling far behind China on asset financing for clean energy - China attracted $40.3bn of asset finance for clean energy in the past year, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance, compared with $29.3bn in Europe. Project financing in Europe has also fallen in each of the last four quarters.

Three major IPOs also failed to materialise - Solyndra and First Wind in the US, and Enel Green Power in Europe. Tesla Motors did manage a $202m IPO in June.

These investment figures make clean energy a substantial sector of the world economy. Analysts estimate that $200bn will be invested in clean energy this year. That is, an investment figure higher than the global revenues of the luxury goods market. Higher than the global annual sales of mobile phones.

Investment is not the same as revenues, and revenues from clean energy are harder to calculate. But by any measure this is a sizeable industry, and still growing at a clip - at least in some regions.

Monroe legislators asked to oppose offshore wind towers

A Monroe County legislator is recommending that his colleagues go on record opposing the possible location of wind turbines in the local waters of Lake Ontario.

Rick Antelli, a Republican lawmaker whose district includes the lakeshore in Greece, introduced a non-binding resolution Monday to oppose what he termed "an experimental project by the New York Power Authority."

The state-chartered Power Authority has been promoting construction of one or more wind farms in the near-shore waters of Lake Ontario or Lake Erie for more than a year. It received five proposals from wind energy developers in June. They won't say where developers want to build their turbines, which would tower more than 400 feet above the water.

"I'm responding to the request of the residents in my district's highly populated waterfront," Antelli said. At a meeting in his district last month, many residents expressed concern that offshore turbines would ruin their view of the lake, devalue their property and cause other problems.

The possible construction of wind farms two to five miles off the shore has been controversial in some areas. Opponents have been pressing Monroe lawmakers to condemn the project, as have their counterparts in four other shoreline counties — Wayne, Oswego, Jefferson and Chautauqua. Niagara County legislators have endorsed it.

Another Monroe County legislator, Vincent Esposito, said Wednesday that Antelli should have held back his resolution.

"I think it's incredibly premature to take any formal action opposing this project. We won't know what it means for our region until later this year," said Esposito, a Democrat whose district includes Irondequoit's Lake Ontario shoreline. He said he may introduce a counter-resolution.

Lawmakers won't formally vote on Antelli's resolution but can sign it before it's sent to the authority. He said he couldn't predict the reaction of other lawmakers. "A lot of them have expressed support, but we'll wait and see."

The authority hopes that private developers will erect one or more offshore wind farms, with turbines that could number from a few dozen to more than 100.

Though developers were free to choose their own locations, the Power Authority identified five general areas in the lakes it believed were technically suitable for wind turbines. One of them spanned the shoreline from Greece to Webster.

Authority officials have said no information about the proposals will be made public until they choose a project, perhaps by year's end.

The Democrat and Chronicle has filed a Freedom of Information Law request for material from the five proposals.

The authority turned down the request, and an administrative appeal is pending.

Esposito said he has been pressing the authority to release basic information about the five proposals, including the proposed locations and number of turbines.

Monroe lawmakers, he said, shouldn't take a position until learning more about location, job creation and possible payments by energy developers to local governments.

"These are all things I want to see play out before making a decision," Esposito said.

Antelli, however, sees no reason to hold back.

"I've waited months. I've done my research, and I'm responding to the requests of the residents," Antelli said.

"He has to answer to his constituents. I answer to mine."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Town board will extend wind tower moratorium

Mike Janisch, a resident of the town of Dunkirk, has been waiting to construct a wind tower on his property for a considerable amount of time. Following the Dunkirk Town Board meeting Tuesday, it appears Janisch will have to continue to wait.

After listening to individuals' concerns during a public hearing that was held prior to their meeting, the town board voted to table a proposed local law governing the construction of small wind energy conversion systems in the town.

Because the town's moratorium on the construction of wind towers is set to expire Aug. 20, the town will hold a public hearing Aug. 10 at 6:45 p.m. to get public input on their decision to extend the moratorium another 90 days.

The 90-day extension will give the board time to re-examine the legislation they had drafted. They will vote on the extension following the Aug. 10 hearing.

During the public hearing Tuesday, Janisch voiced his concerns over the local law as it was drafted.

He questioned the town board's decision on the maximum tower height of 120 feet. While he indicated he's not looking to build a mammoth tower, he said he had intended to build a windmill that would climb about 150 feet into the air - measuring from the base of the tower to the top of the propeller.

The local law is explicit in the amount of property a resident needs to own in order to build a tower.

The legislation also details how far a wind tower must be from the road, other property lines and other structures. The town board inserted specific language in the law to protect other property owners from the possibility of a wind tower collapsing.

With nobody living near him, Janisch said, the town board should consider including some sort of variance process, when it comes to the application and enforcement of setback and height restrictions.

"If it were to fall, it would fall on my house," Janisch said of the wind tower he hopes to build. He added that he obviously doesn't expect the tower to fall.

Lisa DiFrancisco, of Erie, Pa., who said she has experience working with various municipalities on wind energy laws, shared her perspective on the law from an industry standpoint.

The town board's intention may be to promote wind energy, "but it is preventing people from being able to put up a tower with this law," she said.

Mark Rand, a town of Portland resident, has already built a windmill on his property. He went through a year-long, "onerous" process that included 4,000 pages of documentation in order to build his tower in Portland, he said.

He claimed the town of Dunkirk's proposed local law is based more on fear than it is on science.

"If you don't want them in your town, you've created the law to do that," he said.

Speaking from his experience, he explained wind tower noise is a result of them being built too low. When windmills are short, they are blasted with turbulent winds, which rattle the tower. If a wind tower is built 30 feet or so above the tree line, they operate relatively quietly, he said.

"There should be a minimum height limit rather than a maximum height," he said.

Rand invited the town board to visit his property in Portland to experience a wind tower first-hand.

"You'll hear the lake, before you hear the noise (from the tower)," he said.

James Joy, chairman of the Town of Pomfret Planning Board, encouraged the town to table the law, so they can see the legislation that Pomfret has developed.

Technology has changed since the town of Pomfret first instituted its local wind energy law, and the town planning board has been attempting to adapt its law to fit with recent scientific and technological advancements, Joy said.

Admitting that the board had "learned something" during the hearing, Town Supervisor Richard Purol agreed with the rest of the town board that the legislation should be further explored.

As a result, the board voted to table the local law and hold a public hearing to discuss the extension of the town's moratorium.

"I don't think there would be any harm in tabling it," said Councilman Robert Penharlow.

State lawmakers, residents in a huff over wind farm plan

State lawmakers meet with a select few at yacht club

YOUNGSTOWN — An offshore wind power project in New York state seems imminent, local officials said Monday — but not in Niagara County if they have anything to say about it.

State Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, who along with state Sen. George Maziarz, met with a number of local officials, property owners and community stakeholders to discuss their disapproval of the New York Power Authority’s $1 billion Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project. The project which could lead to the construction of up to 166 wind turbines along Niagara County’s Lake Ontario shoreline is what Maziarz called the proposed wind farm another “typical, empty” promise from the New York Power Authority.

“When you have P.T. Barnum, a carnival barker, coming by to sell you jobs, telling you the windmills are going to be manufactured here in Niagara County, everybody is going to be working, great jobs. Who wouldn’t sign up for this?” Maziarz said of Kessel. “The problem is, excuse my bluntness, we have been screwed for so long by those people.”

The meeting, held at the Youngstown Yacht Club, was not open to all and several people were turned away Monday night. Mayor Neil Riordan said the meeting was invitation only due to limited space at the yacht club.

Maziarz said despite NYPA’s claims of job creation stemming from the wind project, he believes it would do little in terms of economic development for Western New York and do more to pad the pockets of the Power Authority.

The companies which manufacture the windmills are mostly foreign, coming from Denmark, while the five contractors who have submitted a request for proposal are all believed to be from out of state.

The Power Authority is looking to place large-scale wind farms in either Lake Ontario, Lake Erie — or both in an effort to channel the nation’s most productive wind region east of the great plains. NYPA’s attempts in Central New York to establish offshore wind power have been quelled as local governments in the counties of Wayne, Jefferson and Oswego have formally adopted resolutions opposing the construction of offshore wind farms. One county in New York state has supported NYPA’s proposal — Niagara County — a decisions that doesn’t sit well with DelMonte.

She criticized county representatives suggesting they may have jumped the gun in support of the project before hearing from residents in their respective districts.

“I was taken aback a little by that decision (by the Legislature),” DelMonte said before reading the May 5, 2009, county Legislature resolution aloud.

The Legislature voted “In support of NYPA’s proposal to construct a large wind energy farm off the shores of Lake Ontario and would like to be included in any conversations and/or meetings that are held relative to this project. So that Niagara County can offer its resources in any step of the process,” the resolution said.

The resolution goes on to offer assistance from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency in terms of tax breaks and financial incentives.

County Legislature Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville said he will be co-sponsoring a resolution which will look to rescind that decision and put the county on record opposing any Power Authority wind farm along the shores of Lake Ontario.

“There was very little information available to the Legislature at the time as to the impact of this (resolution),” Burmaster said. “I think that resolution came out rather quickly and since that time with more information, more community input and so forth, the Legislature, is, as I pointed out, going to put a resolution through that should negate that (previous) resolution.”

While elected officials focused on politics, local charter boat captains, homeowners, and pleasure boaters expressed their concerns over the loss of fishing habitat, boating lanes, environmental concerns and in turn, loss of revenues for lakefront communities. Those in attendance said shipping lanes to the Welland Canal would be severely compromised, lake water levels would increase significantly resulting in soil erosion for lakefront property owners. Dredging would be required to run wires beneath the lake floor, stirring up potentially harmful waste and chemicals detrimental the Lake Ontario ecosystem.

Dick Roach, a Youngstown boater and fisherman, cited a 2003 Army Corps of Engineers report which said the great lake states from Minnesota to New York generate $22 billion in boating, fishing and lakefront tourism-related revenues. New York state alone receives more than $2.5 billion of that.

“And we are talking about putting windmills in to displace some of this industry,” Roach said. “If Western New York gets a quarter of that it’s $675 million and those are yearly numbers.”

The project, which will be the world’s first fresh water wind farm would generate between 120- to 500-megawatts of power, but the cost of the project isn’t said to be economically feasible. John Reinhold, commodore of the Youngstown Yacht Club said the cost of construction for offshore windmills is twice the cost of onshore windmills.

With the Village of Youngstown one of the key stakeholders in the proposed windfarm, as NYPA has earmarked the mouth of the Niagara River, near Fort Niagara as a potential site for construction, Riordan said officials statewide should understand the negative impact of the proposal.

“NYPA’s backing of the Lake Ontario Wind Farm, once again demonstrates the (their) arrogance and ignorance regarding environmental, economic and natural resource negative impact of this project,” Riordan said. “Lake Ontario’s centuries old history, natural vistas, rich fishing, sailing, boating, resources must not and cannot be destroyed by boardroom bureaucrats.”

DelMonte encouraged those in attendance to write to their elected officials and demand resolutions be put in place opposing the Lake Ontario Wind Project. She added meetings should be held in public, where citizens can voice their concerns to those in power. She said while ultimately NYPA’s seven-member board of trustees has the ultimate decision on the project, she will do everything in her power to make it known Niagara County should not be a home for NYPA’s wind farm.

NYPA officials were not in attendance, at the request of Maziarz and DelMonte.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Empire Wind pulls the plug on Benton

Benton, N.Y. — Benton Town Supervisor Bob Clark received an unexpected telephone call on Tuesday, July 6. The caller was Keith Pittman, president and C.E.O. of Empire State Wind Energy, who told Clark his company had decided installing wind turbines in Benton would not be a profitable situation.

Clark said he was quite surprised by the company pull-out. Empire State Wind had been courting the town with proposals since 2007.

In October of 2007 the town board signed a host community agreement to support a project if it was compatible.

The agreement set an upper limit of 25 wind turbines and called for 75 percent of the project’s annual net revenue to be paid to the town. Payments were to be made in addition to any property taxation or negotiated PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes).

The 15-year agreement also was to include an option for Benton to purchase the power generation project after 10 years.

Clark says after thinking about the conversation he tried to call Pittman back at the company office in Oneida and only got a recorded message. The company’s website is no longer in operation, and there was no reponse to a phone call from The Chronicle-Express at press time.

Empire Wind Energy was founded by billionaire B. Thomas Golisano and Pittman, who was a former Massena Electric Department superintendent. Golisano is the founder of Paychex and owner of the Buffalo Sabres.

It was announced on July 6 that ESWE would not continue to pursue a project planned in Alfred. Golisano is an Alfred State alumni and a friend of college president John Anderson. The college had supported placing 8-10 turbines on the campus.

According to a report in The Hornell Evening Tribune, Anderson said, “The primary reason for the decision was driven by the decline in wholesale electricity prices - a decline that began some 18 months ago and gives no indication at this time of rebounding.”

The Alfred area had been working towards the project for two years. Like Benton, the local governments had time but little money invested.

Clark said by agreement, ESWE had reimbursed Benton for legal fees involved. Time spent on meetings for the proposal, is another matter. Benton Town Board members and others traveled to Fenner and Cohocton in search of answers to questions and to get a sense of the visual and noise affect wind turbines have on a community.

Benton planning and zoning boards met to formulate laws to deal with wind turbines. Even after the final draft was presented, changes were made. In December 2009 a height limit was set at 408 feet.

While surrounding towns and counties faced some strong opposition to wind turbines, the Town of Benton met with little or no opposition. Informational meetings were held and attended by many residents, most showing positive interest in the green energy source. Members of the Mennonite community showed strong interest.

In the few years ESWE has been in business, Pittman and Golisano have approached many upstate towns and counties about wind projects.

In 2007 Golisano told a crowd of 200 in Albion that the company formed in mid-2006 would give more money to host towns and an option for ownership. Pittman proposed a potential for upwards of $125,000 a year profit for each turbine.

In Somerset, the town board (Niagara County) rejected a proposed host community agreement in 2008.

A report in New York Wind Power Education Project Bulletin dated March 2008 stated: “Empire advertises itself as a company devoted to building only those wind projects that will benefit the host community in its entirety. Golisano previously criticized wind projects that he claimed would benefit only a few local lease holders, and his company promises to give the largest possible share of benefits to the host community.” Somerset Supervisor Richard Meyers said Empire had offered the town three times the amount of other wind developers. However, several board members were suspicious. Town Attorney Robert Robertson asked, ‘Why would a company want to do that?’”

Minutes from the Somerset Town board meeting on May 13, 2008 include a rejection of the town Host Community Agreement in its entirety with no counter proposal. Supervisor Meyers said Pittman stated investors wanted to know why the agreement was changed since they have signed with other towns.

To the north in the towns of Huron, Wolcott , Butler, Sodus, Rose and Galen, similar agreements have fallen by the wayside recently.

What about the future of wind energy in Benton?

Clark says nothing is planned down the road. Another company, Global Wind Harvest has a windtest tower on Lovejoy Road, but Clark has not heard from that company lately. In September 2007

Dan Albano, project manager for GWH cautioned board members that Golisano should develop the project first, then go to the town. “Empire gets people excited, then pulls out,” Albano said at the time.

“The town board is not against wind turbines, we need to look at priorities, “Clark said.

Public Hearing on Bath Town Wind Law Monday

Bath, NY — BATH– Bath town board members are looking for input on their proposed wind farm law.

The board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday on the law, which resulted after council members enacted a moratorium to develop regulations in the event the town is ever approached by a wind farm developers

Councilwoman Rob in Lattimer said there is little reason to believe the town is a potential site for wind energy development now.

“But never say never,” Lattimer said. “Technology is advancing all the time and this seems like an opportune time to put in a law.”

Lattimer represented the town on a wind law committee which including Planning Board President Jim Emo and environmentalist Jim Arthur.

The group considered local wind laws already in place, including the towns of Fremont, Howard and Cohocton, Lattimer said.

While Cohocton is the only town with an operating wind farm, developers are looking at three other sites, in the towns of Hartsville, Howard and Prattsburgh.

Of the three sites, the 8-year-old Prattsburgh project has been the most contentious. After years of discord over setbacks, noise and potential hazards to the environment and people, and the financial benefits of Prattsburgh project, it is now before state Supreme Court Justice John Ark.

Lattimer said the result of the Bath committee meetings was a compromise, often between wide differences in what the regulations should entail.

The end product provides a law allowing property owners to take advantage of what wind developers may offer in the future, she said.

The committee’s proposed law includes:


?1,000 feet from off-site residences
?1.1 times the turbine’s total height from the nearest property line, public road right of way and above ground utility – an approximate distance of 450-550 feet.
?1.5 times the turbine’s total height from above ground utilities -- approximately 700 feet.
?100 feet from state-identified wetlands

The law also restricts sound levels to 50 decibels or lower at the nearest off-site residence.

One unusual feature in the town’s sound regulations is a proposal to allow noise to exceed 50 decibels if the sound levels are normally higher than the 50 dB range.

“Well, street noise can exceed that,” Lattimer said. “You can tolerate a little more if it’s already higher… It’s not always objectionable noise. What we were trying to do is strike that balance.”

Bath’s proposed law provides a tough stance for violations, with a wind company expected to fix a problem within 90 days, with extensions approved by the town board. The board may also revoke a wind energy permit, if a developer fails to provide comply with a remedial plan.

The law received initial approval by the town board last month.

It could be adopted Monday night, depending on public input, Lattimer said.

Lattimer said the law can be amended to respond to advancing technology or new studies on the effect of turbines on people or the environment.

“I was more concerned about hitting a balance,” she said. “We couldn’t ban windmills and we can’t be reckless with property owners’ rights.”

Wind Industry Ramps Up Energy Bill Lobbying

With the prospect dimming that the energy bill being cobbled together behind closed doors in the Senate will include a cap on carbon, the wind industry is ramping up its lobbying efforts this week to ensure that its priorities don’t get left behind in the rush to secure 60 votes.

I just got off the phone with Rob Gramlich, a senior vice president for policy at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the leading lobbying group for the U.S. wind industry. He says wind industry CEOs are preparing to lobby senators in the coming days to strengthen key provisions in climate and energy legislation that could benefit the industry.

AWEA is calling for an increase in the so-called renewable electricity standard (RES) included in various energy and climate proposals currently on the table. A federal RES would require that a certain percentage of the country’s electricity be produced from renewable sources like wind and solar.

Without the votes for an economy-wide cap on carbon emissions, an RES appears likely to be one of the central provisions in a climate and energy package, leaving liberal Democrats with the task of claiming victory on a bill that falls far short of their policy goals.

AWEA is working to increase the RES well above the requirement included in the energy bill passed by the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee last year, which calls for 15 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewables by 2021. The group is advocating for a proposal to increase the RES to 25 percent by 2025.

Gramlich says the group will be targeting farm-state Democrats and Republicans in wind-rich regions, dispatching the heads of number of major wind developers to lobby key senators.

“There are a number of swing vote members who could come onto the legislation, there are farm-state Republicans who support wind energy in particular,” Gramlich said, arguing that a higher RES could help get 60 votes for an energy and climate bill.

But Republicans are also calling for a so-called “diverse” energy standard that would allow nuclear energy and coal with carbon capture technology to count in the overall standard, a proposal that rankles many in the wind industry. Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-Ind.) energy proposal includes such a standard.

Moratorium Extended In Hammond

HAMMOND - Councilman James Langtry accused his fellow board members of being "gutless" and told Supervisor Ron W. Bertram that he had "no more backbone than a snake on the ground," before the Hammond Town Board voted 3-0 to extend the wind energy facilities law moratorium for a year.

"Do you have to ask?" Mr. Langtry snapped when it was his turn to vote, to which Mr. Bertram said, "We'll leave that blank then."

Councilman James Pitcher, who has signed a lease with Iberdrola Renewables Inc., recused himself.

Prior to the vote, Mr. Langtry had moved to extend the moratorium until Dec. 31, 2010, but his motion was never seconded.
"CROH (Concerned Residents of Hammond) is running this town, that's plain to see," he said, adding to the remainder of the board, "You're getting paid off."

Councilman Dr. James R. Tague then moved to extend the moratorium for a year and was seconded by Councilman Douglas E. Delosh.

The extension of the moratorium follows immediately on the heels of a six-month moratorium that was established by the new town board after it took office in January. That town board created a wind committee to take a look at concerns about the Wind Energy Facilities Law that was passed in Dec. of 2009 by the outgoing board.

Nine of the 10 current wind committee members recommended that the moratorium be extended for an additional year.

Joining Mr. Langtry in his criticism of the board was Sonja Kocan, during citizen's participation.

Mrs. Kocan dominated the public comment period, also accusing several board members of being in cahoots with CROH, questioning the revenues that would have been brought in had Iberdrola been allowed to continue the permitting process, as well as raising her concerns about CROH Vice-President Allan Newell's role on the wind committee.

"Your wind committee meetings are a joke," she said.

Mr. Langtry, after venting his frustrations with the board and its decision to extend the moratorium, didn't last until the meeting's end.

Upon Mr. Bertram's reading of the supervisor's report, Mr. Langtry asked, "Anyone take a look at the lawyer's fees?"

"He's asking a question!" Mrs. Kocan shouted from the public. When he felt he was ignored by the remainder of the board, Mr. Langtry stood up and said, "That's right, I don't count," and left the meeting. The Hammond Wind Committee meets next on July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Hammond Central School. According to committee facilitator, David B. Duff, representatives from Iberdrola will be in attendance for a presentation on subjects ranging from the development process and permitting, to engineering, potential sound issues, and issues related to real property taxes.

A "roundtable" discussion is to follow Iberdrola's presentation, Mr. Duff said, with several local agencies and groups participating, including representatives from the St. Lawrence County Planning Office, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, St. Lawrence County Real Property Tax Office, Hammond Central School and Concerned Residents of Hammond, as well as from the Hammond town and planning boards.

"The intent of such a forum will be to develop a clear understanding of the developer's plans, as well as to further determine the role and interaction of the town, county, and school district and/or others involved in this process," Mr. Duff said.

Mass AG Demands Cape Wind $ Info

After jumping through nearly ten years of regulatory hurdles, environmental assessments and after finally receiving federal approval, America's first wind farm is facing another legal complication as Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley demands to know the full cost of the project and just how much of the burden taxpayers will shoulder.

Cape Wind developers plan to erect 130 wind turbines in the waters of Nantucket Sound off the shores of Cape Cod. Coakley's office is demanding information on construction costs, operating expenditures and profit expectations. She's aiming to ensure customers pay a fair price for the energy project's power.

In May, Cape Wind struck a deal with National Grid for the utility provider to buy half the project's energy output for 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour beginning in 2013. The price would increase 3.5% each year for 15 years. Based on rate expectations, National Grid predicts typical residential customers will pay an increase of $1.59, or roughly 2%, per month.

Corey Welford, a spokesperson for the Attorney General released the following statement:
"We think that the underlying construction and operation costs of Cape Wind and profits to the project's investors are relevant to whether National Grid's contract with Cape Wind is cost effective and in the best interests of Massachusetts ratepayers. We have requested that the Department of Public Utilities order Cape Wind to provide this information."

Critics of Cape Wind estimate the project will cost well over a billion dollars, including millions shelled out by taxpayers in the form of energy subsidies.

Cape Wind's developers are not happy about the call for financial disclosure and argue they are being treated differently from other energy projects.

"We do have a concern that the attorney general is asking for information from Cape Wind that hasn't been provided by any energy company in Massachusetts, but the important thing is we believe we're going to be able to reach an agreement with the attorney general that will be able to move Cape Wind and Massachusetts forward with new jobs, cleaner air and greater energy independence," said Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers.

"Cape Wind in 2013 may raise electricity prices by 2%, but set against a backdrop of fossil fuel prices having quadrupled before this last recession in just a few years that's the real risk to consumers," argued Rodgers. "Cape Wind can provide a stable price for 15-years."

Cape Wind aims to begin construction by year-end but the project is facing several lawsuits, including one put forth by a coalition of environmental groups. Mega-retailer Walmart has also challenged the value of Cape Wind, questioning National Grid's cost estimates in a filing with the state last month.

Monday, July 12, 2010

'Mock survey' by Lyme council is an insult

As a member of the working group that developed the wind law originally voted upon by the Lyme's town board, I had strongly suggested in a June 15 letter to the board that the law, being now nearly three years old, needs considerably more than just "tweaking" by the board. In the past three years, many of our residents and taxpayers have learned a great deal more about wind energy, its efficacy, its effects on our environment and the practices of wind developers.

The law as originally developed does not adequately protect residents from the damaging effects of low-frequency noise. The law does not protect residents from the significant devaluation of their property that is a virtual certainty with industrial-scale wind development. The law does not provide for dispute resolution if noise or flicker effects exceed the limits established in the law. The law does not adequately provide for the cost of removing wind-generating equipment that has become obsolete or ceased to operate. Neighboring towns are carefully exploring their options. Why is Lyme not doing this?

The board has ignored these issues, failing to reply to my letter, while continuing to tweak the law (gut it) in a series of work sessions. When I protested the presence of conflicted board members prior to the first work session, Supervisor Scott Aubertine threatened to have me "thrown out" of the meeting. Residents of Lyme are now being subjected to the same sort of ridiculous circus as our neighbors in Cape Vincent, by a number of apparently pro-BP members on the board. (Yes, you heard it right, they want us to use BP's guidelines — the company presently engaged in the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico, while continuing to lie about it).

The latest insult is that the board plans to send out a survey with only two questions; however, they are really not questions, but statements, to which respondents are expected to agree. The first includes the disclaimer, "I am not in favor of wind farms, but understand we cannot exclude them!" Welcome to Lyme, BP, and have it your way!

All residents of Lyme who oppose this approach are encouraged to attend the next town board meeting July 14 and let them know how you feel about their mock survey.

Albert H. Bowers III


Doctor: turbines cause health problems

HAMMOND — The author of "Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment" told the Hammond Wind Committee last week that 14 percent of the town's homes will be adversely affected if the entire wind overlay zone is filled with turbines.

The report by Nina Pierpont, a Malone physician and graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University, examined the health effects of wind turbines. At the meeting, she explained her research methods.

"A good patient history, we were taught, and my experience has borne out, provides a doctor with about 80 percent of the information he needs to diagnose a problem," she said. "I conducted thorough, structural clinical interviews of all my study subjects, directly interviewing all adults and older teens, and interviewing the parents of all child subjects."

Her research shows that turbines produce sounds that affect the mood of people and cause insomnia, headaches, vertigo and nausea.

Critics have suggested that Dr. Pierpont's research, theories and self-published book are unscientific and included only a handful of study subjects, while others agree that wind turbines actually do have adverse effects on the health of people living in proximity to them.

Regarding Hammond, she told committee members:

■ More than 150 households in the town would be affected by the wind overlay zone and 1,500-meter buffer, assuming the entire overlay has turbines in it.

■ As many as 316 residents are "highly likely" to develop migraines from the turbines.

■ Hammond's disproportionately high number of seniors makes its residents especially vulnerable to the turbines.

Wind committee members could not be reached for comment.

The wind committee meets next at 6:30 p.m. July 21 at Hammond Central School. David B. Duff, committee facilitator, says representatives from Iberdrola Renewables Inc. will be in attendance for a presentation.

Roaring Brook wind farm on hold

MARTINSBURG — A weak energy market may delay construction — perhaps indefinitely — of the proposed Roaring Brook wind farm.

While all involved taxing jurisdictions have now signed off on a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan, the developer has yet to determine whether and when construction will begin.

"Development work continues, but we are continuing to see soft pricing in the near-term energy market and consequently have not set a construction start date," Paul C. Copelman, a communications manager with Iberdrola Renewables, said via e-mail. "Still, it's a hugely important step to have agreed to terms with the taxing jurisdictions, and we are thankful for their hard work to help bring the project closer to fruition."

Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is proposing a 39-turbine, 78-megawatt wind farm on 5,280 acres just south of the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm. Iberdrola co-owns Maple Ridge.

The Lewis County Legislature and Martinsburg Town Council by early May approved a proposed PILOT agreement that would pay up to $24 million over 20 years.

And the final holdout, the Lowville Academy and Central School District board, signed off on the deal Tuesday.

"The board was very pleased with the terms," District Superintendent Kenneth J. McAuliffe said. "We're hoping this will help move it forward in the project planning."

School board members, while informally supportive of the plan, decided to withhold approval while $6.7 million withheld from last year's annual Maple Ridge payment remained in dispute, he said.

"There was reluctance until the other matter was adjudicated or at least settled," Mr. McAuliffe said.

Early last month, the wind farm and its taxing jurisdictions reached a tentative deal that would provide for release of the funds. All have since adopted it and are awaiting court approval of the settlement.

The proposed PILOT would offer $8,000 per megawatt with an annual cost-of-living increase of 2.5 percent to 5 percent. If Iberdrola or a related developer gives approval for higher per-megawatt payments on projects in Jefferson or Herkimer counties in Roaring Brook's first three years of payments, the per-megawatt amount would rise to the higher level.

The terms are similar to an agreement approved earlier this year by the Herkimer County Legislature for Atlantic Wind's 37-turbine Hardscrabble Wind Farm project there. Construction has since begun on that project.

According to a potential pay schedule assuming construction in 2011, projected revenues over 20 years would range from $17.17 million to $23.89 million.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hartsville's Wind Project Comes To A Halt

After 5 years of intense arguing over wind, the project is shelved.

WLEA/WCKR News has learned that the Hartsville wind project is not going to happen, not at this point anyway.

Hartsville wind farmers have received letters from wind company Eon. The letters say that the project is not going forward at this time.

This news has been confirmed by Eon attorney Jaqueline Murray, who tells WLEA/WCKR that the letters were mailed out to Hartsville wind farmers.

The proposed project was a very controversial one, and was the subject of many headlines for the past five years.

Going Green Doesn’t Work

Going “green” is not going well. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2010 forecast predicts fossil fuels will “continue to provide most of the energy consumed in the United States…” Only 6 percent of the “energy consumed by 2035 will be replaced by renewable fuel sources.” They will be principally wind and solar, for electricity and home heating, respectively, but with oil as our energy mainstay.

Today, nearly half of voters favor continued deepwater drilling in spite of the oil rig disaster that brought such serious environmental damage to Gulf of Mexico shorelines. “Some 80 percent of voters nationwide support offshore oil drilling…closer to shore,” a June 30 Rasmussen Poll reported.

President Obama’s ideologically-based decision to substitute alternative, green energy for oil is a romantic political choice which America will not see fulfilled for a more than a generation, if ever. But the President’s determination to drive toward other energy sources is seen in his decision to appeal Federal District Court of New Orleans’ ruling against the Administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf. As columnist Charles Krauthammer noted: “We haven’t run out of easily accessible sources of oil. We’ve been run off them by environmentalists. They prefer to dream green instead.”

Wind power has been hoisted up by Obama Administration wishful thinking as a major alternative power source despite its anemic potential. Take General Electric Company’s plan to build wind turbines on Lake Erie. “Projects like this would never get off the ground if it weren’t for massive tax breaks and government subsidies,” said a Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial blog. “But even then, wind power would be so costly that [the electric power company] wouldn’t touch it if it weren’t for the legal requirement that Ohio utilities buy 12.5 percent of their energy from ‘renewable resources,’ like wind, by 2025. The main argument for wind is that it is ‘green.’ It is not. Because wind blows irregularly, turbines run only about 30 percent of the time…. windpower will make money for companies like General Electric on the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers.”

Government subsidies for windmills and for GE come naturally to Obama. He and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt are buddies. Immelt is a presidential adviser. His company was likely the beneficiary of billions in green projectsas a major wind turbine maker. Immelt wrote his stockholders in 2009, the Obama Administration will be a profitable “financier” and “key partner.” According to the Washington Examiner in March 4, 2009, an item in Obama’s budget for fiscal 2010 labeled ‘climate revenues’ and totaling $646 billion, inspired confidence in Immelt. On page 115 of Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget a chart showed forecasts, beginning in 2012, of billions of dollars a year in “climate revenues….by forcing companies to pay for the right to emit greenhouse gases (and GE could benefit as possibly the only ‘secondary market trader of the credits). It would all be in the workings of “Cap and Trade” legislation passed by the House June 26, 2009. The legislation would place limits on greenhouse gases and require a massive switch to cleaner energy. The bill appears dead in the Senate. But, like ObamaCare–pronounced dead early this year–it, too, could rise from its political grave, and quite possibly will in a new form.

GE and Vestas Wind Systems are the world’s two largest suppliers of wind turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). There are hundreds off thousands of turbines throughout the country, serving electricity to millions of homes Wind power in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2006 nd 2008, mainly because of huge subsidies. Still, in 2008, wind generated only 1.3 percent of total electricity production. Besides being an unreliable source, windmills can be bad for one’s health. Dr. Nina Pierpont of Malone, N.Y., conducted lengthy research on what she terms “wind turbine syndrome” for a “constellation of symptoms experienced by many” living near industrial wind turbines. Health problems range from headaches to anxiety, insomnia, and nausea. While the nightly news rarely fails to show a dying pelican completely coated in oil from British Petroleum’s evil spill in the Gulf, migratory birds and eagles, purportedly protected by the law, are killed by the thousands by environmentalists’ favorite green energy source—politically correct wind farms.

The American Wind Energy Association optimistically predicts 20 percent of electricity will be produced by wind by 2030 with most of the increase coming in the decade between 2020 an 2030. Wind project developers were offered a 30 percent tax credit from the approximately $800 billion stimulus package. That 2009 law also gave the Department of Energy (DOE) $118 million for wind research and development. And the President’s 2010 budget provided 75 million for the DOE wind program. As for jobs, the AWEA website claims only 150,000 jobs will be created for those working directly on the windmills.

It says 85,000 people are presently employed. AWEA is currently making a big push for a “Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).” Under RES, AWEA says, if all our states adopted it, 25 percent of electricity would come from renewable sources, including solar, biomass, geothermal, and, of course, wind. An “aggressive near-term target, such as 10 percent by 2012 is called for. By no coincidence, this is the “Obama-Biden New Energy for America plan.”
This was an ambitious scheme put forth just before Obama and Joe Biden took office. It called for spending $150 billion to “build a clean energy future, put one million Hybrid cars on the road by 2015, ensure that 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025,” and, surprise, of all things, “promote responsible domestic production of oil and natural gas.”

Friday, July 09, 2010

A serious problem worthy of further study

Dr. Carl V. Phillips, an expert in epidemiology and related health sciences, submitted this important testimony to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in reference to the Commission's effort to establish siting standards for large-scale wind turbines.

His testimony is significant in light of the report released by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations that asserted that "the number and uncontrolled nature of existing case reports of adverse health effects alleged to be associated with wind turbines are insufficient to advocate for funding further studies."

Following Dr. Phillips' detailed review of existing literature, he arrived at a very different conclusion:

There is substantial evidence to support the hypothesis that wind turbines have important health effects on local residents. If forced to draw a conclusion based on existing evidence alone, it would seem defensible to conclude that there is a problem. It would certainly make little sense to conclude that there is definitely no problem, and those who make this claim offer arguments that are fundamentally unscientific. But there is simply no reason to draw a conclusion based on existing evidence alone; it is quite possible to quickly gather much more useful information than we have.

I admit to being new to this controversy and my studies have been on the content and quality of the reported science, and so there may be something hidden or political that escapes me. I have witnessed other researchers naively wandering into fields I have studied for many years, and being tricked into believing the political propaganda rather than the science. Thus I am aware of the potential limitations of understanding when someone is new to a subject matter. But as someone who specializes in trying to sort out competing epidemiology-related policy claims, I find it difficult to see how the evidence could fail to be adequate to suggest that there is a serious problem worthy of further study. The only apparent scenario that would lead to a different conclusion would be if much of the reported evidence of health problems were basically manufactured (subjects or researchers were overtly lying, or subjects were so intent on being negative that talked themselves into having diseases). But since such a scenario could only be established with further research, so even such a story leaves it impossible to justify the call to avoid further research, other than for the most cynical of motives: trying to suppress unwanted discoveries.

Dr. Phillips' full written testimony can be accessed at this link. The information he provided orally to the Commission can be viewed here.

Power authority should share information on wind turbine bids

The unknown often causes unwarranted fears, and that seems to be the case when it comes to putting wind turbines in Lake Ontario.

It doesn't have to be that way, if the New York Power Authority would release basic information about proposals it is reviewing.

Right now, all the public knows is that the authority received five proposals from wind developers to put turbines in the New York waters of Lake Ontario or Lake Erie.

The authority is analyzing the bids and plans to announce selections by the end of 2010 or in early 2011. Until then, the authority says it won't release any information in order to evaluate the bids objectively and fairly.

Consequently, shoreline residents, environmentalists, wind proponents and opponents are needlessly left in the dark. It's reasonable to expect the authority to keep certain information, such as financial data, secret in a competitive bid situation. But at a minimum, the authority could release the names of the bidders, the areas of the lakes the bids target, and the number of turbines. State law would not prevent that.

An authority spokeswoman said that body doesn't want to be influenced by the public in making its selection, which is followed by a two-year review process. To its credit, the authority has promised to have even more opportunities for public input than the law requires.

Meanwhile, a Wayne County citizens group already is lobbying Monroe legislators to take a position against the turbines. That's way premature until bids are selected and more information is known. Monroe legislative leaders have smartly agreed. It could be, of course, that none of the bidders is even targeting the shoreline off Monroe County.

More information could allay unwarranted fears, or give citizens notice to start educating themselves on the issue. Opening up the process now would add credibility in the long run.