Cohocton Wind Watch: May 2010
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.

READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud


Monday, May 31, 2010

Comments aired at wind plan hearing

RIPLEY - Town of Ripley residents - and some from Westfield as well - were given the opportunity to let their opinions regarding the proposed Pattern Energy Ripley-Westfield wind farm be heard at a recent public meeting.

Held at Meeder's Restaurant in Ripley, a number of community members expressed their concerns, opinions and beliefs to Town of Ripley board members.

First to speak was Arthur Giacalone, an attorney from East Aurora who was representing a group of concerned citizens. Giacalone said there was inadequate time to review the project's draft environmental impact statement, and he urged residents to approach the DEIS with "healthy skepticism" as it contained what he called slanted information.

"If you take the time to closely examine it, there is example after example of where this is happening," Giacalone said.

This slanted information, according to information provided by Giacalone, included misinformation regarding shadow flicker caused by the turbines, the sound produced, the complaint resolution process and potential health impacts.

Giacalone said he found numerous studies which argued opposite points than those found in the project's DEIS.

Meanwhile, Westfield resident Paul Coran expressed his concerns with possible groundwater contamination caused by the amount of concrete for the project and the washing off of the trucks which delivered the cement.

"That's got to go somewhere," Coran said, "maybe in someone's well."

Coran also said he was concerned with the impact a wind farm would have on birds, noise and area property values, which, he said, could go down if such a project is constructed.

"What types of impacts are we able to handle," he asked.

Another concerned resident, Keith Fowler, said such a wind project, if it was around prior to his moving to the area, would have been a red flag.

"We moved here a year ago, and if we knew this was going to be here, we would not have moved here," he said. "The only thing I can hope for is that the Ripley and Westfield town boards vote this down."

Fowler said he has worked in the energy business and found wind turbines to be unreliable and to have a negative impact on property taxes.

"It's going to be a continuing downward spiral," he said.

Toby Hanks, a Ripley resident, said he had issues with the size the turbines and the location of the project.

"We're going to be looking at these things for the rest of our lives," he said. "I don't think there is anything in this project for the residents of these towns. There's just nothing there for us. I just don't see it."

However, there were members of the audience who were supportive of the proposed wind project.

"Think about the impact on our environment if we do nothing," said Larry Borowski. "We need to build these windmills today. I see them as fingers of hope and life for our future."

Phil Knight, a Ripley resident, said such a project would help future generations of people.

"We need to do something now," he said. "Somebody has to do something for our kids and our grandkids and their grandkids. I think our future needs to look at this."

Ripley resident Bob Bentley, who was not speaking for the Ripley Central School Board of Education of which he presides, said he personally believed a wind project would bring money and jobs to the area.

"This isn't a perfect situation," he said. "Somewhere, we have to start making some changes in this area. Sooner or later we need to step forward into the future."

Stephen Howes, who said windmills are proposed to be installed near his property, said the Ripley Town Board would regret the decision to allow the project to be constructed.

"These windmills are ugly. They're a machine. They're not pretty," he said. "You're going to hate these things. You're going to hate these things with a passion."

Howes said the project's developers are misleading the public.

"They're all telling you things you want to hear and not the real deal," he said.

However, Dan Scriven of Ripley said the project was needed in the area because taxes could decrease, jobs could be created and businesses may be enticed to move to the region.

"Unless somebody does something to lower the taxes, people are going to keep exiting the state," Scriven said.

According to information provided by representatives of Pattern Energy, the proposed project would consists of 54 to 79 turbines spread out evenly in both the Towns of Ripley and Westfield. The power generated, the information said, would be enough to power 43,000 homes each year. The company is currently looking at two different types of turbines which would be more than 300 feet tall from their base to the tips of their blades.

Copies of the Environmental Impact Statement can be found at various locations, including Eason Hall and the Patterson Library in Westfield.

Residents may mail or e-mail their comments to either the Town of Westfield or the Town of Ripley. Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 17. For more information, individuals are asked to contact either the Town of Westfield at 326-3211, the Town of Ripley at 736-6881 or by visiting

"We appreciate all of your comments," said Town of Ripley Supervisor Pete Ryan. "Everything said here will be in the DEIS."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This man’s family can’t sleep

This man’s family often can’t sleep. They get nauseous, they get headaches, and they’ve been forced to rent an apartment in town. They and their neighbors are suing the wind company.

The following is quoted from a newspaper article describing the terms of the lawsuit. It’s worth reading—Editor.

Count I: Private nuisance

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they have property rights and privileges with respect to the use and enjoyment of their property, and the defendants interfered with those rights by creating, through the operation of the wind farm, “significant and material intrusions upon the plaintiffs’ property.”

Intrusions detailed in the lawsuit include:

• Low frequency noise and subaudible infrasound and/or impulse noise created by and emitted from the wind turbines, which range as close as 1,100 and 1,700 feet away from each plaintiff’s home.

• Sustained and highly disturbing audible noise created by the wind turbines.

• Amplitude modulation in both audible and sub-audible frequency ranges emitted from the turbines.

• A flicker/strobe light effect that covers the plaintiffs’ properties when sunlight passes through the rotating turbine blades.

The lawsuit states the interference and invasions caused by the conduct of the wind energy companies was either intentional and unreasonable, or unintentional and negligent conduct.

“The intrusions caused by the turbines in the wind farm cause plaintiffs actual physical discomforts and would cause such physical discomfort to a person of ordinary sensibilities,” the lawsuit states.

Physical harm and negative health effects listed in the lawsuit included: Inability to sleep and repeated awakening during sleep, headaches, dizziness, stress and tension, extreme fatigue, diminished ability to concentrate, nausea, and other physiological and cognitive effects.

The lawsuit notes the symptoms experienced by David and Marilyn Peplinski’s family forced them to rent an apartment away from the wind farm in order to avoid the adverse health effects.

“Despite the conditions caused by the continued operation of the wind farm and the resulting health conditions suffered by the plaintiffs, John Deere, John Deere Renewables and Michigan Wind I continue to operate and/or profit from the wind farm,” the lawsuit states.

Count II: Public nuisance

“Based on the aforementioned allegations, the actions of (the defendants) constitute an unreasonable interference with a common right enjoyed by the general public, including plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states. “Said actions resulted in the existence or creation of a dangerous condition to plaintiffs and other members of the general public and further resulted in significant harm to plaintiffs.”

In the portion of the lawsuit alleging the local wind park is a public nuisance, the lawsuit states the plaintiffs suffered harm and personal injuries different from the harm suffered by the general public, specifically, the increased harm to their health and well being that resulted from the close proximity of the turbines to their primary residences.

“The actions of (the defendants) further created a nuisance in fact, which was either intentional or negligent, by causing a hazardous or dangerous situation,” the lawsuit states.

Count III: Negligent design of wind farm

The lawsuit claims the wind companies had a duty to use reasonable care in the design and construction of the wind farm, specifically in relation to selecting turbine locations.

That duty was breached by the defendants, the lawsuit claims, because the companies ignored available data regarding the probability of negative health effects associated with placing the turbines in close proximity to the plaintiffs’ homes.

Also, the lawsuit references a noise assessment included in the project’s site plan review application that estimated only audible noise levels within the dBA range, and did not consider low frequency noise or impulse noise.

The lawsuit cites portions of the noise assessment stating, “in general, it is undesirable for any home, particularly that of a non-participant, to be on or inside a 45 dBA contour,” and “the probability of complaints from any project opponent exposed to this project noise level would be extremely high.”

Turbine noise measured at four of the plaintiffs’ homes ranged from 45 to 51 dBA, according to results from a noise study paid for by John Deere last fall that are included in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the wind companies “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” sited the wind turbines in a way that increased the negative health effects and other damages. Other allegations state the wind companies negligently, carelessly and recklessly failed to construct the turbines at a safe distance from the plaintiffs’ residences, and to exercise reasonable care to prevent an unsafe condition and unreasonable risk of harm.

Count IV: Negligent misrepresentation

The lawsuit claims the wind companies made false representations in board of commissioner and planning commissioner meetings and public hearings when company representatives said the wind farm’s operations would not result in a noise nuisance or cause adverse health effects to adjacent landowners.

“(The defendants) were negligent in making these misrepresentations because, as the parties seeking approval to construct a wind turbine farm in Huron County, they had a duty to use reasonable care to provide Huron County and its citizens with both accurate and complete information,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs claim the wind companies provided inaccurate and/or incomplete information about the audible turbine noise levels, and no information about low frequency noise, infrasound and/or impulse noise emitted from the turbines.

Huron County relied on the information from the wind companies when approving the project, the lawsuit states.

“(The defendants) should have known that the information it supplied to Huron County would directly impact the residents of Huron County, including plaintiffs,” the lawsuit adds.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Energy consumption in wind facilities

Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown [click here].* The manufacturers of large turbines -- for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon -- do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.

Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:†s

* yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) -- the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

* blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

* lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

* heating the blades -- this may require 10%-20% of the turbine's nominal (rated) power

* heating and dehumidifying the nacelle -- according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, "power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds"

* oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

* hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

* thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) -- 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

* magnetizing the stator -- the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a "large" amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous "cage rotor" that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine's rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more

* using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not,‡ particularly during important site tours) -- it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind§

It may be that each turbine consumes more than 50% of its rated capacity in its own operation. If so, the plant as a whole -- which may produce only 25% of its rated capacity annually -- would be using (for free!) twice as much electricity as it produces and sells. An unlikely situation perhaps, but the industry doesn't publicize any data that proves otherwise; incoming power is apparently not normally recorded.

Is there some vast conspiracy spanning the worldwide industry from manufacturers and developers to utilities and operators? There doesn't have to be, if engineers all share an assumption that wind turbines don't use a significant amount of power compared to their output and thus it is not worth noting, much less metering. Such an assumption could be based on the experience decades ago with small DC-generating turbines, simply carried over to AC generators that continue to metastasize. However errant such an assumption might now be, it stands as long as no one questions it. No conspiracy is necessary -- self-serving laziness is enough.

Whatever the actual amount of consumption, it could seriously diminish any claim of providing a significant amount of energy. Instead, it looks like industrial wind power could turn out to be a laundering scheme: "Dirty" energy goes in, "clean" energy comes out. That would explain why developers demand legislation to create a market for "green credits" -- tokens of "clean" energy like the indulgences sold by the medieval church. Ego te absolvo.

(One need only ask utilities to show how much less "dirty" electricity they purchase because of wind-generated power to see that something is amiss in the wind industry's claims. If wind worked and were not mere window dressing, the industry would trot out some real numbers. But they don't. One begins to suspect that they can't.)

*There is also the matter of reactive power (VAR). As wind facilities are typically built in remote areas, they are often called upon to provide VAR to maintain line voltage. Thus much of their production may go to providing only this "energy-less" power.

†Much of this information comes from a Swedish graduate student specializing in hydrogen and wind power, as posted in a Yes2Wind discussion. Also see the Danish Wind Industry Association's guide to the technology. The rest comes from personal correspondence with other experts and from industry spec sheets.

‡An observer in Toronto, Ontario, points out that the blades of the turbines installed at the Pickering nuclear plant and Exhibition Place turn 90% of the time, even when there is barely a breeze and when the blades are not properly pitched -- in a region acknowledged to have low wind resource.

§"In large rotating power trains such as this, if allowed to stand motionless for any period of time, the unit will experience "bowing" of shafts and rotors under the tremendous weight. Therefore, frequent rotating of the unit is necessary to prevent this. As an example, even in port Navy ships keep their propeller shafts and turbine power trains slowly rotating. It is referred to as "jacking the shaft" to prevent any tendency to bow. Any bowing would throw the whole train out of balance with potentially very serious damage when bringing the power train back on line.

"In addition to just protecting the gear box and generator shafts and bearings, the blades on a large wind turbine would offer a special challenge with respect to preventing warping and bowing when not in use. For example, on a sunny, windless day, idle wind turbine blades would experience uneven heating from the sun, something that would certainly cause bowing and warping. The only way to prevent this would be to keep the blades moving to even out the sun exposure to all parts of the blade.

"So, the point that major amounts of incoming electrical power is used to turn the power train and blades when the wind is not blowing is very accurate, and it is not something the operators of large wind turbines can avoid.

"[In addition, there is] the likely need for a hefty, forced-feed lubricating system for the shaft and turbine blade assembly bearings. This would be a major hotel load. I can't imagine passive lubrication (as for the wheel bearings on your car) for an application like this. Maybe so, but I would be very surprised. Assuming they have to have a forced-feed lubrication system, given the weight on those bearings (40 tons on the bearing for the rotor and blades alone) a very robust (energy sucking) lubricating oil system would be required. It would also have to include cooling for the oil and an energy-sucking lube oil purification system too."

--Lawrence E. Miller, Gerrardstown, WV, an engineer with over 40 years of professional experience with large power train machinery associated with Navy ships.

Wind farm project gains final approval

Herkimer, N.Y.

Wind power generation is a reality in Herkimer County.

Representatives from the county Industrial Development Agency and Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, signed the closing documents for the Hardscrabble wind project Thursday.

“This is fantastic for the county of Herkimer,” said IDA Board of Directors Chairman John Piseck. “This project, over the course of its 20 years, will have a $26 to $30 million impact on our county, and that is fantastic news. I am proud to say that Herkimer County is now involved in wind power.”

“We are pleased with the level of cooperation we received throughout this five year process,” said Neil Habig, project developer for Atlantic Wind. “The PILOT agreement that we reached has a lot of moving parts, as it not only involved negotiations with the county, but with towns and school districts as well. In fact, over the course of those five years the West Canada Valley school district has lost its superintendent, the town of Fairfield elected a new supervisor, numerous board and council members have come and gone and regulations governing the project have changed. With all those factors considered, the level of cooperation that we have received has been consistent.”

With all of the documents now signed, Piseck said the construction phase can now begin.

“The stakes are in the ground and the wind turbines have been ordered,” he said, adding that the parts for the 37 windmills to be constructed in the towns of Fairfield and Norway will come from U.S. manufacturers. “This project puts our county on the map when it comes to our support of alternative energy. Not only that, this project will allow the county to provide relief to its taxpayers due to the financial benefits that we will receive, it will bring economic development to two towns and it will benefit two of our county’s school districts. The positive impact that this project will have will be tremendous and far-reaching, and that is why this is an exciting time to be in Herkimer County.”

Habig said he shared in Piseck’s excitement in seeing the project move on to the next phase.

“We are definitely excited to see this project move forward,” he said, adding that residents can expect to see components, equipment and materials rolling in over the coming weeks. “Things have changed over the five years that it took to get us to this point, and seemingly everything aligned in just the right manner so this project could become a reality. This is a great day.”

The county, under the 20-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement, accepted a prorated share of $8,000 per megawatt produced by the project’s 37 turbines. A cost of living adjustment was included for the payments, with a floor of 2.5 percent and a ceiling of five percent. The adjustments will commence this year, so that the January 2012 payment will be a minimum of $8,405 per megawatt, depending on the cost of living. The agreement also calls for a $400,000 construction impact payment to be made to the county within 60 days of the start of construction, and states that if future projects in Lewis and Jefferson counties receive higher per megawatt payment amounts from Iberdrola or a related developer during the three year period from the first per megawatt payment to the county, Herkimer County’s per megawatt amount will increase to the higher level.

In addition, Atlantic Wind has agreed to pay for repairs needed on county and local roads resulting from the construction phase of the project, and has agreed to remedy any interference of emergency 911 communications caused by the turbines.

Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction has been selected by Iberdrola to construct the Hardscrabble wind project. According to a company announcement, Mortenson will erect 37 Gamesa 2.0 megawatt wind turbines to generate a total of 74 megawatts. The project, according to the announcement, represents one of the first major installations of 100-meter towers in North America. In addition, Mortenson will also build access roads, turbine foundations, an operations building and a meteorological tower. The project is expected to become operational by December.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Planning Commissioners Cashing In On Turbines?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Former FERC chairman joins First Wind

Wind developer First Wind has appointed a former FERC chairman as a member of its Board of Directors.

Pat Wood III chaired the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 2001 to 2005, and before that the Public Utility Commission of Texas for six years.

Boston-based First Wind said Mr Wood’s expertise would be “beneficial” as the company develops new wind projects.

Smith and Corshen May 25, 2010 Letter to the Town of Lyme, NY

Lyme Town Board:

We are writing to express our concerns with respect to the Town Board's ongoing zoning process for situating Industrial Wind Turbines in the Town of Lyme. At the outset of this process, we were willing to support the original zoning law enacted by the town. The subsequent challenge to that law, set aside by a few property owners that had a financial incentive to oppose its reasonable setbacks, has made it abundantly clear that they and their corporate sponsors, BP Wind and Acciona, will not accept reasonable limits or setbacks. Given this, and recent press reports and anecdotal evidence compiled by local real estate companies, it is clear to us now that Industrial Wind Turbines will drastically reduce real estate values for most, if not all, Lyme homeowners, particularly waterfront properties, and that it would be utterly irresponsible for the Town Board to allow Industrial Wind Turbines to be built anywhere in Lyme.

Some residents have threatened to sell, even at depressed prices that even the possibility of Industrial Wind Turbines is now causing, if Industrial Wind Turbines are permitted. We are not sure how to proceed, but at this point are certain about one thing. With the cloud of uncertainty hanging over our town, we will not make any capital improvements to our property and the adjoining 86 acres, or otherwise invest in Lyme, until the Lyme Town Board makes clear that our town is not an appropriate location for Industrial Wind Turbines. That is the only prudent course of action, as it makes no economic sense for our family to make capital improvements to property that will, overnight, depreciate by as much as 40 to 60 percent if BP Wind and Acciona are permitted to destroy our town and erect wind turbines in the town footprint.

Some in the town and on the Town Board seem driven to build wind turbines in Lyme, no matter what the cost to the town at large, simply to enrich a few large landholders, at the expense of a majority of residents. The Town Board's evident plans to enact lesser setbacks than contained in the previous zoning law, however, has already had the chilling effect of causing us - and no doubt others - not to go forward with these projects, until and unless we are certain that the Town Board enacts a wind turbine zoning law that protects the essential scenic beauty and recreational nature of Lyme and ensures that our property values will not be diminished by irresponsible zoning decisions. That means essentially banning industrial wind turbines.

We built our home in 1999, with plans to gradually make improvements to our home and property over the ensuing years before our retirement to Lyme. Those capital improvements will NOT be made until we are certain that our investment in Lyme is safe. The Town Board should consider the immediate economic impact that this discussion has on its construction and other businesses, as we are certain others are proceeding with equal caution. We urge these local businesses to write the Town Board and express their opposition to any wind development in Lyme.

Finally, we concur with the May 24, 2010 letter written by Mr. Albert H. Bowers, III and believe that it is prudent and proper for Mr. Bourquin to recuse himself from any discussions, meetings or votes regarding industrial wind turbines proposals for Lyme.

Please feel free call us at 315-649-5375 or 703-527-5375 if you have any questions.

David C. Smith
Meryl P. Corshen

Wind-power plan for Ohio moves ahead

CLEVELAND - A Cleveland nonprofit development group racing to erect the first offshore wind turbine in the Great Lakes has reached an agreement with General Electric Co. to supply five turbines for a $100 million demonstration project in Lake Erie.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., known as LEEDCo, and Gov. Ted Strickland are to announce the deal in Dallas today during the annual conference of the American Wind Energy Association.

The turbines would stand 300 feet above the lake and be clustered six miles or so off Cleveland's shore, northwest of the city's drinking water intake crib.

Each of the five colossal machines - at 225 tons apiece, the largest in the nation - would generate four megawatts.

The total generating capacity of 20 million watts, or 20 megawatts, is enough to power up to 16,000 homes, at least while the wind is blowing.

The plan is to have the turbines generating power at the end of 2012, said LEEDCo President Lorry Wagner.
"This is not just about making power, it's about creating jobs," Mr. Wagner said.

If the turbines are running by then, northern Ohio will have a chance to become the hub of an offshore wind power industry, LEEDCo and Lake Erie Energy Task Force officials say.

Both GE and LEEDCo see the project as the first step in standardizing and lowering the cost of building very large wind turbines in the Great Lakes.

Financing has to be worked out, but state and federal tax credits and possibly loans or grants would be needed.

The turbines would account for about half the project's costs. The rest would be in the purchase of the towers, foundations on the lake bottom, an underwater power line to the shore, and engineering expenses.

LEEDCo is interviewing finalists for a project developer this week and expects to select one within a month. Several of the contractors have global experience.

Expert warns of turbines' effect on 'soundscape'

HAMMOND -- A sound expert told the Wind Advisory Committee that Hammond's "rural soundscape" will be changed with the construction of wind turbines and that it would be foolish to take any wind developer's sound level plan as gospel.

Clifford P. Schneider, Cape Vincent, who retired from the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Fish and Wildlife Division, told the committee that he became interested in measuring wind turbine sound in 2006, after he was appointed to Cape Vincent's Town Council. With Cape Vincent immersed in its own wind power issues, Mr. Schneider said, he was not satisfied with the initial sound study performed by commercial wind developer AES-Acciona Energy, which sought a project in Cape Vincent.

He said the wind developer did only a few sound readings at noisy locations at the noisiest times of the day. Mr. Schneider did a "mobile survey" of the entire town of Cape Vincent. He said he found that the developer's findings were limited and neglected to consider nighttime, worst-case wind conditions and noise impacts.

Mr. Schneider described Hammond's evenings as calm, quiet times during which the noise from turbines would not be masked. The result, he said, would be turbine noise that is "very noticeable."

At the heart of the issue of turbine noise, according to Mr. Schneider, are two questions: What is the existing noise level in Hammond? And what will a wind farm project do to those sound levels?

DEC, Mr. Schneider said, measures background noise and says that any new source should be no more than six decibels above the standing background noise level.

He measured the noise level at about 30 decibels inside Hammond's village hall. Mr. Schneider played a recording of a German wind farm, increasing the noise levels all the way up to 25 decibels.

"It's not going to drive everyone crazy, but it will affect some people," he said.

Besides his "systematic sampling" advice, Mr. Schneider suggested building a strong compliance survey and complaint resolution and property value assurance plan into the town wind law. By doing this, he said, the committee would be requiring the developer to provide a more inclusive and careful plan that would better ensure proper placement of turbines.

Committee member Michele McQueer said she would like to hear from a sound expert from Iberdrola. Facilitator David B. Duff said he will attempt to make that happen for the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. June 7 in the village hall.

Another health problem caused by turbines

Several months ago, a neighbor and I drove through the industrial wind complex in Lewis County. While doing so, I experienced a severe case of vertigo and my passenger became nauseous. This definitely caused me concern as the only other time this had happened was when I had driven through another turbine complex in the Southwest.

I was therefore drawn to the article in the Sunday edition of the Watertown Daily Times exclaiming "Hospital shows off balance center." Was the need for a balance center at Lewis County General Hospital generated by the installation of industrial turbines spinning in all directions for miles while drivers were trying to navigate the roads? How many people from Lowville and surrounding areas had sought help for balance problems in other communities before the need was realized in Lewis County? Why had balance problems and vertigo become a priority in that region?

Obviously, there is a growing need to diagnose issues stemming from vertigo or the hospital would not have found it necessary in this economic environment to spend $100,000 to open a balance center. That led me to wonder if the developer had contributed these funds as part of a mitigation agreement. If not, why not? I also wondered if those suffering from balance and vertigo problems connected this life-altering condition with the probable cause.

The article left the readers with many unanswered questions that I am hoping will be forthcoming in the near future. Living in Cape Vincent and being threatened with driving in and around industrial turbines that will no doubt cause me to experience vertigo behind the wheel, I now fear for the health, safety and welfare of my neighbors and visitors to this area.

I am grateful for the appearance of this article as hopefully it will bring to the forefront another subject that should be inserted into any wind law passed in the Cape along with a demand for necessary mitigation to resolve vertigo and other balance health issues created by the installation of turbines.

Perhaps another benefit of the article is the ability of those living in and around the turbines in Lewis County to understand their balance conditions did not come out of nowhere, there is a reason and they are not alone.

L. Sam De Long
Cape Vincent

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wind farms in Benton's future

Benton, N.Y. — Since 2006 the Town of Benton has been working with Empire State Wind on a proposal to put wind turbines in Benton.

Public meetings have been held and town officials and residents seem to be in agreement that the town would be a good location to harness the wind power.

Little had been heard from Empire State Wind Energy in the last several months. Company president

Keith Pitman attended the May 12 town board meeting to give an update on their project and the wind industry.

“The good news is right now we are prepared to take Benton and go with the project,” said Pitman, adding,

“We are definitely of the opinion that we want to do a project here in Benton.”

However, when Councilwoman Becky Jensen asked about how long it would be before the project starts, Pitman couldn’t give a direct answer, stating,“It could be tomorrow or months from now. We will keep working on it.”

Pitman said there have been many changes in the wind industry over the last four years. The greatest obstacle he noted is in acquiring equipment. As wind power was introduced in New York State , the price of equipment was high and now Pitman says it is leveling off.

“We are a small buyer,” he said, explaining the company is being cautious about buying equipment. He noted that a tower collapsed in Fenner in December and all wind turbines in that project have been shut down since the collapse.

The day after Pitman visited, news articles about a five-month investigation on the Fenner tower collapse, which was the first in the United States, pointed to a need to reinforce the foundations on the remaining 18 turbines. More investigation will be conducted. The company expects the turbines to be back in operation by late summer or early fall.

Benton Supervisor Bob Clark asked Pitman if the company is looking at other vendors for equipment. Pitman said some vendors have dropped out and others consolidated in the last few years. The company will look for equipment compatible to Benton’s needs, he said.

“I believe, I am still positive (in the project),” Clark said.“I just ask you to look closely at setbacks.”

“We are aware of the laws and are in tune with the town,” Pitman answered. He said the issues in Benton should be minimal.

Spain admits that the green energy as sold to Obama is a disaster

The Spanish government leaks a report that admits the ominous economic consequences of betting in favor of renewable energies.

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, doesn't seem to have chosen the right model to copy for his "green economy," Spain. After the government of José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero demonized a study of different experts about the fatal economic consequences of renewable energies, an internal document from the Spanish cabinet that it is even more negative has just been leaked.

To one of the authors of the first report, Gabriel Calzada, "the government has leaked it intentionally in order to turn the media against renewable energies and to be stronger in negotiations with businesses."

Because even though Zapatero himself opposes abandoning his grand bet, some voices - such as the minister of Industry, Miguel Sebastián - are beginning to express their worry over the enormous debt that has been generated by the investment in so-called clean energies, which could even delay Spain's exit from the economic crisis.

On eight occasions, the occupant of the White House referred to the Spanish model as an example to follow. The paradox is that it is a model that Obama himself wants Spain to abandon, as made clear in his call to Zapatero last week in which he asked him to change his strategy on the crisis.

The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute. Besides that, the official document is almost a copy point by point of the one that led to Calzada being denounced [lit. "vetoed"] by the Spanish Embassy in an act in the U.S. Congress.

The presentation recognizes explicitly that "the increase of the electric bill is principally due to the cost of renewable energies." In fact, the increase in the extra costs of this industry explains more than 120% of the variation in the bill and has prevented the reduction in the costs of conventional electricity production to be reflected on the bills of the citizens.

If the document indicates that the development of renewable energies has had a positive impact, especially in the reduction of emissions, it has also admitted that the evolution has been too fast, due to subsidies.

"Between 2004 and 2010, the quantity of subsidies has been multiplied by five,",says the text of the Spanish Ministry. In 2009 alone they were doubled from the previous year to 5,045 million euros, the equivalent of the whole public investment in I+D+i ["Investigación + Desarrollo + Innovación tecnológica", or "research, development, and technological innovation"] in Spain.

The numbers in the long run are even scarier. The government itself says that the alternative energies sector will receive 126 billion euros in the next 25 years. Just an example: The owners of solar plants make 12 times more than what they pay for the energy coming from fossil fuel combustion. The majority are subsidies charged to the consumer.

The conclusion is that with the economy at the point of bankruptcy, it is not possible to keep injecting money in such a costly sector. And the government seems to realize this now.

But aside from all this, Obama's green energy project might cost him votes. The republican Rand Paul, animated by the tea party movement, won the primary on Tuesday for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat owing to, among other things, being a fierce critic of the president's agenda on climate change.

Obama has made the focus of his economic and environmental politics a change towards a "green economy," which, to the judgment of some analysts, could be a risk for the recovery of the world's biggest economy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wind tower proposal could become law next month

After about two years of work, the Dunkirk Town Board may vote on a wind energy conversion system, or WECS, law at their June board meeting.

Once the proposal becomes law, town of Dunkirk residents will be permitted to build small, residential-use wind towers that have a total generation capacity of 100 kilowatts or less.

"Unless we have something come up that we didn't expect, yes, (we'll vote on the proposal after the public hearing)," said Town Supervisor Richard Purol. "I think we're that close that we should be able to do it."

Purol has distributed to the town board what may be the final draft of the WECS law.

"We went through it all, looked for typos and added everything in there that we've been putting together for a while, so that I had something to give to the board," Purol said. "Now, they've got something to look at."

The town board will hold a workshop and special meeting May 26 to discuss the proposed legislation and to take the next step toward making it town law.

"The reason we're going to have a workshop and special meeting is because if the board finds that there's nothing wrong with it (the law), I can't declare a public hearing unless it's at a meeting."

With board approval, the town will schedule a public hearing for June 8, prior to their regular monthly meeting. It will be the public's final opportunity to voice their concerns on the WECS law.

It's likely the board will vote on the legislation at that meeting, barring the unexpected.

Purol reflected on the law-drafting work, as the town approaches a vote.

"Once you start something, you want to finish it. It's unfortunate that it had to take as long as it did. But we're only going for the small WECS. We're not going for anything as far as commercial goes, or any big wind farms - nothing like that. So it should have been pretty much cut-and-dried, but when you start looking at it, we want to make sure everything is OK."

A resident interested in building a wind tower on his property will need town board approval to do so, according to the way the law is written.

Rather than going through a zoning process - and in order to avoid requests for variances - the town board will have a simple up-or-down vote.

If the resident asks to construct a tower that meets the law's requirements, he will be allowed to build it. If not, then the resident will not be given board approval.

"You either meet the criteria, or you don't," Purol said.

When the law-drafting process first started, the board passed a moratorium on the construction of wind towers within the town. It prevented residents from building a WECS before a law was passed.

Last year, at least one resident expressed interest in installing a tower on his property, Purol said.

"But that was last year," he said. "I really don't know if he's still interested or not. I haven't heard from him."

Wind won't solve energy problems

I would like to respond to the May 15 letter "Support local wind projects." Like the author, I once naively believed that wind was the answer to our energy problems. I believed it would free us from the more conventional energy producers, the most important of which is coal. I was then appointed to the Hamlin Wind Tower Committee, charged with the investigating this very topic. This is what I learned:

Wind generators have a very "big" problem. It's called "intermittency" (they do not produce a consistent flow of electricity.) The end result is that no coal-fired generating facilities can be eliminated. In fact, coal facilities need to run at full capacity to maintain efficiency. As more wind turbines are built, more fossil fueled generators will need to be brought online as "backups." As the letter writer notes, negatives for existing energy sources abound, and wind energy is no exception. He says the main issue is aesthetics. He is wrong. Other issues are health, distance from homes, and misinformation — they don't work as advertised.


Wind safety - Expand certification rule for towers

The collapse of a wind turbine in Clinton County in March 2009 initially perplexed experts and interested novices alike.

Yet the state Public Service Commission has concluded that flawed wiring installation allowed the tower to tumble at the Noble Altona Wind Park run by Noble Environmental Power LLC, the state's biggest wind developer.

When the structures lose power, they are programmed to shut down automatically. Otherwise, out-of-control, spinning turbines can bring a tower down in some cases.

It does not happen often, but it happens. A 300-foot tall, 187-ton wind turbine came crashing down in a Madison County cornfield near Fenner late last December. That is still being investigated by the owner, Enel North America Inc.

The fall of the turbine in Clinton County and the failure of a second one at the site, both due to wiring problems, have sparked a new regulation. The PSC now requires wind power developers to ensure that emergency controls will shut off turbines during power losses.

The PSC regulation will be part of the certification process for wind projects 80 megawatts and larger. But what about those less than 80 megawatts, such as the proposed St. Lawrence Wind Farm in Cape Vincent, which is slated for 79.5 megawatts?

Safety controls need to be certified for all wind farms, not just those that meet or exceed the 80 megawatts threshold.

Siting wind turbines is extremely important. Zoning debates and community discussion are crucial, and not frivolous. It has been shown that a turbine can fall. That is why every turbine should be placed where it can do the least damage if it comes crashing down.

Public safety must be the highest priority in this process. The state should exert stronger oversight of wind development, but is failing to lead the way in regulating the new industry. That leaves it to counties, local governments and ordinary citizens to monitor safety issues.

But they are ill-equipped to do so.

Health risk of wind turbines debated

Both sides in the wind farm debate say health and safety evidence is on their side.

A group of Brown County residents working to stop the wind farm proposed for the southern part of the county cites reports from the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health that suggest wind turbines located too close to homes or schools cause negative health impacts.

"It is my opinion as a physician that the best evidence supports that building large wind energy turbines in close proximity to humans has a negative impact on the health," wrote Dr. Herbert Coussons, a Wrightstown resident and Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy board member.

The wind farm proposal could cause sleep disorders, he said.

But the Chicago-based company seeking to build 100 wind turbines in four southern Brown County communities says that argument is wrong.

"Some opponents have made up scary names to create false fears about wind turbines and health, but there is no science to back up their scare campaign," according to officials for Invenergy LLC.

The company's proposed Ledge Wind project in the towns of Morrison, Glenmore, Rockland and Wrightstown awaits siting guidelines from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

"There are more than 20,000 wind turbines currently operational in the U.S., and there is prodigious evidence nationwide that wind turbines are safe and produce no negative health effects," said Kevin Parzyck, project manager for the Ledge Wind project.

The Brown County Human Services Committee and Board of Health will hold a joint meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to listen to health and safety arguments.

"That's all we'll cover, safety and health," said Supervisor Patrick Evans, chairman of the Human Services Committee. "We're not going to get off on tangents."

Evans said he hopes the Board of Health will eventually make a recommendation on the issue.

In its presentation to the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce's policy committee last month, the citizens group quoted Dr. Christopher Hanning, a sleeping disorder physician in England who wrote: "In my expert opinion … I have no doubt that wind turbine noise emissions cause sleep disturbance and ill health."

In January, the PSC approved the Glacier Hills wind farm project in Columbia County proposed by Wisconsin Electric Power Company. At that time, the board wrote: "The Commission also finds that, while members of the public are concerned about possible health effects associated with the project, there is not sufficient evidence in the record to conclude that the project would cause adverse health effects."

The American Wind Energy Association said evidence of negative health effects from wind turbines is lacking.

"We are not aware of any scientifically peer-reviewed information demonstrating a link between wind turbines and negative health effects," according to the organization's Web site. Thousands of people around the world live near wind turbines without ill consequences."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Goldwind appoints US CEO as part of Americas expansion

US: Chinese turbine manufacturer Goldwind has appointed First Wind vice-president and chief financial officer Tim Rosenzweig to be the CEO of Goldwind USA.

On announcing the appointment, Goldwind said Rosenzweig would be taking up the position with immediate effect. It said his brief would be to build the company's presence in both North and South America.

Rosenzweig was part of the launch team for UPC Wind, which later became First Wind. Prior to this he has been a vice-president at a private equity fund and a vice-president at GE Capital Services Group in Hong Kong.

Speaking about the appointment Goldwind CEO Wu Gang said: "He brings an impressive breadth of skills and depth of experience to our CEO position. His combination of skills and experience growing companies in the sector from the ground floor to function seamlessly in the local market will be invaluable to our efforts to build Goldwind into a premier business in the Americas."

Goldwind launched its US offshoot last year and plans to add manufacturing facilities in the country. Earlier this year it also became the first Chinese manufacturer to install its turbines on US soil.

The 1.5MW permanent-magnetic direct drive turbines (the 77/1500 type) were installed on the 'Uilk' wind farm project at Pipestone Town, Minnesota.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Wind SEC filing change questioned by Naomi Schalit Senior Reporter

Business experts say that energy company First Wind was within its rights to amend an SEC filing last week to declare that it did not, as the company had previously stated in an earlier filing, award Public Utilities Commission Chairman Kurt Adams an ownership interest while he was on the state payroll, a possible violation of state law.

But one expert says that the amendment, which came after the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting published details of the grant to Adams, could itself raise questions with SEC regulators.

“The SEC is fairly liberal in permitting parties to amend their disclosure document,” said securities law expert Manning G. Warren III of the Louis S. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. But the amended filing, said Warren, “suggests that the company is acknowledging a rather significant error in terms of granting him those restricted stocks while he was a public servant.”

First Wind is in the process of filing disclosure documents — called an “S1” — with the SEC before a public offering of stock to raise money for the company.

“They’re trying to fix it for the sake of making sure that the investing public believes everything was done properly,” said Warren. “These filings go into the [SEC’s] division of corporation finance when there’s an amendment like this. If it gives them concern that perhaps the issuer is changing the facts given the adverse public-ity of your story, they might refer it to the enforcement division.”

State law regulates gifts to public servants. It’s a criminal violation if a “public servant … solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any pecuniary benefit from a person if the public servant knows or reasonably should know that the purpose of the donor in making the gift is to influence the public servant in the performance of the public servant’s official duties or vote, or is intended as a reward for action on the part of the public servant.”

The statute applies also to anyone who “knowingly gives, offers, or promises any pecuniary benefit” for the purposes of influencing a public official. To avoid any conflict of interest, Adams said in a previous interview, “I recused myself from anything related to First Wind from when I accepted employment to when I left. I followed the statute by the book, told my employer and my colleagues.” The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, in a previous story, reported that Adams recused himself from First Wind-related matters at the PUC beginning in December, 2007.

First Wind’s SEC filings from earlier this year show that the award was a complex transaction that essentially started a vesting period for 1.2 million “equity units” on the date that Adams signed an employment agreement with the company. That date was April 16, 2008, while Adams was still the chairman of the PUC. He went to work for First Wind, a developer of wind farms in Maine and across the country, on May 19, 2008.

But after the story broke that Adams had taken the units while still on the state payroll, company officials launched an internal investigation of Adams’ hiring. The result of that investigation was released last week.

“Neither First Wind nor Kurt intended for the vesting to begin on that date [April 16, 2008],” said company spokesman John Lamontagne. “The amended S1 reflects the original intent and the corrections that have been made to the employment agreement.”

The amendment contradicts earlier statements made by both First Wind attorney Paul Wilson and Adams.

Adams and company officials acknowledge that he signed an employment agreement with First Wind on April 16, 2008, while he was still chairman of the state’s PUC. Adams also said that he got what he called “stock options” as part of his employment agreement with First Wind.

“Those stock options, the grant date is on the 16th,” he said. But he claimed they had “no value” and therefore would not trigger any state laws barring improper gifts by industries to state regulators.

Similarly, First Wind attorney Paul Wilson also told the Center that what he called “restricted units” had been granted to Adams on April 16, 2008. “There was an offer letter that the company signed and he signed, a restricted unit agreement that he signed on April 16th,” said Wilson.

A coalition of groups opposed to large-scale wind power development in the state asked Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to investigate whether First Wind’s grant of equity to Adams violated state laws. Mills’ office would neither confirm nor deny whether or not an investigation was taking place.

S1 disclosure filings with the SEC customarily include statements about adverse circumstances that could affect the welfare of the company.

“So if there is a pending or threatened state action against the company, then that should be disclosed to investors in the S1,” said University of California at Davis Law School professor Robert W. Hillman. While the latest, amended version of First Wind’s S1 includes a reference to a now-closed investigation of the company by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, there is no reference to a possible investigation by Maine’s chief legal officer.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization based in Hallowell. It may be reached at The website is

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Residents weigh in on NYPA offshore project

MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County is at a Dickensian crossroads, according to Doug Champ.

As chairman of the annual Chautauqua County Energy Conference, Champ sees opportunity in developing offshore wind power locally.

During the County Legislature's April meeting, Champ asked lawmakers to consider the future - using the phrase "a tale of two counties."

Champ wants local officials to be fully educated about the potential for a local wind power project. The opportunity, he said, is one which can create jobs and development in the county as well as address the nation's energy issues.

The New York Power Authority has identified Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as possible sites for turbines and is expected to name a developer for its Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project in early 2011.

"Offshore wind is coming," Champ said. "If we choose to ignore it and its potential, it will shift somewhere else."

In asking legislators to support the development of wind technology locally, Champ mentioned both the recent coal mine accident in West Virginia and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The impact of those have yet to be found," Champ said. "Undoubtedly they will have tremendous impacts on the environment and they will continue to be a problem associated with fossil fuels."

Champ said he stands willing to educate legislators and the public about the alternative energy source, possibly chairing a committee on the subject.

"I believe this county can step forward and compose itself a plan," Champ said. "If we do not step forward with this kind of promotion for this county to utilize all its resources, we will be a tale of two counties - the one with and the one without. I suggest that you think about its future. Utilize the potential alternative energy and job creation and development that exists."

Champ's comments were followed immediately by an opposing viewpoint, given by Tom Marks, New York Director of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Counsel.

Critical of industrial-sized wind turbines, Marks said the machines are not green and alleged that developers cannot promise delivery of their product.

"They have to be backed up by coal, nuclear, hydro or some other dependable source of energy," Marks said. "Wind is green, but on a smaller scale - if you put it on a house or a building. ... We can have wind energy, but not on the industrial scale."

Marks went on to criticize putting turbines in the Great Lakes and claimed that such turbines will cause property values to drop.

"The Great Lakes is not a place to put wind turbines," Marks said. "These are national treasures. They don't need to be disgraced with wind turbines. Our sunsets, our view - there is an economic and environmental value to that. It encourages tourism. It will represent a tremendous loss of property value and this can be argued and challenged all you want, but believe me, when people have a view of an industrial site behind their house, the value is going to decline. The rest of us in the county will have to pick up that tab because the assessments will drop, so it's going to cost everybody in the county money."

Marks questioned how turbines will benefit local residents, claiming that the state will be the real beneficiary. Additionally, he claimed that the developers hired will likely be foreign companies already familiar with the technology.

"We can't let businesses come in here from overseas with no risk at all, taking our tax dollars to erect these structures," Marks said. "Once the incentives are finished, 10 to 15 years down the road, these businesses won't be able to stand on their own and they'll collapse. What will we do then with those wind turbines out in the lake? We'll foot the bill either to keep them running or tear them down. If they're not profitable, we'll end up tearing them down."

Later in the meeting, the legislature approved a motion opposing such projects.

The motion was initially sponsored by Dunkirk Democrats Shaun Heenan and Keith Ahlstrom as well as George Borrello, R-Irving.

The motion opposes the New York Power Authority developing wind-generating projects in the New York waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The three legislators are calling on local, state and federal elected officials to question NYPA on its proposal.

Committee Debating PILOT Vs. Full Taxation

HAMMOND - If the town decides to opt out of section 487 of New York State's Real Property Law, any company looking to build a windmill farm in Hammond, according to Jane Powers, director of St. Lawrence County Real Property Office, would be required to pay taxing jurisdictions a total of $42,929 for each two- megawatt turbine.

Mrs. Powers was the guest speaker Monday evening, as the wind advisory committee to the Hammond Town Board met at Hammond Central School.

Section 487, Mrs. Powers said, provides exemption from taxation for certain solar or wind energy systems or farm waste energy systems. While section 487's current effective date stands at Jan. 1, 2011, Mrs. Powers said that Governor David Paterson is currently working with NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) to extend the deadline to Jan. 1, 2013.

"If the deadline is not extended," she said, "all turbines would be subject to full taxation."

With the state's goal of producing 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2013, Mrs. Powers said, section 487 allows for taxation exemptions for a period of 15 years. She said she feels the deadline will be extended.

Based on Jan. 2010 town and county tax rates and school tax rates from the current calendar school year (2009-2010), Mrs. Powers made her best estimate as to what opting out of section 487 would mean for the town when it comes to taxation.

By opting out of section 487, Mrs. Powers said, there is no Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement and a wind company would be fully taxed at the current rates for each individual turbine.

Each two-megawatt turbine, she said, was hypothetically assessed at $2 million. Full taxation for such a turbine, Mrs. Powers estimated, would work out to be $42,929, or about $16,000 for St. Lawrence County, $900 for the town, $900 for the Hammond Volunteer Fire Department, $1,200 in chargebacks, nearly $24,000 for Hammond Central School, and another $50 for the Hammond library.

The same two-megawatt turbine, under a PILOT agreement, Mrs. Powers said, would see a wind company responsible for a total of $16,000 in taxation, or approximately $6,000 for the county, $300 for the town of Hammond, $450 in chargebacks, almost $9,000 for HCS, and another $20 for the library.

"There are a lot of players involved," Mrs. Powers said. "Its a balancing act and someone is going to have to negotiate.

"If you want the project," she continued, "you will be asked by the wind company to enter into a PILOT agreement. If you don't want the project...."

Wind advisory committee member Steven Sarfaty asked why the town would want to go with the PILOT option, given the huge discrepancy in tax payments.

Mrs. Powers explained that wind farms are expensive to construct and maintain and that wind companies "would expect taxes to be reduced."

Following Mrs. Powers' presentation, the committee went back to work on its charge of taking a "hard look" at the existing wind ordinance.

"We've been here how many times now, and accomplished nothing," said Leonard Bickelhaupt, committee member. "We've got to pick something - I don't care what - and go with it."

Facilitator David B. Duff asked the committee to identify large areas of concern that all committee members can address for next week's meeting, to be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the Village Hall.

"This committee needs momentum," he said. "A list of major issues must be prioritized."

Three primary concerns were named, including economic viability (to include property value effects), setback distances (to involve noise, shadow, health/safety, wildlife, and visual impacts), and "processing issues" (i.e. complaint resolution, decommissioning, ownership succession, etc.).

The topic of noise will be addressed at next week's meeting.

Committee members now have versions of the law that they can "apply an electronic sticky note" to, addressing areas of concern and issues they may have with certain sections within the law. Mr. Duff suggested committee members start listing resolutions along with their concerns.

Committee members will be making their suggestions as to noise issues via e-mail over the course of the week.

The goal is to end up with one working document containing all committee member's additions.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Noble Environmental Power faces questions over wind turbine collapse

An investigation into a wind turbine that collapsed in New York State last year has found that wiring in the machine may have been “incorrectly” installed.

The state’s largest wind developer, Noble Environmental Power, could now find itself required to gain third-party certification for other turbines it has built in the state to answer questions hanging over its operating practice.

The investigation by New York’s Department of Public Service found that the collapse of one turbine and failure of a second at the 65-turbine Noble Altona Windpark was the result of a wiring system that prevented the turbines from being automatically shut down in the event of a loss of electric power.

The day of the collapse – March 6, 2009 – had seen contractors working on a bank of relays at the site, which may have resulted in the loss of power. Turbine 42 and Turbine 59 did not shut down as expected during the incident.


The New York State Public Service Commission said Noble Environmental had been unable to explain why the “questionable” wiring would have been present in two of its turbines. Therefore, it has asked the wind farm owner if there is any reason why it should require certification of the safety of its other turbines in the state.

Noble Environmental runs 612 megawatts of wind generating capacity in New York State and 216MW in development.

The Commission said the wind farm operator had now introduced a software program that should detect any other instances of bad wiring in its turbines, and that the problem “should not recur”.

But, it said the investigation into the turbine collapse had uncovered “a number of instances where best practices may not have been followed in terms of monitoring operations and where compliance with quality assurance/quality control measures and manufacturer’s recommendations for inspection and maintenance of turbines may not have been fully implemented by Noble”.


Commission Chairman Garry Brown said: “This Commission takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that the electric corporations it
regulates provide safe and reliable electric service.

“As we continue to encourage and promote development of new wind farms in New York State to help us create greater amounts of renewable energy, we must make sure that those installing and operating wind turbines do so properly, and with all necessary safeguards in place.”

Noble Environmental Power has said safety is of “utmost importance” to the company. The firm is currently reviewing the Commission’s ruling.

The Commission said it would be adding a requirement on other wind developers proposing wind farms in the state to secure third-party certification for their turbines.

Collapse of Wind Turbine Investigation Complete; Additional Safety Review Needed

Public Service Commission
Garry A. Brown, Chairman
Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223

Further Details: James Denn | 518.474.7080 10046/10-E-0149


— Collapse of Wind Turbine Investigation Complete; Additional Safety Review Needed —

Albany, NY—05/13/10—The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission), today received a report regarding Department of Public Service staff’s investigation into the collapse of a wind turbine at the Noble Altona Windpark owned by an affiliate of Noble Environmental Power, LLC (Noble). As a result of the investigation, the Commission will order Noble to show cause why it should not be required to demonstrate, through a third-party certification or otherwise, that its wind farms in New York are providing safe wholesale electric service, and that all quality assurance and quality control program measures and manufacturer’s recommendations for inspection and maintenance of turbines, towers and related facilities have
been implemented for the facilities in New York.

“This Commission takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that the electric corporations it regulates provide safe and reliable electric service,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “As we continue to encourage and promote development of new wind farms in New York State to help us create greater amounts of renewable energy, we must make sure that those installing and operating wind turbines do so properly, and with all necessary safeguards in place.”

The Commission’s decision today stems from Staff’s investigation into the collapse of a wind turbine at the 65-unit Noble Altona Windpark in Clinton County on March 6, 2009. The investigation concluded that the physical collapse of one turbine, and the failure of another, was the result of certain wiring being incorrectly installed. The incorrect wiring prevented the turbines from going into an automatic shut-down mode due to loss of electric power, which in fact did occur the day of the collapse when contractors changed settings on a bank of relays.

Noble Environmental Power, LLC, the parent of Noble Altona, has 612 megawatts (MW) of wind projects in operation in New York, and an additional 216 MW under development. The firm is the largest wind energy developer in the state. During the course of staff’s intensive and thorough investigation, the wind farm owner was unable to satisfactorily explain why the questionable wiring would have been present in two of its turbines. The investigation also revealed a number of instances where best practices may not have been followed in terms of monitoring operations and where compliance with quality assurance/quality control measures and manufacturer’s recommendations for inspection and maintenance of turbines may not have been fully implemented by Noble.

On a positive note, as a result of the Altona incident, a diagnostic verification program has been created by the turbine manufacturer to detect the presence of the aberrant turbine wiring that had interfered with the safe mode operation. Thus, this particular problem should not recur.

In addition to specific requirements being imposed on Noble, the Commission will be advising those proposing regulated wind farms of its plan to include a certificate condition requiring such companies to demonstrate, prior to facility operation, through a third-party certification or otherwise, that the emergency control system will safely shut down the wind turbine upon loss of power and that the control system meets manufacturer's specifications for the facility. The Commission also expects to include a certificate condition requiring compliance with manufacturer’s recommendations for inspection and maintenance of turbines, towers and related

The Commission’s decision (and the staff investigation team's report), when issued, may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at and entering Case Number 10-E-0149 in the input box labeled “Search for Case/Matter Number.” Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission orders may also be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

Sunday, May 16, 2010


The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan for the Galloo Island Wind Farm was not supposed to be a model for other wind power projects. Yet that is what's happening in the debate over a zoning law regulating wind power developments in the town of Cape Vincent.

There, the terms of the Galloo Island PILOT plan are being used to estimate possible PILOT payments for BP Alternative Energy's 124-megawatt project in a debate over the town's proposal to regulate noise levels.

It is a consequence of the JCIDA's failure to follow the intent of the Legislature. But county lawmakers are not blameless. They share in the responsibiliy for approving the Galloo Island PILOT for Upstate NY Power Corp. instead of rejecting it until the JCIDA complied with the Legislature's directions.

The JCIDA has insisted all along that the 20-year Galloo Island PILOT presented for later approval by the county Legislature was specific to that project. However, the JCIDA ignored the county's original instructions to come up with a model that would be applied to all wind power projects.

No PILOT has been negotiated for the Cape Vincent project, but the developer's reliance on the Galloo plan to project payments to municipalities is a troubling sign that it will be presumed as the basis for the future talks. The exception is becoming the standard. That shouldn't surprise anyone. Developers will want nothing less than the preferential treatment other projects receive as a matter of fairness.

That would be avoidable if the JCIDA had done what was expected of it. Before it goes any further, the county Legislature must put a halt to the speculation. Where is Kenneth Blankenbush, chairman of the county Legislature? He should immediately lead the board through a discussion of its mistakes. Then the Legislature should rescind the Galloo Island PILOT and replace it with a tax exemption policy that does not grant more than developers are entitled to by law.

‘Windfall’ targets turbines

Wind turbines explode bat lungs, keep residents awake at night and catch on fire.

These are some of the negative effects of implementing wind farms, according to a film featured this weekend at the four-day Talking Pictures Festival. The regional premiere of “Windfall” sold out to about 90 people Friday night at the Hotel Orrington, said Kathy Berger, co-director of the festival. The documentary, which highlights the negative consequences of wind farms, provoked mixed responses from Evanston residents, some of whom are now concerned about the city’s recent proposal for an offshore wind farm.

“Windfall” explored how the prospect of wind farms divided the rural town of Meredith, N.Y. Some residents of Meredith wanted to lease their land to energy companies hoping to construct 400-foot wind turbines in order to make money and reduce the country’s dependence on oil. Other residents were concerned with how far the wind turbines would be placed from their homes because the noise from the turbines would keep them awake at night and cause discomfort.

In one scene, researchers collected bat carcasses surrounding wind turbines to determine how the machines were affecting bat populations. As the film explained, wind turbines lower the air pressure around them, causing bats’ lungs to explode. The film also showed how emergency services are usually powerless to put out a fire on a turbine if it is too tall.

The Meredith planning board eventually concluded the community wasn’t suited for the 40 industrial wind turbines proposed by developers.

After the first showing in Evanston on Friday, the film sparked a heated, two-hour discussion among filmmakers, Evanston residents and residents of DeKalb County, who “packed the room” to warn of the consequences of living near wind farms.

Filmmakers Laura Israel and Autumn Tarleton said Evanston should conduct independent research concerning the effects wind turbines would have on the area.

“A town like Evanston does have the resources to do the studies and ask the questions,” Israel said to the audience after a second film screening Saturday that attracted about 50 more viewers.

Tarleton, the film’s producer, said issues associated with wind farms are mostly site-specific, so the negative effects of the wind turbines shown in the film may not apply to Evanston’s potential offshore facility. However, she cautioned lake life may never be the same in the area.

“Just get second opinions,” Tarleton told a small group after the second screening. “Honestly, it’s worth it.”

Nate Kipnis, co-chair of the Renewable Energy Task Force, a committee of Citizens for a Greener Evanston, said the documentary prompted residents to question the city’s proposed offshore wind facility. He said it was better for residents to voice their concerns now before plans for an offshore wind facility go forward.

Citizens for a Greener Evanston, which proposed offshore wind turbines, asserted an offshore facility would avoid the concerns that hampered the Meredith case regarding the wind turbines’ proximity to homes.

Evanston resident Steve Cejtin said placing a wind farm off Evanston’s shore would be inappropriate.

He said people “think wind towers are sexy,” but residents should instead be concerned with reducing their own energy consumption and implementing green energy on a small scale. For example, he uses solar panels to partially power his home, he said.

Evanston resident Jane Sisco said she’d like to know more about wind turbine issues because of concerns raised by the film. She said the film gave her a better idea of the negative consequences of wind farms.

“I feel totally different than when I came in,” Sisco said.

Berger said the film festival didn’t target the wind farm issue intentionally.

“We were blown away that people came from so far to share their stories,” she said. “At times it was heated, but it was very important.”

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Orleans a step ahead of Clayton in evaluating wind turbines

The more I read and learn about wind farms, the more convinced I am that they are not usually covered by the media as honestly as Watertown Daily Times reporter Nancy Madsen has done, and the more I attend public meetings in the town of Clayton as well as the town of Orleans, the more respect I have for the supervisors involved.

I tip my hat to our Clayton group, but it must be added in all honesty, that Orleans is two steps ahead of us. Where Clayton has commendably stressed the health and safety aspects of turbines, they have ignored and rejected their own appointed committee resolutions and the town of Orleans not only follows those same resolutions, they have formed an active, experienced economic committee. This, to my knowledge, Clayton has yet to consider, much less to instigate or call for public hearings.

I have some experience with monitoring courtroom procedures, and have often listened as attorneys slowly and carefully build their cases. Observing the unwinding of the mind of a good attorney is rewarding, as the attorney patiently builds to a sudden convincing conclusion.

I attended the Orleans wind economics committee meeting on May 6 in LaFargeville. I watched and listened carefully as committee member Wendell C. Walldroff with that same legal intensity, confidently, quietly and courteously defined a model equation which proved that turbines are potential economic disasters, using his mathematics-based universal model, which fits one or 500 turbines, any size.

One fits all. I have to say that Mr. Walldroff is not an attorney, but he sure thinks like one. A good one. What a pleasure to witness a working committee so well conceived and so expertly conducted. OK, Orleans, you're ahead of us.

Nancy J. Murphy

First Wind fixes filings on its VP

AUGUSTA, Maine — First Wind officials have corrected filings with federal regulators to clarify that vice president Kurt Adams did not receive a form of “equity” with the company until after stepping down as head of Maine’s Public Utilities Commission.

In an earlier filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, First Wind had indicated that Adams received approximately 1.2 million units of “long-term equity” on April 16, 2008. While not stocks, the equity units are considered a part of his compensation package with the wind power developer.

But it wasn’t until a month later that Adams left the PUC to join First Wind as a senior vice president. That filing prompted questions about whether Adams had a conflict of interest while serving on the commission, which regulates power producers.

On Friday, First Wind filed an amended form with the SEC correcting the dates.

While Adams signed an employment agreement with the company in April 2008, the equity or “restricted units” have no value — or do not become “vested” — until one year after an employee begins working for First Wind. So that vesting period did not begin for Adams until he officially joined the company on May 19, 2008.

“Neither First Wind nor Mr. Adams intended for the vesting period to begin any earlier,” said First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne. “So what we did was basically correct that erroneous grant date.”

Adams also had recused himself from PUC discussion and decisions involving First Wind for several months before signing on with the company.

It was unclear Friday whether the clerical fix would mollify groups that have questioned the relationship between Adams and First Wind.

Boston-based First Wind operates commercial wind power facilities in Maine at Mars Hill and Stetson Mountain and is developing two more large projects near the towns of Lincoln and Oakfield.

Adams’ relationship with First Wind while he was chairman of the PUC has drawn the scrutiny of some media outlets and critics of Maine’s push to become a major producer of wind power.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization, first raised questions about the timing of Adams’ compensation package in a report published last month.

Members of the group Citizens’ Task Force on Wind Power, which is strongly critical of the wind power industry in Maine and elsewhere, have since asked Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to investigate whether Adams broke any laws.

Kate Simmons, spokeswoman for the attorney general, had no comment on the matter on Friday.

“We can neither confirm nor deny that there is an investigation,” Simmons said.

In a statement, First Wind said the company reviewed the process leading up to Adams’ hiring.

“We take these matters seriously and have every confidence that First Wind and Mr. Adams acted legally and properly,” the statement read.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Code of ethics is gone with the wind

Despite the fast-tracking of an industrial wind turbine facility that would allow noise levels in the quiet countryside of Orangeville to become intolerable (as quoted from state Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines on noise), and the questionable methods used by the Town Board of Orangeville in passing zoning laws that allowed industrial wind turbines to be placed at unsafe distances from Orangeville taxpayers' homes, a Buffalo judge dismissed the Article 78 (lawsuit) brought by the concerned citizens rural preservation group Clear Skies Over Orangeville against the Town Board of Orangeville. The suit was brought against the Town Board not the corporation Invenergy.

When politicians in authority disregard the health, safety and welfare of the people who live and pay taxes in Orangeville, the people who they swore to protect, the only recourse is to address this issue in a court of law.

At the Supreme Court hearing held in Buffalo on March 31, Judge (Patrick) NeMoyer stated, that he believes that all these Orangeville town officials made mistakes, and did not deliberately mislead the people of Orangeville. This statement made in regard to Town Council members signing contracts with wind corporations that would benefit them personally as they would make more money, the more turbines they sited in Orangeville. This corporation depended on their help in facilitating the zoning laws to maximize profit for both the company and individual town municipal officials, at the expense of the neighbors who would have to live in a noisy industrial turbine power complex. These mistakes in signing the contracts began in 2007 and were kept under wraps until recently, apparently by mistake.

One councilman signed a contract with Invenergy, one with Invenergy Sheldon, another sold their real estate to Noble Wind for a switchyard that would hook up to the Invenergy project, and one who swore in an affidavit that he has no financial interest in his Orangeville Planning Board father's dairy farm. The town councilman (who swore no financial interest in the family farm) and his brother work for their father's dairy farm and the brother who lives with the father, recently bought a farm formerly leased by them with a turbine contract on it. A farm check was presented to the judge with both brothers' and parents' names on it, used to do business from the farm account. The Invenergy code of conduct which they signed with the Sate Attorney General includes siblings as conflicts of interest if living at home and this was failed to be disclosed. The municipal code of ethics also states that town officials should avoid any semblance of impropriety.

Town Supervisor Susan May stated in a Batavia Daily News article, "Orangeville lawsuit dismissed" (April 22) that "NeMoyer (the Buffalo Judge) found the Town Board acted responsibly and justly in passing the zoning ordinance, and rejected the assertion any of the voting town councilmen had conflicts of interest." She went on to say that she was "very confident that the legal process would prove that we acted properly and ethically."

Ms. May also stated that this lawsuit was "frivolous" and a waste of the taxpayers' money. Wait a minute ... are the 194 people of Orangeville who were mentioned in Invenergy's Draft Environmental Statement as may be negatively impacted (Invenergy's own words) by noise and shadow flicker taxpayers?

Don't they have the right to stand up and defend their health, safety, welfare and quality of life? Since this proposed high-voltage industrial wind power facility may harm our health, safety and financial investments in our homes and negatively impact (as admitted to in the DEIS by the wind corporation) the peaceful environment, wildlife, streams, forests and wetlands of Orangeville, don't we have the right to stand up and defend this also? Do we not also have a right to stand up for what is right, spending our own money again after paying taxes also to try to fix a flawed legal system? What would you do if this was your home?

To help make Clear Skies Over Orangeville's point about the lobbyist corporations getting involved in local government, Invenergy showed up in court, brought their corporate lawyers along, who joined the suit as an interested party. Invenergy is also paying the bill for the "so-called" independent engineering firm Wendel Duchscherer, and also the environmental lawyer the Town Board brought in. Before being accepted as a party in the lawsuit, Invenergy lawyers even signed the town's legal papers! Invenergy also employed this same "independent" engineering firm to create a study for Sheldon's DEIS three years ago. By the way, on closer examination, the Sheldon DEIS and the Orangeville DEIS (three years later) appear to many agencies as well as to many of us Orangeville residents to be a carbon copy study, cut and pasted, almost an identical twin. The problem? Sheldon is not Orangeville's twin, and companies doing environmental studies should be independent and not picked by town officials with financial ties to corporations who are hiring and paying these same "independent engineers." Who are these town officials pledging their allegiance to?

Don't we as taxpaying Americans have the right anymore to stand up for a grave miscarriage of justice that directly harms us? If politicians are compensated, and defended by multimillion-dollar foreign investors, and our laws are allowed to be influenced by these big financial interests, aren't we standing by and letting socialism take over our government?

Has America been bought out by Big Wind? And isn't it time that American citizens say enough to corporate welfare at the expense of the ethics of our local, state and federal governments?

Cathi Orr

Wind farm mishap draws regulators

ALBANY -- After a fiery collapse of a wind power turbine in Clinton County last year, the state wants outside safety inspections before new wind farms can power up.

The decision Thursday by the state Public Service Commission affects wind turbines owned by Nobel Environmental Power, owner of the turbine that failed, as well as future wind farms proposed by any developer, commission spokesman James Denn said.

He likened the requirement to having a garage inspect and certify an automobile's safety before the vehicle can be allowed on the highway.

"We must make sure that those installing and operating wind turbines do so properly, and with all necessary safeguards in place," said Garry Brown, the commission chairman.

The March 2009 mishap at the 65-unit Noble Altona Windpark Noble was the first collapse of a wind turbine in the state.

"Such a requirement seems fine, as long as the state plans on doing it with other generation, like coal or gas plants, or say, off-shore oil rigs," said Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, an Albany-based advocacy group for alternative renewable energy.

There are more than 800 wind turbines operating in the state, she added, and "as a whole, the industry have a very good track record."

A year-long investigation by the commission found faulty wiring installed in two Nobel towers, which had been running for about two months. The park produces electricity to serve about 32,500 homes.

The defect kept turbine blades from halting during high winds, according to the report. Unrestrained, the blades on one tower spun three times faster than designed before becoming loose and striking the tower, which collapsed and caught fire.

"We have not yet seen the commission's order or the report; consequently, at this stage, we cannot comment further," Nobel spokeswoman Maggy Wisniewski said.

Denn said Noble has 30 days to comply or explain why it should not have to.

After the incident, turbine maker General Electric created a diagnostic verification program to detect faulty wiring. That test found no other problems at the Altona farm; it will have to be run at the other 400 turbines that the company has in the state, Denn said.

Noble also operates wind parks in Bellmont, Franklin County; Chateaugay, Franklin County; and Clinton and Ellenburg, Clinton County as well as in seven other states. The company is privately owned and based in Essex, Conn.

First Wind warns of possible loan default

First Wind Holdings LLC, which has developed wind farms in Hawaii, Maine and New York, is in the throes of a credit squeeze.

First Wind has plans for an initial public offering. But raising capital in the public market might be a tough go. The debt crisis in Greece has reignited credit concerns worldwide.

In its latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the Boston-based company reiterated it could default on an $80 million loan due next month. First Wind currently is negotiating with a consortium of banks to receive $240 million in financing that would pay off a turbine loan that matures June 30.

First Wind said it has signed a commitment letter for $240 million in financing, but the deal has not been finalized.

“However, there can be no assurance that this financing will close,” First Wind said in a Friday SEC filing. “If the company is unable to repay or further extend the maturity of the $79.9 million non-recourse turbine supply loan, it would be in default of this loan, and the lender could accelerate the remaining balance of $53.1 million due in 2011.”

The company was not immediately available for further comment.

Meanwhile, First Wind is exploring a number of options to restructure a debt load that was approaching $500 million at the end of March. The long-term portion of its debt was $390.5 million at the end of the first quarter. The current portion was $103.7 million, according to the company’s latest financial statements.

Other options for First Wind include a private placement sale of equity and extending the maturities of its debt.

In the SEC filing, First Wind again cautioned that raising additional capital and generating sufficient cash flow from operations are essential to its financial health.

If unable to do those two things, First Wind said it could be in default of its lending agreements and could be required to delay development and construction of its wind energy projects.

Furthermore, it could be forced to reduce the scope of its projects or abandon or sell some or all of its development projects.

“... All of which could adversely affect the company’s business, financial position and results of operations,” First Wind said in the filing.

First Wind’s projects come with heavy up-front capital costs. In the first quarter, the company’s net loss more than doubled to $10.6 million, compared with a net loss of $3.5 million in the year-ago period.

The company also continues to operate with a working capital deficit. In the first quarter, for example, First Wind reported total current assets of $135 million, compared with current liabilities of $181 million.

Over the past 18 months, though, First Wind has proved adept at accessing capital. Since the beginning of 2009, the company said it has refinanced, raised or received about $2 billion for First Wind and its projects.

The company’s investors include Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Capital Partners and hedge fund heavyweight D.E. Shaw.

The credit crisis and recession, however, have curbed capital raising, even for the stars of the industry.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that it took Madison Dearborn 28 months to close its latest fund. The fund closed on $4.1 billion, but that was way off its target of $10 billion that was set before the credit crisis, the Wall Street Journal said.

Limited partners, such as big public pension funds, are still licking their wounds from steep declines in the stock market.

New addition to the First Wind SEC S1A IPO filing

New addition to the First Wind SEC S1A IPO filing.

Wind Turbine Blade Damage

The Wind turbines in our area (DeKalb, Illinois) were only operational since December. The blades require a 300 foot crane to lift them…they weigh 122,000 pounds each. They are attached via the hub assembly in the middle and all 3 blades go up and are affixed to the nacelle at the hub all at once. There are a limited supply of 300 foot cranes in the US….the last one left here 2 weeks ago….It will take 6 months to get it back here and when it does the 3 trucks and tractor trailer rigs carrying it will once again tear up the roads…

These blades are notorious for breaking down….these are only 5 months up and already starting to break. With that kind of record, and the wasteful transportation, diesel, tear up of asphalt over and over again during the lifespan of these things, you gotta ask yourself ….how green can they be????? The turbines USE electricity from the grid to power them up and down, and brake them. They have gallons of oil and hydraulic fluid stored in the towers for lubricating the gears. During the winter the oil has to be heated , using electricity from the grid…NOT from the wind turbine itself. Then, the oil leaks all over down the tower…..lovely…and a permanent poison on the ground below…

Altona turbine collapse report and new requirements

The Public Service Department's investigation of the collapse of a wind turbine on March 6, 2009, in Altona Wind Farm is complete. The report and subsequent orders are available.

The Public Service Commission will require Altona's operator, Noble Environmental Power LLC, to show cause that the wind farms it operates are safe.

The investigation concluded that the collapse of a turbine and failure of a second at the 65-turbine Altona project were the result of incorrect wire installation. That prevented the turbines from going into an automatic shut-down mode due to loss of electric power. One turbine collapsed while another was damaged.

The commission will add certification for all wind farms it permits that the turbines that lose power will automatically shut down as they are supposed to. The commission gives Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity to all projects over 80 megawatts. In Jefferson County, that would include three of the four proposed projects - Acciona's St. Lawrence Wind Farm now sits at 79.5 megawatts. The included wind farms also must have certification that they are maintained properly.

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First Wind Holdings Inc. IPO public offering

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

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

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

May 14, 2010 addition to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

August 18, 2010 amendment 7 to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

October 13, 2010 Filing update to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

New October 25, 2010 Filing update to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

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