Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wind Turbines & “Green” Subsidies Under Fire

Despite billions in taxpayer subsidies pumped into the so-called “green-energy” industry, almost 15,000 windmills — maybe more — have been left to rot across America. And while the turbines have been abandoned over a period of decades, the growing amount of “green junk” littering the American landscape is back in the headlines again this week.

Across the country, subsidized wind farms are meeting increasing resistance — and not just from taxpayers and electricity consumers forced to foot the bill. "If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place?” wondered Heritage Foundation policy analyst Ben Lieberman, who deals with energy and environmental issues. “It's a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end."

It turns out that wind power is expensive and inefficient even in the best wind-farm locations in the world. And regular power plants always need to be on standby in case there is no wind, not enough wind, or even too much of it — a fairly regular occurrence.

That is why, when the tax subsidies run out, the towering metallic structures are often simply abandoned. In their wake: a scarred landscape and dead wildlife — the very same ills offered as justifications by administration officials for preventing oil exploration.

“Wind isn't the most important thing about wind turbines. It is all about the tax subsidies. The blades churn until the money runs out,” noted Charleston Daily Mail columnist Don Surber last week. “If an honest history is written about the turn of the 21st century, it will include a large, harsh chapter on how fears about global warming were overplayed for profit by corporations.”

Even environmentalists are jumping on the anti-wind power bandwagon. In California, where state mandates and subsidies have led to a boom in subsidized “green” energy projects, a San Francisco-based company just announced last week that it was halting plans to build a new wind farm. The scheme was shelved over concerns about the danger it would pose to birds.

The press is starting to ask questions, too. “As Beaufort County [North Carolina] considers the proposal of Pantego Wind Energy, LLC's to build 49 1.6MW wind turbines on 11,000 acres of land, it may be of interest to some that the trend in the industry is to abandon such projects once the tax credits expire,” noted the Beaufort Observer on November 19. The editorial urged county commissioners to attend a seminar exposing the “Big Wind” industry hosted by the John Locke Foundation next month.

Around the world, concern about wind turbines is growing as well. In the UK, the Daily Express reported on November 28 that government ministers were being urged to abandon the race to build wind farms because they can cause “life-threatening” illnesses.

“The health impacts of wind farms are serious. I have no doubt that many people have suffered serious adverse effects,” said Dr. Chris Hanning, an expert in sleep medicine. “The Japanese government implemented a four-year program of research into the health effects of wind turbine noise. Pressure should be placed on the UK governments to do likewise.”

And in Australia, conservation supporters are battling to stop the wind farms, too. Activists in the nation’s southwest rejoiced over the announcement this week that one windmill project in the area was being shelved. But there are still many battles to fight. “It really is one of the most important breeding areas, but wind turbines just don’t mix with birds unfortunately. We’ve got to keep fighting to keep the brolga,” Susan Dennis, a longtime defender of that breed of bird, told The Standard. “I don’t accept that their endangered population is acceptable collateral damage for green energy.”

Of course, dead birds, health problems, and massive wealth destruction are not the only reasons to stop subsidizing wind farms. Other environmental concerns exist, too.

“There are many hidden truths about the world of wind turbines from the pollution and environmental damage caused in China by manufacturing bird choppers,” noted environmental blogger Tory Aardvark in a recent post about wind farms, also citing the dangerous noise produced by turbines. He added,

The symbol of Green renewable energy, our savior from the non existent problem of "Global Warming," abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.

He called the more than 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in theas U.S. symbols of a “dying Climate Religion.”

In recent days, a wave of articles and opinion pieces highlighting the wastefulness and destructiveness of wind farms swept the worldwide web. But with so much tax money at stake for the green-power industry, which lobbies intensely for ever more money, it will be hard to end the subsidies which generated the bogus “industry” in the first place.

The Solyndra debacle, however, has created what analysts called a serious public-relations problem for subsidized “green-energy” producers of all stripes. And then there is “Climategate2.0.” The scandal, surrounding a second batch of embarrassing e-mails from “climate scientists” leaked last week, has dealt another serious blow to the foundation of it all — United Nations-backed global-warming alarmism.

“This whole wind energy mess just further illustrates how the American people have been played by their elected officials who bought into the ‘global warming’ hysteria that spawned the push for wind energy in the first place,” wrote Jonathan Benson for a piece in Natural News dealing with the abandoned wind turbines. “And now that the renewable energy tax subsidies are gradually coming to an end in some places, the true financial and economic viability, or lack of wind energy, is on display for the world to see.”

Analysts have said that if and when tax subsidies to wind power and other green-energy schemes are finally cut, the whole house of cards will come crashing down almost instantly. But then a new question arises: Who will clean up the mess?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How going green goes against the environment

Going green has nasty un-environmental consequences that rank-and-file greenies either don't know or don't care about.

For example, those multi-acre wind farms not only kill millions of birds while delivering a mere fraction of the electricity compared to nearly every other power source but 420 of them in Pennsylvania killed 10,000 bats last year.

Bats, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, eat millions of crop-destroying insects. Fewer bats ("nature's pesticides") mean more bugs, causing farmers to spend more on chemical pesticides, raising food prices for everyone.

Bats also eat millions of mosquitoes, many of which may carry West Nile virus and other diseases deadly to humans.

The result: Everyone loses except Obama's taxpayer-subsidized "green jobs" cronies.

Meanwhile, localities nationwide are banning both paper and plastic bags, forcing grocery shoppers to switch to those reusable cloth bags.

Galloo wind developer files termination of purchase memorandum

Galloo Island Wind Farm developer Upstate NY Power Corp. filed a termination of its memorandum of option to purchase Galloo Island from Galloo Island Corp. on Wednesday morning.

The termination has no bearing on whether the project is viable, Upstate NY Power representative Robert W. Burgdorf said in an email Monday. He said the paperwork was filed as some of the terms of the agreement are changing. It will be replaced by a new memorandum reflecting the new terms.

The original memorandum of option was signed in October 2007 by Galloo Island Corp. and Watertown Development of New York LLC, which assigned its portion to Upstate NY Power Corp. in December 2007.

Mr. Burgdorf said the company is focused on finding guaranteed money to make an underwater transmission line a reality.

Read the entire article

Sunday, November 20, 2011

EU governments did not do their homework on wind energy

It now appears that wind farms may have no benefits at all

According to the European Platform Against Wind Farms (EPAW), which represents over 500 associations from 23 countries, the National Renewable Energy Action Plans adopted by EU States in June 2010 have failed to answer two essential questions: how much will be saved in greenhouse gas emissions by the EU target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and how much will it cost Society to implement this policy (1). The Platform argues that it is a violation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's Aarhus Convention on Human and Environmental Rights, which is a mandatory part of EU law. (2)

From a political point of view, remarks EPAW, it is nothing short of irresponsible that billions upon billions of euros of public money would be spent on “green investments” without first conducting feasibility studies showing the expected results in terms of CO2 saved. “After all”, says its CEO Mark Duchamp, "using less fossil fuels is the whole purpose of this pharaonic investment which, on the negative side, destroys 2 - 5 jobs for everyone it creates (3), stalls the recovery of the EU economy, threatens the existence of the euro, destroys the tourism potential of countless natural and cultural assets, causes losses in property value in the billions of euros, affects the health of wind farm neighbours (noise + infrasounds), is driving many species of birds and bats to extinction, etc."

What is happening now, according to EPAW, is that the public is slowly awakening to the fact that wind farms may not be saving anything at all in terms of fossil fuels burnt and CO2 emitted. That's mainly because the wind farms' erratic production force fossil-fuel power plants, which are needed to back them up when wind is not optimal, to spend much more fuel working in stop-and-go mode - much like a car in city traffic as opposed to highway. "As a matter of fact", recalls Duchamp, "in 2010 the Spanish government paid a little over 1 billion euros to these plants, to compensate them for the impact of wind and solar on their operation."

The Platform draws attention to "the Bentek report" (4), which shows that wind farms, when increased emissions from back-up plants are considered, save much less CO2 and other gasses than what is claimed by the wind industry, governments, and green activists. Says Mark: "if you deduct from this much smaller quantity of savings the additional emissions caused by fossil fuels burnt to manufacture, transport, install, and maintain wind turbines and their power lines; if you consider that these come on top of fossil fuels burnt to build gas-fired or coal-fired power plants to regulate and back up the erratic and unreliable production of wind energy; if you deduct the CO2 released into the atmosphere by the oxidisation of peat in countries like the UK or Ireland; if you also deduct lost CO2 savings resulting from the vast quantities of natural carbon sinks (peat, forests, vegetation in general) that are being destroyed by the large footprint of wind farms; if you deduct the transmission loss of electricity produced far away from where it is consumed (about 9%); if you deduct all this from the meager savings evidenced by the Bentek study, then it is quite possible that the overall savings in CO2 and other gasses may in fact be negative - i.e. wind farms would cause overall use of fossil fuels, and CO2 emissions, to increase by a few percentage points. Indeed, a European study by Dr Udo concludes on this possibility (5)."

It is noteworthy, stresses EPAW, that the massive build-up of wind farms in countries like Denmark or Germany has not caused any measurable reduction in CO2 emissions or use of fossil fuels. In Europe, the Irish grid operator EIRGRID shows on its website real data on wind energy production and CO2 emissions, from which similar observations may be drawn. Dr Fred Udo, a distinguished engineer from CERN in Geneva, now retired, did a study based on Eirgrid data. His conclusions put in doubt the very usefulness of wind energy (5).

The North American Platform Against Windpower (NA-PAW) coincides. "In North America" comments her CEO, Sherri Lange, "studies on the efficacy of wind energy are notoriously absent from policy documents on that form of energy. As in other matters, our governments blindly follow influential lobbies, in this case Green Activism and Big Wind. This is not a proper way to determine policy."

Dutch fall out of love with windmills

When the Netherlands built its first sea-based wind turbines in 2006, they were seen as symbols of a greener future.

Towering over the waves of the North Sea like an army of giants, blades whipping through the wind, the turbines were the country's best hope to curb carbon emissions and meet growing demand for electricity.

The 36 turbines -- each one the height of a 30-storey building -- produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 households each year.

But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour -- some 4.5 billion euros last year.

The government now plans to transfer the financial burden to households and industrial consumers in order to secure the funds for wind power and try to attract private sector investment.

It will start billing consumers and companies in January 2013 and simultaneously launch a system under which investors will be able to apply to participate in renewable energy projects.

But the new billing system will reap only a third of what was previously available to the industry in subsidies -- the government forecasts 1.5 billion euros every year -- while the pricing scale of the investment plan makes it more likely that interested parties will choose less expensive technologies than wind.

The outlook for Dutch wind projects seems bleak.


For centuries, the Netherlands has harnessed wind power, using windmills to drain water from low-lying marsh and turn it into arable land.

Now however, one of the most densely populated countries in Europe -- with 489 people per square kilometer (0.6 miles) compared to 356 in Belgium or 192 in Luxembourg -- is falling out of love with its iconic technology.

Arguments over the high cost and maintenance of sea-based turbines, as well as complaints from residents about unsightly land-based models, have brought the Dutch to an impasse.

Offshore wind farms produce more electricity than onshore ones but it costs twice as much as onshore wind power due to the higher cost of materials, more expensive drilling methods, and more complex maintenance.

Wind turbines in the sea need to be more robust to withstand strong winds and salt water; their maintenance some miles away from the coast requires special equipment and transportation.

Drilling the seabed is more expensive as it requires a specialized workforce and equipment. Then there's the additional cost of connecting the offshore farms to the grid.

Onshore, wind turbines face local resistance.

In 1994, a group of entrepreneurial farmers around the Dutch town of Urk got together and decided to build the country's largest onshore wind farm with 86 wind turbines nearby. Maxime Verhagen, then minister for economy, innovation and agriculture, said this would be enough to supply 900,000 people.

The project has since been adapted to meet changes in legislation and 20 years after it was launched, construction may finally start this year and be completed in 2014. The only thing holding up the project now is a lawsuit filed by local residents. They say the 30-meter-high wind turbines will spoil their views.

"If we have wind turbines here this old picture will be destroyed," said the mayor, Jaap Kroon. "We are also concerned about the safety and noise."

Ironically Urk itself used to be an island until windmills were used to drain the surrounding land and connect it to the mainland. The Dutch Wind Energy Association says about half the country's onshore wind projects such as the one in Urk are disputed.

"People don't want big wind turbines in their backyards," said Kasper Wallet, an energy consultant. "They think it will impact the value of their property."


Renewable energy meets just four percent of the Netherlands' total energy consumption. That makes the country's target for its share to rise 14 percent by 2020 challenging enough.

"We have come to the conclusion that the most likely targets with the current policy to be reached will be in the range of 8 to 12 percent," said Paul van den Oosterkamp, manager of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN), an independent institute for renewable energy.

Under the government's new system aimed at attracting private sector involvement, known as SDE+, investors will be able to apply in four phases to participate in renewable energy projects, with government subsidies set between 9 and 15 cents per kilowatt hour of produced electricity they produce.

A spokeswoman for the ministry of economic affairs, agriculture and innovation said this would not cover the current subsidy cost of offshore wind projects.

"Some technologies like offshore wind, tidal and wave energy and solar are on average more expensive than the SDE+ maximum cost price," said Esther Benschop in an email to Reuters.

Dutch power firms say wind remains key to meeting green energy targets but is still too expensive for them to manage alone.

Dutch grid operator TenneT, which became a major player in German electricity transmission after it bought E.ON's high-voltage grid, has complained about the cost of connecting offshore wind farms to the national grid because of the expensive materials, particularly cables, involved.

It currently has nine projects in Germany involving wind farms where it has run into financing difficulties and is seeking a stakeholder.

Nico Bolleman -- managing director of Netherlands-based Blue Technologies, a company which develops platforms for offshore wind turbines -- says fairer comparisons need to be made when calculating the cost of wind power.

"Even if you take everything into account, wind energy is not expensive. Take into account the hidden costs of fossil fuels. For example, transport of coal generates more carbon dioxide emissions and no-one calculates that into the electricity price."

Others insist the negative impact will be short-term.

"The new subsidy scheme is not supportive, (but) offshore wind is a long-term game," said Greven Hein, spokesman for Dutch utilities firm Eneco, recently given subsidies to build a 129 megawatt offshore wind farm.

"In a couple of years it will be back on the agenda."

Bowers wind project mix of bad motives

The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, in assessing the proposed Bowers Mountain Wind Project put forth by First Wind, recently arrived at the sensible conclusion to deny the application. At question was whether proposed 400-foot ridgetop wind towers with 60-foot rotating blades and 24/7 red strobe lights could have been seen from some of Maine’s most majestic lakes.

Surprisingly, the undeniable impact on the view was once in question by a state that has long since banned 40-foot-high freeway billboards but endured First Wind falsehoods that towers 10 times higher would have no impact. Neil Kiely, First Wind representative, told a Maine news station with a straight face that “Most folks find that [wind turbines] are either attractive or fade into the distance.”

President Obama has greased the skids for green power, funneling no-interest loans and stimulus funds to green energy companies such as Solyndra while instituting a hidden tax on utility consumers by requiring that their power usage increasingly come from green sources.

This energy is green in name only — energy derived from wind is far more inefficient and costly than First Wind and friends would have you believe. But energy and global warming have morphed into election issues.

Despite approval ratings at an abysmal 36 percent, the president still recycles the same energy rhetoric to galvanize his political base.

Obama recently spoke about the evils of traditional energy sources at the institution where I work, energizing the same volatile and naive university students who have become core support for his reelection bid.

In an Oct. 14 BDN OpEd, Tim Gardner and Jay Haynes wrote, “Wind power helps save Down East way of life.” This is not true. We have exported employment in the paper, furniture and textile industries once operating in central and northern Maine because of the heavy hand of Obama-style liberal politics that puts a premium on corporate regulation and stifling taxes on blue-collar companies. This leads to job export to developing countries.

The First Wind development that the Gardner-Haynes OpEd supports, which is funded by lavish grants and stimulus funds courtesy of the Obama administration, creates a miniscule number of permanent jobs while extending our tax burden and national debt.

Gardner and Haynes state that in supporting industrial wind power, Mainers “would like to have an additional revenue stream to offset the cost of taxes on their lands.” Gardner’s and Haynes’ companies already have this revenue stream; it’s the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law and it requires landowners receiving this break to permit the public on their land in exchange for reduced property taxes.

Why does Lakeville Shores want the Bowers wind project to be approved? Because it owns the same mountainsides that First Wind wants to develop. For Lakeville Shores, that’s a double dip. They remove 100-year-old trees off scenic Maine ridgetops and then lease their land to First Wind at rates subsidized by Obama stimulus funds.

Conservation groups such as Maine Audubon stand next to clear-cutters such as Lakeville Shores and extol the virtues of mountaintop wind development because they both get financial incentives from First Wind.

The most glaring and blatant omission from the Gardner-Haynes OpEd is the fact that public comments to LURC were overwhelmingly against the proposed Bowers project. This opposition speaks to the soul of Maine because only the opponents are trying to preserve a priceless view.

This overwhelming opposition to the Bowers project served notice to LURC that the vast majority of interested parties do not want to sacrifice first-class views for a disastrously so-called green development project that would have used your tax dollars and required thousands of tons of explosives, fossil fuels and mountaintop blasting to complete.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wind Farm Follies

So much for the argument that renewables don’t compromise our national security the way fossil fuels do – but try telling an environmentalist as much. While it was first reported more than a year ago that wind farms were interfering with military radar, making airplanes disappear from sight on screens and cluttering those same screens with the blade-rotation changes of turbine blades, not much was said on the matter until this month, when the Department of Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) proudly unveiled the Renewable Energy and Defense Database. The REDD is an interactive tool that allows renewable-energy developers to locate military installations with a view toward avoiding them in deciding where to construct future projects.

According to a Nov. 9 DoD press release, the “labor-intensive, very time-consuming project” was primarily an effort of the NRDC and didn’t cost the federal government a dime. Unfortunately, this assessment fails to take into account the hefty national security toll wind farms have already taken – and will likely continue to take unless the current premium placed on “green” energy isn’t removed.

As of 2008, wind turbines had compromised almost 40 percent of U.S. long-range radar systems (h/t Here’s just one example of how: In 2007, two wind-farm projects slated for the area near Travis Air Force Base in northern California came before the county planning commission. The base and a county airport land-use body sought to have the projects delayed until turbines’ effects on radars could be further studied. But when, the following year, a project supporter donated $1 million to the base, Col. Steven Arquiette, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, “was told by his superiors to accept the money and withdraw his complaints,”according to blogger Lisa Linowes, despite the fact that nothing about the plans had changed substantially.

Now pilots coming in to Travis are urged to turn on their aircraft’s transponders as a way of announcing their presence, since they still cannot be seen on radar. This poses a sizeable security threat given that it could easily be emulated by terrorists – and has been. As Linowes notes, among the first actions the Sept. 11 perpetrators did was turn off the transponders of the planes they hijacked.

Wind farms have also dramatically slowed the Federal Aviation Administration’s review time for project proposals. While it once took a month for construction of a project to be approved or be declared hazardous, now similar projects stand to wait up to three times that long.

We need look no further than the European Union’s disastrous “20/20/20” energy policy for a crystal-ball glance into what our future could be like should we continue down this reckless “green” path. The EU plan seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990’s levels. Not only is it likely to cost the union up to $250 billion a year, it has forced the EU to rely on gas from Russia because gas is less polluting than coal. Here’s what Russia’s been up to lately, in case anyone thought it had turned some sort of trustworthy corner: After refusing to support new sanctions against Iran, it hosted an Iranian security-council official for talks about Iran’s nuclear program. Nice.

Hope in wind as a replacement for proven, reliable, abundant and, most importantly domestic, fuels is the energy equivalent of trying to ram a square peg into a round hole.

Friday, November 18, 2011

First Wind wants to pull Bowers Mountain wind project — for now

LINCOLN, Maine — Saying it needs more time to answer critics, a Massachusetts-based wind company wants to withdraw its application for a permit to build a 27-turbine wind farm northwest of Grand Lake Stream on the Penobscot and Washington county line, it said Wednesday.

The Land Use Regulation Commission will review First Wind’s withdrawal application next month, said Matt Kearns, the company’s vice president of development in the northeastern U.S.

Nobody knows whether the withdrawal will be permanent, he said.

“We have to figure that out. We are very open to discussions with stakeholders,” Kearns said Wednesday. “We are going to take a look at the project. What we heard from the commission is that the project met 99 out of 100 siting criteria and the one they had issue with was the scenic criteria, which were difficult to evaluate.”

Commissioners directed staff during a meeting last month to write an order denying First Wind’s application because of the project’s potential for “unreasonable adverse impacts on scenic resources” in the area.

The commission is expected to review the order and First Wind’s request to withdraw the permit application at a meeting scheduled for Dec. 7 at the Waterfront Event Center on Prince Street in Lincoln, according to the commission’s website at

Catherine Carroll, LURC’s staff director, has said the project met the commission’s other criteria for approval of wind energy projects. But Carroll pointed out that it takes only one failed criterion to reject a project.

Kearns would not comment on whether the withdrawal was being sought to forestall a commission rejection or what that would mean to the project. Carroll did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Wednesday.

The Bowers Mountain project was to include 19 turbines built in Carroll Plantation and eight in Kossuth Township. The turbines — standing up to 428 feet tall from base to blade tip — could generate up to 69 megawatts of energy if operating at maximum capacity, company officials said.

The facility would be built on commercial timberland and would use existing access roads, although additional road construction would be required.

Project critics said the site is inappropriate for industrial wind development, would ruin land values and views, threaten wildlife and harm businesses that use the woods such as woodland guides.

Proponents say it would generate vast amounts of short-term investment and many short-term jobs in a region that needs it while producing pollution-free electricity. Kearns said Wednesday that the project, if built, would reduce Carroll Plantation property taxes by as much as 80 percent.

“We want to address the issues that have been raised. We feel we ought to be given a chance to do that,” Kearns said.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's official: Stout elected Orangeville supervisor

ORANGEVILLE — Gerald Stout has been elected town supervisor, according to the Wyoming County Board of Elections.

Final results released Wednesday show Stout defeated incumbent Supervisor Susan May 297-291 after absentee ballots were counted. The pair were initially tied after Nov. 8 voting.

Stout, 68, ran as an independent against May, who had gained the Republican and Democratic endorsements. He ran on a platform of re-uniting the town in the face of its ongoing Stony Creek Wind Farm controversy.

The Town Board approved the project’s special use permit and host community agreement on Aug. 11. Stout has said he will work to ensure the Invenergy corporation sticks to its agreements and promises.

Stout — who has traditionally ran as a Republican — served more than 20 years as Wyoming County district attorney before retiring this past January. He was on the state Attorney General’s Office task force that examined ethics issues involving wind development.

The wind debate wasn’t his sole reason for seeking the supervisor position. He also wanted to develop a long-range economic plan; create a long-range plan for maintaining the highways; and work for more transparency on the Town Board.

All other town winners remained the same, according to final results announced Wednesday.

In a close town council race, incumbents Hans Boxler Jr. and Andrew J. Flint were re-elected with 320 and 295 votes respectively. They ran on the Democratic, Republican and Taxpayer First tickets.

Challengers Mary Jo Hopkins and Steven Moultrup received 289 and 264 votes respectively. They ran on the People First tickets.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tell Maine DEP: Stop Oakfield Wind!

Why This Is Important

First Wind of Boston is seeking to drastically change the size and scope of the proposed Oakfield Wind Project.

First Wind (Evergreen Wind Power II, LLC) is seeking to build 50 wind turbines, almost double the original number proposed in their original application. The new turbines will stand at 459 feet tall - the equivalent height of a 45 story building. The proposed modification amounts to an enormous change; and the differences in the impacts of noise and vibration between the first turbines and their replacements are not comparable. The potential noise and health impacts alone warrant a public hearing and closer scrutiny.

In addition, the visual impact on the industrial wind farm cannot be mitigated and will forever change the wild character of the region surrounding Pleasant and Mattawamkeag Lakes. At least 20 turbines will be visible from Pleasant Lake, and over 33 wind turbines will be visible from Mattawamkeag Lake. More than half of the Town of Island Falls property owners are seasonal residents who come to enjoy the scenic and wild landscape. Many will be negatively affected by the impact of an industrial wind project in the midst this beautiful landscape.

Maine citizens who participated in the original Oakfield procedure dealt with data which was completely different than that in the original permitted application. First Wind seems to assume that such drastic alterations should slip by unchallenged.

Please join me in telling the Maine DEP that you don’t want an industrial wind farm to destroy this scenic landscape! Sign my petition calling on the Maine DEP to deny First Wind’s amendment application and to start the approval process from scratch.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mafia-Connected FirstWind Got $117M in Federal Loans for Kahuku Windfarm

A Gold Rush of Subsidies in Clean Energy Search

by Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss, New York Times 11-11-11 (Excerpted)

WASHINGTON — Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on a former cattle ranch and gypsum mine, NRG Energy is building an engineering marvel: a compound of nearly a million solar panels that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes.

The project is also a marvel in another, less obvious way: Taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project. Similar subsidy packages have been given to 15 other solar-and wind-power electric plants since 2009.

(NOTE: Among the 15—Hawaii’s Kahuku Wind Power project owned by a shell company controlled by Mafia-connected First Wind. First Wind’s shell company received a $117M ‘loan’ from the US Treasury.)

The government support — which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates — largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG — even Google.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Solyndra, a start-up that received $528 million in federal loans to develop cutting-edge solar technology before it went bankrupt, but nearly 90 percent of the $16 billion in clean-energy loans guaranteed by the federal government since 2009 went to subsidize these lower-risk power plants, which in many cases were backed by big companies with vast resources.

When the Obama administration and Congress expanded the clean-energy incentives in 2009, a gold-rush mentality took over.

As NRG’s chief executive, David W. Crane, put it to Wall Street analysts early this year, the government’s largess was a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and “we intend to do as much of this business as we can get our hands on.” NRG, along with partners, ultimately secured $5.2 billion in federal loan guarantees plus hundreds of millions in other subsidies for four large solar projects.

“I have never seen anything that I have had to do in my 20 years in the power industry that involved less risk than these projects,” he said in a recent interview….

Richard Legault, the chief executive of Brookfield Renewable Power, the division that oversees the Granite Reliable project in New Hampshire, declined to discuss his profit expectations in detail, but said the project might not have happened without government assistance.

“When everything has come together, it is a good investment for Brookfield, it is no doubt,” Mr. Legault said. “We are quite happy with it.” Brookfield is also the owner of the small park in Manhattan that is home to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.…

(NOTE: If you think this is a coincidence, you just aren’t paying attention. “Occupy” is bought and paid for by crony capitalists who, like the protesters, want to get rid of the capitalism/competition and keep the cronyism.)

… Obama administration officials said the subsidies were intended to help renewable-energy plants that were jumbo-sized or used innovative technology, both potential obstacles to getting private financing. But even proponents of the subsidies say the administration may have gone overboard.

Concerns that the government was being too generous reached all the way to President Obama. In an October 2010 memo prepared for the president, Lawrence H. Summers, then his top economic adviser; Carol M. Browner, then his adviser on energy matters; and Ronald A. Klain, then the vice president’s chief of staff, expressed discomfort with the “double dipping” that was starting to take place. They said investors had little “skin in the game.”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Wind–Trying To Pull A Fast One

I am an Intervener in the First Wind/Champlain Wind Bowers Mountain application currently before LURC. At their Last Meeting, the LURC Commissioners voted, unanimously, to deny the permit. They instructed Staff to draw up the denial, which is to be finalized at the next Commission meeting, on December 7, 2011. This was a great victory for the People of the State of Maine.

Yesterday I received an email from Juliet Browne, head Council for the applicant [and also, just coincidentally--- wife of State Representative John Hink, who sits on the Legislature's Energy/Utilities /Technology Committee, which makes the laws governing wind development....and a man who is now running for the U.S. Senate...]. In that email, and the attachments [see below], she has requested that the applicant be allowed to withdraw its application, and resubmit a modified application at a later date.

Basically, since the LURC Commissioners have done their jobs, and are ready to deny a very bad project, the Applicant now wants to change the rules. They want to deny the People of Maine a victory, and they want to be able to reapply, without the specter of an official denial hanging over them.

They just can’t lose gracefully, even when they have been proven to be in the wrong.

Instead, they are trying to game the system. They are trying to play the People of Maine, and the LURC Commissioners, for suckers. They are acting like they are ‘entitled.’ And they are proving that far from the generous benefactors that they would like people to see them as, they are really just another greedy, well connected, subsidy sucking corporation, who believes that they are better than the People, and the Laws, of Maine. They don’t believe that the rules should apply to them. They believe that if things aren’t going their way, they should be able to thumb their noses at the People of Maine, at the Commissioners and Staff of the Land Use Regulation Commission, and at all of our laws, rules and procedures.

In short, they are acting like spoiled children.

It’s time that the spoiled children were spanked.

The decision rests with the LURC Commissioners. If they reject First Wind’s request, and move forward with the denial of the Bowers Mountain project, they will be showing the People of Maine that they matter–That our laws and procedures can work, and that no corporation, no matter how well connected, can trample us.

If they cave in to the request and allow First Wind to pull their application and bring back a ‘modified’ version, they will telling us, once and for all, that the People of Maine, our principles and convictions, simply don’t matter.

PLEASE write to LURC and ask them to deny First wind’s request. Ask them to stand their ground and move forward with a full and absolute denial of the Bowers Mountain/DP4889 application at their December 7, 2011meeting. This is the decision that the Commissioners made at their last meeting. This is the decision that they made public. This is the decision that they should stand behind.

Please send your emails to and put Bowers/DP4889 in the subject line. Please be polite, but please be firm! A carbon Copy to as well as and your State Representative and State Senator, wouldn’t hurt.

This needs to be done ASAP. Like, NOW. There will likely be a procedural order deciding this, issued soon, and they must hear from you BEFORE that order is issued.

Below you will find the applicant’s cover letter and request, as well as my response to LURC.

Please write, folks. The Commissioners have finally stepped up and made the right decision in a wind case—let’s encourage them to stand by that decision, and not let the lawyers play games.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Orleans passes stricter zoning amendment on wind power

I am a resident of the Town of Orleans and I live in the wind district. Last night the Town Board accepted modifications to the 2007 Town’s Wind Law (Ordinance).

A town wind law’s purpose is to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents who will live among these wind turbine machines. It has been a long process of 5 years working with the Town Board, the Town Zoning Board, the Town Planning Board, the Town Citizens Wind Committee, the Town Attorney and the Town’s Economic Committee. We all have spent Hours and Hours of education and research, along with presentations by professionals in acoustic sound, wildlife preservation, communication technologists and other environmental and financial researchers to conclude that the 2007 Town Wind Law was NOT protective for the health safety and welfare of the residents. I thank all of these residents and members of these boards for taking the time to fully research and understand the technology of wind energy and the positives and the negatives how these machines will impact our town’s environment and lives of the residents. We all worked very hard. Amending the town’s wind law had to be done. It existed for one purpose only the developer. The new law will protect residents. Thank you to all my fellow residents who have worked so hard and given of their time and finances.

Patty Booras-Miller

LAFARGEVILLE — The Orleans Town Council passed a zoning law amendment on Thursday night to beef up its restrictions on wind turbines.

Compared to the town’s original zoning law on wind turbines, the new amendment decreases the allowed height of turbines from 500 feet to 400 feet. It establishes relative noise standards, as opposed to the absolute 50 decibels in the old law.

The recommendation from the town’s wind committee and Planning Board had been property-line setbacks of 3,000 feet when the total height allowed was 500 feet.

The council talked about a relative standard.

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Clayton's new turbine noise limit based on "invalid" sound test, acoustics expert says

CLAYTON — The town board is set to approve a new turbine noise limit next month based on an “invalid” sound demonstration, according to the acoustics expert who performed the noise test.

Charles E. Ebbing, a retired acoustic engineer, said the Town Council had already made up their minds to set the new limit at 45 dBA, in accordance with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, and refused to hear anything else he had prepared for the noise test at the council’s request.

“It was not a valid test,” Mr, Ebbing said Thursday when reached for comment. “They really, as a body, don’t know what they’re doing.”

The town proposed in September what it called a “defendable” noise limit for Clayton after Mr. Ebbing’s demonstration on Grindstone Island.

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Lyme passes comprehensive plan to limit towers as a hurdle for wind power

CHAUMONT — Revisions to the proposed Lyme comprehensive plan allow for the Town Council to either outlaw wind turbines in the town or place strict rules on their placement.

The council got its first look at the revisions, which were supposed to reflect the results of the town’s recent survey of residents on wind restrictions, during the council’s meeting on Wednesday night.

“We incorporated the latest wind survey results into the comprehensive plan created a year prior,” said Andrew R. Nevin, senior planner for the Jefferson County Planning Department, who assisted the town’s Planning Board on the comprehensive plan. “We tried to make a square peg fit in a round hole.”

The town sent out surveys on the comprehensive plan in 2009, from which they developed a revised comprehensive plan. But after the plan was finished, the debate over wind turbine zoning continued to rage.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wind Farms Disrupting Radar, Scientists Say

This one's really off the radar.

Wind farms, along with solar power and other alternative energy sources, are supposed to produce the energy of tomorrow. Evidence indicates that their countless whirring fan blades produce something else: "blank spots" that distort radar readings.

Now government agencies that depend on radar -- such as the Department of Defense and the National Weather Service -- are spending millions in a scramble to preserve their detection capabilities. A four-star Air Force general recently spelled out the problem to Dave Belote, the director of the Department of Defense’s Energy Siting Clearinghouse.

"Look there’s a radar here -- one of our network of Homeland surveillance radars -- and [if you build this wind farm] you essentially are going to put my eyes out in the Northwestern corner of the United States,” Beloite related during a web conference in April.

Spinning wind turbines make it hard to detect incoming planes. To avoid that problem, military officials have blocked wind farm construction near their radars -- and in some cases later allowed them after politicians protested.

Shepherd’s Flat, a wind farm under construction in Oregon, was initially held up by a government notice that the farm would “seriously impair the ability of the (DoD) to detect, monitor and safely conduct air operations."

Then Oregon’s senators got involved.

“The Department of Defense's earlier decision threatened to drop a bomb on job creation in Central Oregon,” democratic Senator Ron Wyden noted in a press release.

Beloite told that the project was given the green light by the military only after scientists at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory assured the Department of Defense “that there were algorithms and processors they could design for not too much money that would mitigate the problem.”

Beloite said that the MIT technology has proven successful in the last few months.
"[The problem] has been addressed. And I have a letter from the deputy director of operations from U.S. NORAD that says 'step one of the two-step fix worked so well that we recommend we don't spend any more money on step two.'"

The fix the MIT scientists came up with tells the radar not to pay attention to signals in a very small area.

“You just tell the radar processor, ‘you're going to have clutter here. Don't display it.’ You create a tiny blank spot [in the radar map] directly above the turbine,” Beloite told

In addition to the cost of the radar development, taxpayers are on the hook for more than $1 billion in subsidies for the construction of the Shepherd’s Flat wind farm, according to a 2010 memo from Larry Summers and two other White House economic advisors.

The fix for military radar doesn't work so well for weather forecasters, however.

“It's a lot easier to filter out interference for aviation,” Ed Ciardi, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Radar Operations Center in Norman, Okla., told “The real problem is when rain and the wind turbines are mixed together [on the radar map.] And it's all confusing… sometimes [forecasters] throw up their hands and say, ‘who knows?’”

When the situation is unclear, Ciardi said, “they'll play it safe and maybe extend a warning.”

Ciardi said there have been occasional false alarms due to wind farm interference, but the Weather Service hasn't failed to issue any storm warnings yet.

“We're more worried about the future ... we've seen quite a few proposals for wind farms around our radars. And we have been ... trying to convince them to stay a good distance away,” he said.

One strategy is to ask wind farm owners to turn off the propellers during storms. Another is to convince them to install devices that measure wind speeds and rainfall, so that there would no longer be much need for radar there.
“It all comes down to money and who's going to pay for it,” he noted.

Meanwhile, top radar scientists are working on developing a fix that works for weather radar.

“It's slow progress, and they say it's extremely difficult -- that they need more money and more time. The solution, I would say, is probably five years down the road," Ciardi said.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Hirschey defeats White in Cape Vincent; victory for anti-wind group

CAPE VINCENT — Town supervisor Urban C. Hirschey defeated challenger Harvey J. White, who ran on the Conservative line, 518-388 Tuesday in what appeared to be a victorious night for Cape Vincent’s anti-wind group.

In the race for Town Council, Wind Power Ethics Group member Clifford J. Schneider, with 471, led the pack in a tight race. Incumbent and wind lease holder Marty T. Mason received 453 votes, just ahead of Republican WPEG member John L. Byrne, with 448 votes. Incumbent Donald J. Mason, also a wind-power advocate, polled 423.

However, with 503 absentee ballots issued, many of them to seasonal residents who registered to vote in Cape Vincent and who nearly exclusively supported Mr. Hirschey in the Republican primary, the anti-wind forces appear confident they will control the council.

“I think you’ll see a lot of changes in our local government,” Mr. Hirschey, a Republican and past member of WPEG, said late Tuesday. “Will there be a wind moratorium? Probably. You’ll just have to come to our January meeting to find out.”

Read the entire article

Monday, November 07, 2011

Steuben official: Any new windfarms a year away

Any action on locally proposed wind farms is still in the future, according to Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Jamie Johnson.

Johnson’s agency is exploring wind farm development and the impact of the state’s renewed Article X energy generation siting law.

“Part of what they had to do was to develop regulations to begin with,” Johnson said. “It will take at least a year for that to happen. And the state won’t accept any applications until then.”

The law was signed on Aug. 4 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and calls for a state commission to review any project generating more than 25 megawatts of electricity.

The commission includes the heads of the state energy-related boards, and commissioners from the state departments of Environmental Conservation, Health and Economic Development. Two members from the community also will sit in on the reviews of projects affecting their home area.

The law was enthusiastically endorsed by the energy industry, which hopes for a more streamlined process in siting projects. Opponents charged the law takes away towns’ right to home rule and argue the commission may be swayed by industrial lobbyists.

So far, the local focus has been on wind energy, but the siting law includes all energy projects, including nuclear, geothermal, coal and natural gas, Johnson said.

However, for those involved for years in bitter disputes over proposed wind-turbine projects, the issue has thrown more fuel on the fire.

Supporters of wind farms have long held the multi-billion businesses are a source of renewable energy, and provide needed revenues and services in their towns. They maintain legal delays forced by opponents have cost the towns millions of dollars in revenue — money they fear will go into state coffers.

But the siting commission has no say in what revenues and services counties, towns, and schools receive, Johnson said.

“What it does is take the environmental review out of the hands of industrial groups, such as (SCIDA),” Johnson said. “That’s all it does.”

According to nationwide reports, the wind-energy industry is looking at new technologies, in order to make turbines — now highly inefficient — more productive, and answer critics complaints the 400-foot tall machines endanger humans and the environment.

Those changes may mean companies have to start over again for the commission’s environmental reviews, Johnson said.

As far as revenues, Steuben’s laws mandate any energy development firm enter tax incentive agreements through SCIDA, or face full taxation by the county. That means the towns will receive the lion’s share of multi-million payments, with the schools and county dividing the remainder.

“On the town level, what they negotiate with a company (for extra services) is up to them,” Johnson said.

The county is now the site of two wind farms, in Cohocton and Howard. In Prattsburgh, both sides in the dispute between wind developer Ecogen and the town claim a favorable ruling by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. The town of Troupsburg is reportedly studying a wind project there.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Republican congressman pushes for an end to all energy tax credits

A Republican congressman from Kansas plans to introduce a bill this week to end all tax credits for the energy sector, saying he believes it’s time for conventional and alternative sources alike to show their worth without government help.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., told lawmakers in a letter last week that his bill would save the U.S. government up to $90 billion over 10 years in what he says is spending that distorts the market. He pointed to the ongoing scandal over the Energy Department’s $535 million loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt Fremont, Calif., solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC.

“The Solyndra scandal has demonstrated the danger of government interference in energy markets,” he wrote, calling his bill “a reasonable approach to ending the decades-long practice of trying to pick winners and losers.”

Among the credits the bill would end are the renewable electricity production tax credit, which rewards companies for each kilowatt-hour of generating capacity they install from sources such as wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill-gas, municipal-waste or hydroelectric. Credits for plug-in electric and fuel-cell vehicles and alternative fuels would also end.

The bill would also end credits for enhanced oil recovery and technologies that reduce emissions from coal.

Pompeo wrote that his bill would preserve “general deductions available to multiple industries.”

But his legislation is sure to face resistance. Democrats, who control the Senate, have sought to target tax breaks for oil-and-gas companies but may be hesitant to end federal support for alternative sources, which they say can help address pollution and climate change.

The American Wind Energy Association, a wind-power trade group in Washington, has issued a statement blasting Pompeo’s bill.

“Representative Pompeo seems to misunderstand how a key federal tax incentive has built a thriving American wind manufacturing sector and tens of thousands of American jobs,” CEO Denise Bode said in a statement, referring to the production tax credit for wind electricity, which will expire after Dec. 31, 2012, without action from Congress.

Bob Deans, associate director of communications for the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, has criticized Republicans for using the Solyndra scandal to target all clean energy: “We should learn the lessons of Solyndra, to be sure, but then move forward — because, as China and our other global competitors have grasped all too well, solar energy, wind, and other emerging technologies hold the promise and potential to help power the world into the 21st century.”

Pompeo also said his bill would be revenue-neutral by including a corporate tax rate reduction that corresponds to the money his bill saves.

The bill isn’t meant to raise money for the government, Pompeo said, “but rather to correct decades of taxpayer funded handouts to industries more than capable of thriving in the open market.”

A list of tax credits his bill will target, according to the letter:

•Plug-in electric and fuel cell vehicles
•Alternative fuel and alternative fuel mixtures
•Cellulosic Biofuel Producer Credit
•Alternative fuel infrastructure
•Production Tax Credit for electricity produced from renewable sources, including wind, biomass, and hydropower
•Investment Tax Credit for equipment powered by solar, fuel cells, geothermal or other specified renewable sources
•Enhanced oil recovery credit, and credit for producing oil and gas from marginal wells
•Advanced Nuclear Power Generation Credit
•Clean coal investment credits

Friday, November 04, 2011

Vote Republican for Cape Vincent's future

There are not many times when a local election can be called the most important since a town was founded. Nevertheless, this aptly describes the importance of this year’s election in the town of Cape Vincent. What is at stake is Cape Vincent’s future and, fortunately for voters, the choices are clearly defined this year.

One future, endorsed by Conservative Party candidates for supervisor and council, proposes two wind projects totaling 135 turbines, which when combined with the Wolfe Island Wind Project would represent the largest commercial wind complex east of the Mississippi River — even larger than Maple Ridge.

The other future, supported by Republican candidates, would follow the “Joint Comprehensive Plan for the Village and Town of Cape Vincent 2003.” The plan represents the foundation for our zoning law and provides a guide to future growth and community development. Cape Vincent’s plan prescribes maintaining the Cape’s “small-town quality of life.” It advises to “further develop the tourism industry.” The plan also dictates what not to do: “discourage the location of towers, prisons or utility facilities where their impact would have a negative impact on scenic vistas and tourism assets.”

The Republican Party of Cape Vincent not only asks for your vote on Tuesday, but also your support for their efforts to work toward the future represented in our village and town’s comprehensive plan. By voting the Republican line on the ballot, you can also be assured that all our candidates have no contracts with commercial wind developers, no conflicts of interest and will serve all the residents of Cape Vincent. Republican candidates John Byrne, Clif Schneider, Colleen Knuth, Pam Youngs and Harry Landers all strongly endorse the spirit of this letter and want to thank you for your support and your vote.

Urban Hirschey
Cape Vincent

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

NYISO 9/14/11 changes definition of capacity for windfarms!?

Read and save these important changes. More proof NYS known that there is not enought wind for industrial wind . . .

NYISO 9/14/11 changes definition of capacity for windfarms!?

NYISO new definition of nonforced capacity and capacity

Galloo Island Wind Farm searches for power purchaser

Galloo Island Wind Farm is shopping its electricity around to state and private buyers to keep the possibility of an underwater transmission line alive.

A representative of developer Upstate NY Power Corp. told parties on a conference call held by the Public Service Commission on Thursday morning that the developer isn’t giving up after the New York Power Authority scrapped its Great Lakes Offshore Wind project in September. The project, which requested proposals from developers for wind power projects in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, would give the developers purchase power agreements, providing a steady stream of income even as the electricity market ebbs and flows.

“It would have been the cleanest method for a PPA,” said Robert W. Burgdorf, attorney with Nixon Peabody, Rochester, and developer representative. “The company is frankly frustrated; it has incurred significant delay. The company believed it was the lowest bidder by far and it believed it had reason to be optimistic as recently as two months ago.”

The developer had told the parties in previous calls that it needed a PPA to make the project viable. But Mr. Burgdorf appeared to leave open the option to construct the 246-megawatt project without a PPA as long as an overland transmission route was pursued. He did not respond to a request for clarification Thursday.

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