Friday, December 28, 2012

Accusations fly as First Wind fights Clipper for refund

UNITED STATES: Turbine manufacturer Clipper Windpower and Boston-based developer First Wind are engaged in a near-$60 million lawsuit in Iowa over a disputed wind turbine order.
First Wind said it paid the money for a batch of Clipper's 2.5MW Liberty turbines, which were never delivered. It also said Clipper has effectively stopped manufacturing the turbines. As of mid-December 2012, the Iowa suit was still ongoing, while a similar action in California was withdrawn on 5 November by First Wind for reasons that are not clear.

First Wind, a former major customer of Clipper, has been trying to freeze $59.5 million of Clipper's assets in three different court jurisdictions. The aim is to ensure that the private equity-owned turbine manufacturer can pay an arbitration settlement under way with First Wind in Chicago currently being overseen by the American Arbitration Association.

The allegations contained in the three court cases are at times startling. According to a memorandum filed by First Wind in the New York case, Platinum Equity purchased Clipper in August 2012 for "nothing - in fact, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) had to inject money into Clipper in order to get Platinum to take the manufacturer and its liabilities off UTC's hands". First Wind has also said that Clipper is on the "verge of imploding".Both Clipper and Platinum declined to respond to a request for comment on the financial side of the deal.

Manufacture offer

In October, Judge Peter Sherwood of the Supreme Court of the State of New York declined to freeze the assets, noting that Clipper had said it was willing to manufacture the turbines if First Wind would only make a firm order. In court documents, First Wind has cited uncertainty over the production tax credit and permitting delays as reasons for not proceeding with its order.

In the Iowa suit, First Wind said that earlier in 2011 Clipper turned down a proposed order for 20 turbines. However, in another court proceeding, Clipper said that First Wind's order was never firm and that Clipper could have assembled the turbines if this was the case. In the Iowa suit, First Wind is reported as claiming it had difficulty obtaining financing for wind projects specifying Clipper turbines because of the manufacturer's financial instability.

Waranty work

NextEra Energy Resources, the largest owner and operator of wind in the US, has become involved. It tried to intervene in the New York suit at the last minute, although the judge ruled before it could do so. In court documents, NextEra said that Clipper was in breach of its warranty obligations - but that the situation would be exacerbated if Clipper was forced into involuntary bankruptcy because First Wind succeeded in freezing its assets.

NextEra declined to comment on its role or whether it is in arbitration with Clipper over warranties. the company has not intervened in the Iowa suit, according to the court clerk's office.

Warranty claims have long been a problem for Clipper Windpower. Just a week before it sold Clipper, UTC said in its financial statements that Clipper had $91 million in reserves for potential warranty claims. Even before UTC bought Clipper in 2010 for $385 million, the Liberty turbine has faced well-known problems such as faulty gearboxes and cracked blades.

There have been reports that Clipper is planning to scale the company back to its servicing operation, which handles the Clipper-manufactured gearbox for the Liberty turbine.

Clipper manufactured the Liberty turbine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 2006 until earlier this year. It suspended turbine production and laid off 76 employees after the company was sold to leveraged buyout specialist Platinum Equity. Not long before the purchase, Clipper had warned that it might not be able to keep going without an injection of cash.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Why It's The End Of The Line For Wind Power

It’s the end of the world as we know it. That’s what the U.S. wind power industry is saying to itself these days. And they aren’t talking about some Mayan doomsday nonsense. On Jan. 1 the federal production tax credit on wind investments expires. For the past 20 years the credit has offset about 30% of the cost of building wind turbines. Add to that the “renewable portfolio standards” for green energy mandated by 29 states, and as a result we’ve seen wind farms spring up across the country. Since 2007 nearly 40% of all the new electricity capacity built in this country has been wind. Wind now generates roughly 3.5% of U.S. electricity. Don’t expect wind’s share to climb beyond that level any time soon. The end of the tax credit could very well mean the end of the wind industry. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, the “levelized cost” of new wind power (including capital and operating costs) is 8.2 cents per kWh. Advanced clean-coal plants cost about 11 cents per kWh, the same as nuclear. But advanced natural gas-burning plants come in at just 6.3 cents per kWh. But it could be getting a lot worse for wind. A fascinating new report by George Taylor and Tom Tanton at the American Tradition Institute called “The Hidden Costs of Wind Electricity” asserts that the cost of wind power is significantly understated by the EIA’s numbers. In fact, says Taylor, generating electricity from wind costs triple what it does from natural gas. That’s because the numbers from the EIA and wind boosters fail to take into account a host of infrastructure and transmission costs. First off — the windiest places are more often far away from where electricity is needed most, so the costs of building transmission lines is high. So far many wind projects have been able to patch into existing grid interconnections. But, says Taylor, those opportunities are shrinking, and material expansion of wind would require big power line investments. Second, the wind doesn’t blow all the time, so power utilities have found that in order to balance out the variable load from wind they have to invest in keeping fossil-fuel-burning plants on standby. When those plants are not running at full capacity they are not as efficient. Most calculations of the cost of wind power do not take into account the costs per kWh of keeping fossil plants on standby or running at reduced loads. But they should, because it is a real cost of adding clean, green, wind power to the grid. Taylor has crunched the numbers and determined that these elements mean the true cost of wind power is more like double the advertised numbers. He explains that he started with 8.2 cents per kWh, reflecting total installation costs of $2,000 per kw of capacity. Then backed out an assumed 30-year lifespan for the turbines (optimistic), which increases the cost to 9.3 cents per kwh. Then after backing out the effect of subsidies allowing accelerted depreciation for wind investments you get 10.1 cents. Next, add the costs of keeping gas-fired plants available, but running at reduced capacity, to balance the variable performance of wind — 1.7 cents. Extra fuel for those plants adds another 0.6 cents. Finally, tack on 2.7 cents for new transmission line investments needed to get new wind power to market. The whole shebang adds up to 15 cents per kwh. Ouch. As Taylor figures it, natural gas would need to cost upwards of $20 per mmBTU before gas-fired power would cost as much as wind. Granted, the American Tradition Institute is a right-wing nonprofit that in the past has railed against climate scientists and sought to discredit Global Warming fear mongering. That doesn’t mean Taylor’s calculations are wrong, just that everyone on the pro-wind side ought to read the report and chime in with their critiques. The American Wind Energy Association says that the wind sector employs 37,000 and boasts 500 factories building components. Even with new anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese makers of wind turbines, the AWEA says that if Congress fails to extend the production tax credit for wind, many of those jobs could be eliminated and factories closed in early 2013. That’s how important these tax credits are to wind’s viability. Taylor and Tanton figure that at the current price of natural gas, and before counting any subsidies or transmission costs, ratepayers are paying about $8.5 billion more this year for electricity from wind than they would have paid if it were gas-fired power. That amount doesn’t even include the cost of the direct federal subsidies. What’s more, ratepayers will have to shoulder that cost for as long as the turbines are in operation. That’s $8.5 billion a year that ratepayers are forking over to subsidize a less efficient, more expensive technology; $8.5 billion that could otherwise be invested in natural gas electricity, or better yet, nuclear. Just think, in South Carolina, power company Scana and its partners are investing about $11 billion to construct two 1,100 mw nuclear reactors on roughly 1,000 acres. To get the same amount of electricity out of wind (remember that turbines operate at an average of less than 50% capacity because of wind’s intermittancy) and you’d need more than 1,700 turbines stretched across 200,000 acres, for an upfront investment of $8.8 billion. The nukes might cost more upfront, but they last longer, they provide reliable base load power and they emit zero carbon. Source

Friday, December 21, 2012

The wind production tax credit still hangs in the fiscal-cliff balance

With Congress and the White House currently concentrating their laser-like focus on averting (or not averting, as the case may be) the fiscal cliff, the fate of various tax extenders is still very much up in the air, including the wind industry’s precious production tax credit (which covers about 30 percent of wind power’s costs — no wonder they’re so keen on keeping it around). The wind lobby is working overtime to convince Congress to pass an extension before the clock runs out on December 31st, but most lawmakers’ concerns are about the bigger fish we still need to fry before the end of the year.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday unveiled a “Plan B” approach to avoid most of the looming tax hikes, but it did not address the PTC or other so-called tax extenders. President Obama and Senate Democrats were quick to dismiss the offer.

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), who has been a leading negotiator over the fate of the PTC, acknowledged that it and other temporary tax provisions “take a back seat” to the broader debate over the cliff and that it would take “a deal on everything else” to see movement on extending the temporary credits.

Boehner’s proposal was seen as largely a messaging exercise, with the extenders still expected to be along for the ride if Congress and the White House can reach a broader deal on taxes and spending, lawmakers and lobbyists said.

“I suspect this is all for show,” one wind lobbyist said of Boehner’s proposal.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who has been leading a public push for a PTC extension with near-daily floor speeches, said yesterday that there have been “a lot of quiet conversations” among senators over how to insert the credit into a broader fiscal cliff deal but that he was not at liberty to say more.

President Obama was much more vocal on the production tax credit and his other renewable-subsidizin’ ventures while on the campaign trail before the election (especially when hitting up states like Iowa), but I haven’t heard him throw much of his weight behind it lately — although of course, his administration is still very much actively for it:

During the informational session, which also included a Q&A segment, Chu officially endorsed the extension of the PTC and re-emphasized his unwavering support for wind power and other forms of renewable energy.

“I’m bullish on the prospects for wind,” Chu told reporters and webcast viewers. “We have to maintain the production tax credit. That’s my plug.”

After highlighting many of the wind industry’s achievements over the past two decades, Chu warned that if the PTC is not extended, many manufacturers established in the U.S. will likely move overseas.

All of these “quiet conversations” undoubtedly concern the usual arguments in favor of such government-sponsored favoritism, including the thousands of jobs that will be lost should the wind credit expire (nevermind that these jobs are all more subsidy-powered than anything else), that oil and gas receive bigger subsidies (although they are relatively infinitesimal compared to the scope of the wind industry, and I must add that I unequivocally support the repeal of all subsidies across the energy spectrum), and that the wind industry only needs a little more “strategic nurturing” before it can finally compete on its own merits (forget that the production tax credit has been around for two decades already).

“With the threat of the PTC’s expiration, wind project developers are not making plans in the U.S. and American manufacturers are not receiving orders,” David Ward of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) told ReWire. “Job layoffs have started already, which could total up to 37,000 jobs lost. Without an immediate extension of the Production Tax Credit, the wind industry is facing the recurrence of the boom-bust cycle it has seen in previous years when the PTC was allowed to expire.”

Hint: The fact that the wind industry is so very tax-credit dependent with a longstanding boom-and-bust cycle, probably is not the best advertisement in its favor. If individual states want to continue to coddle what they have deemed to be renewable energies with their own subsidies (like renewable portfolio standards), then so be it, but the federal government’s longtime special treatment of the wind industry needs to stop.

Claim: “The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) is an effective tool to keep electricity rates low and encourage development of proven renewable energy projects.”

Reality: When the wind lobby worked to create the tax credit, they were ingenious. Instead of structuring it to increase electricity rates, they structured it to create greater liabilities for taxpayers. By structuring it as a lavish tax credit, the costs are effectively hidden from electricity ratepayers. This allows the wind lobby to claim that it “is an effective tool to keep electricity rates low.” And remember, these are not “deductions” that most Americans are familiar with; they’re “credits,” a dollar for dollar reduction in tax obligations of some huge corporations.

This does not mean that the tax credit is inexpensive. A one-year extension will cost $12 billion because it is guaranteed for 10 years of payout. But, most importantly, those costs are hidden from electricity ratepayers and get lumped together with trillions of dollars in the federal budget.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

TAYLOR AND TANTON: Blow off wind-production tax credit

Wind-energy advocates claim that with just one more extension of the 20-year-old "temporary" wind-production tax credit, wind generation finally could become competitive with conventional sources of electricity. The truth is, it's never been competitive -- and has only appeared to be close because some of its costs have been subsidized and others have been ignored.

Here's the issue. Wind generation has three unusual indirect costs that no one wants to discuss:

The cost of keeping available the primary fossil-fired plants that must balance wind's large variations in output, even though adding wind to the system reduces the amount of generation for which they are paid.

The reduced fuel efficiency that wind imposes on those plants.

The cost of long-distance transmission and the losses that come with it.

As The Hidden Costs of Wind Electricity, a report released by American Tradition Institute, shows, adding conservative values for these real but hidden costs to the most recent generation-cost reports from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would nearly double wind's projected cost -- from 8 cents per kilowatt-hour without them to 15 cents per kwh with them (after backing out a depreciation-related subsidy and an atypical operating lifetime assumption as well).

That 15 cents per kwh is triple the current cost of natural-gas generation and 40 percent to 50 percent more than EIA's estimates for the cost of new nuclear or coal generation.

It's also unlikely to be reduced much by either technological advances or further economies of scale because wind is a mature technology, its worldwide market is more than $50 billion per year, and its indirect costs are consequences of two fundamental shortcomings that are independent of the turbines. First, with rare exceptions, wind can operate only as an appendage to either natural-gas or coal-fired generation. Second, its most productive locations are far from major cities.

While the three indirect and infrastructure costs listed above have been acknowledged in research reports, they have not appeared in most generation-cost comparisons. That's because regulatory authorities have not required wind operators to pay for them, they've required consumers to pay for them instead. In an honest, transparent and accountable political system, that should not be an excuse for policymakers to ignore their impact on consumers, jobs and the economy.

How large has that impact been? Based on EIA's numbers and electric system operators' conclusions about the amount of conventional generation capacity wind installations can replace, at the current price of natural gas and before counting any extra costs of transmission, wind generation's cost is at least 6 cents per kwh greater than its benefit -- namely, the fossil fuel it can save and the small amount of conventional generation capacity it can replace.

At wind's current 3.5 percent share of generation, that 6 cents per kilowatt hour translates into an extra $8.5 billion that ratepayers have paid this year and will have to pay every year for as long as existing wind facilities (or their replacements) are kept in operation.

However, that's not the worst of it. While most existing wind facilities were built in locations that could piggyback on existing transmission infrastructure, as these easier opportunities are used up, wind's net cost will increase.

Even with an optimistic onshore wind-transmission scenario such as the one described in a widely referenced National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, the gap between wind's cost and its value would increase to at least 9 cents per kwh.

This means the cost of wind electricity would not break even with the cost of natural-gas-fired electricity unless the delivered price of natural gas were about $20 per million British thermal units, or four to five times today's price. Stated another way, if we increased wind's share of all generation to 10 percent and built a transmission system similar to the one the laboratory proposed, wind's excess cost to consumers would increase to more than $30 billion per year.

Of course, if the price of natural gas went up, wind's cost gap compared to gas-fired electricity would go down. Yet its gap with nuclear and coal-fired electricity would not. In order to keep wind in operation, system operators would be forced to buy the higher-priced gas electricity or revert to coal because in the absence of energy storage or hydro-generation, wind always must be paired with one or the other.

In sum, there is no reason to think wind electricity will become competitive with conventional sources or replace any meaningful amount of fossil fuel. If we continue expanding it, wind generation will increase the cost of electricity, tie us to fossil fuels indefinitely and require us to build transmission lines that otherwise would be unnecessary. Those are no reasons for shifting any of wind's cost from ratepayers to taxpayers. Congress should allow the wind-production tax credit to expire, as it always was intended to do.


Monday, December 17, 2012

First Wind sees future with sun

First Wind, whose name reveals its historical alliance with a specific form of renewable energy, is making a strategic shift toward the sun, with plans to build large solar projects across the state.

The Boston-based wind-energy developer, which already has developed four such projects in Hawaii, says it has maxed out its potential for that kind of project locally. In 2013 and beyond, it is putting its focus on a soon-to-be-released request for proposals for 200 megawatts of renewable energy from Hawaiian Electric Co., which could include solar.

“It’s fair to say, going forward, we are looking at more solar ...


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit in Litchfield wind turbine case

LITCHFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - The courts have ruled in favor of the Town of Litchfield's ban on industrial wind turbines. There was a lawsuit filed against the town board by leaseholders and their relatives. This ruling means the proposal to building 492 foot industrial turbines in the town- can not move forward.

Supreme court justice Norman Seigel made the ruling on December 6th. The plaintiffs did not challenge any particular provision of the law, which allows wind energy facilities up to 50 kilowatts for personal use, but bans the construction of larger turbines. The law was enacted in March 2012 after two years of deliberations.

Judge Seigel ruled in favor of the town's request for dismissal.

December 7, 2012

New York

Monday, December 10, 2012

New York State Windpower: Enough Business/Government Cronyism

While Invenergy waits for the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) to be extended by this ‘Lame Duck’ Congress, as expressed in the 12/4/12 Batavia Daily News article: “Orangeville windfarm waits on the tax credit,” there are thousands of local tax- and rate-paying citizens who are eagerly awaiting the expiration, permanent expiration, of this $0.022/kWh subsidy. The PTC is nothing more than a tax-shelter-generator for wealthy, multinational, rent-seeking corporations like Invenergy.

How does a business plan dependent on massive taxpayer-funded handouts for profitability make it past the drawing board in the first place?!? Any of us would have filed such a plan to its rightful place—in the garbage can.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)– with the help of political cronies in high places–have attempted, and failed to push the PTC through various bills, not once, not twice, but FIVE (5) times in a little over a year. Congressmen were inundated with letters, e-mails and phone calls each of those (5) previous attempts from a lot of us telling them to say NO to the PTC–which they did. Yet, here it comes again.

No Means NO!

We hope that our elected “public servants” understand that NO means NO! “We the People” do NOT want more wasteful spending on an inefficient, unreliable, antiquated energy source that ruins peoples’ lives, kills hundreds of thousands of birds a year, does nothing to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and has exorbitant costs to boot.

The sad reality is, however, that with 66 corporate lobbyists for every elected official roaming the halls in Washington, D.C., Big Corporate Big Bucks are working hard to buy the legislation that best suits their bottom lines – taxpayers and sound science be damned.

With 250 industrial wind turbines already strewn across Wyoming County, a number of our rural Townships have been turned into industrial wind factories – devastating the quality of life and property values of many local residents. These peoples’ homes have been rendered virtually worthless. Many of these folks can’t afford to take a huge loss, so they end up stuck there – many suffering from the ill effects of ‘infrasound’ known as “Wind Turbine Syndrome.”

Rural Blight

The desperation of those stuck living amongst industrial wind installations is evident within this e-mail I recently received from one of those residents:

We are at our wits end. My last call to Invenergy two days ago was, needless to say, useless. I told her to shut them off at night or I will cut the locks off and do it my self! My next e-mail will be to the Sheriff — again! If I can get arrested, just maybe I will get my day in court. We have spent at least $20k so far, and are out of money. The health dept also refuses to return my calls.”

It is hard to believe that treating our neighbors like this is actually going on in America today, but it is. All for “the love of money – the root of so many kinds of evil.

Sadly, NYS officials have publicly acknowledged that ‘infrasound’ is a problem from industrial wind factories worldwide, yet they have done absolutely nothing to stop this corporate assault on their taxpaying citizens.

Governor Cuomo has remained shamefully silent, despite lawsuits by NYS citizens who are suing Iberdrola because of the noise issue, and calls to do a long overdue health study. (I wonder if Governor Cuomo would buy one of these noise-damaged homes and move his family in there…!?)

The sad thing is that all of this devastation is for naught. Industrial wind is NOT economically, environmentally, nor scientifically sound energy policy – period.

No Intellectual Justification

The wind industry exists because of their claims that wind would significantly reduce CO2 emissions and thereby reduce Global Warming. After decades of giving $BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to RICH multi-national corporations like GE, BP, Iberdrola, NextEra, AES, FPL, First Wind, Invenergy, etc, CO2 emissions have NOT been significantly reduced – ANYWHERE!

Since none of the volatile wind production is indexed to actual reductions in fossil fuel generation or CO2 emissions (because it can’t achieve those reductions), the wind PTC is useful only as a means of reducing tax obligations for Stony Creek Wind’s equity partners.

Income generation through tax avoidance has been what the wind industry has been about since the days of ENRON, once the nation’s leading wind producer. Massaging the tax code via phony calls for more “renewable energy” has yielded multinational corporations like General Electric and Florida Power & Light a fortune over the last decade — they haven’t paid a dime in federal income taxes.

To rally support for the PTC corporate welfare program, AWEA is now focusing on their “jobs creation” claims — which are plain, unadulterated hogwash. As anyone who’s done an ounce of research on the wind issue knows – wind is actually a NET JOBS LOSER.

As was reported in the article, NYS Money Road to Nowhere, “On a per kWh basis, wind receives 80 times the public subsidies received by fossil fuels, but produces no reliable electricity capacity and very few American jobs. In fact, for every green job that wind supposedly creates, it destroys two to four regular jobs – in large part due to “skyrocketing” electricity rates.”

Crony Corruptocrats

Beyond all the “green” energy pie-in-the-sky promises that morally-bankrupt wind salesmen or crony-Corruptocrats may offer in the name of The Wind Farm Scam, the incivility of throwing up scores of useless machines (they would be considered lemons if they were any other sort of modern machine or appliance) is a sad testimony about how cheaply people’s values can be bought, and how little many care for the welfare of their neighbors.

If people wonder why the world is in the sad shape it is in, they need look no further than the neighbors stuck living within the massive footprints of dysfunctional wind factories, whom they are choosing to ignore. Selling ones’ neighbors out for the biggest “Swindle” to ever come down the pike is hardly what Jesus had in mind when He told us, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

It’s time to END the PTC! For more information, see: http://ptcfacts.Info/


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Deval Patrick & Paul Gaynor: Crony Capitalism At First Wind

The third fire at First Wind’s Kahuku Wind project since operations began in March of 2011 spewed lead and lasted for three days. The publicly-funded multimillion dollar Xtreme Battery storage facility filled with toxic smoke, and 12,000 batteries were completely destroyed. Hawaii News Now reports some fear this environmental threat will be repeated at First Wind’s other projects.

Hawaii Free Press provides a grim prognosis for Kahuku Wind:

“Recent developments reduce the chances that First Wind will ever be able to repair the defective turbines which were supposed to power the burned batteries at Kahuku.”

Boston-based First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor is Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s appointed green policy advisor under the Global Warming Solutions Act. Gaynor is also appointed co-chair of the Mass Department of Environmental Protection Advisory Committee “Low Carbone Energy Supply Subcommittee.” First Wind has benefitted by a $117 million loan guarantee for (12) Clipper Liberty wind turbines at Kahuku despite a trade secret between Clipper Wind and First Wind executed to obscure from the public information about structural and mechanical problems ongoing with Clipper wind turbines.

Cash-strapped-Clipper, founded by Enron’s James Dehlsen, was recently dumped by the parent company United Technology Corporation UTC to Platinum Equity of CA that expressed no interest in providing remedy to Clipper’s $300 million costs in unscheduled maintenance. First Wind has deployed Clipper Liberty wind turbines in projects across the US according to court documents, with 12 newly installed but idle at Kahuku Wind, by loan of $117 million backed by the public.

First Wind recently sought a writ of attachment from the courts against Clipper Wind for $59.5 million dollars in Cedar Rapids, with arbitration proceeding in Chicago. A similar case has been filed against Clipper under sealed documents in Santa Barbara, CA. The (Iowa) Gazette reported on November 3, 2012: “Clipper has not only ceased production of these turbines, but has wrongfully refused to return the advance payments, even though it has no plans to meet its contractual obligations to produce and deliver the turbines to first wind,” the lawsuit said.”

Massachusetts’ Deval Patrick Administration in May of 2009 identified the long beleaguered Clipper Wind as the Wind Turbine Technology Testing Facility's first customer.

While the Pacific Coast Business Times reported on November 16, 2012, “Clipper Windpower appears ready to implement a plan to eliminate all of its South Coast positions and shutter its Carpinteria headquarters by early next year.”

The Charlestown Wind Turbine Technology Testing Center has received ARRA stimulus of $24.7 million, and $13.2 million in grants and loans from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MACEC), with Founding Chairman former MA Executive Secretary of Energy Ian Bowles. MACEC, formed under the Patrick Administration’s Jobs Act, collects ratepayer dollars to invest in green business ventures of questionable public merit. This publicly-funded $40 million dollar Wind Turbine Technology Testing Center, operated by MACEC, has provided 0.00 jobs for the past 1.5 years according to the federal government's recovery tracker.

NECN Boston refers to First Wind as 'New England’s largest wind developer.' And, waving a bright red flag Hawaii Free Press refers to First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor as the ‘Hawaii Wind Developer tied to Largest-ever asset seizure by anti-Mafia police.’ UPC First Wind got its start when Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) alum Paul Gaynor was tapped by UPC Group to bring the success of wind projects in Italy, Italian Vento Power Corporation (IVPC), to the United States according to WPI Summer News 2005.

While multiple news outlets, including the Financial Times, report that the President of Italian Wind Energy Association and Director of the IVPC was arrested on “charges related to fraud involved in obtaining public subsidies to construct wind farms” in November of 2009 during Operation “Gone with the Wind.” Oreste Vigorito of IVPC was convicted in July of 2012.

According to House Budget Committee’s ‘Empty Promise of Green Jobs’ study, “The Costly Consequences of Crony Capitalism” 11/21/11:

First Wind Holdings received a $117 million loan guarantee in March of 2010. First Wind withdrew its initial public offering in October of 2010, due to a lack of investor demand. According to the Boston Globe, investors shied away from the company because “First Wind owes more than $500 million, loses money on a steady basis, and reports a negative cash flow.”

The House Oversight Committee Report of March 20, 2012 titled, 'The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Program' provides blistering criticism of green company executives lining their pockets before filing for bankruptcy in MA. First Wind, developer of "Kahuku" is identified as (S&P “Junk” rated) in this report.

The Interior Department photo above was actually used for promotional purposes by DOI for First Wind’s Kawailoa project in Oahu. It’s troubling that Secretary Salazar has ignored the catastrophic and publicly-funded failures of First Wind and Xtreme Battery at Kahuku Wind in Oahu. Awarding public subsidies to "Junk" rated wind companies whose technology has ongoing mechanical and structural problems under "trade secret” is an outrage.

Neither the Obama nor the MA Patrick Administration have picked a winner in First Wind so much as they have sealed the fate of tax and ratepayers funding First Wind, affiliates’ and subsidiaries’, vendors’ and dependents’ failures. If the objectives are low-cost green jobs, reliable and affordable energy sources that are reasonably safe, we’ve not met these with public funding, grants and loan guarantees to the US pioneers of UPC First Wind.

Barbara Durkin is the green-energy reporter for the Daily Bail. She has spent the past decade interfacing with regulators and stakeholders in the Ad Hoc review of the "world's largest" Cape Wind offshore wind project. Her independent investigation of wind energy cost vs. benefits has expanded beyond the shores of Nantucket Sound to include land-based renewable energy.