Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obama administration colluded with 'windmill welfare queens' to rebut European 'green job' studies

"Windmill welfare queens" -- the corporations who stand to benefit from carbon regulation, and who already benefit from massive subsidies -- are telling Americans that they can "have their cake and eat it too" when it comes to emissions controls and so-called "green jobs." A FOIA request now reveals that as the Obama administration scrambled to respond last year to strong evidence that "green jobs" are a massive an economic drain, costing 570,000 Euros apiece, Department of Energy officials relied heavily on Big Wind and its monied backers.

Writes Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

As candidate and president, on eight separate occasions Barack Obama instructed Americans to “think about what’s happening in countries like Spain [and] Germany” if they wanted to know what successful “green jobs” policies look like, and if they wanted to know what we should expect here in the U.S. from his agenda.

Some European economists took a look. In March, a research team from Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University produced a detailed, substantive, heavily sourced, two-method paper: “Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources.” The paper concluded that Spain’s “green jobs” program was an economic failure, in fact costing Spain many jobs.

...[T]he Spanish study embarrassed the White House, prompting substantial media attention and even questioning at a press conference, Obama swapped out Denmark for Spain for later references to an enacted “green jobs” program.

Soon, Denmark produced a study (“Wind Energy: The Case of Denmark“) through the think-tank CEPOS. This paper also revealed tremendous costs, and that Obama’s claim about Denmark’s “renewables” experience was also steeped in mythology.

...Back in the U.S., the American Wind Energy Association — the lobby for “Big Wind” in Washington, D.C., which includes a few Spanish wind giants — also attacked the publication of the Spanish paper. Soon, the Obama administration published a five-page talking points memo assailing the economic assessment — written by two young, non-economist, pro-wind activists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Boulder, Colorado...drafted in often personal terms.

It's well worth reading the whole thing to understand the relationship between the Left in government and the rent-seeking corporations who make their money not by producing anything, but by putting their hands in the next guy's pocket.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Prattsburgh sets special Ecogen info session

Prattsburgh, NY — A special meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday by the Prattsburgh town board to supply information on a current lawsuit between the town and developer Ecogen.

The two sides are at odds over a proposal by Ecogen to set up 16 turbines in the town.

Town Supervisor Al Wordingham said the town’s attorney in the lawsuit, Ed Hourihan, will attend the meeting to discuss the cost and the status of the lawsuit.

The matter is before the state Supreme Court Justice John Ark, who told the parties in September he was ready to rule, but urged them to reach an out-of-court settlement.

Ark also asked former Prattsburgh officials to explain their involvement with Ecogen last December.

Last week, Wordingham told the town board a face-to-face meeting was being arranged between a representative of Ecogen’s parent company, Pattern Energy, Prattsburgh, and Italy Town Supervisor Brad Jones.

The Town of Italy also is battling Ecogen in court over a proposed 18-turbine wind farm there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

First Wind Withdraws Registration Statement

First Wind Holdings Inc. today announced that pursuant to Rule 12d2-2(c) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 5840(j) of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”), it intends to withdraw its Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share, from registration under section 12(b) of the Exchange Act, and in connection therewith intends to file an application on Form 25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pursuant to the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Nasdaq, these actions will also terminate First Wind’s previously approved listing on Nasdaq. First Wind is terminating its listing and withdrawing registration of its common stock because of unfavorable market conditions that would adversely affect the offering of the common stock.

Wind industry fears FERC slip-up on proposed grid rules

The American Wind Energy Association said late Friday that there could be a “mistake” in proposed new grid connection rules from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The issue regarded reforms that FERC said on Friday would make it easier for renewable energy projects to connect to America’s electricity transmission networks (see this BrighterEnergy.org story).

But the wind industry trade association said it believed the proposed rule allows conventional power generators to remain “largely exempt” from integration costs they impose on the system from any unexpected or emergency shutdowns, while renewable energy generators would have to pay “more than their share”.

The AWEA said it was not clear whether the federal commissioners intended such a rule, and that FERC’s remarks on outlining the proposals had not indicated this was the aim.

The trade association said on Friday: “We hope this was a mistake. Mistakes like this can be fixed before proposed rules turn into final rules. AWEA will provide FERC an alternative method that treats all generators fairly which we hope will be included in any final rule.”
Forced outages

Under the proposed rules, AWEA said conventional power generators do not have to pay for the back-up resources that grid operators require when conventional power plants shut down unexpectedly. These costs add up to billions each year, the wind industry group explained, but are not met by the generators that cause them.

However, variable energy producers like wind farms and solar power plants would have to pay for these back-up electricity supplies, even when outages are caused by large fossil fuel plants or nuclear generators, the wind industry fears.

AWEA also accused FERC of overstating costs of connecting up and managing renewable energy supplies on the grid in its proposals, calculating the variability of clean energy projects in isolation of other energy sources transmitting power through the grid.

Explaining the problem, the association said: “A comparable policy would be requiring a new house joining the grid to pay for an expensive battery that must be activated every time the residents turn a light or appliance on or off, while all of the existing grid users enjoy the benefit of having their changes in electricity use netted out against the changes of the other users of the grid.”

Noting the FERC’s intention to help reduce the discrimination faced by new renewable energy generators on the grid, the AWEA said it was “gravely concerned” that the proposals as currently drafter would “exacerbate” the discrimination.

FERC’s proposals are currently open for public comment for a two-month period.

The Problem with Spain’s Green Jobs Model

On at least eight occasions, President Obama has stated we should follow Spain’s example, massively subsidizing wind, solar, and other expensive types of electricity production. But if that’s really the model on which the president is basing U.S. policy, we may be in for a longer, deeper and more severe recession than previously thought.

Because the president emphasized Spain, we thought it was important to take a closer look at the Spanish experience. We commissioned a study on Spain and the results were astounding. What was meant to be a green energy revolution in Spain turned out to be an economic disaster. The video below explains why.

The Obama Administration is trying to implement the same types of programs that have failed in Spain. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today visited Baltimore, Maryland, to announce a new, streamlined process for issuing offshore wind permits. The announcement comes fresh off the heels of a visit to Louisiana, where he discussed, but did nothing to change, the Obama Administration’s stalled permitting process for offshore oil and gas production.

As the video and study show, Spain’s green jobs model doesn’t work. So why is the Obama Administration trying to emulate it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take back your legal rights to protect your community against turbines!

Are you fighting an industrial wind turbine project and finding, to your horror, that you’re getting nowhere with state & federal regulatory agencies?

•State Department of Environmental Conservation (aka Ministry of the Environment)
•State Department of Health
•State Attorney General’s Office
•Army Corps of Engineers
•and so forth
Are you discovering that Big Wind operates in collusion with the state and federal government, and there is no way to legally prevent these corporate knaves from getting their permits to destroy your community?

In sum, have your community rights been usurped by state or provincial law (witness the Green Energy Act in Ontario, Canada, and equivalent legislation in Wisconsin and Maine, and pending legislation in Massachusetts)?

If the answer’s “yes,” you’d better watch this video. It describes the exciting, grassroots work of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The video is about pesticide use in Santa Cruz, California, but you can just as well plug in “wind turbines” for “pesticides.”

Now, read this. It’s a letter from the CELDF, describing their services. (In this instance, it’s about hydrofracking in the “Marcellus Shale sacrifice zone.”)

Now ask yourself, Why can’t this approach be used against “wind farms”? Would the CELDF give advice, or, better yet, legal representation in your campaign? If they’re already stretched too thin, why can’t another group of attorneys and campaigners be formed to defend communities explicitly against turbines—using the same legal principles invoked by the CELDF?

Please forward to friends throughout the Marcellus Shale sacrifice zone:

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is pleased to offer free assistance to you to get a local law banning fracking adopted in your municipality. Join Pittsburgh, and take a stand for Community Rights! [The City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recently banned hydrofracking for natural gas.]

Please send an e-mail to me, including your name, phone number, address, and e-mail in the body, and the name of your municipality and county in the subject line to: BenPrice@celdf.org

We’ll prepare and send you the ordinance and petitions, outline steps and strategies, conduct conference calls with your core group of neighbors, and work with you throughout the process as closely as possible. Only costs: please reimburse mileage if we travel to your community to do presentations, etc. Free legal services to assist in the defense of the ordinance if there is litigation against the municipality, after the ordinance is adopted.

Check out our website: Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
And here’s the CELDF facebook page: CELDF—Facebook
Pennsylvania Community Rights Network facebook page: PCRN—Facebook
Northwestern chapter of PCRN Blog: NWPACRN

Ben Price

Projects Director

Monday, November 22, 2010

Prattsburgh, Italy heads to meet with energy reps

A face-to-face talk is in the works between the towns of Prattsburgh and Italy and an energy company seeking to build an electricity-generating wind farm.

Prattsburgh Town Supervisor Al Wordingham said Monday John Calloway, of Pattern Energy, will meet with representatives from the two towns to discuss their differences.

Pattern Energy is the parent company of Ecogen, a wind farm developer planning to set up 16 turbines in Prattsburgh and 18 turbines in the town of Italy. The three sides have been locked in legal disputes for nearly a year, with a state Supreme Court justice recently urging them to find an out-of-court compromise.

Wordingham told the town board he tried to contact Calloway three times after their initial 30-40 minute phone call on Oct. 20. However, Calloway had been out of the country and finally reached Wordingham Monday morning.

“He told me he had some internal issues to resolve, and then we could meet,” Wordingham said. “And he said ‘When we get together, no lawyers.’”

Wordingham said the details of the meeting have not been worked out, although he offered to meet Calloway at one the firm’s existing wind farms.

Calloway also offered to meet with Italy Town Supervisor Brad Jones, Wordingham said.
“It’s a good start,” Wordingham said. “I feel good about this.”

The current issue between Prattsburgh and Ecogen stems from a town election last year, during which pro-wind town Supervisor Harold McConnell and town Councilwoman Sharon Quigley were ousted by sizeable margins.

Days after the election, Ecogen filed a lawsuit against the town, insisting all details be cleared up before the end of the year. The lame-duck board swiftly reached a 3-2 agreement with Ecogen in December, which was rescinded by the new town board in January.

Ecogen then filed its second lawsuit, charging the new town board did not have the authority to overturn the December action. The board opted to fight the lawsuit, saying the earlier agreement violated a number of laws, including home rule.

Ecogen also sued Italy, after the town denied the developer the permits to proceed with the turbines. Italy also piled up significant legal debts, prompting their attorneys to step down recently from the case.

Concern about future legal costs for all sides led state Supreme Court Justice John Ark to recommend last September the parties work out a solution before he publicly announces his decision.

Since then, both towns have told Ark they would support alternate sites originally proposed by Ecogen.

Ecogen response, on Oct. 13, maintained the Prattsburgh agreement in December is binding and any compromise would kill the project. But Ecogen said it would look for other ways to increase annual payments to Italy and offered to pay the town’s legal fees.

The developer’s statement to the court was made a week before Calloway and Wordingham talked for the first time.

Italy Town Supervisor Brad Jones said he would be glad to meet with Wordingham and Calloway. He added Ecogen’s financial offers are not enticing.

“For one thing, we’ve paid our (legal) bill,” he said. “I’d say they’ve been hard line with us throughout.”

Italy recently passed their 2011 budget, which includes a near-flat increase in the tax levy and a drop in the tax rate. The town also has increased its legal fund account, which will go toward paying their previous attorneys and securing a new one, Jones said.

“We’re in good shape,” Jones said.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Problems at wind farms 'unusual,' state official says

More than a week after Iberdrola Renewables opted to shut down assembly of the first wind farm in Herkimer County, construction has resumed, but little is known about how the project veered off course.

What is certain, one state official said, is the recent turn of events at Hardscrabble Wind Farm is hardly the norm.

Iberdrola halted turbine construction earlier this month to complete additional testing after it discovered concrete used in the foundations of some of the turbines did not meet company standards.

Jim Denn, a spokesman for the state Public Service Commission, said it’s rare to find problems with the construction of one turbine, let alone a group of them.

“There are hundreds of wind turbines that exist in New York state that are operating safely and that have been constructed appropriately,” Denn said. “It is certainly unusual if a particular turbine has a problem with the foundation at any point.”

By the time construction ceased, 25 of the 37 turbines slated to dot the Fairfield and Norway landscape were fully constructed.

On Friday, the company formally announced that construction had commenced again on turbines where tests were completed and foundations meet or exceed the company’s standards. Further results still are pending, company officials said.

Rumors regarding the nature of the problem and where fault lies abound among residents, contractors and even some local officials.

Ibderdrola spokesman Paul Copleman would only respond to O-D inquiries through e-mailed responses. He declined to release the names of the project’s contractors and to speak about whether all current contractors would remain working on the project despite the glitch.

The problem, Coplemain said, involved the strength of the concrete foundations, which support the turbines. Data the company gathered during routine tests showed some foundations were weak, he said.

While the company opted to temporarily call it quits on construction, local officials have said they knew the gist of the problems long before construction stopped.

Copleman confirmed that fact last week, saying that Iberdrola first identified the specific problem in early November but only decided to cease construction Nov. 12 to pursue certain tests.

“We have aggressively addressed any concerns as soon as they were identified,” Copleman said. “Until all of the tests are concluded and the engineer reviews the data, we cannot confirm to what extent the issue exists.”


The issues almost certainly would have been handled differently if the project was larger, state officials said.

The state Public Service Commission regulates wind energy projects of 80 megawatts or greater. The Hardscrabble project, however, falls just six megawatts shy of being restricted by state guidelines.

For those projects that are bound by state regulations, the state has the authority to step in and conduct an investigation when problems are discovered with wind farms. Those same wind farms meeting the 80 megawatt standard also must follow various state regulation and approval processes, said Denn, the commission spokesman.

For example, earlier this year, the state investigated a turbine collapse at Noble Environmental Power’s Altona Wind Park in Clinton County. The investigation revealed that during a power outage, the turbine spun out of control due to incorrect wiring.

As a result, the state ordered all wind power developers with projects of 80 megawatts or greater to certify that they have emergency systems that will shut down turbines during a power loss.

Asked why the threshold is set at 80 megawatts, Denn said the system simply is what it is.

“It’s 80 megawatts or above because that’s the law,” Denn said. “That’s like asking why do we travel at 55 miles per hour. We do because that’s the law.”

‘More diligent’

So where does regulation lie for projects such as Hardscrabble?

It’s entirely up to local officials, Denn said.

Fairfield Town Supervisor Richard Souza and Norway Town Supervisor Judy Gokey did not return calls last week.

Delaware Engineering, a firm specializing in environmental engineering, was jointly hired by the towns to oversee the projects. Engineer Stephanie Vetter, who is assigned to the project, would not comment on its recent problems and directed questions to town officials.

Norway resident Cheryl Crossett, who will have six turbines on her land when the project is complete, said she’s not worried about the project’s oversight.

Her husband, Scott Crossett, is a Norway Town Board member who recused himself from discussions about the project because it involved his land.

“I don’t have a concern for the wind towers themselves being that they’ve caught the problem and they’re in the process of rectifying it,” Cheryl Crossett said. “Now that they know what’s going on, I’m sure they’re going to be more diligent.”


Project scope: 74 megawatts. Only projects 80 megawatts or larger are overseen by the state Public Service Commission. The only oversight for the Hardscrabble project comes from the towns involved.

Turbine specifications: All turbines are 2.0 megawatt Gamesa turbines. They measure 322 feet to the center hub or 476 feet to the tip of the blade.

Foundation specifications: Each foundation was expected to use about 680 cubic yards of concrete, according to Iberdrola’s project plans.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

EWN Special: "Winds of Change"

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The New York Power Authority is looking to get into the wind energy business with a plan that would place hundreds of wind turbines on the waters of Lake Erie.

"Right now we've kind of rough estimated that we are looking for a project between, or projects between 150 and 500 megawatts. So there is a big spread," says Lou Paonessa from NYPA.

That could mean as many as 100 wind turbines rising from the waters of Lake Erie, set out a few miles from shore and standing up to 400 feet tall.

While the plan could take up to three or four years to come to pass, opponents are wasting no time voicing their opposition.

"This is being advanced by private interests under the guise of being green, but I don't think it's going to look very green to have a lake covered in windmills with flashing beacons at night," says John Reinhold, an advocate against the windmills.

Watch the video to see John Borsa's special report, "Winds of Change".

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bingham residents cancel meeting, discuss wind farm anyway

BINGHAM -- Officials canceled a public meeting about a wind development project Wednesday night, but that didn't stop some residents from airing their opinions in the parking lot.

Town officials are still wondering why 600 postcards they say were sent to the post office never made it to residents' mailboxes.

"Not a soul has gotten one," said Selectman Steven Steward. Rather than have just a handful of people attend, selectmen and wind farm development officials from First Wind agreed to postpone the meeting.

In an interview Thursday, Alec Jarvis, with First Wind, provided updated information about the project's potential distance from homes, its possible tax benefits and the company's perceived financial health.

Residents will learn more on Wednesday, Dec. 1, about the proposed project to construct about 10 turbines in Bingham, with a total of up to 50 stretching north through Brighton Plantation, Mayfield Township, Kingsbury Plantation and Blanchard Township.

The meeting on Dec. 1 will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Quimby Middle School.

First Wind, which also operates Stetson Wind in Washington County, has been gathering wind data for about nine months from the ridge in northeast Bingham. While details are emerging, a turbine would likely top Johnson Mountain, Jarvis said.

The land for the proposed site is owned by Plum Creek and E.D. Bessey & Son, which buys and sells log wood. Both companies are willing to lease their property.

Jarvis said only one home is less than two miles from the turbines' proposed site.

When asked why the company is looking to the Bingham area, he said the strong wind currents were "first and foremost" in the decision. The region also appears to have suitable locations below 2,700 feet for turbines. Development at higher elevations would harm a more-sensitive environment.

The area is relatively isolated, he added, and already has a network of logging roads, which would limit the number of new roads that would be built.

But some residents remain wary of the proposed change.

Standing in the parking lot outside the blackened windows of the Quimby Middle School gym on Wednesday night, six residents said the potential project would hurt their small community.

"If we start putting windmills on all our hills, it will ruin the quality of what we have. This valley is all we have left," said Evelyn Beane, of Bingham.

She is not opposed to wind power, she said, but turbines should be located off the coast, where wind is strong and the energy produced benefits Maine residents.

Margy Flynn, of Bingham described the proposed project as a "temporary fix" that would not sustain long-term jobs or economic benefits.

First Wind officials have said the project could produce six to 12 long-term, full-time jobs.

The project would essentially hand taxpayer money to the Boston-based company, said Roderick Belanger, of Moscow, referring to federal stimulus funds granted to the company.

"I think it's just a waste of taxpayer money," he said. "There's no benefit to the state of Maine or this community when it's all said and done."

The U.S. government has granted hundreds of millions of dollars to First Wind, according to an Oct. 25 article in Reuters. In July, the company received a $117 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Since Sept. 2009, it has received $254 million in grants from the U.S. Treasury.

The company's financial future may depend on continued government support, according to a Nov. 14 article in the Maine Sunday Telegram. One apparent hitch in the company's financial future happened in October when it failed to go public and sell stock to investors.

While opponents at the time said it was an example of the company's vulnerability, Jarvis said the company's health is not in jeopardy.

"It would have been an opportunity for an additional source of funding," he said. "It has not affected our development efforts in Bingham."

First Wind is mostly owned by private equity firm Madison Dearborn and hedge fund operator D.E. Shaw and has never been profitable, according to Reuters.

Jarvis said he encourages people to attend all informational meetings and take tours of the company's facilities. He emphasized the benefit of new legislation that mandates payment of $4,000 per turbine to go toward a host community benefit agreement.

The town may also form a tax-increment financing district to capture shifts in property value and then spend the money on economic development projects, he said. If the TIF district is not formed, he agreed taxes would most likely go down, but the resulting increased valuation would cause loss of education subsidy, he said.

In the meantime, the mailing misstep will remain a mystery. First Wind sent the notices from Portland to the town's post office on Nov. 4, to then be given to residents, Jarvis said. The company paid for the postage for the notices, which provided the date and time of Wednesday's meeting.

Cathy Atkins, the town's postmaster, said she doesn't remember ever receiving the postcards. While she's been on vacation recently, "I've had two people working for me, and they're very reliable," she said.

Cape Vincent residents demand Edsall's ouster

CAPE VINCENT — Several town residents frustrated with Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall demanded his resignation at a well-attended Town Council meeting Thursday night.

Hester M. Chase, founder of the St. Lawrence River Public Power Association and one of the nearly 200 people who attended the meeting at the Cape Vincent Recreation Park, said Mr. Edsall was not fit to represent the Planning Board because, among other reasons, he has financial contracts with BP Alternative Energy.

Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey and Councilman Brooks J. Bragdon tried to pass a motion to restrict Mr. Edsall from voting on wind issues that come before the Planning Board, but the other three council members voted against it.

Many others at the meeting agreed with Ms. Chase.

Read entire article

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Petition for Public Hearing - Saddleback Ridge Wind project-Maine

Please click on the following link to sign a petition calling for the DEP to hold a public hearing on noise and scenic impacts for the Saddleback Ridge Wind project. The application was accepted for processing and the deadline for requesting a public hearing is December 6. This is the first application where interested parties have had the ability to submit credible, conflicting technical evidence within the 20 day period required by DEP rules. Rufus Brown has been engaged to draft the necessary documentation, drawing from his experience in the Record Hill Wind, Oakfield, and Spruce Mountain applications. The purpose of the petition is to demonstrate to DEP that there is widespread support for a hearing.

“Wind Turbine Syndrome and the Brain” (Pierpont)

The following is the text of Pierpont’s keynote address before the “First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Adverse Health Effects: Loss of Social Justice?” in Picton, Ontario, Canada, October 30, 2010. It is followed by a discussion of several other relevant talks at the symposium by Drs. Alec Salt, Michael Nissenbaum, Christopher Hanning, and Mr. Richard James.

(Click to read the entire article)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First Wind Marks the Start of Construction on Milford II Project

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, held a ceremony today to commemorate the start of construction of the 102 MW expansion of the company's Utah-based Milford Wind project. As part of the ceremony, local and community leaders joined First Wind at the project site in Milford, Utah to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of the project along with the significance of recent project milestones that include a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) and construction financing, both of which were critical in spurring the current construction activity.

Milford Mayor Bryan Sherwood and Millard County Commission Chair Daron Smith joined with First Wind officials and others in signing their names to a turbine blade that will be erected on the wind project.

The Milford Wind Phase II Project will have the capacity to generate up to 102 MW of clean energy upon its completion, enough to power about 22,000 homes. Located in Millard and Beaver County, Utah, the construction associated with the installation of 68 additional 1.5 MW GE turbines for the second phase of the project began in July, with foundations being poured in October.

The construction will be a source of revenue and new jobs to the surrounding area. For example, the 204 MW Milford I project, which went online in November 2009, supported more than 300 development and construction jobs, and First Wind directly spent about $30 million with Utah-based businesses developing and building the first phase of the project and another $50 million in statewide spending on items such as wages, taxes and more.

"We are very pleased to accelerate our construction activities for the second phase of the Milford Wind project," said David Hastings, Vice President of Western Development for First Wind. "The expansion and continued success of Milford Wind is a testament to the project and the commitment of our stakeholders, the State of Utah, our host counties of Beaver and Millard, our PPA partners - SCPPA, LADWP and Glendale, our landowner group including the federal Bureau of Land Management, our contractor and subcontractors, and of course our lenders."

RMT, which led the construction for the Milford I project and is currently building First Wind's Kahuku project in Oahu, Hawaii and the Sheffield Wind project in Vermont, is again leading construction activities for the Milford II project.

"We are pleased to continue our partnership with First Wind to expand the Milford Wind project," said Frank Greb, Vice President and General Manager for RMT. "As with the first phase of the project, RMT will hire local workers and subcontractors whenever possible to ensure that the construction of this expansion maximizes the economic benefits for the surrounding community and Utah."

Power Purchase Agreement with SCPPA

Completed on October 18, 2010, the long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply the cities of Los Angeles and Glendale with renewable energy represented a significant milestone for the Milford II project. Once completed, the second phase of the Milford Wind project will add to the already significant renewable energy that is being produced and delivered to Los Angeles, Burbank and Pasadena through the first phase of the project. The 102 MW expansion will utilize the 88-mile generator lead that was built from the Milford Wind project to the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, which then connects the site to the electrical grid.

"This PPA for Milford II is significant as it builds on the successful long-term PPA we signed in 2007 for Milford I, which at its time was a landmark for a publicly owned utility," said Bill D. Carnahan, Executive Director of the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA). "As with the Milford I PPA, SCPPA will contract with First Wind for the long-term agreement, prepay for the energy, and sign power sales agreements with the participants to sell them the output of the project to repay SCPPA's costs including the ongoing operating expenses."

Project Financing

In addition to the PPA, First Wind recently secured financing for the project. RBS Securities Inc. was lead arranger and bookrunner for this loan. The following banks acted as joint lead arrangers for the financing: Banco Espirito Santo S.A. New York Branch, Santander Investment Securities Inc., CoBank, ACB, and SG Americas Securities, LLC.

"The commitment from these banks is evidence of both the strength of this project and the promise of the wind industry," said Steve Schauer, Senior Vice President of Finance for First Wind. "We sincerely appreciate their commitment to both the Milford I and now the Milford II projects and to renewable energy. We look forward to building our relationship with each of them."

"RBS is very pleased to have played a leading role in First Wind's financing of the Milford II project," said Richard Randall, RBS Managing Director. "We applaud First Wind's dedication and the Joint Lead Arrangers' commitment in successfully closing this financing. The financing of the Milford II project, following the success of the first Milford project last year demonstrates the tremendous vision of the Milford Wind project and First Wind to bring low cost renewable power to southern California."

When completed, the combined phases of the Milford Wind project will have the capacity to generate enough to power the equivalent of more than 65,000 homes annually. With an aggregate of 306 MW of clean, wind energy between the two projects, the power produced by Milford Wind will be the equivalent of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions by over 310,000 tons annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (E-GRID).

Another View: Wind protesters really prophets who warn of dire peril ahead

In response to the editorial "Anti-wind protests undercut their own case" (Nov. 10): There will come a time when perception becomes reality.

What once held promise as a cure for harmful emissions as an energy source that could reduce our dependency on foreign countries and fossil fuels will be recognized as a bad trade.

Wind energy is a low-value, high-cost, unreliable non-solution to our energy needs. Its massive environmental footprint is the antithesis of "tread lightly and leave a small footprint" Earth-friendliness.

The three dozen protesters who stood out in the biting rain and who were arrested will in time be vindicated in the eyes of the editors and others in the aftermath and awakening of the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the public and the environment.

This is, was and will always be about the money. Multinationals like G.E., Iberdrola, ShellWind, BP Wind, UPC Wind, First Wind, Second Wind, Italian Vento Power Corporation IVPC and others are not concerned about environmental or public benefits.

They are content to destroy our natural resources by policies that force us to pay for their environmental destruction and blight.

As stimulus funding has failed to produce industry-claimed green jobs, it will vanish. Wind developers will be seen as carpetbaggers, leaving behind a graveyard wake of 440-foot steel towers with fiberglass, concrete and transmission fluids.

Wind turbine oils and toxic neodymium will contaminate our aquifers. Our soil will be littered by 400-foot steel and fiberglass failing wind turbines, each with 8,000 parts, in place of scenic splendor that once defined the region.

The only thing standing between predatory wind multinationals and the integrity of the environment of Maine are the patriots willing to be arrested to defend our most precious assets, rights and the public trust.

They may be ridiculed by some now, but they have my enduring gratitude for their selflessness, wisdom, vision, patriotism and actions taken to defend public and environmental interests.

First, do no harm. Conservation measures should be exhausted before we permit the shift of our wealth in resource and monetary terms to multinationals in exchange for unreliable, cost-prohibitive, redundant, habitat-and-scenic-vista-damaging, bird-and-bat-killing, home-and-property-devaluating, quiet-enjoyment-destroying and community-dividing wind energy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ecogen group unwilling to find middle ground

Prattsburgh, NY — Wind developer Ecogen apparently sees no compromise in its ongoing lawsuit with the town of Prattsburgh.

In a written response to state Supreme Court Justice John J. Ark, Ecogen’s attorney Robert W. Burgdorf said the town’s offer of remote location for the turbines would “effectively kill” the project in Prattsburgh.

Prattsburgh officials counter the new location was included in Ecogen’s original plan and would solve a number of problems, including noise issues.

“They’re not going to bother anybody down there,” said town Councilman Chuck Shick.
The debate was launched after Ark recommended the battling parties work out a solution, in order to avoid costly future litigation.

Ecogen filed the lawsuit last January against the current Prattsburgh town board, claiming a resolution passed 3-2 in December by the former town board allows the developer to go ahead immediately with plans to put up 16 turbines.

The current town board rescinded the December resolution 4-1 at the beginning of the year, saying it was illegal and violated home rule laws.

Ecogen still sees the earlier resolution as valid, Burgdorf wrote Ark on Oct. 13.
But Ark wants a closer look at why the settlement was approved so quickly – a good sign, Shick said.

The December settlement was drawn up by then-town attorney John Leyden, with the support of former town Supervisor Harold McConnell.

The former board’s action came close on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Ecogen days after pro-wind board members McConnell and Sharon Quigley were soundly defeated in the November general election.

“(Ark) wants to hear why some decisions were made,” Shick said. “He wants John and Harold to explain their actions, under oath. I’d like to know that, myself.”

Shick and Councilman Steve Kula voted against the December agreement, and voted to rescind it in January as members of the new board.

Prattsburgh officials say Ecogen can put turbines in a remote area in the town originally included in the developer’s site plan. The original plan called for 100 turbines to be set up in town, with 34 potential locations in Prattsburgh’s southwestern corner, Shick said.

Burgdorf dismissed Prattsburgh’s proposal, saying the change would require years of environmental studies, new permits and new land control efforts.

“(It) would be an insurmountable task,” Burgdorf wrote to Ark.

However, Ark’s effort to get both sides to agree did lead to the first informal discussion this year between the town and Ecogen’s parent company, Pattern Energy.

New town Supervisor Al Wordingham declined to give specifics about the discussion, which occurred two weeks ago, but said it was “very positive.”

The wind farm project has been the source of debate in the town, stretching back to 2002 when the developer announced plans to put turbines in Prattsburgh.

Ecogen also planned to build 17 turbines in the neighboring town of Italy, in Yates County. Ecogen also is suing Italy, which turned down the project a year ago.

The projects were touted in the beginning by some Prattsburgh board members and many residents as a way to provide renewable energy, increase town revenues and provide income for landowners.

Other residents have strenuously opposed the projects on the grounds the turbines could irreparably harm people in the area, the environment, and the landscape.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Will turbines rise on Rollins Mountain?

LINCOLN - The gravel roads are in, climbing Rollins Mountain and the adjacent ridgelines that rise along the surrounding towns here in northeastern Penobscot County. They lead to concrete pads, crowned with beefy bolts anchored to bedrock. If the weather cooperates and work stays on schedule, a giant crane will begin erecting 389-foot-high steel towers on the pads next month.

By midsummer, 40 turbines stored in a neighboring town will be spinning above the forested landscape. A tour of the site last week suggests that Rollins appears on target to become Maine's next wind farm, helping the state meet its renewable energy goals and the region reduce its dependence on natural gas-fired electricity.

But opponents of industrial-scale wind power have a different perspective.

They see the developer -- Boston-based First Wind Holdings LLC -- in financial trouble and struggling to secure the money to complete the $130 million venture. They also see a new Congress that may balk at the subsidies that help support wind power, and a new state government that may be less friendly to wind energy development.

On the ground, Rollins seems like a done deal. But out of view, Maine's anti-wind power movement is trying to exploit shifting financial and political conditions to hobble First Wind, the state's most prominent wind developer -- and, by extension, other proposed projects.

This strategy helps explain why Friends of Lincoln Lakes and foes of wind power from around Maine last week invited statewide media to a well-choreographed demonstration here, during which five people were arrested and led to police cars.

At first glance, Rollins seems an unlikely rallying point. The project is not located in Maine's high, scenic mountains. Tote roads bisect low hills that have been harvested for timber. The Walmart outside town certifies Lincoln's status as a service center for this corner of the county. The pungent plume from Lincoln Paper and Tissue, the largest employer, says Lincoln is at ease with industry.

But hugging the shores of Mattanawcook Lake, this town also is a mecca for four-season recreation. It calls itself "the land of 14 lakes," and some residents who value the area's rural beauty and solitude don't want to see, or hear, the big turbines turning on the ridges. They've been joined by a vocal coalition of citizen groups that say evolving evidence shows the impact of wind farms on the landscape and nearby residents outweighs the benefits.

The next salvo in this ongoing war will be less visual: Opponents say they're preparing a legal challenge of Rollins' environmental permit, based on their contention that First Wind failed to prove it has the financial capacity to complete the project. The company so far has survived these assaults. Opponents have lost past appeals, including a test of the state's wind-siting law heard earlier this year by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

First Wind said it chose this area not only for the wind resource, but also because it's away from sensitive environmental areas. The road clearing and rock blasting being publicized by opponents are being done within permit standards, the company said, and adjacent forestland will be restored once the work is complete.

The project also is creating more than 200 construction jobs, and a burst of spending that's welcome in a community with above-average unemployment.

Regarding its financial capacity, First Wind said last week it has "a clear path" for financing and expects to make an announcement by year's end that it has secured third-party loans.

Opponents are skeptical. They were emboldened last month, after First Wind failed in its long-planned bid to go public and sell stock to investors. Documents filed in connection with the aborted sale show that its projects depend heavily on a federal stimulus program that took effect in 2009.

That program offers a cash grant for up to 30 percent of a project's cost in lieu of an investment tax credit. First Wind received $254 million in grants for four projects, including the nearby Stetson II wind farm. In its public offering filing, First Wind states that if the incentives are cut or eliminated, or if government reduces its support for wind, it would hurt the company's ability to get financing.

New projects must be under way in 2010 to qualify for the grants. That's one reason, opponents say, First Wind needed to break ground for Rollins this fall.

With the program set to expire, the wind industry is lobbying Congress to extend the incentives during the current lame duck session. They face a less-certain future next year in the new, Republican-controlled House.

Reacting to this scenario, First Wind said last week that although the program is important, most project financing comes from private capital markets and investors. It also expects a prior subsidy to remain in effect until 2012.

"If the program expires at the end of the year, we will adjust our planning and financing to reflect the program that's in place," said John Lamontagne, the company's spokesman.

Opponents, however, say this uncertainty raises questions about First Wind's financial capacity.

Lynne Williams, a lawyer for Friends of Lincoln Lakes, is charging that Maine's Department of Environmental Protection was lax in granting First Wind a permit to build Rollins, because the company failed to demonstrate that it had the money to finish the job.

Williams points to a letter in the Rollins application from Michael Alvarez, First Wind's president. The letter summarizes First Wind's intent to fund the $130 million project with both company financing and money from unrelated, third parties, such as banks. This is a common arrangement in wind projects.

The letter also notes that the turbines, valued at $80 million and acquired through a loan to be paid at the close of third-party financing, are stored in Chester. It says First Wind will make the balance of construction costs -- $50 million -- available prior to closing on third-party financing. It attaches a consolidated financial statement as evidence.

"As indicated in those financials, First Wind has liquid financial assets in excess of the $50 million required to complete construction," Alvarez wrote.

But that cash may not be available today, according to Lawrence Dwight, a financial planner and wind power critic in Wilton. Dwight reviewed First Wind's financial statement as of Sept. 30.

The statement listed assets of $140 million and liabilities of $205 million, with some large loans due next year. Cash on hand was roughly $31 million, Dwight found. The challenge for First Wind, Dwight said, will be to nail down financing in the coming months to complete Rollins.

Rollins has an important asset that makes it attractive to lenders -- a long-term power contract. Last year, the Public Utilities Commission directed Central Maine Power Co. and Bangor Hydro-Electric to buy power from the 60-megawatt project for 20 years.

Meanwhile, First Wind says it's continuing to move ahead with plans to develop other projects, including Bower's Mountain in eastern Maine, Oakfield in Aroostook County and sites in Rumford and Bingham.

That awareness has foes focused on the state's recent wind-siting law, under which Rollins received its permits. Opponents will try to convince the new Republican-controlled Legislature to revisit the law, which streamlines the review process in specific locations. They also plan to petition the DEP to amend existing noise regulations, which critics say allow turbines too close to homes.

Wind opponents also plan to take their case to Gov.-elect Paul LePage. Outgoing Gov. John Baldacci is a strong supporter of wind energy. contrast, LePage has questioned the state's commitment to wind power. He has expressed more interest in energy projects that compete on price.

First Wind has its own spin on prices, and will outline the benefits of stable long-term rates. And it will pick up LePage's campaign theme of creating jobs and economic growth, citing the hundreds of millions of dollars the industry has spent in Maine so far.

"We are excited to work with his administration and continue our investment in Maine," Lamontagne said.

Real Wind Info for Me

Consultant Wants Views On Wind Law

MORRISTOWN - When the Morristown Wind Committee presented the town board with its proposed wind energy facilities law on May 11, the document lacked noise standards and setback distances.

After members of the committee told the board they felt unqualified to recommend specific limits on noise and setbacks, the wind ordinance was passed along to LaBella Associates, P.C. - a consulting firm hired by the town to assist with the law's development.

Nearly six months later, LaBella has returned the draft law to Morristown with suggestions for improvement - none of which establish noise standards or setback distances.

"Before suggestions for the completion of this section can be offered, further discussion with the committee or with the board will be necessary to understand the town's intent," wrote Mark W. Tayrien, AICP, the director of LaBella's planning division.

Read the entire article

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Wind SEC Filing for Confidential Treatment

November 4, 2010
First Wind Holdings Inc.
File No. 333-152671 - CF#24849

First Wind Holdings Inc. submitted an application under Rule 406 requesting confidential treatment for information it excluded from the Exhibits to a Form S-1 registration statement filed on July 31, 2008, as amended.
Based on representations by First Wind Holdings Inc. that this information qualifies as confidential commercial or financial information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4), the Division of Corporation Finance has determined not to publicly disclose it. Accordingly, excluded information from the following exhibit(s) will not be released to the public for the time period(s) specified:
Exhibit 10.1 through December 1, 2015 Exhibit 10.2 through December 1, 2015 Exhibit 10.3 through December 1, 2015
Exhibit 10.4 through December 1, 2015 Exhibit 10.7 through January 1, 2012 Exhibit 10.10 through July 1, 2013
Exhibit 10.11 through July 1, 2013 Exhibit 10.12 through July 1, 2013 Exhibit 10.13 through July 1, 2013
Exhibit 10.14 through July 1, 2013 Exhibit 10.17 through January 17, 2018
Exhibit 10.28 through October 15, 2020
Exhibit 10.29 through October 15, 2020 Exhibit 10.30 through October 15, 2020
For the Commission, by the Division of Corporation Finance, pursuant to delegated authority:
Brigitte Lippmann
Special Counsel

An ebb tide for wind-farm developers

The political environment in Cape Vincent spirals downward toward complete chaos, as evinced by the most recent meeting of the Planning Board. A meeting whose agenda was dedicated to subdivision proposals was largely conscripted by the seemingly endless debate over wind-power development, and the bitter battle impinged on the lives and rights of people who were before the Planning Board with legitimate, nonwind-related business.

A similar but less dramatic situation exists in Hammond, and in Lyme, and has potential to erupt to some degree in Henderson. All of this is over proposals to erect wind farms, mostly by investors far from the north country. If everyone took a deep breath and looked toward the horizon and away from their own back yard for a moment, they might see something that makes their battling meaningless.

There are significant signs that a combination of the free-market system, a new Congress and a new state administration might put an end to the fight over wind farms because the policies and economic conditions that have allowed them to grow are all but gone.

The economic reality of wind-farm development has always relied on two things: government subsidies in some form, and a growing cost of electricity. In the middle of this decade, both federal and state governments were pushing financial aid to alternative energy projects, and because its technology is largely developed, wind power was a darling of the renewable energy crowd. Significant tax abatements promoted wind-power developments, direct subsidies made them even more attractive, and rising costs of natural gas (and pressure to retire coal-fired power plants) made higher energy costs more acceptable.

Read the entire item

Friday, November 12, 2010

Binsley Quietly Resigns from Cape Vincent Town Planning Board

CAPE VINCENT, N.Y. — After a stormy Cape Vincent town Planning Board meeting Wednesday, filled with tensions between the board’s chairman and a town citizen, board member Andrew R. Binsley privately resigned his post.

“Here’s my resignation,” Binsley told town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey, handing him a piece of paper after the meeting. “This is my last meeting.”

As Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall began the meeting by asking for members’ approval of the board’s Oct. 13 minutes, Hester M. Chase, 4866 Bedford Corners Rd., stood up to raise concerns about minutes from an Oct. 27 special meeting, which were not addressed for approval Wednesday.

“According to the by-laws of this Planning Board, the public at this time has a right to make a comment, oral or written,” Chase said.

The “Planning Board By-Laws,” which Chase was apparently referring to, Section 3, Article III, reads, “Commentary from the general public shall be received prior to the conduct of the regular business agenda. Comments may be presented orally or in writing. Each speaker shall state his or her name and address and shall be limited to a maximum of five (5) minutes.”

Edsall replied, “Will you sit down please?”

“No, I will not,” she said. “This is my right. It is every person in this room’s right.”

She continued, “And we’re gonna start getting our rights straight, Mr. Edsall. You guys are lawless.”

With Chase still attempting to speak, the board approved the Oct. 13 minutes with a motion made by board member George A. Mingle and seconded by Binsley.

In its next three orders of business, the Planning Board held public hearings before giving the OK for a property owners to make subdivisions and consolidations for lots.

“For this item only, would anyone in the public like to speak,” Edsall asked of the first land consolidation.

A man standing in the crowd of nearly 30 said, “This board is corrupt, I don’t think they should be making any decisions on any process going on.”

The chairman replied, “The comments are not relevant to that subdivision.”

Criticism from anti-wind proponents has come heavily during recent town Planning Board meetings since the state attorney general’s office launched an investigation in to some board members’ ethics regarding wind farm development in August.

During the Planning Board’s Oct. 27 meeting, John L. Byrne, chairman of the Wind Power Ethics Group (WPEG), announced his group will sue the board on grounds that it breached the Environmental Quality Review Act for the proposed St. Lawrence Wind Farm project.

“We believe what’s going to happen at the meeting here this month, they’re going to ask for more time to submit a more complete record in December,” Byrne said of the town.

Edsall, however, said the earliest discussions on wind power development would not be until February 2011.

Binsley did not return a call Wednesday night for comment.

Litchfield supervisor resigns amid wind project criticism

LITCHFIELD — For months, Litchfield town Supervisor Wayne Casler has been berated for what some have called a conflict of interest between his elected position and his work for a paving company that could benefit if a proposed wind farm comes to town.

Now, Casler has said he’s had enough.

After more than two decades in office, he and his wife, Karen Casler, the town’s appointed bookkeeper, will resign their positions at the end of the month, he announced at a Town Board meeting Tuesday.

Wayne and Karen Casler did not return calls Wednesday. Town Board members, however, said the supervisor cited constant criticism and attacks from those combating a proposed wind farm as his reason for stepping down.

“I’m still quite shocked,” Town Board member Jim Entwistle said. “I thought he had a conflict of interest with the wind proposal, and I stated that. But it’s just disappointing that he has to resign over one issue after 23 years of service.”

Resident Pat Christensen, who recently organized the citizens group Litchfield United, has questioned Wayne Casler’s role at the paving company.

“Just because he’s resigned his position does not mean all is forgiven,” Christensen said. “I’m waiting for the hammer to come down. If this isn’t an admission of guilt, I don’t know what is.”

The firestorm aimed at Wayne Casler ignited last year after Albany-based NorthWind and Power said it wanted to build an eight-to-12 turbine wind farm on Dry Hill.

Wayne Casler, whose term as supervisor would have expired in 2011, also is the regional controller for Barrett Paving Materials, a company that owns more than 100 acres of land on Dry Hill. NorthWind has said it is not interested in using Barrett’s land for the project, but the company could be selected to provide materials if it’s approved.

Meanwhile, the town, which does not have laws governing wind farms, then set out to create regulations – a tense process that has dragged on for months and made loud outbursts at town meetings a regular occurrence.

The O-D has reported that NorthWind wrote a letter to Wayne Casler in January suggesting the town adopt height regulations that would benefit its own project. Shortly after, the board was discussing regulations the company suggested. The town also recently hired another Barrett Paving employee as a private consultant on wind noise at Casler’s suggestion.

And at an October board meeting, Casler acknowledged his employment at Barrett could be a conflict of interest. Still, he said, he would continue to work on a proposed wind farm law and only recuse himself from discussions if a specific proposal came before the Town Board. NorthWind has yet to submit a formal proposal.

Sheila Salvatore, who heads Save Sauquoit Valley Views, a citizens group that opposes the project, said the Caslers’ resignations are another example of the polarizing affects wind projects have on small towns.

“The wind industry has come into town and encouraged division with the promise of money,” Salvatore said. “I feel Mr. Casler is just the latest victim. The sooner we rid our area of this destructive force, the better.”

Resident Ken Kotary said he’s known Wayne Casler his entire life and was upset to hear he’s stepping down.

“He’s been a tremendous asset to the town, and he’s taken the blunt of this criticism,” Kotary said. “I told him after the meeting last night, ‘You don’t deserve the abuse you’ve been getting.”

The Town Board has not yet decided how to fill the positions vacated by the Caslers. The board can leave the supervisor’s position vacant or can appoint someone to fill out the remainder of the term, which expires in 2011.

“I’m not sure which way we’re going to go,” board member Kate Entwistle said. “I’m not sure anyone really wants to be put in this position because of the turmoil.”

Tempers flare at meeting in Cape

CAPE VINCENT — A Planning Board meeting devolved into physical confrontation between an opponent of industrial wind power projects in the town and Chairman Richard J. Edsall.

At the beginning of the meeting Wednesday night, Mr. Edsall asked for approval of the board's minutes from a previous meeting.

Hester M. Chase, a community wind project supporter but opponent of the two industrial-scale projects, stood and said the board was not acting legally. The board's bylaws say public comments "shall be received prior to the conduct of the regular business agenda."

"We have the right to make comment," she said. "We're going to start getting our rights straight."

Read the entire article

Henderson bans wind development

HENDERSON — The Town Council has made Henderson the first north country municipality to ban commercial and private wind-energy towers.

On Wednesday, the council voted 4-1 to adopt a local law written by the law firm Hancock & Estabrook LLP, Syracuse, that bans all commercial, private and wind measurement tower placement. Councilman Frank W. Ross voted against the law. Supervisor Raymond A. Walker, Councilwomen Torre J. Parker-Lane, Carol A. Hall and Councilman Steven C. Cote voted in favor of the measure.

The law was tabled at an Oct. 26 meeting because some wording contradicted other elements of the statute. Those contradictions have been fixed since that meeting.

Ms. Parker-Lane said eventually the town would like to allow private wind towers, but until the board is able to work out those details, the ban will remain in effect.

Read the entire article

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wind Jammers at the White House

President Obama continues to advertise the $814 billion stimulus and its green energy subsidy programs in particular as unqualified successes. But a remarkable memo from Mr. Obama's own advisers tells the real story, neatly illustrating what happens when his anticarbon agenda meets the political allocation of capital.

The eight-page October 25 memorandum to the President was written by soon-to-depart chief economic aide Larry Summers and senior policy aides Carol Browner and Ron Klain, and it's been kicking around Capitol Hill and industry circles for the last week. The trio walks through an interagency dispute about Energy Department subsidies for wind, ...

When Push Comes to Shove: Cape Vincent Planning Board

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Electricity Markets Cultivating Growth of Windpower

NYISO notes market innovations at congressional briefing

Rensselaer, N.Y.— Competitive wholesale electricity markets in New York state and other regions of the country are playing a vital role in the expanded production and delivery of wind energy, according to federal regulators and energy industry officials who spoke at a congressional briefing held today in Washington, D.C.

Rana Mukerji, senior vice president—market structures for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), was among several featured speakers at the briefing, “The Nexus between Wind Energy Development and Competitive Wholesale Electricity Markets,” co-sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the COMPETE Coalition.

Mukerji highlighted some of the key strategies the NYISO has implemented to help increase the amount of windgenerated electricity that can be integrated without undermining grid reliability.

“Wind and other renewable sources provide important environmental and economic benefits. However, the variable nature of the ability to supply electricity presents challenges for grid operators and energy markets that we are addressing through innovative market mechanisms,” Mukerji said “In recent years, more than 1,200 megawatts of wind capacity have been added in New York, and we expect continued growth in wind generation in the New York market for the foreseeable future.”

In 2004, to help the state Public Service Commission implement a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for New York, the NYISO and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority commissioned a joint study to evaluate the grid-reliability impacts of up to 3,000-megawatts of wind-generated electricity. One of the study’s key proposals—which the NYISO later implemented—was a centralized wind-generation forecasting system to enhance the integration of wind projects.

In 2010, the NYISO conducted a follow-up assessment of the potential impact of adding up to 8,000 MW of wind power to the grid, reflecting the steady growth in proposed wind farm projects since the first study was commissioned.

In addition to the wind forecasting initiative, the NYISO became the first grid operator to institute a wind dispatch system based on bids of individual generators and has implemented pioneering changes in market design to integrate new energy storage resources that complement renewable resources.

Coupled with the need to install more wind energy capacity to comply with the state’s RPS mandate, these market reforms are playing crucial roles in driving new research and investment in the energy storage field.

“The NYISO’s market innovations are allowing developers to evaluate new energy storage technologies that target the variable supply of renewable energy, which often is produced at times of the day or night when demand is lowest. By enabling the development of solutions to store more renewable energy until it is needed, we are showing how markets can help create the conditions for the growth of wind power and other renewable energy resources throughout the country,” said Mukerji.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.

New York Independent System Operator. 10 Krey Boulevard. Rensselaer, NY 12144

A copy of Mukerji’s presentation, Balancing Wind, is available from the NYISO website, www.nyiso.com.

In a joint statement, AWEA and the COMPETE Coalition said, “The design, scope and independent operation of the organized markets are especially attractive to renewable and other innovative resources such as wind power. Wind power resource development has proven easier in areas with large regional organized markets than in balkanized regions, and this fact is confirmed by studies and experiences in Europe and the United States. Nearly 80% of U.S. installed wind capacity is located in regions with organized markets while these areas have only 44% of U.S. wind energy potential.”

A copy of the AWEA/COMPETE joint statement is available from the COMPETE Coalition website, www.competecoalition.com.

The COMPETE Coalition is comprised of more than 500 electricity industry stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, generators, transmission owners, trade associations, environmental organizations and economic development corporations—all of which support well-structured competitive electricity markets for the benefit of
the country.

The 2,500-member AWEA is the U.S. wind industry’s trade association, representing wind power project developers, equipment suppliers, services providers, parts manufacturers, utilities, researchers, advocates and other stakeholders.

Anti-wind power group to protest Rollins project

LINCOLN, Maine — As many as 50 people will be at a Route 6 construction site near the Lee town line Monday to protest the construction of the $130 million Rollins Mountain wind project, an event organizer said Sunday.

“The reason we are doing this is to continue to expose the fact that this is such a horrendous project, that it is doing untenable environmental damage to Rollins Mountain and the ridges of Rocky Dundee [Road],” said Brad Blake of Cape Elizabeth, spokesman for the Citizens Task Force on Wind Power, an umbrella group of about 14 groups of residents fighting wind projects around the state.

Members of the task force and the Friends of Lincoln Lakes, one of the 14 suborganizations, were making signs for the 8 a.m. protest. The protest will occur near the Rollins Ridge site, where workers paid by project proponent First Wind of Massachusetts are building roads and pouring concrete bases for the 40 turbines, each capable of generating 1½ megawatts, slated for ridgelines in Burlington, Lincoln, Lee and Winn.

Blake promised that members of the 14 groups would be there.

“We have people coming from all over the state,” he said. “People from other communities that are threatened by similar projects will be there, and we have people coming from communities that have been wise enough to put wind turbine ordinances in place to protect their citizens — unlike the irresponsible support for wind that the officials in the town of Lincoln put forth right from the beginning.”

First Wind officials hope to have most if not all of the turbines and other materials being stored at the Chester site installed by April.

The Lincoln Planning Board approved the project on Dec. 1, 2008, with the other host towns eventually following suit. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s permit for the First Wind subsidiary came in April 2009, but the project, probably the most protested since wind-to-energy companies began investing in Maine, had been in civil court since then.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes have lost all of their protests to the planning boards, DEP and the Board of Environmental Protection, but the group has no intention of stopping anytime soon. Its lawyer, Lynne Williams of Bar Harbor, is continuing to press legal action with state officials over the project.

Blake said the protest will underline the group’s belief that the project is improperly sited, First Wind hasn’t the money to finish building and operating it, and that state money should not be used to support the project.

“If anybody could see the devastation to the environment from the blasting and clear-cutting taking place on the ridges above the Lincoln Lakes, they would understand how horrendous the environmental impact is for this,” Blake said.

First Wind has argued that its project meets or exceeds all state environmental requirements and that wind turbines have no adverse effect on land values while producing environmentally friendly electricity and significant economic benefits to their host communities.

Rollins is the first in the state contracted to supply Maine utilities with wind power at discount rates.

Five Arrested at Wind Power Protest

Five protesters were arrested this morning after blocking construction vehicles at the site of a new wind farm under construction on Rollins Mountain in Penobscot County.

A protest at the site a wind power project under construction on Rollins Mountain has led to the arrest of five people. The protest was aimed at the 40-turbine project that Boston-based First Wind began constructing on the Penobscot County mountain in September.

Most of those arrested were members of the activist group, Earth First!, according to the Portland Press Herald.

They were apprehended after blocking construction vehicles from getting into the site for about half an hour. The demonstrators say they're concerned about the project's impact on the environment.

But First Wind officials told the paper that the renewable energy project is good for the environment and has already put 150 people to work.

Eventually, First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne told the paper, the $130 million project will put more than 200 people to work during construction.

The protest didn't have much effect on construction, as the intense storm that hit the state overnight had already put work at the site temporarily on hold.

Wind-power protesters arrested

LINCOLN - Five people were arrested Monday after they refused to stop blocking construction vehicles at the Rollins wind energy project here.

About three dozen protesters gathered at the entrance to the project site shortly before 8 a.m. as part of a rally planned by groups that oppose the project on Rollins Mountain and other large-scale wind energy proposals around Maine.

Most of those arrested are affiliated with the Maine branch of the national activist group Earth First! Wearing orange ponchos against driving rain and biting wind, they stood across a gravel access road and forced truck drivers to stop for nearly a half-hour.

Traffic resumed after the activists ignored warnings from Lincoln police and officers began escorting them to waiting cruisers. One woman was carried by officers when she refused to walk to a police car.

Other protesters, one dressed as a clown, many holding signs, cheered for their colleagues and jeered the police. Other officers tried to move the crowd off the project property and onto the public right of way bordering Route 6.

Boston-based First Wind began clearing the site and building the road for the $130 million project in late September. It has been pouring concrete foundations for the 40 turbines planned for the ridge lines here and in neighboring Burlington, Lee and Winn. More than 150 workers are on the job, with more expected later this fall when the turbine towers are erected.

John Lamontagne, spokesman for First Wind, said the company was pleased to move ahead with the project and provide jobs in northern Maine during tough economic times.

"It's unfortunate a small group of renewable-energy opponents have chosen to protest that, but we respect their rights to do so," he said. "This project will put more than 200 people to work during construction, and generate enough clean, renewable power for more than 24,000 homes in Maine. We're proud of that."

The project is rated at a capacity of 60 megawatts. The output is set to be sold to Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro-Electric, under an agreement approved by state regulators.

Opposition to Rollins has slowed, but not stopped, First Wind. The company received local planning board approvals late in 2008, and won state permits in 2009. The project was appealed by Friends of Lincoln Lakes, which ultimately lost a widely watched test case before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Members of the group who turned out Monday morning said they hoped that the publicity would draw attention to what they see as harmful development of Maine's wild lands.

The protest was part civic protest, part street theater.

Brad Blake, one of the organizers, carried a poster that read, "Stop the rape of rural Maine."

Gary Steinberg carried a giant screwdriver and shouted: "Screw the citizens!"

Arrested were Jessica Dowling, 29, of Thorndike; John Waters, 49, of Greene; Leonard Murphy, 29, of Woodville; Donald Smith of Lincoln; and James Freeman, 61, of Verona Island.

All were charged with criminal trespassing and released from jail on bail later Monday.

As a practical matter, the protest did little to disrupt construction. Most work was curtailed Monday morning by the bad weather.

Brad Kites, who lives in Lincoln and is First Wind's project manager, said he respects the right of residents to express their opinion, but would rather that they not disrupt the work, or create a safety hazard.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Protesters arrested at Lincoln windfarm

LINCOLN --- Five people were arrested this morning after they refused to stop blocking construction vehicles at the Rollins wind energy project here.

The arrests came as roughly three dozen protesters gathered at the entrance to the project site, shortly before 8 a.m. The action was part of a rally planned by citizen groups opposed to the project on Rollins Mountain, as well as other large-scale wind energy proposals around the state.

Most of those arrested were affiliated with the Maine branch of the national activist group, Earth First! Wearing orange ponchos against the driving rain and biting wind, they stood across a gravel access road and forced trucks to stop for nearly a half hour.

Traffic resumed after the activists ignored warnings from Lincoln Police and officers began escorting them to waiting cruisers. One woman was carried by officers when she refused to walk to a police car.

Other protesters, one dressed as a clown, many holding signs, cheered for their colleagues and jeered the police. Other officers attempted to move the crowd off the project property and onto the public right-of-way bordering Route 6.

Boston-based First Wind began site clearing and road building for the $130 million project in late September. It since has been pouring concrete foundations for the 40 turbines planned for the ridge lines here and in neighboring Burlington, Lee and Winn. More than 150 workers are currently on the job, with more expected later this fall when the turbine towers are erected.

John Lamontagne, spokesman for First Wind, said the company was pleased to move ahead with the project and provide jobs in northern Maine during tough economic times.

"It’s unfortunate a small group of renewable energy opponents have chosen to protest that, but we respect their rights to do so," he said. "This project will put more than 200 people to work during construction, and generate enough clean, renewable power for more than 24,000 homes in Maine. We’re proud of that.”

The project is rated at a capacity of 60 megawatts. The output is set to be sold to Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro-Electric, under a power purchase agreement approved by state regulators.

Opposition to Rollins has so far slowed, but not stopped, First Wind. The company received local planning board approvals late in 2008, and won state permits in 2009. The project was appealed by Friends of Lincoln Lakes, which ultimately lost a widely-watched test case at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Members of the group who turned out this morning said they hoped publicity would draw attention to what they see as harmful development of Maine's wild lands.

Today's protest was part civic protest, part street theater. Brad Blake, one of the organizers, carried a poster that read, "Stop the rape of rural Maine." It showed a "Welcome to Lincoln" sign that boasted the town is home to 13 lakes, not 40 turbines.

Gary Steinberg carried a giant screwdriver around and shouted: "Screw the citizens!"

Other protesters came from western Maine, where citizen groups are fighting proposed projects.

As a practical matter, the protest did little to disrupt construction. Most work was curtailed this morning by the bad weather. Brad Kites, who lives in Lincoln and is First Wind's project manager, said he respected the right of residents to express their opinion, but would rather that they not disrupt the work, or create a safety hazard

'Windfall' nabs grand jury prize at Doc NYC fest - Entertainment New

Some exciting news -- WINDFALL, Laura Israel's documentary on wind, won the grand jury prize last night at the DOC NYC Festival. This is very, very big news!

The price is a 35 mm film print of her work worth $40,000 -- needed to be eligible for the Academy Awards next year and also helps for theatrical distribution. See below.

Laura's film has now been invited and shown at the Evanston, Toronto, Vancouver, Woodstock, New York Film Festivals, and she is shortly off to Amsterdam in Europe. Laura is also looking into showing her work at select theatres around the US. The hope is that a distributor will contract for WINDFALL -- with that comes advertising clout and a lot of venues to show her film and get the message out.

Special congratulations to Laura for all her efforts on a job well done!

If you have a moment, please visit WINDFALL's facebook page http://www.facebook.com/windfallthemovie and friend it/share it with others. Thanks so much.

'Windfall' nabs grand jury prize at Doc NYC fest
By Gordon Cox

"Windfall" nabbed the grand jury prize in the Viewfinders competish of the first Doc NYC festival, while Bronx-set docu "To Be Heard" picked up a pair of kudos.

Laura Israel's "Windfall," a look at the dark side of green energy, was chosen from a pool of eight pics in the Viewfinders section, which centers on films with distinct directorial voices.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Leonard Lopate Show

Director Laura Israel and cartoonist Lynda Barry talk about the controversy over wind turbines. Israel directed “Windfall,” a revealing look at wind energy that tells the story of residents of Meredith, NY, who are divided when companies want to build wind turbines in the traditional dairy farm community. “Windfall” is playing as part of DOC NYC Friday, November 5, and Monday, November 8, at IFC Center. Lynda Barry is researching a book on homes near turbines. Her latest book is titled Picture This.

(Listen to the audio broadcast)

Noisy Brutes

The big surprise in Laura Israel's Windfall, a doc that I saw just before the Toronto Film Festival, is that wind-turbines, the "green" energy source that everyone is in favor of, are oppressors -- bringers of discomfort and anguish and headaches and lawsuits. They're 400 feet tall these days and weigh hundreds of tons and look like huge white Martian invaders out of Spielberg's War of the Worlds, and they have a proven history of making the lives of people who live near them miserable.

Last night, I'm told, the film played to a sold-out house at the IFC Center. During the q & a Israel and cartoonist Lynda Barry discussed the ravaging and plundering of economically hard-up communiities by the wind turbine industry.

Barry is writing a book about how wind turbines invaded the small burgh where she lives in Wisconsin. She's already interviewed more than 20 families and has done some initial drawings that have appeared on her website. She also runs the anti-wind turbine development website below.

Unity of knowledge

Piece by piece, presentation by presentation, the foundation upon which industrial wind industry and much of Ontario’s Green Energy Act sits was taken apart and dismantled this past weekend.

The industrial wind turbine business was always on shaky ground. It has been promoted by governments eager to be seen to be doing something about the western world’s reliance on fossil fuels—oil, gas and coal. In many respects wind energy policy has been a public relations exercise fuelled by governments’ willingness to spill billions of taxpayer dollars into developer’s pockets. They do so with a mix of wishful thinking and willful blindness in the expectation that technology leaps will fill in the significant operational gaps before most folks realize intermittent generating sources don’t work on a large scale.

None of these folks anticipated, however, that industrial wind turbines would actually make people sick. After the first international symposium in Picton on the weekend, there can be little doubt remaining.

Several analogies were made about how the
fight against the harmful effects of smoking tobacco began with just a few voices in the medical and scientific community. It would take decades, however, before governments would listen and begin to take action. The esteemed participants of the Picton gathering fervently hope it doesn’t take as long for governments and the broader public to understand the harm caused by industrial wind turbines.

Dr. Bob McMurtry, a physician and former deputy minister of health in Ontario, gathered doctors, scientists and researchers from around the world to Picton in reveal their findings and share the latest information on the impact of industrial wind turbines in what he termed a “consilience” or unity of knowledge.


Several alarming messages emerged. Every animal with a functioning hearing organ, including humans, is at risk of being affected by the low-frequency pulsating sound emitted by industrial wind turbines. Those most acutely affected tend to be disposed to motion sickness or car sickness— but even those without these symptoms may be responding to the noise, whether they are aware of it or not.

The low-frequency and subsonic (below the hearing range) noise from wind turbines has a demonstrable effect on the ear and hearing mechanisms. The most acute symptoms include nausea, dizziness and sleep disturbance. It is now becoming evident, however, that even those who don’t suffer these particular symptoms are likely realizing some harm. These hearing mechanisms are closely related to language development, learning and cognitive organization— as the fine components of the ear become stressed, learning in children becomes impaired, concentration becomes harder for adults, and sleep is disrupted.

Evidence was presented that people likely don’t “get used to” wind turbine noise. Even those who claim not to hear noise appear to endure physiological stress related to the pulsating low frequency noise.

Among the more worrisome bits of information gleaned from the weekend conference was that current assumptions of safe setbacks are likely wrong. Many opponents of large scale industrial wind factories have pressed for setbacks from homes of at least two kilometres. (Ontario’s Green Energy Act prescribes setbacks of just 550 metres.) But studies done by sound experts John Harrison and Richard James now show that in some conditions— over water and rocky terrain and beneath low cloud cover—the low-frequency noise can travel up to 15 kilometres.

Keynote speaker Dr. Nina Pierpont, the author of Wind Turbine Syndrome, explained that “our brains don’t function well” when subjected to long-term sustained low thumping noise from industrial wind turbines.

According to her research 90 per cent of those in her test sample exposed to the “pulsating tone” of the wind turbines suffered from cognitive performance deficit as compared to a control group. Generally they had more difficulty with reading, spelling, math, memorization and recalling the plots of television shows.

Pierpont’s findings extend beyond cognitive issues. She has also observed that stress to the hearing organ is linked to balance, which has a close relationship to emotions including panic and fear. These are the same triggers that cause in some a paralyzing fear of heights.

She observed that two-thirds of her test group—14 of 21—presented “disturbing symptoms” such as the need to flee, difficulty breathing, and panic.

Dr. Arlene Bronzaft recounted her groundbreaking studies on noise and learning done three decades ago in New York City. In her work she documented how children on one side of a school nearest a busy train line suffered from measurable learning impairment compared with students on the opposite side of the school. Her work led to legislation and changes in the classroom to ensure students has a quiet place to learn, not just in New York, but across the U.S..

She urged the physicians and scientists in the room to continue to produce evidence of the harm of industrial wind turbines.

“You need the studies and the research,” said Dr. Bronzaft. “You need to teach. You need to be political. But I ask you not to give up if you are successful in one area—there are communities in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Maine and across North America with small groups who are fighting these developers. They will continue to need your help.”

Alec Salt heads the Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis. He illustrated that sound emitted from industrial turbines is many times greater than the audible hearing range—prompting him to work through the answer to his own question—does sound that you can’t hear hurt you?

Salt’s research has shown how low-frequency sound affects the transport mechanism of the ear and hearing structure.

“A big part of the sound created by an industrial wind turbine can’t be heard,” explained Salt. “That doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you. When these structures move frequently and dramatically it can have an effect on a range of symptoms.”

He asked the audience to consider this proposition against other human senses.

“Apply this notion to taste, smell, sight and touch,” said Salt. “Does anyone believe that you have to taste something in order for it to be harmful? We know that ultraviolet light (light we can’t see) can have a dramatic effect on skin and other organs. The notion that we can’t be harmed by sounds we can’t hear is nonsense. We need to stop ignoring the effects of infrasound on people.”

He is less clear about whether symptoms persist after exposure to industrial wind turbine infrasound is discontinued.

Sleep expert Dr. Chris Hanning travelled from the U.K. to explain the effect of industrial wind turbines on sleep. He observed that the need for sleep is universal among animals—that poor sleep leads to a range of disorders from obesity to heart disease.

“Disrupted sleep over time leads to heightened states of frustration, anger and feelings of loss of control,” said Hanning. “This noise is viewed as an invasion of the place in which we go to retreat from life, where we go to feel safe.”

He also observed that the pulsating tone when measured on a spectragraph appears very similar in pattern to a fire alarm: “the tone we use to arouse people from sleep and warn them of danger.”

He has found that the persistent low frequency throbbing of industrial wind turbines is more disruptive to sleep than traffic, aircraft and industrial noise. The only thing worse, according to Dr. Hanning, is the rhythmic bass pounding from a loud stereo or “boombox” nearby.

Like Dr. Bronzaft, Hanning urged his colleagues in the room to continue to produce research and studies. He said illconsidered government policies have created thousands of guinea pigs around the world.

“There are enough folks being affected right now that together we can do the work that government and industry should have done in advance,” said Hanning.


After the physiological mechanics of the effect of industrial wind turbines had been described the conference turned to the victims. Dr. Michael Nissenbaum has conducted a controlled study of effects of industrial wind turbines on residents of Mars Hill in Maine. The subjects in his study live within 1,100 metres of an industrial wind installation consisting of 28 1.5 MW wind turbines. His control group consisted of 27 adults living on average 5,000 metres from the wind turbines.

Eighty-two percent (18 of 22) of those closest to the turbine reported “a new onset or worsened sleep disturbance” since the turbines went online. Only one of the 27 of those five kilometers away reported a new or worsened sleep disturbance. One hundred per cent of those closest to the turbines had considered moving away.


Much of this evidence presented this weekend, will likely be used in January as Ian Hanna of Big Island takes on the Ontario Government in court. Hanna is arguing that the province failed to use the “precautionary principle” when it lowered and removed regulatory hurdles to developers of industrial wind energy through the Green Energy Act. The precautionary principle states that governments or organizations must ensure that its policies do not harm individuals or communities prior to enactment.

It seems clear from this weekend’s Picton conference that the province failed to meet this test.

An answer to a NY Times article on italian wind energy

Dear Mr. Roncalli:

Thanks for sharing this correspondence. Below, see the note I had written Rosenthal, on September 29, a day after her article appeared, which I also sent to Stefano Allavena and then shared widely with people in this country and in Europe. She provided no response. As you can see, I'm also providing Rosenthal with a copy of this exchange, so that she may read Carlo Pinelli's excellent commentary, which the Times should publish but likely won't. Cheers!

Jon Boone

Ms. Rosenthali:

We have some things in common: our environmentalism (among other things, I helped found the North American Bluebird Society) and a long-time interest in the life and work of Roger Tory Peterson, whose Institute in Jamestown I've helped over the years, particularly assisting in the acquisition of a great deal of RTP's original art work. I greatly enjoyed your book on Peterson, and was sorry to have missed your talk about it in Jamestown (though Marlene Mudge gave me a good account).

What we evidently don't have in common is a mutual respect for wind "power," brought to a head by your paean yesterday regarding the wind project in Tocco da Casauria. In truth, wind is perhaps the silliest modern energy idea imaginable, at virtually every level of consideration. It is an antediluvian technology, with a fuel far too diffuse to be converted into modern power performance. It is typically inimical to demand cycles, and existentially destabilizes any grid, since its continuous flux unhinges the necessary match between supply and demand. In the process, it makes everyone and everything work much harder simply to stand still, subverting its ability to replace fossil fuels and abate greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the presence of over 100,000 huge wind turbines worldwide, not one coal plant has been closed because of those turbines--and there is no evidence whatsoever that there is less fossil fuel consumed as a direct consequence. I assure you that further investigation into the actual performance of the wind installation at Tocco da Casauria will reveal that what is really providing power to that community is more inefficiently operating coal and gas facilities.

After a conference at which I spoke last year in Palermo entitled Landscape Under Attack (the keynote speaker was former French president, Valery Giscard d' Estaing), one Italian journalist rightly characterized your "towering white wind turbines" as the leprosy of wind. Hundreds of people from across Italy came together to produce a document known as the Charter of Palermo, beseeching the governments of the world, particularly those in Europe, to come to their senses about this hulking presence over the countryside. More than half of the conference speakers were environmentalists concerned about the cognitive dissonance inherent in the idea of wreaking havoc on the environment in the name of saving it. Others addressed the genuine health issues surrounding wind technology, such as wind turbine noise syndrome, that Nina Pierpont, a New York physician, continues to study.

Puff pieces like yours, published on the heels of a push to require a national renewable energy standard for the country, do a disservice to the genuine discourse we should be having about the power needs for the future in an era of entrenched fossil fuel use. As it is, wind is an alternate energy source in the way that a blade of grass or a hangnail--anything in the material world--is an alternate energy source. The trick is how to convert energy fuels into sustained, manageable power. And there's the rub for wind, since it can only produce tail-wagging-the-dog power, which is why those wonderful Clipper ships today reside mainly in museums. Why not do a column featuring how gliders are now being incorporated into commercial air transport?

Those towering white turbines are totemic of ignorance and greed, not better energy policy. As is the case with ethanol, wind must be seen as the spawn of powerful economic interests within the energy industry itself (GE, AES, BP, FPL, Siemens, Goldman Sachs, even Areva), cynically using wind in Enronesque ways to enrich themselves while capturing government to make sure they get even richer. The success of PR spinners in creating a meaningless modern day melodrama, where wind technology is somehow transformed from a little shepherd boy into a fossil fuel slaying hero as the hook to sell more fossil fuel, is the real story. This cozy fable plays nicely on NPR. But it should be exposed for the grizzly corporate/government sleaze it really is, saving rate and taxpayers a bundle while restoring a modicum of intellectual integrity to the media.

I'd be happy to discuss this with you. Meanwhile, you might glance at some of the things I've written and done over the last eight years at this link: http://www.stopillwind.org. And I'm attaching my vignette painting of a bluebird on a hollyhock, symbolic of both hope and happiness and environmental history itself, which is essentially the chronicle of how adverse consequences too often flowed from the uninformed actions of the well intentioned. It is also a tribute to the indefatigable Arthur Allen, whose lab at Cornell and whose books and photos were, like the Peterson's, inspirational. Cheers!
- Show quoted text -

On Nov 7, 2010, at 2:02 AM, Fabio Tinelli Roncalli wrote:

On Sept. 26 2010 the New York Times published a misleading and deeply biased article by Elisabeth Rosenthal on wind energy ( Link ) . Here is the answer sent to the NYT from Carlo Alberto Pinelli, ( http://www.carloalbertopinelli.it ), director, alpinist and renowned environmentalist ( founder of Mountain Wilderness International).
Fabio Tinelli RoncalliWebmaster Via dal Vento Link

Dear Sir,

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica publishes each week a number of the most significant articles appeared in the New York Times during the week, and I have just read an article by Elisabeth Rosenthal titled: Old Town in Italy has Wind at its Back. In order to complete the information I would like you to know that the increasing number of wind towers for the production of clean energy is one of the most serious dangers threatening the beauty and historic value of the landscape in our country. This is a large and barbaric aggression supported by the excessive and unjustified incentives granted by the government to the industry concerned.

Therefore, it is not surprising that criminal organizations such as Mafia, Camorra, Ndrangheta, Sacra Rota Unita, are deeply involved in this profitable business with illegal and dishonest operations bringing only negligeable advantages to the national community. All independent experts agree on the fact that in Italy the wind is not sufficiently constant for a consistent supply of energy produced by the eolic towers. Should the incentives granted in Italy be considerably reduced to the standard applied in Germany or France, the business with wind energy would shrink drastically.

The author of your article quotes the opinion of a Legambiente official, an association that, strangely enough, is deeply involved in favour of wind energy. In Italy, many environmental associations are strongly struggling against the way the wind business is growing like a leprosy in our country with disgraceful side effects, among others Italia Nostra, Club Alpino Italiano, Mountain Wildeness, Friends of the Earth, LIPU, together with a great number of local groups defending with all sorts of means the historical and aesthetic significance of their traditional landscapes. Surely the wind power turbines will not free us from the need of acquiring fossil fuels, nor will it considerably reduce CO2 emissions. If somebody in your office is able to read Italian, I wish to ask him to consult the site www.viadalvento.org .I am available to supply any further detailed information, and I thank you for your attention.Carlo Alberto Pinelli, Honorary President, Mountain Wilderness Italia