Thursday, April 28, 2011

Clayton wind law changes urged

CLAYTON — Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor, who voted against stricter regulations on wind development exactly a year ago today, called for a far stricter set of criteria for commercial wind farms to follow that would have an impact on any projects proposed for the town.

Included in his recommendations at a Town Council meeting Wednesday are increased setbacks for wind turbines and measures to protect property values in the wind overlay district.

He proposed amendments to the town's wind law, or Local Law No. 1 of 2007, that would increase the setbacks to 1,250 feet from nonparticipating property lines instead of from residences and require wind companies to reimburse wind district residents if they are unable to sell their properties at assessed value after a year, among other things.

"Is it perfect? Is it the right number? I don't know. But it's better than what we've got now," Mr. Taylor said. "At this point in time, it gives us an opportunity and the applicant an opportunity to make adjustments before any shovels are put in the ground."

Read the entire article

First Wind challenges direction of 'Big Wind' project

The recent decision by Castle & Cooke to cede 200 megawatts of its wind allocation for the so-called “Big Wind” project to Pattern Energy so it can develop a wind farm on Molokai is being greeted with criticism from First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor.

The Big Wind project seeks to bring 400 mw of wind energy from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu via an undersea cable. The original 2008 agreement included plans for Boston-based First Wind to develop a 200 mw wind farm on Molokai and Castle & Cooke to develop a 200 mw wind farm on Lanai.

First Wind officials missed a March 18 deadline to secure land for the project from Molokai Ranch despite several offers. Earlier this month Peter Nicholas, the CEO of Molokai Ranch, announced that he had chosen San Diego-based Pattern Energy as its preferred developer if the project was to go forward, and that he would not work with First Wind.

In a recent letter to the state Public Utilities Commission, Gaynor described the agreement between Castle & Cooke and Pattern Energy as being in direct violation of the original agreement between Hawaiian Electric Co., Castle & Cooke and First Wind, in addition to going against stipulations included in the PUC’s original order approving the agreement.

Gaynor also described the new agreement with Pattern Energy as “contrary to the interests of ratepayers and the interests of the state of Hawaii and its people.”

According to Gaynor’s letter, the original 2008 agreement approved by the PUC stipulated that if one of the Big Wind developers failed in pursuit of their project, the other developer could develop up to 350 mw on its designated island and the remaining 50 mw could be competitively bid. Alternatively, the PUC’s decision allowed for 200 mw of wind energy to be competitively bid, according to Gaynor’s letter.

Gaynor said that First Wind was “very surprised and equally concerned” that the original agreement is now “being subverted, if not breached, by these most recent developments in which C&C has unilaterally claimed a right to develop the full 400 mw and further is seeking to ‘assign’ 200 mw to an entirely new party its ‘development opportunity’ on another island, Molokai, with respect to which C&C has no relationship, contract or any other legal rights whatsoever.”

Gaynor also said that, “to our great disappointment, Hawaiian Electric seems to be supporting these actions.”

Earlier this month, Hawaiian Electric officials advised the PUC against extending an eight-month deadline to First Wind to secure the land needed for the Molokai wind farm. First Wind officials requested the deadline a day prior to the March 18 deadline.

Hawaiian Electric officials also submitted an agreement for PUC approval this month, which included an option for Castle & Cooke to assign a portion of the project to a developer on Molokai — an action which Gaynor said “stunned” First Wind. (The announcement of an agreement between Castle & Cooke and Pattern Energy followed shortly afterward.)

"Despite concerted efforts, First Wind has been unable to secure the rights to lease land needed for a wind farm" on Molokai, said Hawaiian Electric spokesman Peter Rosegg, in a statement. "Without that fundamental step by the deadline, they were unable to negotiate a term sheet with an agreement on major issues like pricing."

That said, Rosegg added that HECO still considers First Wind "a good partner" for Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric, noting that the utility has been "pleased" with its relationship on the Kaheawa and Kahuku wind farms.

Gaynor’s letter urges the PUC to rule that Castle & Cooke has no right to assign any wind development opportunity on Molokai to Pattern Energy, and that 200 mw of the wind project be put out to competitive bid. The 200 mw to which First Wind refers includes 150 mw which Castle & Cooke has chosen not to develop on Lanai and the 50 mw which was originally intended to be competitively bid if development plans for one of the wind farms fell through.

According to Gaynor, First Wind officials “would be happy to work with Hawaiian Electric, as well as the commission” on this matter.

Officials from Castle & Cooke and Molokai Ranch could not immediately be reached for comment. A Pattern Energy spokesman is working to respond to questions from PBN related to its understanding of the agreement.

John Lamontagne, a spokesman for First Wind, made this response by email: “The letter speaks for itself. We have communicated with the PUC and expect that they and other state leaders will determine how to move forward from here on the interisland cable.”

First Wind officials also told PBN in early April that they hoped that the island of Maui would be included “as the ‘third leg of the stool’ to improve the overall likelihood of success of the interisland cable project.” The island of Maui was not included in the original agreement.

Lamontagne told PBN Tuesday that “we are not suggesting that Maui be included in the interisland cable project instead of either of the other islands, just that it be added to the process.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hammond Hears From Iberdrola

The Hammond Town Board heard a final plea from an Iberdrola spokesperson and decided to look to its attorney for wordsmithing its wind law, but took no other formal action on recommendations made by the wind advisory committee at a special meeting Monday.

Iberdrola's Jenny L. Burke said her company "believes the existing law is reasonable and consistent with the majority of 15 operating wind farms in New York State."

"If you take the committee's recommendations as is," Ms. Burke said, "you're eliminating a project before a site-specific plan and our environmental impact statement have even been produced."

Coupled with more intensive studies that will meet any regulations set forth by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or state Department of Agriculture and Markets, Ms. Burke said Iberdrola could "offset any negative impacts" with the money and jobs such a project would generate in Hammond.

Read the entire article

'Hawaii is the guinea pig'

Hawaii's pursuit of energy independence has made the state a testing ground for technology to overcome the instability of wind and solar power generation.

Hawaiian Electric Co., the state's largest utility, is leading the charge, investing in battery storage technology and honing its grid-management skills as it braces for a surge in the growth of renewable energy sources.

A cloud passing over a photovoltaic panel or a sudden drop in wind at a wind farm presents challenges for any utility trying to maintain a flow of electricity through its grid at a constant frequency. That challenge becomes even more difficult on island grids, like those managed by HECO and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, where electricity cannot be brought in from a neighboring state to smooth out fluctuations. The world will be watching to learn from the successes and failures in Hawaii, experts say.

"Hawaii is the unintended guinea pig for these technologies," said Sam Jaffe, an analyst at IDC Energy Insights, an energy industry consulting firm. Battery storage, although expensive, is emerging as the most practical solution to the problem, he said.

The growth of utility-scale wind projects and a surge in photovoltaic generation on thousands of rooftops of homes and businesses in Hawaii is unparalleled in any other state, according to Jaffe.

"Just last year Hawaii emerged as the leader. And that will be even more true in the next few years," he added.

Xtreme Power, an industry leader in battery storage for wind and solar energy products, has made Hawaii a testing ground for its technology, which it says is superior to lithium ion batteries when it comes to energy storage, efficiency, longevity and cost.

Xtreme Power has been running a demonstration project for several years at First Wind's 30-megawatt Kaheawa Wind Farm on Maui. The technology proved successful, and Xtreme has landed contracts to supply battery backups at First Wind's 30-megawatt project in Kahuku, scheduled to start generating early next year, and the Kaheawa II project, scheduled to break ground next year.

Although privately held Xtreme Power won't disclose pricing for its battery systems, the cost can be high, Jaffe said. At an estimated cost of $1,000 per kilowatt, the 10-megawatt battery system planned for the Kahuku wind farm could cost as much as $10 million, he said. The price is expected to come down as technology advances, he said, noting that automaker Nissan is targeting a battery cost of $400 per kilowatt for its electric Leaf by 2012.

Xtreme also is installing a battery at the state's largest solar farm, a 1.2-megawatt photovoltaic project developed by Castle & Cooke on Lanai capable of supplying 30 percent of the island's electricity. The system is currently running at half power because without a battery backup to smooth out the volatility of solar generation, the system would cause the grid on Lanai to crash.

Lanai also has been targeted for a 200-megawatt wind farm that is still in the conceptual stage. The project, along with another 200-megawatt farm eyed for Molokai, would deliver electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable.

An Idaho-based energy company has proposed building a pumped-water-storage project on Lanai to help with energy storage issues should the wind farm ever be realized. The plan, advanced by Gridflex Energy LLC, would feature a reservoir on the western end of the island at an elevation of 1,790 feet to hold stored sea water pumped using electricity generated by the wind farm during hours when overall electricity use is low. The water would then be allowed to run downhill through a hydroelectric generator during hours of peak electricity demand. Castle & Cooke and HECO say concerns about cost and environmental impact make the project unlikely to advance.

Meanwhile, HECO says it is using federal stimulus money to study the feasibility of integrating battery storage systems in its distribution networks to help stabilize the flow of electricity as it takes on more "distributed energy" from rooftop solar systems around the state.

The utility also is working to improve its forecasting for wind and sunshine so it can be better prepared for the ebbs and flows from the renewable sources, said Scott Seu, HECO's vice president for energy resources.

"We're trying to be more aggressive in our approach to renewables while at the same time being prudent."

Chinese wind turbine maker Goldwind wins two U.S. deals

Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Company, a leading Chinese wind turbine maker, has won two new orders in the United States, the company said here Monday.

These two orders comprise of five 1.5 megawatt (MW) direct-drive permanent magnetic wind turbines, sold to clients in the United States, said Goldwind.

The turbines will be installed in two wind farms respectively located in Ohio and Rhode Island, which are funded by local American companies. Goldwind did not say when the two turbines will be delivered.

Despite surging growth of annual output in recent years,most Chinese-made wind turbines are supplied to the domestic market.Chinese wind turbines have little track record in the U.S. or Europe.

In 2010, China exported 13 wind turbines, totaling 15.55MW. Exporting wind turbines has become a strategic target for leading Chinese wind turbine makers as they compete to take up a larger share of the world market.

Tim Rosenzweig, chief executive of Goldwind USA Inc., the American arm of Goldwind, said "Goldwind has achieved marvelous results in tapping the world market since our American arm was established a year ago. Our company has employed local staff workers and cooperated with local suppliers. It proves effective to promote our internationalized expansion through a localization strategy."

In early 2010, Goldwind integrated into the grid three 1.5MW wind turbines in UILK Wind Farm, Pipestone Town of Minnesota. It was Goldwind' s first wind farm project in the United States, and also its first MW-level wind farm project in overseas areas.

In December 2010, Goldwind USA won a competitive bid to provide power from the Shady Oaks project, fully owned by TianRun Shady Oaks LLC, a subsidiary of Goldwind, to utility Commonwealth Edison from June 2012 over a term of 20 years.

The landmark 109MW Shady Oaks project is the first large U.S. wind farm to use Chinese-made turbines -- Goldwind's 1.5MW direct-drive permanent-magnet turbines.

Tim Rosenzweig expects construction of the Shady Oaks project to start in late spring or early summer, and be completed by the end of 2011.

Wu Gang, Goldwind board chairman, said "The Shady Oaks project, our first scaled and commercial facilities in the United States, reflects substantial recognition in the American market of our turbines. It opens a road for us to go on exploring the American market."

So far, Goldwind, the world's largest maker of direct-drive permanent magnetic wind turbines, has about 3,500 such turbines installed and integrated to the grid.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Look Inside First Wind's Control Center

To most people, the operation of a wind farm is a complete mystery – even as more wind turbines pop up in our communities around the United States. This allows wind opponents to make the claims that wind energy "doesn’t work."

Now, First Wind (full disclosure – a client of mine) is pulling back the curtain with a new video that demonstrates that wind farms are in fact producing real power. What’s more, there’s a very sophisticated flow of data and analysis that goes into making wind energy production efficient, with centralized monitoring and troubleshooting.

What I find most interesting about wind project operations is the technology that goes into the process. When people talk about making America more competitive economically through leadership in clean energy, it’s this technology that’s really the backbone of the argument. The new technology being developed to wean ourselves off fossil fuels may ultimately be put to use in other sectors of the economy, helping make a stronger economic foundation for the country, and spurring additional innovation.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two Acousticians succumb to Wind Turbine Syndrome

I just got back from a several-day wind turbine noise survey with my long-time colleague, Steve Ambrose—like me, a Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering.

I’m writing to let you know that we both experienced adverse medical effects in the vicinity of the turbine under survey (one industrial wind turbine) under strong wind conditions aloft. Nausea, loss of appetite, vertigo, dizziness, inability to concentrate, an overwhelming desire to get outside, and anxiety.

The distance was approximately 1700 feet.

We obtained relief, repeatedly, by going several miles away.

I will be looking very carefully at the data and recordings acquired at this site to correlate with the experience. Short story is—and I reserve the right to revise any comments here as I learn more—it matches the Pedersen & Waye 2004 curve, where the annoyance ramps up quickly above 32 dBA.

That curve hides the real story, however. The A-weighted level doesn’t track the experience at all. I know! Steve and I sat for hours on Monday, comparing what we were feeling and what our meters were displaying. The dBA doesn’t work at all. So we have a complete disconnect between medical impact and regulatory framework.

Don’t count on dBC either.

I think that this impact could be related to how the ear is pumped by the repetitive pressure in a quiet rural background, or indoors. In Hull, Massachusetts, the background is high (Ldn60) and the two industrial turbines there don’t raise appeals to stop the noise, or even any complaints to speak of, at the same or closer distances than I was at this last week.

I hypothesize that if the ear is working at a low background level, different things happen in the auditory and vestibular system than when the ear is working at higher sound levels. (Wish I had more training in neurobiology!)

Many have been affected by wind turbine noise here in Maine and elsewhere, and we have listened to a number tell of their symptoms and problems with wind turbines. We have determined the potential for community noise impact of wind turbines in rural areas and published our findings.

However, the symptoms we experienced on this trip were unexpected for us. We have been surveying other wind turbine sites over the last 15 months and have not experienced these effects. (We each have over thirty years of experience in general and industrial acoustics, and have evaluated just about every kind of noise source—and noise level—imaginable.) I repeat, this is the first time I have experienced these symptoms simply by being near a noise source.

However, I see this as a gift. We are experienced acousticians who work from the neighbor’s perspective. Now we know personally, viscerally, what people have been telling us! We must now include ourselves in the percentage of the population that can experience significant and debilitating adverse health effects from the acoustic energy emitted by wind turbines.

Large industrial wind turbines must be considered seriously as capable of creating an adverse health effect within a certain distance with a dose-response or threshold relationship that varies with the individual.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about what we experienced, please contact me at your convenience.

Friday, April 22, 2011


CLAYTON — The joint town and village Planning Board will take months to review the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm in public sessions.

The board held its first workshop on the statement on Thursday night.

"My schedule is whatever it takes for us to feel comfortable with what we see," Chairman Roland A. "Bud" Baril said. "We have an agreement between the wind company and us to waive the 45-day requirement. We will move forward in a timely manner, but we're not set to a time."

Downsized a little more since the project's reintroduction in January, Horse Creek Wind Farm will include up to 48 wind turbines with a rated capacity of 96 megawatts. Each turbine is 476 feet tall. The $230 million project would sit on 9,450 acres of leased land in the southeastern part of Clayton.

Read the entire article

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Senator Gillibrand calls for federal tax credit for NY wind turbine production

Gillibrand Calls on Feds to Provide Tax Credit for Wind Turbine Production in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Ogdensburg

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the federal government to approve an investment tax credit to build wind turbines in manufacturing sites in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Ogdensburg. The D’Arcinoff Group, a U.S. based company, is looking to operate clean technology manufacturing facilities in 15 plants across the U.S. According to their estimates, the four New York plants could employ up to 15,000 people, working in multiple shifts. If fully financed, Phase One of the project could create upwards of 800 jobs at Syracuse’s New Process Gear facility in DeWitt, 6,000 jobs in Rochester, 2,000 jobs in Buffalo, and 1,200 jobs in Ogdensburg.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Plans for offshore wind farms sputter

As New York Power Authority officials near a decision point for their Great Lakes offshore wind-farm plans, they find themselves almost alone in their pursuit: Nearly all the other freshwater offshore wind projects in North America have stalled or died.

Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the other three Great Lakes are among the windiest spots in the eastern half of the continent, and in recent years wind-energy developers publicized proposals for a dozen or more large wind farms for the lakes' waters.

Today, none of those large-scale proposals are active, a circumstance that in some cases is attributed to fierce public opposition. Two months ago the Canadian province of Ontario, which had been promoting wind energy and considering development of roughly 1,000 turbines in lakes Erie and Ontario, terminated or suspended all offshore projects.

Only one small pilot project, in the waters of Lake Erie near Cleveland, is moving forward.

The sudden declaration of an offshore wind moratorium in Ontario was "a huge blow to offshore development in not only Canada but in the U.S. as well," said Alan Isselhard, an outspoken opponent of the power authority's plan.

"But I don't feel NYPA will be intimidated ... by what's happened anywhere else," said Isselhard, who lives on the Lake Ontario shoreline in Wayne County. "They have unlimited public money at their disposal to go forward."

Indeed, the authority — an independent arm of state government based in Westchester County — is pressing ahead eagerly, hoping to be the first offshore wind project in the Great Lakes. At an offshore wind conference in Henrietta on Wednesday, authority spokesman Louis Paonessa said NYPA was "very close" to announcing a way forward.

Since last June, authority officials have been reviewing five private-sector proposals for offshore wind farms in the New York waters of Lake Erie or Lake Ontario. Though officials have refused to release any details about the proposals, each of them likely calls for construction of dozens of huge electricity-generating turbines a few miles off shore.

The authority, which provides electricity to hundreds of New York government entities, businesses and institutions, will select one or more proposals, probably in the next two months, Paonessa said. The authority plans to support the project financially by signing a long-term power-purchase deal with the developer.

Paonessa said the authority will pay a premium price for offshore power, but that "it may not look so high in 20 years."

The offshore wind conference, held at Rochester Institute of Technology and sponsored by the Pace Energy and Climate Center and two other groups, brought together a dozen experts in the field. Some spoke to about 30 conferees about regulatory and legal issues, others about technical challenges.

And numerous speakers cited the potential of wind turbines in the breezy Great Lakes to generate a considerable portion of the electricity used in eastern North America.
Yet, as one speaker noted, there are 1,100 offshore wind turbines in Europe but not a single one in North America.

What's happened, said Terry Yonker, the keynote speaker at the conference, is that planned Great Lakes projects have stalled for several reasons.

"Some of the projects were ahead of the science," said Yonker, a Niagara County marine avian consultant who is co-chair of the Great Lakes Wind Consortium. More study is needed, for example, of the impact on birds, bats and fish.

Then there is public opposition, which he believes is often driven by concern about turbines' impact on the view from shore.

"I don't want to give a lot of credit to the opposition, but when you're dealing with public agencies and political entities, they've obviously got their nose out there in the wind," Yonker said. "Clearly, the opposition in Ontario was raising a number of environmental and viewshed questions that were beginning to mount up."

Many observers say Ontario's Liberal Party leadership pulled the plug on a number of large offshore proposals in anticipation of provincial elections scheduled for October.

"I think it was politically driven. It was a very wise decision on their part," said Sherri Lange, founding director of Toronto Wind Action, which fought a proposed wind farm in Lake Ontario off eastern metro Toronto.

An offshore wind project in Lake Michigan, originally cast as a multibillion dollar deal that would have been at least double the size of anything the New York Power Authority envisions, was first scaled back and then abandoned.

Richard Stuebi, president of the newly formed Coalition for Great Lakes Offshore Wind in suburban Cleveland, said that project was just too big. "I think that scared a lot of constituencies, and set in place a certain amount of opposition. I'm not sure that was the best path forward," he said.

Two Michigan state legislators there recently introduced a bill to ban outright any wind development in that state's waters.

Stuebi's coalition grew out of the one project that seems to be advancing — a five-turbine pilot project off of Cleveland's Lake Erie shoreline. Advanced by the nonprofit Lake Erie Development Corp., the project has signed up strategic partners and executed options to lease state-owned lake bottomland to site the turbines.

Testing of that bottomland is to take place this summer. Because Lake Erie is relatively shallow, the turbines can be placed at least seven miles offshore, minimizing visual impact. The next step is negotiating a power-purchase agreement, needed to arrange financing. Lorry Wagner, the corporation's president, said the project is progressing because it was community-driven, has tried to be open and is starting small.

"This first project is, for a lot of reasons, more readily doable than the larger projects," Wagner said.

Read the entire article

Galloo line path remains in limbo

The route for the transmission line from Galloo Island Wind Farm to the power grid still hangs in limbo.

In a conference call Wednesday, project developer Upstate NY Power Corp. told the Public Service Commission and other interested parties that it has not secured a power purchase agreement, which would allow the developer to pursue a locally supported underwater route.

Such an agreement secures a price for power generated by a plant.

"The message they articulated was that without a PPA, they cannot move forward with a subaquatic path," said Barry M. Ormsby, Jefferson County legislator.

Read the entire article

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wind farms accused of concealing deaths of protected species

As the wind industry loses favor around the globe, watchdog groups are demanding accountability from the huge corporate interests that run them. According to reports, bird toll census numbers are being rigged by burying or otherwise concealing mutilated bird carcasses rather than reporting them.

Not only is wind power proven to be ineffective in terms of both cost and energy production, but its devastating effects on soaring birds, bats, the environment and communities is increasingly being condemned.

The letter below, from noted wildlife biologist and wind energy expert Jim Wiegand and sent in response to a report in the The Journal, is being shared to highlight some of the reasons for demanding full disclosure from, and stricter regulation of wind farms. In addition, it's important that any investigation into the industry should include testimony from leading engineers and wind turbine developers not involved with the antiquated and lethal propeller-style turbine. In this way it will be evident what a dead-end road this industry, in its current incarnation, has lead us down.

Editor, I would like to comment and further enlighten you readers on the recent story "Bird Deaths Prompt Wind Rules - USFWS and Voluntary Guidelines". The USFWS Voluntary Guidelines need to be examined closely for what they are. As it is there are clear Federal and State laws on the books that protect rare and endangered species. But for the wind industry these laws are just voluntary. Your state has speed limits. Are they voluntary? Murder, rape, assault and so on, are the laws of any of these crimes voluntary for any special group? The point is that the USFWS is not protecting the nation's rare and endangered species nor is it upholding the laws that were written to protect them. The reality is that the voluntary guidelines along with the incidental take permit, were created for this industry in Washington to bypass environmental law.

It is well known that wind turbines cause bird and bat mortality however the total magnitude of this impact cannot ever be fully understood until there is complete transparency. Thanks to the USFWS , there is no transparency. This information is made even more difficult to obtain when the access the wind properties is conveniently limited by the industry itself. Keep in mind, wind farms have been known to conceal blade strike victims as in Spain where the bodies of 19 unreported griffon vultures were found buried on wind farm property. I have been told that wind industry contracts and leases also have gag clauses written into them so this information can be limited. I believe the concealment of blade strike mortality is it is a routine practice for the industry.

To insure transparency all wind farms should be required to operate with specific conditions. Every wind farm should be subject to inspection at any time by non-industry biologists and college enrolled wildlife biology students that would be more than willing to survey properties. Also the unreported disposal or hiding of bodies of any protected species should be treated as a felony with corresponding large fines against the wind farm. The use of 24 hour video camera/web cams with feeds to an accessible internet site should be required of any and all turbines in high priority habitats. Each wind farm should also be set up with mandatory mortality thresholds and shut down if these thresholds are met.

If the public truly wants transparency they will demand guidelines to keep the public informed of the true impact of wind farms to protected bird species in their regions. For obvious reasons, NO wind farm should ever be able to police their own facilities. In California, Condors have disappeared without a trace and in the Texas 2009, 23 Whooping Cranes disappeared without a trace. These are huge birds not even a feather was found. Wind farms sit in both of their habitats.

Electrical power lines and lead poisoning are commonly given as the probable reasons. If one were to think about all this logically the truth becomes obvious. If you were a California Condor, a Golden Eagle or a Whooping Crane would you rather glide into a stationary and even flexible power line or be smashed with a several ton wind turbine blade moving at 220 mph? Transmission lines are not killing off the Red kite population in Europe. The propeller style wind turbine is. Power lines also haven't killed the 2000-2500 Golden Eagles that have perished at Altamont Pass.

As it now stands, no state can not depend on the worthless USFWS voluntary guidelines to protect their protected bird species from this industry. If one were to interview USFWS employees in the field, they would find that most are not in agreement with the disconnected USFWS brass sitting in Washington.

There is a glimmer of hope in all this because taxpayers are finally starting to understand how their money is being manipulated and funneled off into the bank accounts of greedy corporations. The wind industry is one of these industries. The nation desperately needs a televised Senate or Congressional committee investigation into this industry. If this were to happen, this wind industry would be exposed for their use of corrupt biologists, bogus studies and to their influence on Washington. Jim Wiegand

Thursday, April 14, 2011

“Liens R Us”

Timothy Chase lives in Chateaugay in a house with big fat liens on it. And I warn you right now this is going to be a sad story and if you don’t like sad stories stop reading right now.

I seem to remember Tim Chase writing numerous letters to the Malone Telegram, singing loud hosannas to wind energy—to wind turbines in everyone’s backyard—to Noble Environmental Power—to the whole nine yards.

No one in Franklin County was more “clean green renewable” than Turbine Tim.

Then the Noble Power Bomb dropped.

This past week Tim had another letter in the Telegram. Quarreling with the news that Noble hadn’t paid a contractor’s bill, whereupon the contractor slapped a beefy lien on two or three farms in Chateaugay. (Alas, this was only the beginning of the “rain of liens.”)

Tim gird his loins once more, took up his righteous clean green renewable pen, and began squirting ink. Ridiculous, he pronounced it. A “joke,” he called it. Attorney General Cuomo’s “wind ethics task force”? Joke. And the Telegram’s entire report? Another joke.

Don’t worry, he reassured, “these liens are obviously the result of a dispute between Noble Power and the contractor over work that was completed or not completed.” In other words, Noble had a beef with the work that was done (more likely, not done), and told these bozos to stuff it.

Joke joke joke. End of story. (He even posted the letter twice, just in case we didn’t hear him the first time.)

(We pause for a suspenseful moment. In fact, let’s go outside for a smoke. Let me say—mind if I bum a cigarette?—that for years I’ve been convinced irony is one of the immutable and basic ingredients of the universe, along with gravity and space-time. The Greeks seemed to think so, too. They called it hubris, and were certain the gods took a dim view of it.)

Even as the ink was drying on Tim’s letter, an attorney named Cynthia Ludwig was sealing with a kiss three liens against Tim Chase’s properties.

The liens total $38,439.34. And this is no joke, Tim.

“Our vision is to be a leading supplier of clean, renewable energy from environmentally responsible facilities that will be a source of pride and benefits to the communities in which they are located.” That’s from Noble’s mission statement.

A source of pride and benefits to the communities in which they are located. Really? Looks to me more like this:

Life is hard.

It’s not just Tim and Ellen Chase. And it’s not just the 2 or 3 people named in the first Telegram article. As the Telegram pointed out yesterday, there are 45 of these unfortunates. Click here to see all 45 liens—and see if you’re included.

It doesn’t end with Franklin County, where liens now total $3.7 million and counting. Click here to see $6.4 million in Clinton County. Then click here to see Noble’s liens, to date, in Wyoming County (NY).

(Note to leaseholders in Franklin County: Forty-four of the 45 liens posted, above, arrived in the County Clerk’s office Tuesday 3/24/09 en masse. As a block. Figure this is merely the first wave. Contractors have, by law, till sometime this summer to file liens. You might want to check at the courthouse from time to time, to see how big is that ball and chain bolted to your house.)

Anyone wanna find Noble? Just follow the trail of liens.

(A note to Connie Jenkins, Editor of the Telegram, whom I suspect would pin Noble’s misfortunes on the bad economy, just as she blames cash-strapped Frank Cositore’s Flanagan problems on the bum economy. No, Connie, you’re wrong; these people are the bad economy. They are the reason the economy crashed and burned.)

It’s called gambling. Noble found eager gambling partners in big deregulated Wall Street banks, and between them they began “chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire” (Rolling Stone Magazine).

Underlying the glamorous new world of finance was the process of securitization. Loans no longer stayed with the lender. Instead, they were sold on to others, who sliced, diced and puréed individual debts to synthesize new assets. Subprime mortgages, credit card debts, car loans—all went into the financial system’s juicer. Out the other end, supposedly, came sweet-tasting AAA investments. And financial wizards were lavishly rewarded for overseeing the process.

But the wizards were frauds, whether they knew it or not, and their magic turned out to be no more than a collection of cheap stage tricks. Above all, the key promise of securitization—that it would make the financial system more robust by spreading risk more widely—turned out to be a lie. Banks used securitization to increase their risk, not reduce it, and in the process they made the economy more, not less, vulnerable to financial disruption.

Sooner or later, things were bound to go wrong, and eventually they did. Bear Stearns failed; Lehman failed; but most of all, securitization failed. (Paul Krugman, “The Market Mystique,” NY Times 3/27/09)

A bubble. Noble Environmental’s bubble burst. These liens—a multitude of them—are what’s left. I have no doubt Noble is hoping to reconstitute its bubble under the Obama administration. See “Wobbly wind sector sets sights on stimulus” (NY Times 3/30/09). The success of that gambit remains to be seen.

Ever wonder why Noble sliced and diced itself into an infinity of LLC’s? And what are the assets of each LLC, anyhow?

Chances are the assets of each LLC are close to zero, which of course was the whole point of forming them in the first place.

My guess is that Noble owns essentially nothing, having leased the white trucks, the trailers, the yellow Hummer, the office furniture—the whole shebang.

My guess is Noble doesn’t have the proverbial pot to piss in, and never did.

The contractors at this point don’t care a lot; what they have, Tim, is you. You have become Noble’s default bond. Your property = Noble’s security deposit when Noble skips out on the rent (as it were).

This is one of the 15 reasons why Noble didn’t offer to buy anyone’s land: Why on earth would it want to do that? Much better that you own the land, so you are responsible for Noble’s bills.

Get it?

The contractors know you have land and a house, and they know where that land and house are, and they now have a legal claim to both. That’s what the liens are about. And should you and your wife try to get a loan or, say, second mortgage to send your kid to college, or to buy or pay for whatever—you’re in trouble.

But you know this already. This is one of the reasons why AG Andrew Cuomo set up the statewide wind ethics task force. We are fortunate to have DA Derek Champagne sitting on that committee. I’m sure Derek is keenly aware of these liens.

Tim, I am not your adversary. Nor do I take pleasure in these liens. Yes, I suspected from the start that Noble was less than it claimed to be. Many of us pointed this out to your town board and the IDA’s (see Martin to Clinton County IDA 5/23/06). But I’m not going to flog you over this.

You have believed in renewable energy. I have, too. After all, I’m an intelligent man, as you are. The diabolical thing about renewable energy—any energy source, for that matter—is that it comes with baggage. Sometimes huge & scary baggage.

Wind energy, in my research, comes with more problems than it’s worth. Nuclear used to have huge problems. My understanding of nuclear is that many countries have solved the more egregious problems of nuclear, including recycling of spent uranium (witness France).

Back to Big Wind. I don’t think these turbines belong in people’s backyards. That’s been my position all along. And if your backyard abuts my backyard, and you put ‘em in your backyard, then by definition they’re in mine, as well. I suspect you and I would disagree endlessly on this point, so we’ll just drop it.

Noble’s shameless behavior is an altogether different matter. Whether you’re a fan of Big Wind or not (I am not), it’s clear that systematically ripping off contractors around the country is despicable. I would be despicable, too, if I didn’t pay my bills. There is no reasonable or acceptable excuse for this. Period.

I am sorry for this. I am sorry that a dream and a hope and goodwill held by many people, including you and your wife, should be soiled by Noble’s behavior.

Like you, I hope Noble pays its bills someday. And I hope those liens are removed from your property. And I hope wind energy turns out to be all you wish it would be—and I’m not being sarcastic. I mean this. I am not your critic, Tim. Yes, I am Noble’s critic, but not yours. Like countless other people, you acted in good faith, only to see it scorned. This is not something to gloat over; this is something to break one’s heart.

I share your pain, my friend.

Tim, my friend, I think you’ll agree this is more than a dispute between Noble and a contractor or two. This is a company systematically stiffing contractors around the country. And you’re left holding the bag.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's Wind Got to Do With It?

Last week our organization, American Tradition Institute, sued the State of Colorado in federal court because we assert that its Renewable Energy Standard law violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The mandate requires that major utilities in the state (mainly Xcel Energy, which favors the law) to obtain 30 percent of their power generation from "renewable" sources, such as wind or solar, by the year 2020. It shouldn't be difficult for anyone who is slightly familiar with the Commerce Clause to understand why a state law that restricts the sale of a product (electricity), which is delivered on a grid that crosses state lines, would violate that clause. We seek 12 claims for relief under the Commerce Clause, which you can read in our complaint. Many of them have to do with forcing Xcel to purchase power from "renewable" sources -- with favoritism for those in state -- which discriminates against electricity generators from out of state. This impermissibly burdens interstate commerce.

What has confused some people, including myself a little bit, is our Law Center director David Schnare's explanation that we are "putting wind energy on trial." What does that have to do with the Commerce Clause?

Well, there's a history. A 1970 Supreme Court decision in Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc. established a "balancing test," which said if the effects on interstate commerce are only "incidental" compared to the local benefits a statute establishes, then it will be upheld. But if the burden on interstate commerce "is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits," then it is unconstitutional.

Hence the problem for Colorado: Wind energy, which the American Wind Energy Association says now provides 5.8 percent of the state's electricity (and 72 percent of all Colorado's renewable energy), offers no local benefit compared to other generation sources. In fact, because wind energy produces dirtier, less dependable and more expensive electricity than the alternatives, it is a detriment.

Most people use electricity without regard for how their utility generates it. They just want it on. But for manufacturers and businesses that depend on timely production and delivery schedules, the losses due to even the slightest interruptions in power supply are in the millions of dollars.

Because the expectation is for electricity to be uninterrupted, the only other aspect where its "quality" can be graded is in its generation. For a long time environmentalists have told us that "renewable" sources like wind and solar deliver superior power because it is cleaner in its generation. That has not proven true.

Studies of Colorado and Texas by BENTEK Energy, LLC, in addition to a study of the Netherlands, found the coercion of utilities to accept wind power means they must suddenly turn on coal and natural gas generators when wind stops blowing -- and then off when it does -- and then on again, etc. These fossil fuel combustion generators create more pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and those dreaded greenhouse gases) when they are operated in this fashion than they would if they ran continually. Also, wind's intermittency puts the electrical grid at greater risk of blackouts and brownouts.

As Kent Hawkins of noted, "There are not only more emissions with [Renewable Energy Standards] than without them, but also there is duplicate capacity installed (wind) at significantly higher costs, which adds notably to the costs of electricity."

So you see that under the Pike balancing test, no "local benefit" can be cited in order to overturn a determination that Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

And that is what putting wind on trial has to do with it.

Noise, distraction, and litigation: Controversy over Hardscrabble Wind Farm

FAIRFIELD-LITTLE FALLS, April 11, 2011 -- They’re a colossal sight – towering metal giants with blades as long as airplane wings humming in the rural fields of Central New York.

But for residents in Fairfield who already felt they’d been deprived of a fair say in construction, the windmills are nothing but an expensive, loud nuisance.

“We should have been able to vote on them,” said resident Carol Riesel. “We were never made aware until the deal was almost done – it’s makes me so angry. No one had a voice in this -- the board members listened and looked and moved on to the next business.”

And so it was, that through the summer and fall of 2010, Iberdrola Renewables constructed the Hardscrabble Wind Farm.

Now, Riesel, who lives at 797 Davis Road, and other residents say the giant windmills are nuisance to their community.


Riesel said many of the town residents are in agreement that windmills are ugly, scary and loud.

“It interferes with my life,” she said. “Now the beautiful landscape is gone. They’re 500 feet tall! And to live underneath them is unbelievable. They’re within 1,000 feet of my property and I hate them. My anxiety is sky-high.”

Nearby, neighbor Monique Consolazio said from her home at 1183 State Route 170, the effects of the windmills – particularly one that stares into her kitchen window, dubbed Turbine 33 – are ‘maddening.’

“It’s like living in an insane discotheque,” Consolazio said. “When the sun hits the blades at a certain angle, you get a strobe-light effect. And the blades throw their black shadows across the house, the field, everything, while the strobe light effect is going on.”

That’s hard for Consolazio, who said she moved to Fairfield nearly 18 years ago, after she was widowed, to live a simple life. Now, she said, she can’t even watch basic television. Her TV is in constant pixilation, which is so annoying that half the time, she shuts it off and doesn’t bother to watch. And the noise is like listening to the highest volume of ‘an old-time coffee grinder,’ she added, making a noise that signified the sound: ‘GRIND! SWISH! GRIND! SWISH!’

“I was told by a representative (of Iberdrola) that they were sorry about that, and what I should do is do the same thing they did in World War II -- get shades and black out my windows,” she said in disbelief.

A red blinking light atop each tower shows itself to air traffic, but Consolazio said the company never put the promised ‘sleeve’ over it so it wouldn’t bother land dwellers.

“No one’s taken responsibility for that,” she said.

Ierdrola spokesman, Paul Copleman, indicated in a statement that the company was well-aware of the issues raised by concerned Fairfield and Little Falls Citizens about the windmills.

We are working closely with landowners who have raised concerns and are actively investigating those that have been brought to our attention. This includes meeting directly with landowners, engaging in additional studies, and assessing some mitigation measures. We will of course honor our obligations to the landowners and the community.

With regard to sound, we modeled the project to be in compliance with local ordinances, and our permits with Norway and Fairfield govern sound levels. As a response to some of the concerns raised, we will be engaging in additional sound measurements.

With regard to shadow, we analyzed shadow during the development phase, as this is a phenomenon which is predictably modeled given turbine placement and the movement of the sun during the year. Our analysis was presented as part of the project environmental impact statement and is available at We designed our final turbine layout to minimize the duration of shadow flicker, and its occurrence, assuming it is sunny, should be limited during the day, and in no case will a home experience this for more than 20-30 hours a year. As you can see in our analysis, this 20-30 hour scenario only applies to two homes, the remainder of those affected will be affected for less than 20 hours per year at maximum.

With regard to television interference, again, we are aware this can happen, and our permits contain language addressing this. We are already working with landowners who have raised this with us to evaluate their circumstances in more detail.


Jim and June Salamone live at 820 Davis Road. They have for many years.

Jim said he and his wife were shocked and angered when last Wednesday, April 6, they received a certified letter in the mail from Saunders Concrete Company indicating they, along with 33 other property owners, had a lien placed on their property. That’s the company that poured the concrete bases that root the windmills to the ground, residents explained to Utica Daily News.

Why legal action against the residents? Saunders Concrete’s attorneys, Gilberti Stinziano Heintz & Smith in Syracuse, did not immediately return messages from UDN, and neither did the company’s Vice President, Tracy Saunders. In the letter, it was indicated that out of a project worth $2,165,304.40, Iberdrola’s contractor, Mortenson Construction, still owed the company $1,946,284.10. The properties listed in the lien notice all had windmills on their property – except, at least, the Salamones.

“It’s gone to the credit bureau – if I wanted to sell my house, I couldn’t,” Jim Salamone said. “And I can’t get a loan. This is what happens when things aren’t done right.”

The Salamones discovered they were listed as participants – that’s someone who hosts a windmill, wires and cables, or other parts of the wind farm project – in 2009 when friend and neighbor Andrew McEvoy noticed his name listed in some documentation.

“If Andy didn’t find it, I never would have known,” Jim Salamone said. “This is what happens though when things aren’t done right.”

From there on out, he added, the Salamones tried nine times in vain to get their name removed from anything that indicated they were participants in the project. For the record, participants are awarded annual ‘pay’ for hosting, they said.

“The landowners didn’t realize what they were signing, they just wanted the money,” Jim Salamone said.

Iberdrola's Copleman further indicated in the statement that the concrete company, acted rashly, and alongside Mortenson, they were working to remedy the issue.

While we cannot discuss the specifics of the dispute, Iberdrola Renewables has a commitment and obligation to remedy this issue on behalf of the property owners who had a lien placed on their property and are acting to remove the liens as quickly as possible. While mechanics liens are not uncommon in construction contracts, we believe that Saunders had other avenues available to resolve their dispute with Mortenson, and by pursuing a mechanics lien they have unnecessarily involved the landowners involved in this project as well as several that are not even part of the project. Iberdrola Renewables is working as quickly as possible to resolve this matter and remove the liens. We have been in contact with the affected landowners and will be working diligently with Mortenson Construction to secure a resolution. Mortenson has started the process of obtaining a bond that will remove the liens from the individual property owners.

The Salamones will likely hire a lawyer, acknowledging how costly it could become, to fight the lien. They’re hoping they can at least be compensated for what they feel turned their lives upside-down.

“How am I going to get this off my credit score?” Jim Salamone asked. “I want it clean again! What happens if they don’t correct this and they go bankrupt? I have nothing to do with this and I’m right in the middle of it.”

And while Iberdrola indicated its company agreed that a lien was a hasty move to make, that doesn’t get them off the hook, Jim Salamone said. Neither does the letter of apology they sent the couple shortly after the lien letter.

“This is bad business,” he said. “They’re not even looking at what they’re doing. And they’ve got so much money they can buy their way out of it. What are we going to do?”

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wind Project Unlikely In Hammond

With three town council members supporting recommendations made by the wind advisory committee, it's likely that an Iberdrola Renewables-built wind farm is not in the cards for the town.

A recent letter to the town board from an Iberdrola representative indicated that adoption of the committee-proposed real property value guarantee agreement would effectively kill the proposed 75-turbine Stone Church Wind Farm.

Written by Richard K. Champney, a Pulaski real estate attorney and wind committee member, the proposal calls for assurances from a wind developer that if a property owner cannot get at least the appraised value of a home at sale because of the presence of wind turbines, the wind company is required to make up the difference. The proposal also requires the company to buy out property owners opposed to living near turbines.

"In talking with many people around town, it seems to set their minds at ease," Councilman Douglas E. Delosh said of property value proposal. "If this industry does come, and it does affect property values, they have an out. This is tremendously important. People have a lot of money invested in their homes."

Read the entire article

The wind turbine land agent

Put proper planning ahead of personal profit

For more than 10 years wind developers have bullying people around, lying when it suits their needs, and seriously dividing the town of Prattsburgh into factions that are often angry and yelling at each other. The last board meeting ( like many others in the past ) was a great example of this. There were pro- and anti- industrial wind energy groups that squared off, yelling back and forth, creating chaos and turning the meeting into a circus. The town supervisor, Al Wordingham tried to control things, but some people continued on.

Eventually, the supervisor asked for a motion on a road agreement to be voted on. The motion passed 3 to 2 and gives the wind developer Ecogen the right to go ahead with their project. Ironically, those people who have wanted this wind project all along began moaning, complaining, and yelling at the board for its action. One would think they would be happy it passed. However, the developer is now being put to the task of proving they have vested rights. According to Judge Ark's ruling, they now have 168 days to do that. Their claim has been that the town board and the highway supervisor, Chris Jensen have held them up, when in fact they still don't have all the leases they need to proceed.

Now it's time the town has a chance to say prove that you're ready and go for it.
All of us fortunate enough to live in this beautiful region of New York need to remember a few things. We are blessed with more fresh water than anywhere in the country, we have beautiful hills, valleys, creeks, rivers, and the finger lakes near by.

We moved here 27 years ago for these reasons, and we know others who've done the same. Ever since the possibility of industrial wind turbines, however, people have shied away and are waiting to see what's going to happen.We have friends waiting this out and we know other people with friends who aren't making any moves just yet.

The saddest part of this is that if the wind project goes ahead as planned, the
payment to the town through the pilot is around $145,000 if the developer makes the payments. Meanwhile, if wind turbines are not planned out well, and they are irresponsibly placed in and around our hilltops, they'll keep people from building new homes here. New homes increase the tax base and revenues to the town. More important than that is the money new residents spend on goods and services in the area they live. Town officials would be acting foolishly if they didn't keep that in mind . I believe our town board is working hard to help our town prosper, and to keep all its residents protected in all ways. That is part of their job as public servants.

Isn't it just common sense to do the proper planning, and if turbines are to happen, place them where they won't stifle the growth of this beautiful area.

David Snaith
Prattsburgh, NY

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Notice to ALL Oneida and Herkimer County Residents

Listen to living with wind turbines audio message

The Litchfield Wind Ordinance Committee's Final Draft is Here!

After many months of hard work and time spent away from their families, the Litchfield Wind Ordinance Committee has completed and presented their proposed Ordinance to the Litchfield Town Board for their review. The proposed Ordinance can be found here.

Please take the time to review the complete document, as well as all of the factual supporting documentation, which can be found here.

The Committee did a fantastic job, and SSVV supports approval of the Ordinance in its' entirety!










Thursday, April 07, 2011

Report Questions Wind Power’s Ability to Deliver Electricity When Most Needed

Stuart Young Consulting, with support from the John Muir Trust, has released a report studying the ability of wind power to make a significant contribution to the UK's energy supply. It concludes that the average power output of wind turbines across Scotland is well below the rates often claimed by industry and government.

Indeed, for numerous extended periods of time all the wind turbines in Scotland linked to the National Grid muster less than 20MW of energy - that's enough power for a mere 6,667 households to boil their kettles for a cup of tea.

Helen McDade, head of policy at the John Muir Trust, the U.K.’s leading wild land conservation charity, said: "This report is a real eye opener for anyone who's been wondering just how much power Scotland is getting from the fleet of wind turbines that have taken over many of our most beautiful mountains and hillsides. The answer appears to be not enough, and much less than is routinely claimed.”

Stuart Young, author of the report, said, “Over the two-year period studied in this report, the metered windfarms in the U.K. consistently generated far less energy than wind proponents claim is typical. The intermittent nature of wind also gives rise to low wind coinciding with high energy demand. Sadly, wind power is not what it's cracked up to be and cannot contribute greatly to energy security in the UK."

Mr. Young said: "It was a surprise to find out just how disappointingly wind turbines perform in a supposedly wind-ridden country like Scotland. Based on the data, for one third of the time wind output is less than 10% of capacity, compared to the 30% that is commonly claimed.

At the end of the period studied, the connected capacity of wind power was over 2500MW so the expectation is that the wind network will produce, on average, 750MW of energy. In fact, it's delivering far less than everyone's expectations. The total wind capacity metered now is 3226MW but at 3a.m. on Monday 28th March, the total output was 9MW.”

The report, Analysis of UK Wind Generation, is the result of detailed analysis of windfarm output in Scotland over a 26-month period between November 2008 to December 2010 using data from the BMRS (Balancing Mechanism Reporting System). It's the first report of its kind, and drew on data freely available to the public. It challenges five common assertions made regularly by wind industry and the Scottish Government:

1. 'Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year'
In fact, the average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.

2. 'The wind is always blowing somewhere'
On 124 separate occasions from November 2008 to December 2010, the total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW (a fraction of the 450MW expected from a capacity in excess of 1600 MW). These periods of low wind lasted an average of 4.5 hours.

3. 'Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.'
Actually, low wind occurred every six days throughout the 26-month study period. The report finds that the average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November 2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.

4. 'The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.'
At each of the four highest peak demand points of 2010, wind output was extremely low at 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.

5. 'Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.'
The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours then it drops to 1060MW, and finally runs out of water after 22 hours.

Read the Executive Summary or downloaded the Full Report.

Official: wind farms are totally useless

Before I take my break, I cannot resist drawing your attention to a new report on wind farms - perhaps the most damning I have ever read. What makes it even more significant is that it has been sponsored by an environmental charity. Normally the people most busily pushing these bird-chomping, bat-crunching, taxpayer-fleecing monstrosities on our magnificent landscape are those who claim, ludicrously, to be “green.” Thank you, John Muir Trust, for reminding as that being “green” doesn’t necessarily have to include economically suicidal schemes to destroy perhaps our greatest national asset: the British countryside.

Here’s its summary:

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS in respect of analysis of electricity generation from all the U.K. windfarms which are metered by National Grid, November 2008 to December 2010. The following five statements are common assertions made by both the wind industry and Government representatives and agencies. This Report examines those assertions.

“Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”

“The wind is always blowing somewhere.”

“Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”

“The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”

“Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”

This analysis uses publicly available data for a 26 month period between November 2008 and December 2010 and the facts in respect of the above assertions are:

Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.

There were 124 separate occasions from November 2008 till December 2010 when total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).

The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November 2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.

At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.

The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours then it drops to 1060MW, and finally runs out of water after 22 hours.

Wind farm efficiency queried by John Muir Trust study

Wind farms are much less efficient than claimed, producing below 10% of capacity for more than a third of the time, according to a new report.

The analysis also suggested output was low during the times of highest demand.

The report, supported by conservation charity the John Muir Trust, concluded turbines "cannot be relied upon" to produce significant levels of power generation.

However, industry representatives said they had "no confidence" in the data.

The research, carried out by Stuart Young Consulting, analysed electricity generated from UK wind farms between November 2008 to December 2010

Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.

But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.

'Different manner'

It also challenged industry claims that periods of widespread low wind were "infrequent".

The average frequency and duration of a "low wind event" was once every 6.38 days for 4.93 hours, it suggested.

The report noted: "Very low wind events are not confined to periods of high pressure in winter.

"They can occur at any time of the year."

During each of the four highest peak demands of 2010, wind output reached just 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity, according to the analysis.

It concluded wind behaves in a "quite different manner" from that suggested by average output figures or wind speed records.

The report said: "It is clear from this analysis that wind cannot be relied upon to provide any significant level of generation at any defined time in the future.

"There is an urgent need to re-evaluate the implications of reliance on wind for any significant proportion of our energy requirement."

However, Jenny Hogan, director of policy for Scottish Renewables, said no form of electricity worked at 100% capacity, 100% of the time.

She said: "Yet again the John Muir Trust has commissioned an anti-wind farm campaigner to produce a report about UK onshore wind energy output.

"It could be argued the trust is acting irresponsibly given their expertise lies in protecting our wild lands and yet they seem to be going to great lengths to undermine renewable energy which is widely recognised as one of the biggest solutions to tackling climate change - the single biggest threat to our natural heritage.

"We have yet to hear the trust bring forward a viable alternative to lower emissions and meet our growing demand for safe, secure energy."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Wind farms 'do not match claims'

Wind farms produce far less energy than previously claimed, according to a new report.

Wind-energy output at wind farms metered by the national grid was less than 10% capacity for one third of the time during the two-year study. Low output also sometimes coincided with periods of peak demand.

The report, supported by Scottish conservation charity the John Muir Trust, said wind "cannot be relied upon" to provide any significant level of energy generation at any defined time in the future.

It cited an "urgent need" to re-evaluate the implications of a reliance on wind for any significant proportion of Scotland's energy requirement.

The study found that for numerous extended periods of time all the wind turbines linked to the National Grid muster less than 20MW of energy: enough power for 6,667 households to boil their kettles for a cup of tea.

It also called into question common assertions made by industry such as that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year. It found that average output from wind was just 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010.

Stuart Young, author of the report, said: "It was a surprise to find out just how disappointingly wind turbines perform in a supposedly wind-ridden country like Scotland. Based on the data, for one third of the time wind output is less than 10% of capacity, compared to the 30% that is commonly claimed."

The study analysed electricity generation from all UK wind farms which are metered by National Grid between November 2008 and December 2010. All were in Scotland until three in England were added to the study in July 2010.

Helen McDade, head of policy at the John Muir Trust, the UK's leading wild land conservation charity, said: "This report is a real eye-opener for anyone who's been wondering just how much power Scotland is getting from the fleet of wind turbines that have taken over many of our most beautiful mountains and hillsides.

"The answer appears to be not enough, and much less than is routinely claimed."

Sunday, April 03, 2011


View the Video

The 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival captures both the birthplace of the art form and its cutting edge evolution.

The Film Festival is an annual spring celebration that grew out of the very successful Rochester/High Falls International Film Festival, bringing the finest in independent motion pictures, and film and new media artists to Rochester and Western New York audiences. It’s a film festival built for everyone, the avid movie fan, aspiring and established filmmakers, and those that just want to explore.

Over the course of the Festival, features, documentaries, shorts, children’s and young adult programs are presented, along with student filmmaking competitions and the winners of our year-round Shorts Contest. Honoring our past, the Festival focuses a portion of its programming on the achievements of women in all aspects of filmmaking. But the 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival expands that programming with a wide range of films appealing to both sexes, all age ranges, and personal tastes.

Panel discussions and master classes presented by prominent industry professionals give our filmmaking audience unique access to advance their own talents in all aspects of filmmaking. Public parties, private receptions, and informal “Coffee With” events provide casual networking opportunities with visiting filmmakers.

Films from past Festivals have gone on to win Academy Awards®, Golden Globe Awards® and recognition at other festivals, from Sundance to Berlin.

Our guests have included:

Lynn Redgrave, Rita Moreno, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christine Lahti, Bill Pullman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Mira Nair, Jane Alexander, Candice Bergen, Joan Allen, Gordy Hoffman, Famke Janssen, Faith Hubley, Stuart Craig, Diane Ladd, John Curran, CCH Pounder, Leslie Stahl, Celeste Holm, Lainie Kazan, Sally Kellerman, voice-over actress Nancy “Bart Simpson” Cartwright, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, Richard Donner, Agnieszka Holland, and Shrek director Vicky Jenson.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

First Wind misses critical 'Big Wind' project deadline

First Wind, the developer for a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai, missed the March 18 deadline to show the Public Utilities Commission that they had secured the land needed for the project, according to Kekoa Kaluhiwa, director of external affairs for First Wind.

The project is part of the proposed “Big Wind” project, designed to bring 200 mw of wind energy from Molokai and 200 mw of wind energy from Lanai to Oahu through an undersea cable. The energy could account for about 25 percent of Oahu’s energy needs, and the total cost of the project is roughly estimated at $3 billion.

Hawaiian Electric Co. officials have told PBN in the past that if Molokai's part of the project fell through then all 400 mw could be developed on Lanai, where Castle & Cooke is the developer for that proposed wind farm.

No other developer is permitted to try and develop the wind farm on Molokai, according to First Wind executives. If Hawaiian Electric Co. executives were to try to go with another developer on the project for Molokai, Kaluhiwa said that there potentially could be litigation brought by First Wind. A company spokesman told PBN there are no plans to file litigation at this time.

HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg said that “we are working through these issues now and hope to be able to provide more details in the coming weeks.” Rosegg said that he couldn’t comment further at this time.

Meanwhile, Peter Nicholas, CEO of Molokai Ranch, the property that was designated for the proposed Molokai wind farm, has been collaborating with another wind developer, San Francisco-based Pattern Energy on developing the project for the past several weeks. Nicholas told PBN that Molokai Ranch had been approached by a number of other wind developers about the project and had decided that Pattern Energy was the desired developer if the project were to come about.

David Parquet of Pattern Energy told PBN that “Pattern has been identified by Molokai Ranch as the preferred choice of wind developer should a wind project be developed on ranch property.”

Pattern Energy representatives held three public meetings laying out their proposal for the project during the first week of March. According to Parquet, Pattern Energy’s plans include about 90 wind turbines on 11,000 acres of land.

Discussions with Pattern Energy executives follow what Nicholas said were failed negotiations with First Wind. Nicholas said First Wind had presented two proposals for purchasing acreage on the Molokai Ranch for the project but they were both rejected. He said the last proposal was rejected in June of last year and since November there were no discussions with First Wind “in any shape or form.”

However, Kaluhiwa said as late as February that First Wind executives were still hoping to submit another proposal following the rejection.

Nicholas said that the reason for the rejection was that “First Wind never sought community input [on the project] despite us urging them to do that.” He said Pattern Energy representatives were already doing a much better job in talking with the community on Molokai.

Kaluhiwa said that First Wind planned to issue a response to the criticism in the near future.

The wind project has sparked heated controversy on Lanai and Molokai. Neither of the electric grids on the small islands can tolerate the high penetration of energy, meaning the residents will have to bear the effects of dozens of wind turbines on their islands. All the energy would be transported to Oahu. On Lanai, the 200 mw wind farm could cover a fifth of the island. If Lanai receives all 400 mw of wind energy it’s not immediately clear how much this would enlarge the wind farm’s footprint. Residents have expressed concerns that the wind farm could disrupt hunting and fishing practices, as well as disturb cultural and archeological sites.

Butch Gima, of Lanaians for Sensible Growth, a community advocacy organization, told PBN last September that “it’s tough to get an appreciation of how this will affect our island. Even residents have a hard time conceptualizing it. When we presented a 3-D model, people were just flabbergasted. People on Oahu need to understand that out-of-sight, out-of-mind does not relieve them of the responsibility to address this issue.”

Hawaiian Electric representatives have acknowledged in the past the significant sacrifice that residents of the islands would be making for allowing the wind farms. A community benefits package has been negotiated with Lanai residents by Hawaiian Electric and Castle & Cooke, but negotiations never developed that far on Molokai.

The “Big Wind” project has been pursued aggressively by Hawaiian Electric, and the state energy office and is seen as important for the utility in reaching renewable energy benchmarks as laid out in the 2008 Clean Energy Initiative. The state will fine the utility if goals aren’t reached, though commissioners at the Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the utility, can make allowances if the utility shows it had made a good faith effort to reach targets.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Wind turbines as cigarettes?

(April 1- New York) In a move sure to unsettle some residents, the Town of Marlboor, New York has approved a wind farm project with turbines made to look like cigarettes.

“These are not real cigarettes. These are electronic cigarettes,” said Town Supervisor Joe Kahmle. “We are not advocating pollution of any kind.”

In a bid to raise money for town coffers, the town agreed to allow the turbines to be painted to resemble electronic cigarettes made by the NoSmokeSmokes Corp.

Company representative Simone Barsinister indicated that she saw the project as a win-win-win-win. “Look,” she said, “We paid the town a lump sum; people will stop bringing into their lungs smoke from cigarettes and smokestacks; and if folks are smart about this, they will recharge their smokeless smokes at night when the turbines are spinning fast. I’m surprised more towns aren’t jumping at the opportunity.”

Representatives of NYISO were unavailable for comment as to what impact on the grid the mass plugging in of electronic cigarettes may have.

NoSmokeSmokes estimates that for every 10MW of power generated, the ingestion of 10M mg of tar will be avoided.

Photo simulation of the “Cigarette Turbine” project submitted as part of the town’s environmental due diligence