Cohocton Wind Watch: November 2015
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud




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Friday, November 20, 2015

NY’s Madison Wind Farm a cautionary tale

As it turns out, the wind-power shell game has nabbed its first municipal victim, in a big way.
The Madison Wind Farm, town of Madison, county of Madison, has told town and county officials that come Jan. 1, when its 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement expires, it simply won’t be able to pay any more than it has over the past 15 years. That princely sum? A paltry $60,000 a year split between the school district and the town. The county generously agreed to forgo any payments, figuring it would get its reward when the PILOT was done.
Well, in a way it will. There is a good chance Madison County will end up owning seven aging, obsolete wind towers that developers have made good money on at taxpayers’ expense. If that happens, the county, yet to see a dime, might be the first decommissioners of an old wind farm in the state. I am guessing it is ill equipped to do that.
There are wind farms in California that have reached this end stage of their lives, and most of them are sitting silently in the desert, blades permanently stilled, nacelles rusting and choked with sand and towers aged out of use. Nobody is taking them down probably because, like Madison County, some slicked-back corporate con man skinned local officials right out of their shorts with promises of revenue and green power.
Revenue went to the developers, much of it in the form of production tax credits and property tax exemptions, and green power at less than 30 percent of the nameplate rating went out when the wind was blowing hard enough (while coal, gas and nuclear plants were forced to keep their turbines spinning because wind, you know, isn’t steady). It was a good deal for some, but for the people it was the Big Con.
Now, next up in New York to reach that magic old age of 20 will be Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County. That is no Madison Wind Farm. Maple Ridge is the granddaddy of the eastern half of the country, with more than a hundred windmills scattered across the Tug Hill plateau, their towers and blades visible from the town of Rutland to well below Martinsburg. And these are the short towers; the new towers are about twice as tall.
Liz Swearingen, Lewis County’s savvy county manager, understands the ramifications. Through the Maple Ridge PILOT, the municipalities, Lowville Academy and Central School, and the county have realized big payouts over the 15 or so years of the PILOT so far, and those payments will continue until 2021. She acknowledges, however, that no one knows what will happen then.
Technology has passed Maple Ridge by just as it has every wind farm built in the early part of this century. Bigger, more efficient, more reliable wind mills allow developers to generate more power with less wind and to achieve a larger percentage of their nameplate power.
And still, these wind farms are simply not viable without massive subsidies, including a singular commitment from local taxpayers. For towns and counties and school districts, these projects are all gamble and no payout.
The only reason Maple Ridge hasn’t pinched Lewis County is that its PILOT is subsidized by an old program through Empire State Development that allowed businesses in the now defunct Empire Zones to pay local taxes and be reimbursed by the state. That long-gone program won’t help anyone anymore, so what will happen with Maple Ridge after all the Monopoly money is gone is anyone’s guess.
Ms. Swearingen said that Lewis County has a strong decommissioning agreement in place with the owners of Maple Ridge. But these owners are not the ones who signed the document, and no one ever went broke being skeptical about agreements with wind developers. It may be difficult for Lewis County to impose an agreement on a giant corporation headquartered in Spain.
Lewis County is at least aware of the risks it faces. Ms. Swearingen is working hard to tighten the county’s budget so that it relies less on fund balance to save the tax levy, which may give it the wherewithal to weather any storm the end of Maple Ridge’s PILOT kicks up. End of life is never pretty, and it is particularly ugly for wind farms.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

End of life is never pretty

As it turns out, the wind-power shell game has nabbed its first municipal victim, in a big way.
The Madison Wind Farm, town of Madison, county of Madison (kind of a trend here), has told town and county officials that come Jan. 1, when its 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement expires, it simply won’t be able to pay any more than it has over the past 15 years. That princely sum? A paltry $60,000 a year split between the school district and the town. The county generously agreed to forgo any payments, figuring it would get its reward when the PILOT was done.
Well, in a way it will. There is a very good chance Madison County will end up owning seven aging, obsolete wind towers that developers have made very good money on at taxpayers’ expense. If that happens, the county, yet to see a dime, might be the first decommissioners of an old wind farm in this state. I am guessing it is ill equipped to do that.
There are wind farms in California that have reached this end stage of their lives, and most of them are sitting silently in the desert, blades permanently stilled, nacelles rusting and choked with sand and towers aged out of use. Nobody is taking them down probably because, like Madison County, some slicked-back corporate con man skinned local officials right out of their shorts with promises of revenue and green power.
Revenue went to the developers, much of it in the form of production tax credits and property tax exemptions, and green power at less than 30 percent of the nameplate rating went out when the wind was blowing hard enough (while coal, gas and nuclear plants were forced to keep their turbines spinning because wind, you know, isn’t steady). It was a good deal for some, but for the people it was the Big Con.
Now, next up in New York to reach that magic old age of 20 will be Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County. That is no Madison Wind Farm. Maple Ridge is the granddaddy of the eastern half of the country, with more than a hundred windmills scattered across the Tug Hill plateau, their towers and blades visible from the town of Rutland to well below Martinsburg. And these are the short towers; the new towers are about twice as tall.
Liz Swearingen, Lewis County’s savvy county manager, understands the ramifications. Through the Maple Ridge PILOT, the municipalities, Lowville Academy and Central School, and the county have realized big payouts over the 15 or so years of the PILOT so far, and those payments will continue until 2021. She acknowledges, however, that no one knows what will happen then.
Technology has passed Maple Ridge by just as it has every wind farm built in the early part of this century. Bigger, more efficient, more reliable wind mills allow developers to generate more power with less wind and to achieve a larger percentage of their nameplate power.
And still, these wind farms are simply not viable without massive subsidies, including a singular commitment from local taxpayers. For towns and counties and school districts, these projects are all gamble and no payout.
The only reason Maple Ridge hasn’t pinched Lewis County is that its PILOT is subsidized by an old program through Empire State Development that allowed businesses in the now defunct Empire Zones to pay local taxes and be reimbursed by the state. That long-gone program won’t help anyone anymore, so what will happen with Maple Ridge after all the Monopoly money is gone is anyone’s guess.
Ms. Swearingen said that Lewis County has a strong decommissioning agreement in place with the owners of Maple Ridge. But these owners are not the ones who signed the document, and no one ever went broke being skeptical about agreements with wind developers. It may be difficult for Lewis County to impose an agreement on a giant corporation headquartered in Spain.
Lewis County is at least aware of the risks it faces. Ms. Swearingen is working hard to tighten the county’s budget so that it relies less on fund balance to save the tax levy, which may give it the wherewithal to weather any storm the end of Maple Ridge’s PILOT kicks up. End of life is never pretty, and it is particularly ugly for wind farms.

SunEdison's Big Slide: When Financial Engineering Goes Wrong

A little emphasized $410 million margin loan SunEdison took out with Deutsche Bank in January encapsulates the tenuous financial foundation that stood behind its growth plans.
SunEdison’s margin deal was a piece of the financing package for its $2.4 billion purchase of First Wind, which was very well received by investors. It used TerraForm Power shares — trading above $30 at the time – as a form of collateral but the structure left little room for error. Covenants on the deal forced SunEdison to maintain a loan-to-value of at least 50%, thus when SunEdison and its yieldco shares began falling in late July it prompted large collateral calls that surprised Wall Street and raised questions about management’s transparency.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

14,000 ABANDONED WIND TURBINES LITTER THE UNITED STATES

The towering symbols of a fading religion, over 14,000 wind turbines, abandoned, rusting, slowly decaying. When it is time to clean up after a failed idea, no green environmentalists are to be found. Wind was free, natural, harnessing Earth’s bounty for the benefit of all mankind, sounded like a good idea. Wind turbines, like solar panels, break down.  They produce less energy before they break down than the energy it took to make them.  The wind does not blow all the time, or even most of the time. When it is not blowing, they require full-time backup from conventional power plants.
Without government subsidy, they are unaffordable. With governments facing financial troubles, the subsidies are unaffordable. It was a nice dream, a very expensive dream, but it didn’t work.
California had the “big three” of wind farm locations — Altamont Pass, Tehachapi, and San Gorgonio, considered the world’s best wind sites. California’s wind farms, almost 80% of the world’s wind generation capacity ceased to generate even more quickly than Kamaoa Wind Farm in Hawaii. There are five other abandoned wind farms in Hawaii. When they are abandoned, getting the turbines removed is a major problem. They are highly unsightly, and they are huge, and that’s a lot of material to get rid of.
Unfortunately the same areas that are good for siting wind farms are a natural pass for migrating birds. Altamont’s turbines have been shut down four months out of every year for migrating birds after environmentalists filed suit. According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society 75-110 Golden Eagles, 380 Burrowing Owls, 300 Red-Tailed Hawks and 333 American Kestrels are killed by the turbines every year. An Alameda County Community Development Agency study points to 10,000 annual bird deaths from Altamont wind turbines. The Audubon Society makes up numbers like the EPA, but there’s a reason why they call them bird Cuisinarts.
Palm Springs has enacted an ordinance requiring their removal from San Gorgonio Pass, but unless something else changes abandoned turbines will remain a rotting eyesores, or the taxpayers who have already paid through the nose for overpriced energy and crony-capitalist tax scams will have to foot the bill for their removal.
President Obama’s offshore wind farms will be far more expensive than those sited in California’s ideal wind locations. Salt water is far more damaging than sun and rain, and offshore turbines don’t last as long. But nice tax scams for his crony-capitalist backers will work well as long as he can blame it all on saving the planet.

Click on link to submit your SEC complaint on the
First Wind Holdings Inc. IPO public offering


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FIRST WIND Lays an Egg WITHDRAWS IPO
after Wall Street no confidence in company




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Risks of Industrial Wind Turbines is a group of citizens and organizations dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life of residents and future generations.

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