Friday, October 30, 2009
Overseas Firms Collecting Most Green Energy Money
By Russ Choma (of the Investigative Reporting Workshop)
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
One of the major selling points of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan was that it would put the economy back on track partly by investing in renewable energy industries, like wind and solar.
The president and many other advocates of alternative energy argue that an investment in green energy would lessen the nation’s reliance on foreign oil, cut greenhouse gases, and most importantly, create thousands of new jobwind money washington s for out-of-work Americans.
But of the $1.05 billion in clean-energy grants handed out by the government since Sept. 1, 84 percent – a total of $849 million – has gone to foreign wind companies. Spanish utility company, Iberdrola S.A., alone has collected $545 million through its American subsidiary.
Even more striking is the fact that there are few restrictions on the how the grants can be used, according to a transcript of a Treasury Department briefing. In fact, more than $800 million has been given to firms for wind farms that were already producing electricity before they received the grants, according to a review of the records by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.
"There are no restrictions on the use of the funds," Dan Tangherlini, an assistant secretary for management at the Department of Treasury, said, during a Sept. 1 conference call to announce the grants.
Could the money be used to pay shareholders?
"You know, that's possible," Tangherlini said, when a reporter asked that question during the call.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
AMERICA'S DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL
Here's why wind turbines will never have an affect on imported oil. The author of this article, Glenn Schleede, is a well known energy consultant from Virginia.
In any case - you may have been misled as many people have - about dependence by the USA on how much foreign oil is used to produce electricity in the USA - VERY LITTLE. This is a scare tactic embraced by wind energy supporters and it is false! Here's Glenn Schleede's thoughts based on his extensive research, please read:
Wind Energy Will NOT Reduce US Oil Dependence – July 2007 Update -- 2006 Data
One of the false claims made by “wind energy” advocates is that greater use of wind energy would reduce US dependence on oil, including oil imports.
In fact, adding more wind turbines will have no significant impact on US oil consumption. Unfortunately, many well-meaning people (including reporters) and some regulators and political leaders have accepted – and repeated -- the wind advocates’ false claims about reductions in oil use. This brief paper explains why the reduced oil use claim is false.(The claim about reduced oil dependence is only one of many false and misleading claims made by the wind industry, US Department of Energy (DOE), DOE’s National Renewable Energy “Laboratory” (NREL) and other wind advocates)
Facts about oil use in electric generation in the US:
1. The only potential use of wind turbines is to produce electricity.
2. Very little oil is used in the US to produce electricity. In 2006, only 1.6% of the electricity generated in the US was produced by using oil.
Oil use was down significantly from 2005, undoubtedly due to high oil prices which led to greater use of other energy sources principally natural gas, and coal. Shares of electric generation from nuclear energy and hydropower also increased. The share of electricity produced by oil has dropped well below EIA’s projections.
3. Most of the use of oil in the US for electricity generation occurs in a few states. In 2006, 3 states (Florida, Hawaii and New York) accounted for more than 70% of all the electricity in the US generated by using oil.
4. Oil accounted for more than 5% of electric generation in only 4 states and the District of Columbia. Those states are Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts, and Alaska.
5. Oil accounted for less than 1% of electric generation in 39 states. Thirty-six of those were less than ½ of 1%.
6. Even in the 11 states (and the District of Columbia) where oil accounts for more than 1% of electricity generation, adding wind turbines would have very little, if any, impact on oil consumption. The facts supporting this conclusion are complex and many of those who have believed the false claims might be forgiven for their errors. However, the complexity does not excuse officials from DOE, NREL or the wind industry who should know better. But, in any case, here is why wind energy is highly unlikely to reduce to reduce oil use in electric generation:
a. About 7.7% of the oil used in electric generation in 2006 was “distillate” oil
used in combustion turbine and internal combustion electric generating units.
The cost of this oil is high and such units are used almost exclusively in times when electricity demand is at its highest level (e.g., during hot weekday afternoons in July and August). Little if any wind generated electricity is available during those times.
b. Most of the remaining 92% of the oil used in electric generation was “residual oil” (#4 & #5) that is used in older, oil-fired steam-electric generating units (oil is burned to heat water and create steam to drive a turbine).
c. These older oil-fired steam-electric units are quite unlikely to be the units that are backed down or ramped up to adjust for the intermittent, highly volatile (output often varies widely minute to minute) and largely unpredictable output from wind turbines – which produce electricity only when the wind is blowing in the right speed range. Also, some of the old oil-fired steam-electric units are located close to major load centers (e.g., New York City and Long Island) and must be run to maintain proper voltage.
d. Instead, the generating units that are likely to be used to “back up” the intermittent wind turbines will be units that are either:
1) Designed and designated to serve in an Automatic Generation Control (AGC) mode
to keep an electric grid in balance (i.e., frequency and voltage),
2) Producing at less than full capacity and capable of ramping up or down on short
3) Operating in a “spinning reserve” mode. Electricity supply and demand must be kept in balance. Electricity production is constantly adjusted to meet electricity demand. The generating units that serve best in backing up intermittent, volatile wind turbines are hydropower units because the output from these units can be increased or decreased almost instantaneously. The next best alternatives are gas-fired turbine-based generating units (e.g., combined-cycle or larger
simple cycle). Oil-fired units are less likely to be used in the required balancing role for wind turbines because (a) the oil-fired combustion turbine and internal combustion units are unlikely to be running except in times of peak demand, and (b) the oil-fired steam electric units are likely to have slower response times than is necessary to back up wind turbines. (e) The generating units used to “back up” intermittent and volatile wind generation will depend on the generating mix and other conditions in the grid control area that is receiving the electricity from wind turbines. In the Pacific-Northwest, for example, hydro power would likely serve in the balancing role – with no savings in oil. In New England, with its heavy dependence on natural gas and a significant amount of newer gas-fired
generating capacity, a gas-fired unit would likely serve in the balancing role, again with little or no savings in oil use.
In summary, there is very little likelihood that any oil use in electric generation would be reduced by adding wind turbines. This would certainly be true in the states with only small shares of their electric generation from oil.
The electric industry officials who will have the exact data on the generating units that are run to balance the intermittent and volatile output from wind turbines are those who handle the day to day management and control of electric grids and transmission systems; i.e., depending on the region of the US, electric utility, the power pool, the independent system operator (ISO), or the regional transmission organization (RTO).
Where is most oil used in the US?
During 2006, US oil use averaged 20,588,000 barrels per day. The shares of 2006 US oil consumption by sector were as follows:
• Transportation. - 68.9%
• Industrial - 24.1%
• Residential - 3.6%
• Commercial - 1.8%
• Electric generation - 1.6%
Total - 100%
As the above table suggests, those seeking a reduction in US oil consumption will need to focus primarily on oil use in transportation.
Glenn R. Schleede
Round Hill, VA 20141-2574
Dear Wayne County Star Editor,
The editor’s comments in the 7/30/08 Star on gas leases signed by naïve landowners who later regret their actions are nothing new - but there’s a new twist to the scam. The corrupt wind industry is also raping landowners who sign leases and easements for potential wind farms and subsequently the landowners discover that their wind lease includes gas and mineral rights too. And because the poor landowner didn’t understand the text of the lease contract and signs it – he’s legally obligated by terms of the lease. This bait and switch by the wind developer may not be discovered for years and well after a number of other landowners in the area have collectively made the same mistake. It might well be that the “wind developer” was more interested in the gas and mineral rights than wind capability since these leased “rights” could then be parlayed to a third (possibly foreign) party for future development and huge profits – profits that unfortunately exclude the landowner who was duped – he trusted and was then betrayed. Not only that – the landowner is likely to already have been a victim of antitrust violations, misrepresentations, false claims and outright fraud by the wind profiteers at the onset. Furthermore - the landowner may also be obligated by other terms of a lease that prohibit him from operating his property in his traditional manner unless the lessee approves of the new methods of (farming) operation. Landowners who leased their land to wind developers have later found out they couldn’t get a second mortgage (eg. home improvements) because the bank they applied to couldn’t be the first lien holder (the wind company is) - or not be able to subdivide their property because lease terms prohibit it. Competent legal help is required, as the Star editor recommends and even that’s no guarantee of a fair outcome for the landowner (farmer). Towns are ripped off too - ask Keith Pitman, President and CEO of Empire State Wind Energy (ESWE) – the so called “wind developer” that’s been romancing eastern Wayne County towns for well over a year now – why his company won’t respond to a $5,000 legal bill ESWE owes to the town of Huron! The message is blatantly simple – BEWARE THE CORRUPT WIND INDUSTRY!
ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR AT LAW
P.O. BOX 326
CLARKSVILLE, NEW YORK 12041-0326
Phone: (518) 768-8232
Fax: (518) 768-8235
WEB SITE: peterhenner.com
*via facsimile transmission and regular mail
October 15, 2007
Betsy Bernocco, Supervisor
Town of Richmondville
211 Winegard Road
Richmondville, NY 12149
Alicia Terry, Director
Schoharie County Planning and Development Agency
349 Mineral Springs Road
Cobleskill, NY 12043
Re: Wind turbines are not a special use within the meaning of the Richmondville Zoning Ordinance
Dear Ms. Bernocco and Ms. Terry:
Schoharie Valley Watch has asked me to provide an opinion with respect to the question of whether wind turbines can be sited in the R-2 zone in the Town of Richmondville. Apparently, it has been suggested that wind turbines can be sited in the R-2 zone because a wind turbine is allegedly a "public utility station or structure", which is a permissible use in an R-2 zone if the applicant obtains a special use permit.
For the reasons set forth below, I do not believe that a wind turbine qualifies as a special use under the Town's Zoning Ordinance. Furthermore, if an applicant seeks a variance to site a wind turbine in the R-2 zone, the applicant would not be entitled to the benefit of the "relaxed" zoning standards applicable to "public utilities".
A commercial wind turbine is not a "public utility station or structure" under the Town of Richmondville Zoning Ordinance
Although the Town's Zoning Ordinance contains a comprehensive list of definitions, the term "public utility station or structure" is not defined. In the absence of a statutory definition, we must rely on the plain, ordinary meanings of the words. A wind turbine, owned and operated by a private commercial enterprise, is not a "public" entity. Furthermore, a company that uses a wind turbine to generate electricity for sale to a competitive market, rather than to provide a necessary service to the public, is not a "utility".
A "public utility" has been defined as a "private business, often a monopoly, which provide services so essential to the public interest as to enjoy certain privileges such as eminent domain and be subject to such governmental regulation as fixing of rates, and standards of service", 2 Anderson, American Law of Zoning § 12.32 at pages 568-569 (3d Ed.). Typically, a public utility: 1) provides essential services, 2) is subject to some degree of public regulation, and 3) is subject to some logistic constraint with respect to the siting of its facility.
However, a wind turbine does not meet any of these criteria. Although it may be argued that the electricity which is generated is important, the electricity is not sold to customers, but, instead, is typically sold to the electric grid through the Independent System Operator, and is then distributed to public buyers. The sale of electricity is no longer a monopoly; in the past, all electric generation was done by a utility company, such as the former Niagara Mohawk, which was heavily regulated by the Public Service Commission ("PSC"). Today, after the "restructuring" or deregulation of the electric industry, generators of electric power, such as the owners and operators of wind turbines, are merchant plants, that compete with each other to sell electricity. The electricity that is generated can not be considered "essential", since it may not be sold if, on any particular day, cheaper electricity is available from other generators (electricity generated by wind turbines can not be stored; it must be used when it is generated). This is in sharp contrast to the former system, where virtually all of the electricity that was used within a service area was generated by one company, and both the amount of electricity and its price were regulated by the PSC.
Furthermore, for the most part, wind turbines operate outside of any public control or regulation. They do not have a franchise from a public entity, the prices of the electricity are not regulated, nor do they have any quasi governmental powers, such as the power of eminent domain. In short, even assuming that wind turbines could be considered to be "utilities", they do not have any indicia of any "public" character.
Accordingly, a wind turbine is not a "public utility station or structure" under the Zoning Ordinance. Therefore, it can not be sited in the R-2 zone as a special use. The "public utility" use variance exception does not apply to wind turbines
In Consolidated Edison Company v. Hoffman, 43 N.Y.2d 598 (1978), the New York State Court of Appeals established a "public utility" use variance exception. In Consolidated Edison, the owner of a nuclear power plant had sought a variance from local zoning standards to build a 1000 foot tall cooling tower and the Village had denied the variance. The denial was overturned because Consolidated Edison provided an essential service in the form of electricity generation, subject to governmental regulation. Furthermore, since the nuclear generating plant was already in existence, the cooling tower had to be built relatively close to it, and could not readily be built at an alternative location. The Court found that public utilities needed to have relaxed zoning standards in order to accomplish their mission, and that the zoning standards should be interpreted to facilitate their operation.
15 years later, in Cellular Telephone Company v. Rosenberg, 82 N.Y.2d 364 (1993), the Court of Appeals held that cellular telephone facilities qualified for a public use variance, pursuant to Consolidated Edison. The Court noted that cellular telephones were heavily regulated under the Public Service Law and the Transportation Corporations Law, and that there was a need for an additional cell tower, to remedy a gap in service coverage. The Court of Appeals repeated and reaffirmed its earlier determination that, in order to obtain a variance, "the utility must show that modification is a public necessity in that it is required to render safe and adequate service, and that there are compelling reasons, economic or otherwise" which justify the departure from existing zoning standards, Consolidated Edison, 43 N.Y.2d at 611, quoted in Cellular Telephone, 82 N.Y.2d at 372 and cited with approval at 373.
I am aware that the advocates of wind power have frequently claimed that wind turbines will qualify as a public utility, and will therefore be entitled to the relaxed zoning standards that the Court of Appeals has authorized in Consolidated Edison and Cellular Telephone Company. Nevertheless, I respectfully submit that such an opinion represents mere wishful thinking on the part of wind advocates. No court has ever held that any privately owned, unregulated electric generating facility, including a wind turbine, is a public utility entitled to relaxed zoning. In any event, commercial wind plants simply do not meet the basic criteria for the application of the public utility exception because, rather than generating electricity for a public need, they are generating electricity for private sale, and wind turbines are not subject to governmental regulation.
It is important to note that while there have been a number of cases citing Cellular Telephone since 1993, no New York State Court has applied the public utility doctrine to any facility other than cellular telephones. Furthermore, even for cellular telephones, the question of whether the public utility doctrine applies must be considered on a case-by-case basis, Nextel v. Fort Ann, 1 A.D.3d 89,93 (3d Dept. 2003). In any event, in all of the cases since Cellular Telephone, courts have noted that the cellular telephone company must demonstrate that the requested variance is actually necessary to enable the requester to fulfill its mission as a public utility. In most of these cases, the cellular telephone company demonstrated such a need, and the Court overturned the variance denial (but see Cellco. Partnership v. Town of Hurley, 262 A.D.2d 849 (3d Dept. 1999), where the Court determined that the telephone company had not met its burden, and sustained the denial of the variance).
In the event that a wind developer applies for a special use permit in the Town of Richmondville, it would initially be required to present arguments as to why it is a public utility. Assuming that it met the three criteria for public utility, that it: 1) provides an essential service, 2) is subject to public regulation, and 3) needs the specific site in question, it would still need to demonstrate that there is a "public necessity" for the electricity that will be generated. I do not believe that a wind turbine developer can meet such a burden. To meet such a burden, the developer would have to show why the wind turbine is necessary when other, cheaper power is available. If the proposed developer cannot make the necessary showing, the Zoning Board of Appeals would be well within its authority to deny an application for either a special use permit, or for a variance to permit the siting of the wind turbine.
There may be some advantages for the Town of Richmondville to adopt regulations to specifically address the potential development of wind energy within the Town. However, at the present time, the Town's existing Zoning Ordinance provides protection against unwanted wind turbines. In any event, the Town can provide adequate protection by adopting a moratorium until it can make a careful, reasoned determination of how it wants to handle the prospective development of wind energy.
Consequently, the Town Board should not take any immediate action with respect to the adoption of a wind ordinance, but should instead take the necessary time to determine the best course of action to protect the citizens of the Town, and to evaluate all of the costs and benefits that may be associated with the potential development of wind energy within the Town.
Very truly yours,
Marvin Parshall, Jr., Town of Richmondville Attorney
Harold Loder, Chairman, Town of Richmondville Planning Poard
Gene DiMarco, Town of Richmondville Code Enforcement Officer
Michael West, Schoharie County Attorney
John F. “Jack” Sullivan
July 22, 2006
To whom it may concern:
To some, my vote against wind power in Malone was a vote against progress; however, be assured that this decision was based on hundreds of hours of study and research, as well as numerous mathematical calculations backed by years of business experience and a graduate degree in physics. This vote was against the degradation of local property values, destruction of some wonderful viewsheds, lowering the quality of life of some local residents, and the accruing of millions of dollars of NY taxpayer dollars by a few wind developers.
The following should be kept in mind concerning New York wind power projects:
(1) Not a single kw-hr. of electricity will go directly to local residents. Over 99.9% of the power produced goes out of town, mostly to large urban areas.
(2) Wind power WILL NOT be cheaper. Currently, National Grid offers wind power at 1.5 cents above market. ( How can they possibly separate wind power to an individual house?) Last year, when the largest wind project in the east went on-line, did your light bill decrease?
(3) Wind power has almost no relation to oil imports. Almost no electricity is produced by burning oil. Because of the expense of oil, the few oil fired plants in the country are used mainly as backups during peak demand, such as sultry summer days when wind is virtually nonexistent. Wind power would not dent our oil imports. All of New York's wind turbines produce less energy in a year than is contained in ONE DAY’S WORTH of imported oil. Besides this, the tiny amount of oil used to generate electricity all comes from the residue (basically, sludge) left over in the tanks from refining gas and diesel fuel. Essentially, then, this oil is a waste by-product of gas and diesel refinement.
(4) The typical PILOT program offered by area wind developers is far less than 1% of the total budgets of the taxing entities involved. PILOTS are a tiny percentage of company profits. You & I pay full taxes; it is unfair not to demand this of the wind energy companies, which contribute very little by way of jobs to the local economy.
(5) Currently, North Country wind projects can have towers within 1000' of an inhabited dwelling. This distance is much too close for a 400' tall tower. Towers this close have a potential for causing many problems, including: lowering property values, shadow flicker (an annoying problem and, for people prone to seizure disorder or car-sickness or sea-sickness, a serious health hazard that occurs when the sun is low on the horizon), bird kills (especially on migratory routes, as we have here with the Greater Snow Geese and other species), and excessive (health-damaging) sound levels. NOTE: sound pressure levels (decibels) emitted by wind turbines vary widely, depending on wind speed and direction, distance from turbine blades, and even time of day. Scientists using professional-grade instruments have measured sound levels up to 84 db. at 3300' ( over half a mile). That's twice the noise level of a 500 hp Corvette under full throttle.
(6) Windpower is unpredictable: you never know how much you are going to get or how long it will last. The wind salesmen are wont to lead us to believe that the nameplate capacity is the same as the constant output of the turbines. A 1.5 MW GE turbine doesn't produce 1.5 MW until wind gets to 16-18 m/s (about 36 to 40 mph ). Production drops off dramatically at lower wind speeds: less than 0.2 MW at 20 mph, and a miniscule 0.02 MW at 10 mph. Malone's past 2-year average wind speed was 6.05 mph-not enough even to start a large wind turbine. Why try to have a wind project in Malone? READ ON!
(7) The current 1.5 MW turbines have been in use over ten years. Why then, only now, do we get this onslaught of wind developers? The answer is recent government tax credits, subsidies and rapid depreciation allowances. Actually, their cumulative value is more than the value of the electricity produced. It seems likely that without our tax dollars the New York wind industry would simply vanish.
(8) In testing its own turbines GE found their overall net efficiency to be 10 percent!
(9) Wind developers say wind turbines use free fuel and are totally emission free. What they don’t acknowledge is that the emissions produced in manufacturing, transporting, construction and erection of a tower may take up to 7 years of operation to get back.
(10) The wind industry's goal is to produce 10% of NY's electricity. This is either an impossible dream or a blueprint for unbelievable destruction of rural NY landscape. Ten percent of NY's power is about 4000 MW, which translates into 15,000 1.5 MW turbines at 25% efficiency (probably a generous figure ). Since NY wind projects use an average of 60 acres per tower (according to NYSERDA), this means using 900,000 acres of our land for the next 20-50 years. According to NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority), 4000MW of (unpredictable, often gusting) wind power is likely to completely destabilize the entire power grid.
(11) Wind turbines shut down other facilities when in operation, thus reducing polluting emissions. However, figures of reduced emissions published by wind developers are greatly overblown, since only certain types of plants are taken off-line. The first to shut down are pure turbine natural gas plants, which produce much less pollution than coal plants and, secondly, hydro plants are shut down. It is absurd to replace one non-polluting renewable source with another.
(12) In initial presentations the wind salesmen promised up to 45 permanent jobs as a result of a 67 turbine project in Malone. My research found the industry average was 1 job per 10-12 turbines. Either the wind salesmen were exaggerating or they had the most inefficient company in the industry. In addition, their claimed "economic benefits" for the area included the cost of turbines (purchased in foreign countries) and construction contracts (most of which would certainly be awarded to out-of-area firms).
(13) The wind salesmen who invaded Malone actually had their lawyers write a zoning ordinance to govern themselves and then tried clandestinely to sneak it into the Planning Board as a sample from another town. One provision would have allowed 400’ high turbines less than 500’ from a home (the closest in NY State, I believe).
(14) The Malone wind project proposal would have impacted 5000 acres of land for up to 50 years, with little net gain to the community at large.
In attending a number of wind developer presentations it became obvious that they contained duplicitous, misleading statements, exaggerated benefits, and ignored the disadvantages. This, alone, was enough to turn me against wind power for Northern New York.
In addition, I really can’t reconcile the wind companies’ insistence on leasing land when they can buy it cheaper. Liability avoidance? Plans to walk out when the project is depreciated?
And you should see the lease agreements! I have never seen such a one-sided document in my life! I find it hard to believe anyone who signed this read it carefully. I’m sure many only read the financial clauses. I say, “Get a lawyer!” I would be happy to share a lease agreement with anyone wishing to examine one.
Is industrial wind power presently a viable choice for Northern New York? I think not. Yes, we need to reduce emissions and find user-friendly alternatives. Here are some realistic ways of accomplishing this:
(1) Industrial & residential conservation. The average homeowner can reduce electricity use by 15-25% with only very affordable expenditures.
(2) Clean up emissions from coal plants. Entirely feasible and less costly per megawatt-hour than wind power.
(3) Build some nuclear plants. France is 80% nuclear, SAFELY. It is far more dangerous to cross Malone’s Main St. than to live near an American nuclear power plant.
(4) Encourage small wind turbines (as the Malone local law does) and solar installations, both of which give realistic energy aid to local residents, instead of resorting to industrial wind turbines, which provide billions in tax money to multi-billion-dollar companies that take most of the profits out of the area.
ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ESTABLISHES CODE OF CONDUCT FOR WIND ENERGY COMPANIES OPERATING IN NEW YORK
Noble Environmental Power and First Wind first to sign Wind Industry Ethics Code
New Task Force to monitor and ensure compliance includes: District Attorneys Gerald Stout, Michael Green, and Derek Champagne, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Counties Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Towns G. Jeffrey Haber, and NYPIRG’s Legislative Director Blair Horner
ALBANY, N.Y. (October 30, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new Wind Industry Ethics Code that establishes guidelines to facilitate the development of alternative energy in New York while assuring the public the wind power industry is acting properly and within the law. The Code calls for new oversight through a multi-agency Task Force, and establishes unprecedented transparency that will deter any improper relationships between wind development companies and local government officials.
The first companies to sign the Attorney General’s Wind Industry Ethics Code are Essex, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power, LLC and Newton, Massachusetts-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind). Both companies currently operate wind farms in New York and have several others in development.
“Wind power is an exciting industry for the state that will be a cornerstone of our energy future. But it is important to make sure that this alternative energy sector develops in a way that maintains the public’s confidence, and that is what this new Code of Conduct does,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “I commend Noble and First Wind for taking the lead by adopting this Code, and we fully expect other companies that want to develop wind farms in New York to follow suit.”
The Wind Industry Ethics Code is a result of the Attorney General’s investigation into, among other things, whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, and whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their official actions relating to wind farm development. Both Noble and First Wind fully cooperated in the inquiry and their assistance was instrumental in developing the Code of Conduct that is being announced today.
The Attorney General's Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes vast new public disclosure requirements. The Code:
· Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency
· Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using, or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his or her officials duties
· Requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public Web site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development
· Requires wind companies to submit in writing to the municipal clerk for public inspection and to publish in the local newspaper the nature and scope of the municipal officer’s financial interest
· Mandates that all wind easements and leases be in writing and filed with the County Clerk
· Dictates that within thirty days of signing the Wind Industry Ethics Code, companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working with municipal employees
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Author: Appraisal Group One
This is a study of the impact that wind turbines have on residential property value. The wind turbines that are the focus of this study are the larger turbines being approximately 389ft tall and producing 1.0+ megawatts each.
The study has been broken into three component parts, each looking at the value impact of the wind turbines from a different perspective. The three parts are: (1) a literature study, which reviews and summarizes what has been published on this matter found in the general media; (2) an opinion survey, which was given to area Realtors to learn their opinions on the impact of wind turbines in their area; and, 3) sales studies, which compared vacant residential lot sales within the wind turbine farm area to comparable sales located outside of the turbine influence.
The sponsor for this study was the Calumet County Citizens for Responsible Energy (CCCRE) (Calumet County, Wisconsin), which contracted our firm, Appraisal Group One, to research the value impact that wind turbines have on property value. Appraisal Group One (AGO) protected against outside influence from CCCRE by having complete independence to the gathering of facts, data and other related material and the interpretation of this data to the purpose of this study. AGO chose the location of the study, the search parameters, the methodology used and the three-step approach to the study. AGO does not enter into any contract that would espouse any preconceived notion or have a bias as to the direction of the study and its findings. The purpose of the study was to investigate the value impacts of large wind turbines, the issues influencing these impacts and to report these findings on an impartial basis. …
The geographic area of this study was focused in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties. These two counties have three large wind farms. They are:
* WE Energies − Blue Sky Green Field wind farm which has approximately 88 wind turbines and is located in the northeast section of Fond du Lac County, bordering Calumet County to the north.
* Invenergy − Forward wind farm which has approximately 86 wind turbines and is located in southwest Fond du Lac County and northeast Dodge County.
* Alliant − Cedar Ridge wind farm which has approximately 41 wind turbines and is located in the southeastern part of Fond du Lac County.
Of these three wind farms, only the WE Energies and Invenergy wind farms were used in the sales study since the Alliant – Cedar Ridge wind farm did not have enough viable sales within the turbine influence area to use as a base of comparison. The Realtor survey was limited to Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties, that being the area which had the three wind farms. …
Summary of Findings & Conclusion of Impact
The survey indicated that in all but two scenarios (those being Questions #8 and #9), over 60% the participants thought that the presence of the wind turbines had a negative impact on property value. This was true with vacant land and improved land. Where the group diverted from that opinion is when they were presented with a 10-20 acre hobby farm being in close and near proximity. In these cases 47% (close proximity) and 44% (near proximity) of the participants felt that the wind turbines caused a negative impact in property value.
The answers showed that bordering proximity showed the greatest loss of value at −43% for 1-5 acre vacant land and −39% for improved properties. Next in line was the close proximity showing a −36% value loss for 1-5 acre vacant land and −33% for improved property. Last in line was the near proximity, showing a −29% loss of value for a 1-5 acre vacant parcel and −24% loss in value for improved parcels. These losses show a close relationship between vacant land and improved land. This pattern was replicated regarding the bordering proximity for a hobby farm, whereas 70% believed it would be negatively impacted. Lastly, the opinions regarding the impact of the wind turbines due to placement, that being in front of the residence or behind the residence, showed that in both situations most participants believed there would a negative impact (74% said negative to the front placement and 71% said negative to the rear placement).
In conclusion, it can be observed that: (a) in all cases with a 1-5 acre residential property, whether vacant or improved, there will be a negative impact in property value; (b) with 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in bordering proximity ranged from −39% to −43%; (c) with 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in close proximity ranged from −33% to −36%; (d) with 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in near proximity ranged from −24% to −29%; (e) in all cases the estimated loss of value between the vacant land and improved property was close, however the vacant land estimates were always higher by a few percentage points; (f) it appears that hobby farm use on larger parcels would have lesser sensitivity to the proximity of wind turbines than single family land use; and (g) placement either in front or at the rear of a residence has similar negative impacts.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
And the NYS Legislature is considering passing Article X of the NYS Public Service Law that would allow bureaucrats from Albany and downstate to site an electrical generating plant anywhere in NYS without the site municipality’s permission thereby trumping municipal home rule law. In other words your town board could not say NO to the project! Can you imagine how wind developers would love this debacle?
With repugnant issues like these looming over New Yorkers – is it any wonder why people are leaving this state in droves?
But think about & consider the following:
Noise from offshore wind turbines will carry many times further than land based turbines and disturb far more people than terrestrial located wind turbines. The value of shoreline property will be dramatically reduced as a result of offshore turbine generated noise. Wind farm developers have downplayed and denied and lied about turbine noise for years! The loss of sleep is only the beginning of health problems associated with turbine noise. Research the Internet about this horrible turbine generated nuisance – better yet read Dr. Nina Pierpont’s new book: Wind Turbine Syndrome A Report on a Natural Experiment.
Catastrophic loss of property value - After turbines are placed in the lakes - the view shed of those waterfront property owners, traditionally the highest taxed property owners in any community – will be negatively changed forever causing their property to become considerably less valuable. People living near the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie shoreline will become victims of this appalling industrial development while the foreigners financially backing this calamity (with American taxpayer help and support from betraying NYS politicians) enjoy huge profits at the expense of the NYS taxpayers while suffering virtually none of the consequences. People living near the shoreline and subject to turbine noise, loss of the natural lake views, shadowing, light trespass and other turbine generated nuisances that never before existed – will demand enormous reductions in their assessments for loss of property values, etc. and then head for the courts when the town’s assessor’s turn them down. When lakeshore property owners finally realize the dilemma they’re in and can’t sell out – they’ll be prisoners in their own homes on the waterfront. For lakeshore property owners - offshore wind farms will become a legal apocalypse.
Loss of view shed –The aesthetic effect of numerous offshore wind turbines on the Lake Ontario/Lake Erie shoreline would be disastrous – forever! Can you imagine watching a gorgeous lake sunset or sunrise through the rotating blades of a battery of wind turbines? What do you think will command your attention?
Light trespass - The bright blinking red strobe lights atop the off-shore turbines will also reflect in the shimmering water and look like a water-borne emergency or carnival - every night –a repulsive distraction - forever. The blinking will be heightened during a haze or fog. Not only will your daytime view shed be destroyed – your loss of darkness at night will be missed too - forever.
Shadow flicker (or shadowing) when the turbines blade comes between you and the sun leaving you in the shadow. Shadow flicker will provoke quality of life issues and precipitate health problems for people living near the turbines. See how long you can stand someone in the room turning the lights off and on every 3 seconds! This is similar to shadowing. Again – read Dr. Pierpont’s book.
Other important issues -
Recreational boating near these offshore wind farms will be negatively changed forever. (Can you imagine hitting one of these turbines at night? Or not being able to pilot a boat or watercraft near an offshore wind farm due to restrictions?)
Offshore turbines are a threat to commercial and recreational fishing as well as shipping.
Offshore turbines will adversely affect communications, marine radio, television reception, microwave communication and aviation & weather radar.
Birds, bats, fisheries and aquatic resources will take an enormous hit from offshore wind farms.
There will be spillages and discharges from the turbine nacelles (they contain hundreds of gallons of fluids) & rotors contaminating lake waters. Lightening strikes and turbine fires will happen much less collapsed turbines like the one that self-destructed & collapsed near Altona, NY on March 6, 2009 and was kept quiet.
Ice impact on freshwater offshore wind turbine towers is a virtual unknown posing another potential danger of this development. (will NYS be the guinea pig in this experiment?)
Municipalities located near off-shore wind turbines will be powerless to control this unwanted development, especially regarding setbacks, because municipal authority ends at the shoreline. Federal and NYS authorities will decide and process if a wind farm is erected in Lakes Ontario and Erie. What a win-win situation this would become for the foreign dominated corrupt wind industry – no PILOT payments or other taxes to pay, no town officials to deal with, no bribing of local officials is needed, no frantic townspeople to face, no local public information meetings or local public hearings to deal with. The whole offshore wind project will be handled by federal people you don’t know, people you didn’t elect and people who don’t live near the disgusting wind turbines they will help develop. It’s likely the project is owned by corrupt foreigners who will rape NYS while enjoying the profits in their homeland. The Army Corp of Engineers and Public Service Commission will be big players trying to force this development onto New Yorkers. The NYS PSC has recently approved $95M for renewable energy projects in NYS including wind and don’t forget the PSC approved Iberdrola’s $4.6 billion acquisition of Energy East earlier this year. (Iberdrola of Spain is the largest wind farm developer in the world. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. pressured the PSC to approve the Iberdrola deal without any restrictions on wind development)
Not one commercial wind turbine has ever been placed in fresh water anywhere in the world.
More and larger turbines will populate an offshore wind farm.
Decommissioning (read: removal) of the rusting offshore inoperable turbine hulks will take a lifetime at great taxpayer expense – victimizing a community yet again!
Wind turbine energy is a fraudulent sideshow technology that will never pay for itself, will hurt many New Yorkers and cost NY taxpayers billions with little return.