at the Citizen Power Alliance 2010 Wind Conference
More Subsidies for Big Wind
|The Wind Industry says it's cheaper than fossil fuels, then cries for more subsidies|
By Robert Bryce
If anyone needed proof that subsidy-dependent businesses will always seek more subsidies, look no further than the U.S. wind industry. On Wednesday, the wind sector won a vote in the House on a tax bill that includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC), which gives wind companies 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. The companies can collect that subsidy for a decade after they are deemed eligible.
The extension of the PTC was part of a bill that contained more than 50 tax breaks and subsidies that will cost taxpayers more than $40 billion. The portion attributable to the wind industry: about $6.3 billion. It appears that the Senate will pass the bill and President Obama will sign it into law. Thus the wind industry, which has been getting subsidies (with a few short interruptions) since 1992, will continue feeding at the trough.
If there was any doubt that the wind industry needs subsidies, look at the statement put out on Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association, the sector’s main lobbying group. AWEA said that after the PTC expired in 2013, “new wind installations came to a halt, resulting in a 92 percent drop in new wind projects.”
Of course, rent-seeking entities love to claim that their pet projects deserve subsidies because they will create jobs. Indeed, the phrase “create jobs” appears twice in a one-page letter that was sent to leaders of Congress last month imploring them to extend the PTC.
The letter was signed by AWEA and some 450 organizations, including the usual environmental groups — the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Wilderness Society — as well as a host of major corporations. Among them: NextEra Energy, one of the world’s largest wind-energy producers. I wrote about NextEra last year in these pages after the company filed a SLAPP suit in Canada against Ontario anti-wind activist Esther Wrightman. (Here’s a link. Wrightman, by the way, has since moved out of Ontario, and the project she was fighting, NextEra’s Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, has gone forward.) Others that signed the subsidy-seeking letter included Siemens Corporation, E.On, and Nucor Corporation, which is one of America’s biggest steel producers.
AWEA claims that the wind industry supports 73,000 jobs. But how much do those jobs cost taxpayers?
Earlier this year, Susan Combs, the Texas comptroller of public accounts, came up with an estimate. She reported that each wind-related job in the Lone Star State (which has more wind-energy capacity than any other state) costs the state’s taxpayers about $1.7 million.
That’s an increase over what Combs found back in December 2010, when she reported that each wind-related job was costing taxpayers $1.6 million. In an August op-ed published at Economics21, Combs said that “instead of generating jobs and providing a reliable and consistent energy source, wind projects just generate higher costs.”
Perhaps more remarkable than the high cost of wind-energy jobs is the fact that the U.S. is continuing to subsidize wind energy at a time when AWEA itself is claiming major reductions in cost and European countries are slashing those very same subsidies.
In a press release issued last month, the lobby group declared that the cost of wind energy has “dropped by more than half in the last five years.” Furthermore, last month an AWEA spokesperson boasted to the New York Times that some wind projects are “coming in below the cost of even existing generation sources.” That same November 23 story, “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels,” quoted Jonathan Mir, a managing director at the Wall Street firm Lazard, who said that the price of electricity that wind developers need to make money is now “essentially competitive with what would otherwise be had from newly constructed conventional generation.”
Mir and his colleagues at Lazard estimated that production of wind energy, without subsidies, now costs about 3.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, less than what they found for the same amount of electricity produced from natural gas (6.1 cents) and coal (6.6 cents). So if Lazard is correct and it’s cheaper to produce electricity from the wind than from other sources, why does the wind industry need subsidies?
That’s a particularly relevant question given that European countries are slashing subsidies for renewables. In July, Germany reduced subsidies for wind and solar by about 25 percent. On December 2, the Financial Times reported that an offshore wind farm planned for Northern Ireland has been “scrapped” owing to reductions in the subsidies paid for such projects.
To be sure, the ongoing battles over wind projects go far beyond the issue of subsidies. Citizens and environmental groups (commendably among them is the American Bird Conservancy) in the U.S. and Canada and across Europe are fighting wind-energy sprawl based on a variety of concerns, including destruction of scenic landscapes, the turbines’ deadly effect on bats and birds, and the irritating noise they produce.
But it’s the ongoing subsidies that really annoy Lisa Linowes, one of America’s most prominent critics of the wind industry. Linowes, who lives in Lyman, N.H., is the executive director of The WindAction Group as well as the publisher of the website windaction.org. Asked on Thursday about the vote to extend the PTC, she replied, “We thought the Republicans would have the stomach to stop this.”
— Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His latest book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, was published in May by PublicAffairs.
Citizens' plea: End the wind PTC
The fight is on, again, over which tax credits will make the cut in this latest round of extender bills. The House of Representatives just passed HR 5771 which revives dozens of lapsed tax credits totaling $42 billion, including the controversial wind production tax credit (PTC) that expired last year. If approved by the Senate, HR 5771 will reinstate the 22-year old 'temporary' subsidy retroactively for 2014.
Wind proponents argue the 1-year extension is akin to no extension at all. They paint a dire economic picture of curtailed project development, lost jobs and the unraveling of an entire manufacturing sector. A failure to extend the PTC, they claim, will effectively impose an unfair tax on the industry in the form of higher wind prices. Those who oppose the credit are collectively dismissed as Koch-brother sympathizers, a narrative that has worked short term -- after all, it's easy to hate big oil. But the label is flatly false.
The Grassroots Speak
Leading up to the House vote, a grassroots network of thousands (and thousands!) of Americans nationwide quietly signed letters to Congress asking their representatives, and the leadership, to vote 'no' on any extension of the wind PTC. The signers, all regular, main street Americans impacted by the subsidy-driven push for more wind everywhere, hope their voices will be heard past the slick wind-marketing campaigns and paid mouthpieces with access.
They tell a different story as reflected in these excerpts from the letters sent:
Indiana: "Most of the [nearly 3000] Hoosiers who have signed this letter are directly threatened by the choice you will make. We live in the communities impacted by wind development. Many of our local elected officials have passed restrictive ordinances that effectively ban wind development due to the harms to our local economies, property values, health, wildlife and employment. The PTC encourages wind development in inappropriate places – it has fostered a generation of developers who are rewarded for siting turbines on every free acre that has transmission access, no matter who is in the way or how poor the wind resource."
Ohio: "The Production Tax Credit for wind “energy” serves only one purpose: tax avoidance. Wind is subprime power foisted upon rural communities by a predatory industry. Wind will not reduce the country’s carbon footprint. It will not power our factories. It is highly disruptive to the landscape we cherish. It is about tax avoidance – pure and simple. The burden of wind’s costs falls most heavily on those who can least afford to pay.... The signers of this letter are citizens –volunteers not funded by any organization. We are mothers and fathers. We are ratepayers and taxpayers. Unlike [Jonathan] Gruber’s acquiescent Americans, too dumb to understand the ACA, we understand wind energy. We understand it is little more than a dressed up bit of crony capitalism and support comes only at our expense. Speaker Boehner, please help to stop it. Don’t make us continue to pay for it. "
Texas: There is significant concern about the impact of wind energy subsidies on other sources of generation in Texas. ... Your active involvement in helping end the unjustifiable PTC for industrial wind energy is appreciated.
And for New Hampshire, Nebraska, Alabama and other states: "Renewing the PTC would cost billions that our nation simply cannot afford and the negative impacts on our communities, our scenic beauty and wildlife are significant."
Given the vigor in which proponents are pushing for another PTC extension, it's unrealistic to believe the wind industry can survive without the subsidy. Big wind grew up on the tax credit, developed market plans and forecasts that relied on it, and now the wind PTC appears to be a required component of the industry's economics. Warren Buffet recently reminded us that wind investment makes no sense without handouts from taxpayers.
The consequences back home of more federal subsidies for big wind are real. After more than two decades, it's time Congress learns what the public already knows and heeds the plea to pull the plug on this endless subsidy once and for all.
Linowes is executive director of the Windaction Group (windaction.org), an organization that opposes the wind power industry.
DEAD EAGLE DATA
Dead Eagle Data: Buffet/Berkshire/PacifiCorp Don’t Want You to Know (Part 1)By Jim Wiegand -- December 11, 2014 on www.MasterResource.org
“The courts must reject the PacifiCorp request that eagle mortality data be kept confidential and hidden from public scrutiny. Moreover, Congress, the news media, environmental groups, and concerned citizens everywhere must demand that the information be released in its entirety…. Every industry must be treated the same under our endangered species, migratory bird, and other laws.”
For decades wind industry research has been using “studies” that are actually designed to hide the harmful impacts of wind turbines. Industry-related studies on health impacts, declining real estate values, whooping crane surveys, golden eagle surveys, turbines preventing climate change, wind turbine energy potential, and, especially, bird and bat mortality, have all been manipulated through fraudulent data collection methodologies.
These data collection methods have enabled the U.S. wind industry to hide 90% or more of turbine avian and bat mortality, in my estimation, from public view.
Continue reading here:
Sun Edison Buying First Wind Scam
Most people know very little about the true economics in the solar and wind industry. Even less understand the cryptic disclosures in an SEC filing of reports from FERC. Yet the financial inventors are brilliant in concealing the simple business model that is supposed to generate earning from real economic activity. Let’s be generous and report on the public relations announcement, 5 Slides That Show Why SunEdison Bought First Wind. Reading such glowing projections might attract investors into the SunEdison, TerraForm Power Up Solar ETFs.
“SunEdison is among the largest holdings in both the Guggenheim Solar ETFs (TAN ) and the Market Vectors Solar ETF (KWT ), which climbed 5.1% and 3.8% respectively.
These two solar ETFs are alone in giving meaningful weight to TerraForm, SunEdison’s partner “yieldco” that went public in July, according to research firm XTF.”
Are you ready for some government and private sector newspeak? Note the following appears on the website of NREL - a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. - A Deeper Look into Yieldco Structuring.
“A yieldco is a dividend growth-oriented public company, created by a parent company (e.g., SunEdison), that bundles renewable and/or conventional long-term contracted operating assets in order to generate predictable cash flows. Yieldcos allocate cash available for distribution (CAFD) each year or quarter to shareholders in the form of dividends. This investment can be attractive to shareholders because they can expect low-risk returns (or yields) that are projected to increase over time.”
Surely you got that these “yieldco” are even better than derivatives, RIGHT???
Before you call your broker, review a recent edition of the BATR RealPolitik Newsletter on the topic - Another Green Energy Fraud. When Bloomberg announces that SunEdison, TerraForm to Acquire First Wind for $2.4 Billion, they are not disclosing the entire story.
“Expected to close in the first quarter, the purchase will consist of a $1.9 billion upfront payment and $510 million dependent on First Wind completing backlog projects.
TerraForm will add 521 megawatts of First Wind projects to its portfolio under the deal, with 1.6 gigawatts of projects expected to be developed by SunEdison and dropped down into TerraForm in 2016 and 2017, the companies said in the statement.”
The sorted history of First Wind strikes a record of questionable financial dealing, concealed debt obligations, flipping LLC ownership and holding company discrepancies. It came as no surprise that First Winds bizarre attempt to sell off their self proclaimed core projects fell flat. A local Bangor Maine newspaper has taken the lead on real investigative reporting. First Wind sale means end of $333 million partnership with Emera is but one in a series of damaging evidence on the shady business practices of First Wind.
“Ending a partnership challenged twice before state regulators and in court, Nova Scotia-based Emera has sold its interest in a $333 million joint venture with First Wind, which was purchased Monday by a Missouri-based renewable power developer.
Emera announced Monday that it has agreed to sell its interest in Northeast Wind Partners back to First Wind for $223 million.
The deal would end a legal challenge to that partnership, which Houlton Water Co. and a group representing industrial power users argued violated the intent of New England’s deregulation of its electricity market. But that money may be directed at other power generation resources in the region after the completion of the larger deal between First Wind and SunEdison subsidiary TerraForm Power.”
Ask yourself, why would a newly capitalized company want to acquire a debt ridden albatross like First Wind? When SunEdison Spin-Off TerraForm Power Scores Hot IPO came to market, a smell of a Wall Street bailout using another shell public company reeks. Since First Wind failed in their own IPO offering, just maybe a careful examination into the filings of these companies is warranted.
“TerraForm Power Inc. (NASDAQ: TERP), another spin-off from SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE), offered 20.1 million shares and raised about $500 million in its IPO, valuing the company at around $2.4 billion. SunEdison will retain nearly 95% of the voting power in the company. The IPO’s underwriters have a 30-day option on another 3 million shares.”
Next review the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Forum K-8 #001-36542 for TERRAFORM POWER, INC. and check out the full company description on TERRAFORM POWER, INC. (TERP) IPO.
Selling shares of public companies to pension funds for eventual shorting from the house accounts of underwriting firms is a favorite strategy that if caught, only gets a slap on the wrist.
The lack of disclosure of ALL the debt for projects that cannot even satisfy minimum interest payments must less retiring the actual obligations, is indicative of an industry that is based upon fraud and uncompetitive costs.
Wind proponents want you to believe that Wind Power Forecasting in U.S. Electricity Markets are based upon true figures of literal production that goes into the grid for actual consumer use. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sun Edison is no virgin to the mega corporation ownership game. Having started in 1959 as the Monsanto Electronic Materials Company, a business unit of Monsanto Company, their SEC filing is a wealth of information on connections to the usual suspects behind the renewable energy Wall Street schemes.
Renewal Energy World explains, SunEdison Launches Yieldco to Unearth, Leverage Solar Asset Values, and sure sounds like a lot of financial trickery.
“Here's why SunEdison and the rest of the industry is so keen to pursue new finance options. Back in its 3Q13 financial results SunEdison calculated its current business model of building and selling solar projects yields about $0.74/Watt -- but those assets' true value could jump as high as $1.97/W if the company can find ways to enumerate and apply various methods: lower the cost of capital, apply various underwriting assumptions, and factor in residual value in power purchase agreements. That's a startling 2.6× increase in potential value creation that SunEdison thinks it can unlock, and creating a yieldco structure to attract interest from the broader investor community is a big part of the answer.”
Birds of a feather flock together and care nothing about all the fowl kill is a bad deal for investors and electric rate payers.
James Hall – December 10, 2014
Industrial Wind - The BIG S-WIND-LE
Industrial Wind: The Great American S-WIND-LE:
Not Clean, Not Green, Not Free!
~ Industrial Wind turbines are being sold under the pretense that they will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and thereby help avoid Global Warming. Yet, 30 years into subsidizing the building of wind factories off the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers has proven otherwise.
~ Due to the unreliable, erratic, and volatile nature of wind, industrial wind turbines provide virtually NO Capacity Value, or firm capacity (specified amounts of power on demand). Therefore, wind needs constant "shadow capacity" from our reliable, dispatchable generators - that is, if you want to be sure the lights will come on when you flick the switch. Thus, as Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein candidly admitted, "Consumers end up paying twice for the same product."
~ With approximately 250,000 industrial wind turbines installed worldwide today (45,100 turbines totaling over 60GW of installed wind projects in the USA, according to AWEA), CO2 emissions have NOT been significantly reduced, nor has a single conventional power plant been decommissioned anywhere thanks to industrial wind. As energy analyst Robert Bryce aptly stated, “Wind Turbines Are Climate-Change Scarecrows.”
~ Energy analyst, Glenn Schleede, ran the numbers, and figured that just ONE (1) 450 MW gas-fired Combined Cycle Generating Unit, operating at a 60% Capacity Factor, located at New York City (where the power is needed in New York State), would provide more power than all of New York State's installed wind factories combined, at 1/4 of the capital costs -- and would have significantly reduced CO2 emissions and created far more jobs than all those wind farms – without all the added costs (economic, environmental, and civil), and of all the additional transmission lines that must be run across the state to New York City.
~ Wind, paired with natural gas (the most flexible generating system), can offset a mere fraction more CO2 emissions than could be achieved with the gas unit alone - without any wind at all. Wind represents redundant generation, although it would generate capital costs more than triple the cost of the gas unit.
~ The center-left Brookings Institute reports that "Wind and Solar are the Worst" way to reduce CO2.
~ Wind can neither be a functional alternative, nor additive energy source. Wind energy is so diffuse that no machine can convert it to modern power. (See: Understanding E = mc2)
~ Industrial wind supplies electricity, and therefore, has nothing to do with our "foreign oil dependence" created by gasoline and diesel fuel needs. Less than 1% of our nationwide electricity generation comes from oil.
~ In many low-wind areas of the country (ie: New York State), Industrial Wind Turbines do NOT produce enough power to pay for themselves over their very short, 5 - 13 year lifespans.
~ The average output of many wind factories is less than 25% - many days, providing nothing at all.
~ Studies from those long-invested in wind power in Spain and elsewhere have shown that 2 - 4 jobs are LOST in the rest of the economy, in large part due to the associated "necessarily skyrocketing” electricity rates President Obama forewarned would accompany his 'green' energy policy. Lawmakers who support wind welfare programs are in effect complicit in the president’s plan.
~ Consider GE's Shepard's Flat Wind Factory, at which each 'job created' was shown to cost taxpayers $16.3 MILLION - exorbitantly expensive jobs for a product which is neither "reliable," nor "efficient" - two professed requirements of the "sustainability" movement.
~ In Wisconsin, the negative health effects associated with living too close to industrial wind factories have caused many people to actually abandon their homes, leading the Wisconsin Board of Health to declare Duke Energy’s wind turbines a "Human Health Hazard."
~ New York State officials admitted they knew 'infrasound' from wind turbines was a problem worldwide at the 2009 NYSERDA meeting specific to wind, yet 6 years later NYS officials still have NOT called for any independent studies to assure the protection of New York State citizens from its ill-effects. Excerpts from that meeting:
Former Noise Control Engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that “infrasound” (sounds below 20 Hz) are the sounds you can’t hear, but that the body can feel. He said ‘Infrasound’ is NOT blocked by walls of residences, and it can very negatively affect the human body - especially after prolonged, continuous exposure. He said symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, etc.
NYS Dept of Health official, Dr. Jan Storm, reported that they know infrasound associated with wind turbines is a problem worldwide, but that they hadn't done any studies on it in NYS yet (even though they were/are continuing to plaster the state with them), and that there was money available via the Stimulus.
~ 4,000 - 6,000 pounds of rare earth elements are required per turbine, producing disastrous ecological results in China, where the rare earth elements are being mined.
~ All things considered, including demand levels and import/exports - the more wind installations we add, the more we must add fossil-fueled generation.
~ The TRUTH: Wind generation locks us into dependence on fossil fuels.
~ Adding wind as a supplement to our conventional generating system requires so much supplementation that in many areas of the country, adding wind actually causes increased CO2 emissions in the production of electricity than would be the case with no wind at all. Iowa exemplifies this -- As Iowa's installed wind capacity has increased over recent years, so has their coal use and CO2 emissions.
~ Studies have shown that MILLIONS of birds and bats are being killed every year by these giant "Cuisinarts of the air," as a Sierra official dubbed industrial wind turbines in a moment of candor.
~ President Obama recently gave industrial wind developers a 30 year free pass to slaughter eagles without penalty, while all other energy sources are fined tens of thousands of dollars and more per bird death.
~ The Habitat Fragmentation caused by the massive, sprawling footprints of industrial wind factories is causing irreparable harm. Habitat Loss is sited as major cause of species decline.
~ Mathematically, it would take more than 3000 wind turbines rated at 2 MW each, spread over 800 kilometers (approximately 500 miles), to equal the energy from one 1600 MW coal or nuclear plant. But even after covering 500 sq miles with industrial wind turbines, it still would NOT replace the need for those conventional generating units since wind turbines produce no effective (or firm) capacity.
~ Industrial wind installations significantly interfere with both military and weather radar, severely compromising both homeland security and weather advisory systems that would otherwise serve to protect American citizens.
~ Big Wind Corporations looking to cut corners have been caught using old Bethlehem Steel brown-field slag as fill in access roads which run amongst croplands in western NY.
~ Wind technology has proven to be effective only as a tax shelter generator for large corporations in need of an increased bottom line - just as it was originally designed to do by ENRON, the trailblazer for industrial wind in the U.S.
~ Two of the largest wind holding corporations - GE and Florida Power & Light - have paid NO federal income taxes in the U.S. in years, in large measure because of their "investment" in wind.
~ Warren Buffett candidly admitted, “We get tax credits if we build ‘windfarms.’ That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense otherwise.”
~ Critics and supporters agree – Wind turbines are ugly! Billionaire Texas gas and oilman, T. Boone Pickens, was a strong proponent of building a wind energy facility with over 2000 wind turbines in the central United States. Fast Company magazine interviewed Pickens about it.
Fast Company: "And you’ll do all this on your beautiful 68,000-acre ranch?"
Pickens: "I’m not going to have the windmills on my ranch. They’re ugly. The hub of each turbine is up 280 feet, and then you have a 120-foot radius on the blade. It’s the size of a 40-story building." (Note: Turbines being proposed today in rural-residential areas are MUCH bigger - as high as 600 feet, with blades weighing over 11 TONS each.)
~ Personal health and property value losses by those who end up stuck living within the massive footprints of industrial wind factories ARE significant and growing world-wide, yet are being ignored by most of the media, 'green' enthusiasts, and over 80% of the U.S. population who live within big city limits and are oblivious to the detrimental effects being wrought on rural America thanks to the 'green' "Emperor Who Wore No Clothes."
~ Suggesting proper 'siting guidelines' for wind factories is akin to suggesting building larger closets for the "Emperor With No Clothes."
~ Let's be real - Would you buy and move YOUR family into a home surrounded by 400 - 600+ foot tall industrial wind turbines, with their 164 foot-long, 11-TON, bird-chopping blades spinning overhead - only hundreds of feet from YOUR home on all sides? I have yet to meet anyone who would.
~ Studies have shown, and any realtor worth his oats will tell you, there are significant property value losses (10% - 25% and more), depending on the proximity to the wind turbines. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Could you and your family afford to take that kind of loss on YOUR home?
~ Why would anyone in their right mind support imposing this torture on their fellow Americans??? It is shameful, criminal, and un-American! These peoples' most expensive life investments - their homes, have been rendered virtually worthless.
~ Would you take your family to vacation amongst the footprint of industrial wind factories? Neither would most anyone else - which ruins the tourism trade many scenic rural areas across rural America depend on, especially in this flailing economy. The only ones getting rich in this scenario are the multi-national wind developers. The rich are getting richer at the rest of our expense for a useless product.
~ Besides rendering these folks' homes virtually worthless, the fact that American citizens are being assaulted with their own taxpayer and ratepayer dollars (which are subsidizing the building of these wind factories to the tune of 80% of the total costs), is blatant theft of both their money and their Constitutional private property rights. Again I say - It is shameful, criminal, and un-American!
~ Corporate cronies push the "All of the Above" nonsense, while what U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers really need is an "All of the Sensible" energy policy. Industrial Wind does NOT make the cut!
~ Robert Bryce: “Wind is one of the biggest scams of the modern age.”
Mary Kay Barton
Mary Kay Barton is a retired New York State-certified Health Educator, a Cornell-certified Master Gardener, a New York State small business owner, and a tireless advocate for scientifically-sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”
NYS' Multi-Billion Dollar Energy S-WIND-LE
NYS' Multi-Billion Dollar Energy S-WIND-LE:
by Mary Kay Barton
Links to meeting minutes of the 2009 NYSERDA Environmental Groups' Meeting specific to Wind Power, and NYS' Citizens' Questions Document are contained within the article:
NYS taxpayers and ratepayers are funding what is likely a $Multi-Billion fraud.
I was one of a number of citizens representing 33+ NYS grassroots groups who attended the June 16, 2009, NYSERDA Environmental Stakeholder's Meeting on Meeting Summary: http://tinyurl.com/mxa5zf for a more detailed report.) in Albany. (See
The reasons for this unique meeting were: 1.) to answer citizens' questions on industrial wind power that we have been asking NYSERDA for years now (See: Citizens' Questions: tinyurl.com/kkkuqz for these, and for more background), and 2.) to see if they could provide scientific proof that the $2+ BILLION dollar (RPS) program is not a complete waste. NYSERDA failed to do either.
The crux of the problem with wind power is the fact that it is the very same businessmen and investors who stand to make "obscene" profits at NYS citizens' expense, who are claiming industrial wind is a solution that will reduce reduce Global Warming. and thereby
To date, no independent scientific studies have shown evidence to substantiate their self-serving claims.
Our persistent pursuit of NYSERDA for PROOF is the reason this meeting was held.
Unfortunately, NYSERDA's one-sided stacking of the panels for this meeting, the very limited question time citizens were allowed, the wind lobbyists' PR provided on NYSERDA's website, right on down to the intimidation their lawyer used when he told us, "You better watch what you do with that videotape," all fly in the face of NYSERDA's own Mission Statement as a "public benefit corporation" who "places a premium on objective analysis" - "reaching out to solicit multiple perspectives."
NYSERDA officials told us wind energy is “not up for debate,” as this is the political agenda that's been handed down to them. Our view is that as energy experts of the state, NYSERDA should formally object to ineffective political directives in technical areas, and insist on sound scientific solutions. It appears instead, that fear of program cutbacks is guiding their actions as "multiple perspectives" are now being locked out while our government and its' agencies pursue these corporate-political agendas.
DEC's Chief of , Jack Nasca suggested that NYS towns use some of the PILOT money they receive from these projects to conduct their own studies, so the towns can hold developers accountable if they don't meet set project requirements. Nasca's statements further demonstrate that the State (who is in charge of this whole matter) has no intention of demanding any accountability from Big Wind LLC's, and wants to pass the buck on to rural communities.
NYS Department of Health representative, Dr. Jan Storm, reported that the negative health impacts involving noise associated with industrial have been reported worldwide. Yet, she acknowledged NYS still has NOT conducted any studies on these problems, while the "woefully inadequate" siting continues on unchecked across NYS.
Only two of the speakers at the meeting had anything genuinely negative to say about wind power all day. Dan Driscoll, retired noise control engineer for power projects with the PSC, sited the "many adverse health effects" associated with "infrasound" from industrial wind projects. He closed by asking, "What are you going to do about it?" but received no reply from any NYSERDA or other State agency representatives.
Retired DEC Ecologist Tom Brown really called out the State, citing the "inadequate oversite of these projects by the State" in towns who are "ill-prepared to deal with the well-financed industry," as being "tragic". Thank God there are still some highly-principled people who aren't afraid to speak out against the political pandering going on in our government today!
Before we allow the needless spending of billions more of OUR hard-earned money, to line the pockets of corporations who continue to lobby for legislation to suit their bottom lines, we must DEMAND to see independent, objective scientific PROOF to justify what they are doing.
Before we allow further environmental, health, economic and cultural devastation of our beautiful NYS landscapes - all for a scam reminiscent of the economically-devastating subprime fiasco that has harmed us all, we MUST stand up, speak out, DEMAND the TRUTH, and insist on scientifically-sound solutions to our energy issues.
We anxiously await the scientific proof that NYSERDA claims they have, but still has not produced (5 YEARS into this program!), when they post the answers to our Citizens' Questions on their website - as they promised us they would do at the 6/16/09 meeting.
Mary Kay Barton is a lifelong NYS citizen & environmental activist for Sound Scientific Solutions.
Originally appeared at: Empire Page as: "NYS' Two-Billion Dollar Energy Swindle":
[In hindsight, I should've titled it "NYS' MULTI-Billion Dollar Energy S-WIND-LE, as I did here." ~ mkb 12/3/14]
Sound specialist offers expertise on industrial wind installations
Sound specialist offers expertise on industrial wind installations
Batavia Daily News - Mary Kay Barton - February 7, 2008
"Understanding Sound Associated with Industrial Wind Developments", was the theme of the presentation by Rick Bolton, Engineer & Sound Specialist, and sponsored by Citizens for a Healthy Rural Neighborhood (CHRN), on Wednesday, January 30,  at Perry's Masonic Temple. Though Wednesday's inclement weather prohibited attendance by many from outlying areas, citizens and Town Board members from Perry, Gainesville, Leicester, and Orangeville were there. Mr. Bolton's presentation was designed to convey a basic understanding of the complexities of sound, effects on humans, and flaws in current analysis standards being employed by wind developers in the U.S.
Mr. Bolton began by explaining that sound associated with wind turbines is an extremely complex issue, and one that needs thorough analysis. "Sounds are waves - just like light and water," he said. These sound waves are measured in deci-Bels (dB, or dBA - A-weighted deci-Bels - most closely imitate the human ear).
"Human audibility is extremely sensitive," he said. "In fact, far more sensitive than anything we can use to record sound electronically. While the human ear can detect to 0 dBA, the lowest range even the most expensive noise meters can measure is 14 dBA."
Elaborating on the factors that can amplify sound, Bolton pointed out:
1.) Sound can propagate for over a mile, and even further over water;
2.) Sound gets worse in water (i.e. - ice, fog);
3.) Low frequencies can double sound by refraction off hard surfaces (hillsides, snow-pack);
4.) 'Wave Coherence', created by a number of turbines together, amplifies sound;
5.) When the wind is blowing, it can refract noise from the elevated source-point downward;
6.) Sounds below 30 Hz, termed 'infrasound', create serious health problems (turbines have been indicated as being a strong source of 'infrasound')
7.) Ice-loading on the front edge of turbine blade tips disturbs air flow around the blade, creating turbulence, and increasing sound.
8.) Modulation occurs when the blade compresses air as passing the mast of the turbine, and is worsened by large groups of turbines' blades not operating in sync. (Bolton has never seen modulation addressed in any wind developer provided studies.)
Bolton explained the many ways wind developers methodology is flawed. Field measurements are not done correctly (i.e. - improper microphone placement, no justification for sampling sites, etc.); accurate samplings need to be done for a full year to account for seasonal variations, but aren't; and computer prediction models wind developers rely on are inadequate because they don't account for modulation, coherence, refraction, and icing.
Facts contained in Perry's DEIS from the sound study done by Horizon for Perry were brought up that highlighted Bolton's point that sound studies being done are totally inadequate: "5 monitoring locations; Survey was carried out over roughly a 3-week period; Unfortunately, 3 primary & 2 backup instruments were destroyed by water infiltration, so octave band data could not be collected for ALL positions for the entire 3-week survey; There were a number of periods of either inclement weather or low wind speeds - conditions that are not generally useful; General conditions of temperature, barometric pressure, & wind for the survey period are shown in plots below as observed at DANSVILLE, NY - some 20 miles southeast of the site."
Illustrating and explaining his points with numerous charts and graphs that were part of his presentation, he also included examples and measurements from homes that had been abandoned by their owners due to the resulting life-altering health effects of living too close to turbines. Not surprisingly, these health problems have been linked to sleep disturbances.
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend that sound level should not exceed 30 dBA for a good night's sleep. WHO also unanimously agrees that noise levels greater than 42 dBA create sleep disturbances, and that disturbed sleep has serious health effects.
Bolton explained that rural country settings currently enjoy extremely quiet night-time noise levels of 20 - 30 dBA. However, wind developers typically propose 50 dBA as acceptable noise levels at property lines of neighboring homes to their industrial wind installations. They do so despite the fact that the NYS DEC recommends no more than a 6 dBA increase over existing night-time ambient noise levels.
"Every 6 dBA is a perceived doubling of sound, or loudness," Bolton said. When you understand this, you can begin to understand the problems that are occurring from siting these facilities far too close to people's homes in rural areas. Bolton's research suggests that 3,000' - 5,000' setbacks from the nearest property line should be the rule of thumb.
Neither citizens, nor the town officials being rushed through zoning, siting, and approval processes by wind developers truly understand the vast difference between 30 and 50 dBA until it is too late. Bolton stressed the importance of "getting it right" before allowing industrial wind facilities to be built, since mitigation after the fact is not available. He has yet to see wind developers do any follow-up studies for those now experiencing problems. They simply ignore them.
Bolton also explained that NY Townships are perpetuating flawed methods by accepting, and placing in their ordinances, the 50 dBA sound levels being submitted by wind developers, without demanding justifications - despite the fact that this is contrary to SEQR rules. NYS DEC's Environmental Conservation Rules for SEQR state that the noise pollution potential must be evaluated at each affected "receptor".
NYS DEC's Program Policy, "Assessing & Mitigating Noise Impacts", states: "When a sound level evaluation indicates that receptors may experience sound levels or characteristics that produce significant noise impacts, or impairment of property use, the Department is to require the permittee or applicant to employ necessary measures to either eliminate, or mitigate, adverse noise effects."
If our townships fail to hold developers accountable to required standards, "we will lose the privilege, and precious asset, of having the peace and quiet of the country," he said.
Mr. Bolton then took questions from the crowd. In response to questions asking what he thought of being "surrounded" by up to 23 turbines within 1.5 miles of their homes, he answered, "I would be VERY concerned if I were you."
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