Comments submitted to NYS PSC re: APEX's proposed 'Lighthouse Wind' project, 9/14/15

Case number: 14-F-0485

Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, and members of the New York State Public Service Commission,

This submission is regarding the proposed Lighthouse Wind project along the shores of Lake Ontario - Case number: 14-F-0485.

The Mission Statement of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) according to the PSC's website, reads as follows:

"The primary mission of the New York State Department of Public Service is to ensure affordable, safe, secure, and reliable access to electric, gas, steam, telecommunications, and water services for New York State’s residential and business consumers, while protecting the natural environment. The Department also seeks to stimulate effective competitive markets that benefit New York consumers through strategic investments, as well as product and service innovations."

Thus, the PSC's own Mission Statement advises AGAINST the installation of unreliable, unsafe, market-altering, environmentally destructive, industrial wind factories!  In fact, to use the word "reliable," and the phrase "protecting the natural environment" -- in any statement referencing unreliable, environmentally destructive industrial wind factories -- is an absolute oxy-moron

APEX's proposed 'Lighthouse Wind' project would forever alter the rural-residential, major migratory flyway along the shores of Lake Ontario, and be detrimental to all New York State taxpayers and ratepayers - especially those residents in the targeted areas.

Fact of the matter is -- Industrial wind energy is a NET LOSER – economically, environmentally, technically and civilly.

The reasons include, but are not limited to:

1.) Economically:

New York State (NYS) has one of the highest electricity rates in the continental United States – a whopping 53% above the national average. This is due in large part to literally throwing Billions of our taxpayer and ratepayer dollars into the wind. High electricity costs drive people and businesses out of the state, and ultimately hurt poor families the most.

According to NYSERDA, the average NYS residential electricity rate in 1999 was 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).  The first NYS wind factories went up in 2000 (Wethersfield & Madison).  20 wind factories later, and the average residential electricity rate in NYS as of February, 2015, is now 19.8 cents per kWh (according to the EIA, as cited by NYSERDA) – one of the highest rates in the nation, and nearly a 50% increase since New York State began mindlessly plastering countrysides with redundant generation of industrial wind factories. (Of further interest – only 2% of NYS’s electricity comes from coal.)

A NYS resident using 6,500 kWh of electricity annually will pay about $400 per year more for their electricity than if our electricity prices were at the national average. That’s over $3.2 BILLION dollars annually that will not be spent in the rest of the state economy.

Why destroy entire towns, when just one single 450-MW gas-fired combined-cycle generating unit located near New York City (NYC) – where the power is needed in New York State – operating at only 60% of its capacity, would provide more electricity than all of NYS’s wind factories combined?

Furthermore, that one 450 MW gas-fired unit would only require about one-fourth of the capital costs – and would not bring all the negative civil, economic, environmental, human health and property value impacts that are caused by the sprawling industrial wind factories. Nor would it require all the additional, habitat-destroying transmission lines to NYC.

I live in Wyoming County of western New York State, where we already have 308 industrial wind turbines strewn throughout five towns here.  Contrary to all the FALSE CLAIMS continually being made by the wind industry, few - if any, meaningful permanent jobs were created here.

The Institute for Energy Research tallied the numbers and found that each wind job costs $11.45 million and costs more than four jobs that are lost elsewhere in the economy, in large part due to all of the subsidies enabling wind to exist and the resulting “skyrocketing” cost of electricity. In fact, on a unit of production basis, wind is subsidized over 52 times more than conventional ‘fossil’ fuels.

2.) Environmentally:

According to the AWEA, the USA has approximately 45,100 Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs). Remotely-sited IWTs are located far from urban centers where the power is needed. This requires a spider web of new transmission lines (at ratepayers’ expense), which exponentially adds to the needless bird and bat deaths caused by IWTs themselves.

Additionally, sprawling industrial wind factories cause massive Habitat Fragmentation, which is cited as one of the main reasons for species decline worldwide.

Studies show MILLIONS of birds and bats are being slaughtered annually by these giant “Cuisinarts of the sky,” as a Sierra official dubbed IWTs in a rare moment of candor.

Governor Cuomo is supporting “dimming the lights” in New York City to help stop migrating birds from becoming disoriented and crashing into buildings. Yet simultaneously, Governor Cuomo is pushing for many more giant, bird-chopping industrial wind turbines along the shores of Lake Ontario - a major migratory bird flyway, and across rural New York State. The 600-foot-high blinking red lights would also create unwanted, disorienting light pollution in night skies.  This blatant hypocrisy is astounding.

3.) Technically:

Because wind provides NO capacity value, or firm capacity (specified amounts of power on demand), wind requires constant “shadow capacity” from our reliable, dispatchable baseload generators to cover for wind’s inherent volatile, skittering flux on the grid.  Therefore, wind cannot replace our conventional generation sources.  Instead, wind locks us into dependence on fossil fuels – and represents a redundancy (two duplicate sources of electricity), which Big Wind CEO Patrick Jenevein admitted “turns ratepayers and taxpayers into double-payers for the same product.”

The list of accidentsblade failures (throwing debris over a half mile), fires (ten times more than the wind industry previously admitted) and other problems is updated quarterly at a website in the UK. This lengthy and growing list is evidence of why these giant, moving machines do NOT belong anywhere near where people live!

Adding insult to injury, the actual output of all of New York State’s wind factories combined has been averaging a pathetic 24 percent.  If IWTs were cars, they would have been correctly dubbed ‘lemons’ and relegated to the junkyard a long time ago!  Which one of you would buy a vehicle that only operated 24% of the time?  You wouldn’t.  You couldn’t afford to.  It’s just that simple.

Physicist and Malone, NY Town Board member, Jack Sullivan, reported on the reality of wind’s failure to produce in his article:  “Some Lessons from New York.”

Sullivan explained, “Both Vesta and GE turbines have a manufacturer’s life expectancy rating of 20 years, yet no New York wind project is on track to sell enough electricity in 20 years to pay for itself.”

Mr. Sullivan used the wind industry’s 20-year life expectancy claim for his calculations. The inconvenient truth exposed in another report, however, says that “wind turbines last only half as long” as the wind industry has claimed – making the fact that they can never pay for themselves even more evident.  Even the AWEA admits that the life of a typical wind turbine is only 10 to 13 years (January 2006: North American Wind Power).

4.) Civilly - Health, Safety & Welfare of New York State Residents:

The only thing that has ever been reliably generated by industrial wind is complete and utter civil discord (already evident in Orleans and Niagra Counties). Neighbor is pitted against neighbor, and even family member against family member. Sprawling industrial wind factories have totally divided communities, which is already apparent in towns across NYS and the country.  It is the job of good government to foresee and prevent this kind of civil discord – not to promote it.

Regarding Human Health, NYS officials admitted at a 2009 NYSERDA meeting on wind that they knew “infrasound” from wind turbines was a problem worldwide. The growing list of problems globally highlights that these problems are only getting worse.

At the June, 2009 NYSERDA Environmental Groups meeting specific to industrial wind energy, a former noise control engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that ‘infrasound’ (sounds below 20 Hz) are sounds you can’t hear, but the body can feel, and that 'infrasound' is known to be a problem associated with industrial wind factories.

Dr. Driscoll said that ‘infrasound’ is NOT blocked by walls, 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 and other maladies.

Dr. Driscoll said that setbacks from the 1.5 MW turbines being installed at that time in 2009 should be at least 3200 feet.  Obviously, setbacks from the much larger turbines being proposed by APEX would have to be at least 1 mile (possibly much further) to adequately protect New York State citizens.

NYS Department of Health official Dr. Jan Storm testified that, despite knowing the global nature of the “infrasound” problem, NYS still had not done any health studies (despite having federal Stimulus money available to do so).

Here we are six years later, and indefensibly, NYS officials still have not called for any independent studies to assure the protection of New York State citizens! 

The New York State PSC would be negligent in its' duties of protecting NYS citizens if the PSC were to approve what would be the largest land-based turbines in the nation among New York State citizens' homes without requiring that independent health studies first be done.  

“The Golden Rule,” as espoused by Rotary International’s excellent Four-Way Test of the things we think, say and do, should be the moral and ethical standard our public servants aspire to uphold.  The test asks:

1.      Is it the truth?
2.      Is it fair to all concerned?
3.      Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4.      Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

When applied to APEX's proposed industrial wind factory along the shores of Lake Ontario, the answers are a resounding “NO!”

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Kay Barton
New York State-certified Health Science Educator (retired), Life-long New York State resident, and spokesperson for - New York State citizens for scientifically sound, RELIABLE, affordable electricity for everyone.

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