Category — Windpower: History and Issues
“It is time for responsible people who care about our environment and wildlife to step forward – and demand investigations; prosecutions for fraud, dereliction of duty, and receipt of taxpayer subsidies and other payments made in reliance on false and misleading reports; a suspension of all payments to wind turbine companies, government officials and environmental groups involved in the deception; termination of permits for wind turbines in or near bird and bat habitats; and enforcement of endangered species and migratory bird laws fully and equally against all industries, including industrial wind power.”
While Altamont Pass operators have been hiding most of their wind turbine mortality with search intervals of 30–90 days (see Part I), the rest of North American wind farms hide mortality by using search areas that are far too small. By using only 50 meter search areas for their huge new turbines, the wind facility operators can easily hide over 90% of fatalities caused from turbine blade strikes.
The motive is obvious. The more avian bloodshed, the more public outcry. The more outcry, the less money for wind industry players. The more they hide the ecological devastation, the more they mute the outcry and maintain the flow of subsidies for wind power.
The horrendous impacts on bird and bat populations across North America are of little concern to these special interests. [Read more →]
September 13, 2013 16 Comments
“New York State’s installed wind factories averaged a pathetic 23.5% Capacity Factor in 2012…. It’s no wonder New York has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest electricity rates in the continental United States – 17.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – a whopping 53% above the national average.”
The last minute extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC – aka: “Pork To Cronies”) within the December 31, 2012 fiscal cliff deal was good news for Big Wind corporate welfare profiteers, like Michael Polsky’s Invenergy. It was very bad news for rural/residential Towns being targeted by industrial wind developers here in New York State, and across the nation.
Despite the fact that the Wyoming County, NY Town of Orangeville’s conflicted Town Board approved Invenergy’s “Stony Creek” project in the Fall of 2012, Invenergy admitted they would not be going ahead with the project unless the PTC was extended – highlighting the fact that the only thing Invenergy is interested in ‘harvesting’ is taxpayers’ money.
Once Crony-Corruptocrats in DC extended the PTC in that midnight fiscal cliff deal, the once-beautiful rolling hills of the Town of Orangeville were doomed. As Michael Polsky enjoys his new mansion, many Orangeville residents are helplessly looking on in disgust as Invenergy turns their entire Town into a sprawling industrial wind factory — rendering their homes virtually worthless — all thanks to the legalized thievery of their own tax dollars for The Wind Farm Scam.
September 12, 2013 12 Comments
Letter to New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers: Seven Reasons to Reject Big Wind (Part II)
“Revise or withdraw your plans that support the expansion of wind and a wind build-out in rural areas to support the urban areas. Start evaluating and fixing the problems that have been created by your policies.”
Dear New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers:
As you gather for your invitation-only, 37th Annual Conference in La Malbaie this weekend, we, the undersigned groups, individuals and victims, appeal to you to take clear, compelling, and compassionate steps to solve the problems you have created by supporting the deployment of “big wind” in our region.
These generation projects create serious, often intractable problems. Those of us who have been forced to live near the utility-scale wind projects you have promoted, and the individuals and groups we are working with, have learned through direct experience the consequences of these projects which include:
Stressing Grid Interconnections and Transmission Lines
New England’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligations for 2010 were about 14% of demand – an amount satisfied through a combination of existing, qualified resources in New England and renewable energy imported from neighboring New York and Canada. These percentages are slated to reach over 20% by 2020 with most of the energy coming from projects not yet built. Since wind energy is the primary resource proposed to be built in the region, and the resource most favored by you, future RPS obligations will likely be met through the deployment of thousands of new turbines. [Read more →]
September 10, 2013 No Comments
Dear New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers: Back Off Windpower for a Better Environment! (Part I)
“We don’t have ramping plants, so these [wind power] projects can increase, not decrease, our region’s greenhouse gas emissions. Why aren’t we talking about that? … Let’s have a conversation that addresses what is happening now.”
The press release and testimonials below were sent to the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers who are currently meeting in Quebec to discuss energy issues. At last year’s conference, a commitment was made for more renewables in New England. This year, the grass roots is urging them to back off. Part I today reprints the press release; the letter will follow tomorrow as Part II of this series.
The press release follows:
Hundreds of individuals, victims and groups sent a letter [tomorrow's post] to the Northeast region’s governor and premiers asking for an end to utility-scale wind development until those projects’ impacts have been addressed.
The letter comes as the officials gather this weekend in La Malbaie for the 37th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.
“We are asking them to take clear, compelling, and compassionate steps to solve the problems they have created by supporting the deployment of ‘big wind’ in our region,” said Windwise Massachusetts president Virginia Irvine. “These projects are happening in no small part because of the legislative requirements and generous subsidies for developers pushed by Governors and supported by elected officials. Those officials need to take responsibility for what has happened to individuals and communities as a result.” [Read more →]
September 9, 2013 No Comments
“The wind industry is hiding over 90% of the bird and bat mortality caused by their turbines. This statement is supported by the industry’s own data and reasonable adjustments for its manipulations.”
“The wind industry is … producing faulty, misleading and even fraudulent documents to hide the serious and growing mortality. This situation has continued for years but has been shielded by state and federal agencies and other supporters of wind power.”
A “green energy” wildlife genocide is depopulating wildlife habitats across the world where vital species once found refuge. Industrial wind turbines have invaded these habitats and are devastating bird and bat species.
Rather than avoiding these critical habitats or taking steps to minimize impacts on important species, the heavily subsidized wind industry is responding by producing faulty, misleading and even fraudulent documents to hide the serious and growing mortality. This situation has continued for years but has been shielded by state and federal agencies and other supporters of wind power.
Having studied these installations and their wildlife impacts for years, I can say without reservation that most of what people hear and read about the wind industry’s benefits and environmental costs is false. However, buried in thousands of pages of wind industry documents are data, omissions and calculations that tell a wind turbine mortality story that is far different from what is portrayed in industry press releases, mainstream news stories and official government reports.
I have frequently said the wind industry is hiding over 90% of the bird and bat mortality caused by their turbines. This statement is supported by the industry’s own data and reasonable adjustments for its manipulations. These calculations will help people understand how the industry is using its studies to hide millions of fatalities; they will also help local residents and officials understand “wind farm” impacts and their role in species extinctions that could soon exact an irreversible toll in many regions.
My analysis focuses on two North American wind resource areas that are well known for killing raptors, other birds and bats: Altamont Pass in southern California and, in Part II next week, Wolfe Island in eastern Lake Ontario, on the Ontario-New York border. [Read more →]
September 4, 2013 26 Comments
“Wind is almost a pure subsidy play, which means that Enron will be at odds with the market and must continually intervene into the political processes to extend subsides and/or create new ones. This is an expensive process and may trade away what we are lobbying for elsewhere.”
In my last seven (of 16) years at Enron, my title was Director of Public Policy Analysis. In this role, I was Enron’s libertarian, balancing, I suppose, Enron’s Left environmentalist John Palmisano, author of the infamous Kyoto memo of December 1997.
Enron had multiple profit centers around the global warming issue, which made my internal case for rejecting climate alarmism/policy activism an uphill one. But I got my licks in, including with some ‘e-mail wars’ with Palmisano. I have written numerous posts at MasterResource on Enron’s rent-seeking business strategy and will further set the historical record straight with a forthcoming book in Enron-inspired trilogy.
But my biggest disappointment as an Enron employee was when the company bought Zond Corporation in late 1996, soon to be renamed Enron Wind Company.
Enron never turned a profit with the acquisition–and even got into trouble with the National Audubon Society over a site north of Los Angeles where California Condors, an endangered species, were at risk. Enron’s purchase was as much about PR as it was about money-making, even with generous taxpayer subsidies. The ‘greens’ liked Enron more than just about any other company, and, indeed, Enron was a savior to the U.S. wind industry.
When a hush-hush memo went out that Enron Wind was for sale in mid-1998 (less than two years after its purchase), I wrote a memo to CEO Ken Lay with my reasons to sell the subsidiary.
Alas, Enron could not find a buyer at the price it wanted, and Enron Wind was part of the corporate bankruptcy filing of December 2001. GE bought Enron Wind just months later.
My memo to Lay, nearing its 15th anniversary, is reproduced verbatim. How does it read today? [Read more →]
August 22, 2013 1 Comment
(See part 1.) To identify optimum tactics, we need to start with a clear idea of who the opposition is–and what are their strengths and weaknesses. A careful assessment of this situation will reveal the reality that citizen groups fighting alternative energy promoters are the underdogs.
Briefly, the opponents are:
1 – The Wind Industry [lobbyists (e.g. AWEA), manufactures (e.g. Vesta), developers (e.g. Iberdrola), installers (e.g. Horizon), investors (e.g. Goldman Sachs), and some utilities].
2 – Most large mainstream environmental organizations (e.g. Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists).
3 – Some labor unions and businesses.
4 – Many Academics (e.g. at Pace, Stanford).
5 – Many of our representatives and agencies: Federal (e.g. Congress, DOE, FERC); State (e.g. legislators, PSC, DEC); Local (e.g. county, town board, planning board).
6 – Some of their neighbors (e.g. lease granting landowners, well-intentioned environmentalists).
Their adversaries’ strengths are: [Read more →]
August 16, 2013 6 Comments
“I used to believe that understanding the basics, being passionate, working hard, and being on the factually correct side of an issue was enough. These ingredients are necessary, but are not sufficient. We also have to use effective PR techniques. Properly phrasing our message, its timing, and getting it to the right people are critical.”
As a citizen, my hope is that our representatives make technical policy decisions based on genuine science. Such an assessment would thoroughly review all pertinent technical, economic and environmental (which includes health) aspects of what is being considered.
To date that has not been the case with energy and environmental policies. The main reason for this is that citizens are engaged in an epic battle with lobbyists (representing clients with financial and/or political agendas) — yet most people are not even aware of this war, and hardly any are properly prepared for such an engagement.
Not surprisingly, the results so far are that the lobbyists are winning in a rout. [Read more →]
August 15, 2013 5 Comments
“I would suggest that the owners of the “wind farms” that may not be able to sell all their output don’t deserve a lot of sympathy. They should have known the risks of investing in an industry that exists only because of massive tax breaks and subsidies and other unwise government policies.”
Mr. Graff: Thanks for your probably well-meaning [August 5th] story that bore the headline, “Newly Available Wind Power Often Has No Place to Go.” However, I wonder if you realize that the story was quite one-sided and likely misleading.
That tends to happen, unfortunately, when a “news” story is based heavily on information fed to reporters by lobbyists — in this case from the wind industry’s Washington-based lobbyists, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Please consider the following points:
Market Distortion. Completely missed in your story is the fact that construction of wind turbines to generate electricity is not driven by normal electricity market requirements or by benefits for electricity users. Instead, construction of “wind farms” is driven by two principal market distorting forces:
1. State “Renewable Portfolio Standards” (RPS) that force electric distribution companies to provide from “renewable” sources certain dictated shares of the electricity they sell — even though that electricity is very high in true cost and low in true value.
2. Massive federal and state tax breaks and subsidies for “wind farm” owners. [Read more →]
August 6, 2013 8 Comments
“[AWEA says] utilities ‘see value of having 20-year contracts that provide electricity at lower costs than ever and that protect against volatility in fossil fuel prices.’ That’s a statement only a wind promoter could believe.”
This year, the wind industry added just 1.6 megawatts of new operating capacity in the United States, virtually unchanged (a 0.0027% increase) over 2012 installations.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) wasted no time blaming the precipitous drop in development on a lack of long-term, predictable federal policies, which in ‘wind speak’ means uncertainty surrounding extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC).
It’s true that incremental extensions of the PTC have had an impact on slowing wind development but other, more significant factors contributed to this year’s drop-off, the primary one being the expiration of Section 1603 cash grants.
The massive infusion of public cash lavished on big wind under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) changed the economics of the industry overnight. Projects that otherwise made no economic sense became viable with the grant money.
In other cases, applications were pushed up in order to take advantage of the handouts. The industry’s project pipeline was emptied by the end of 2012, and it could take several years before additional proposals reach the shovel-ready stage. [Read more →]
August 3, 2013 5 Comments