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Zoners Let Wind Group Bow Out

LYMAN, N.H. -- In the hope of fending off a potentially costly lawsuit, the Zoning Board of Adjustment voted Thursday to allow UPC Wind Management to withdraw its application for a height variance. The wind energy company had sought the variance to the town's 35-foot height ordinance in order to erect a wind-measuring device on Gardner Mountain. This is the second time UPC has withdrawn an application for a variance. It also reneged an application last summer, after a 4-1 preliminary vote by the board to deny the variance. "I want them to get a message as to how we voted. I don't want them to continue to withdraw their application and resubmit," said board member Jim Trudell, who cast the only vote to disallow UPC's withdrawal request. "I think we need to make a stand. This cat-and-mouse thing eventually is going to come to a head, one way or another, and I'd just as soon it comes to a head now." But other board members said they were concerned that if they denied UPC's request to withdraw the application, then voted against granting a variance, the international company would involve the town in a costly legal battle. "Is it going to be worth the money to set a precedent?" Chairman Steve Moscicki asked. "If we have to do this again, if we have to do this 10 times, that's our job." UPC project manager Tim Caffyn did not return calls made to his West Burke, Vt., office this week regarding the company's request to withdraw its application. Caffyn has said that if UPC was allowed to install a 150-foot device to measure wind, and found conditions favorable on Gardner Mountain, the company would likely erect up to 20 wind turbines up to 320 feet high. He has also stated publicly that if Lyman residents are opposed to UPC developing a wind farm in town, the company would look elsewhere. Nearly as soon as UPC submitted its first application for a height variance, residents rallied to oppose any wind turbine development on Gardner Mountain. About 190 of the town's approximately 280 voters signed a petition last fall opposing allowing UPC a height variance. Residents have said during a series of public hearings that UPC does not meet the five criteria required for a variance. After the last public hearing on UPC's application in December, Lyman native Brian Santy submitted three petitioned articles, all related to wind turbines and wind-measuring devices, for this year's annual town meeting. The planning board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on those articles, which seek to make Lyman's zoning ordinances more specific, next Tuesday. Some ZBA members pointed out Thursday that if UPC does reapply for a variance, it would be under different zoning regulations should the petitioned articles pass. "I don't think they'll come back again," board member Terry Simpson said. "They have to have an open door." But members also said they are frustrated that UPC has twice withdrawn its application, and many said they wouldn't be surprised to find UPC knocking on Lyman's door again. "I think doing this a second time is ridiculous," said ZBA member Linda Stephens. "The facts of their case are not going to change," Moscicki said, noting UPC will also need a use variance to erect the device. "If they come back again - three strikes, you're out."
14 Jan 2005

Mountaineer (WV) After (1)

Mountaineer_after_thumb This is a post-construction photo in natural color covering the same area shown in Mountaineer (WV) Before. The yellow circles are in the same locations as above to allow accurate comparisons. It is somewhat difficult to pick out the actual wind turbines but their prominent shadows are easily discernable. They are black lines pointing roughly NE except the two in the SW corner, which point WNW in this composite photo. The 44 turbines of the Mountaineer project were manufactured by NEG Micon and imported from Denmark. They are 345 feet tall and each turbine can generate up to 1.5 MW when the wind is blowing optimally. However, because the winds blowing over Appalachian ridges are intermittent and only occasionally ‘optimal’, a realistic estimate of the annual average generating potential for a 1.5-MW turbine in this region would be less than 0.5 MW, a 30% capacity factor. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before , Mountaineer (WV) After (1)(this image), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
14 Jan 2005

Mountaineer (WV) After (2)

Mountaineer_after_(2)_thumb This is a wider view from the same photograph (Mountaineer (WV) After (1). The study area is shown by the rectanglular outline. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before , Mountaineer (WV) After (1), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2)(this image). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
14 Jan 2005

A List of Areas Covered by Some Facilities

Eric Rosenbloom reports: "The data are gathered mostly from news articles, some from government and company documentation. The list includes proposed (and possibly rejected) as well as operating facilities. Ridgeline facilities described only by length instead of the whole area taken are not included. "
1 Jan 2005

Distorting The Wealth Of Nature - Subsidies and Favoritism for Energy

....there are too many forms of subsidies and favoritism to determine accurately which energy sources get the best treatment, although some interpretations can be made. In any case, those who argue that their technology should receive more in order to compensate for another technology’s subsidies are being disingenuous. Congressional subsidies in the latest energy bill will only make matters worse.
1 Jan 2005

Establishing Wind Power In New Hampshire: Effectively Siting Turbines

Nhwindturbinesiting_1__thumb With the emergence of recent proposals, there appears to be growing interest in expanding renewable energy sources in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s government has taken several steps to encourage the use of renewables, including setting net metering guidelines for small-scale generators (less than 25 kW) of photovoltaics, hydroelectric, and wind.1 Net metering guidelines in New Hampshire require that utilities purchase any electricity generated by small scale generators in excess of what they use. Further developing renewables beyond small-scale generation, particularly wind, can help New Hampshire increase the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources. In fact, developing the full potential of wind resources in the state holds great promise for helping to meet the state’s energy needs.
1 Jan 2005

Wind and the Mitigation of CO2 Emissions -- The Global Picture

Eric Rosenbloom writes: "Although Greenpeace's answer to wind-farm.org, Yes2Wind, includes a link to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), I was not surprised to find almost nothing from IPCC about wind power. In one 1996 Technical Paper, "Technologies, Policies and Measures for Mitigating Climate Change," wind is discussed among other renewable sources. The study is interesting. It examines seven areas of human activity that affect the emission of greenhouse gases, especially CO2. The main topics are buildings, transport, industry, and the energy supply itself to these three areas. Also of concern is agriculture, which accounts for only 5% of human CO2 release but 50% of CH4 and 70% of N2O; forests, the clearing and degradation of which in low latitudes adds 1.2-2.0 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC) to the atmosphere per year, while mid- and high-latitude forests remove 0.5-0.9 GtC/yr; and waste treatment, which adds carbon in the form of methane (CH4)."
1 Jan 2005

E.ON Netz Wind Report 2005

Eon_2005_report_thumb Lessons Learned: E.ON Netz GmbH, the largest grid operator in Germany, reports in its Wind Report 2005, that "Wind energy cannot replace conventional power stations to any significant extent...The more wind power capacity [on] the grid, the lower the percentage of traditional generation it can replace."
1 Jan 2005

AEO 2005 Overview

Aeo_2005_overview_thumb Key Energy Issues to 2025 The Energy Information Administration (EIA), in preparing model forecasts for its Annual Energy Outlook 2005 (AEO2005), evaluated a wide range of current trends and issues that could have major implications for U.S. energy markets over the 20-year forecast period, from 2005 to 2025. Trends in energy supply and demand are linked with such unpredictable factors as the performance of the U.S. economy overall, advances in technologies related to energy production and consumption, annual changes in weather patterns, and future public policy decisions [see endnote 1 on page 8]. Among the most important issues identified as having the potential to affect the complex behavior of the domestic energy economy, oil prices and natural gas supply were considered to be of particular significance in increasing the uncertainty associated with the AEO2005 reference case projections.
1 Jan 2005

Tom Hewson Analyses Carbon Dioxide Savings of Gray County Wind Farm (KS)

Given its location, Gray County would have displaced mostly NGCC and some oil fired generation. Using the average 2003 NGCC heatrate for the sub-powerpool (7,478 Btu/kWh) and the average CO2 content of natural gas (116 #CO2/MMBtu), the project may have displaced only 158,000 tons of CO2 in 2003 (0.00207% of 2003 US estimated emissions according to the USDOE report entitled Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States, 2003 (issued December 13, 2004). (Note in 2002, the output was less and it would have displaced only 140,000 tons).
1 Jan 2005

http://www.windaction.org/posts?p=2364
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