In recent weeks, wind developer Terra-Gen terminated plans to build its Horseshoe Wind Farm in Illinois, NextERA suspended the permitting process for a 150-megawatt project in South Dakota and Iberdrola announced its Desert Wind Energy Project in North Carolina was delayed and might be scrapped altogether. In each case, company officials blamed current market conditions and the inability to secure a long-term power contract with area utilities.
While of course the wind farm may be one of those projects with such overwhelming policy benefits (and political support) as to trump all other considerations, even as they relate to safety, the record expresses no such proposition. -- U.S. Court of Appeals
Herkimer County, New York is the latest location to register wind turbine noise complaints. The source? Iberdrola's Hardscrabble wind facility (37 turbines) that went online earlier this year. Studies are underway to determine if the project is operating outside legal sound limits, but the larger question is 'Why?'. Why, with over 1,300 megawatts of wind installed in New York today and an extensive body of evidence showing turbine noise is causing deleterious impacts on people living near the towers, was Herkimer County fooled into thinking it would be spared?
U.S. air space has been made less safe by turbines and our national security compromised because of a reckless policy of siting wind towers within 50-miles of radar installations. Military radar experts in the field know the damage that’s been done. But with the debate surrounding energy policy dominated by politics and money, the military has bowed to the pressure.
Last month, the LA Times examined how the push to build more wind and solar installations was raising safety concerns for workers and the general public. As if on cue, local newspapers around the U.S. also ran stories on five separate catastrophic events involving turbines: a shattered blade in Ohio, fires in Texas and Michigan, the death of a technician in Iowa and another hospitalized in Kansas. None of these stories made national news so most people have no idea the frequency of such events.
This morning we woke to news from California that at least six golden eagles were slaughtered at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Pine Tree Wind Project in the Tehachapi Mountains. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating, but so far, no wind energy company has been prosecuted by federal wildlife authorities in connection with the death of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Energy subsidies have proven fertile ground in the debt-ceiling debate now raging before Congress.
Last week, the New England Energy Alliance in Boston, released the results of its annual survey of New England energy consumers. Paul Afonso, executive director of the Alliance and a former Massachusetts utility regulator, summed the results up this way: "Overall, the main concern of New Englanders continues to be the economy and pocketbook issues. If voters think any policy - private or public - will bring down the cost of energy, they will support it."
Laura Israel's award-winning documentary, WINDFALL, is catching the attention of film reviewers around the world. WINDFALL tells the story of how residents in a small community in upstate New York responded upon learning a utility-scale wind energy facility might be situated in their town.
The United Kingdom has long been regarded as having the best wind resource in Europe.
Several years back, we wrote how the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), a quasi-public agency tasked with encouraging renewable energy technologies in the State of Massachusetts, gambled $5.28 million in public funds to purchase two new (at the time) Vestes V82 – 1.65 megawatt wind turbines. MTC hoped to jumpstart local public renewable projects by making the Vestas turbines available for sale.
The American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) newly released Annual Market Report for 2010 can be summed up in one word -- Spin!
[Editor's note: Windaction's executive director, Lisa Linowes, attended the March 19 DC premier of Laura Israel's Windfall.]
Late last week, the House of Representatives passed HR-1, the Continuing Resolution legislation needed to fund federal government operations through to September 30, the end of the 2011 fiscal year.
The House of Representatives is working to slash federal discretionary spending.
In the waning hours of the tax bill debate last December, the Obama Administration and GOP leaders released the terms for continuing the Bush-era tax cuts. The framework negotiated between the parties initially omitted any reference to extending the renewable energy programs introduced under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which were scheduled to sunset last December.
California has one of the most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standards ('RPS') in the country requiring 33% of the electricity sold in the state come from renewables by the year 2020. A ruling this month upped the ante on utilities by mandating that 75% of the energy come from projects located in the State. Despite the enormous pressure on utilities to meet the RPS standards, the State has demonstrated that not every project should be built.
Wind energy is unreliable.
... Installations of wind energy by the end of 3rd quarter 2010 stood at 1,634 megawatts, down 72 percent from 2009, and the lowest level since 2006.