WindAction Editorials

Windpower’s PTC: Secondary to state mandates

Windgrowth1990-2009_thumb 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.
28 Nov 2011

Cape Wind and air traffic safety

Travis_afb_radar_limitation_thumb 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
2 Nov 2011

The lie behind turbine noise models

Hardscrabble_sound_model_overlay_thumb 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?
17 Oct 2011

Wind energy and radar: A National Security Risk

Stetsonmaineturbines_thumb 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.
25 Sep 2011

Wind turbines and public safety: Setbacks Matter

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.
22 Sep 2011

Enough is enough! Stop the slaughter of birds and bats

Golden_thumb 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.
3 Aug 2011

Renewable policies crushing New England's economy

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."
23 Jun 2011

WINDFALL: Setting the record straight

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.
14 Jun 2011

Public safety thrown to the wind

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.
21 Apr 2011

Section 1603: The renewable energy bailout

Ptc_vs_itc_table(1)_thumb 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.
2 Feb 2011

California gets it right

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[1]. Despite the enormous pressure on utilities to meet the RPS standards, the State has demonstrated that not every project should be built.
26 Jan 2011
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