Articles from Arkansas
A federal judge refused Thursday to dismiss criminal charges against two men accused of scamming investors in a proposed wind farm project at Elm Springs. Jody Douglas Davis and Phillip Vincent Ridings are charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, aiding and abetting wire fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering. Both men have entered not guilty pleas. They will be tried together, and the trial is set for Sept. 20 in Fayetteville.
On July 2, the Public Utility Commission of Texas denied a request by AEP affiliate Southwestern Electric Power Co. to use its Texas customers' rates to finance the acquisition of a giant wind farm complex in Oklahoma ...The three-member Texas commission said the project didn't lay out clear enough benefits to consumers to justify their up-front investment. While some big companies have championed renewable energy, the farm had been opposed by major Texas consumer groups.
AEP has received three of the five necessary approvals for its planned $2 billion investment — from Oklahoma, Arkansas and FERC — and expects decisions in May or June from regulators in Louisiana and Texas.
Davis and Ridings scammed six investors in Northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri, according to the indictment. They are identified only by their initials. Investors lost amounts ranging from $13,000 to $300,000 each, the indictment claims. Davis and Ridings intentionally misled investors in the wind-farm project about the financial viability of the project and potential returns on investment, according to the indictment.
A proposed wind farm in Elm Springs that prompted a special election to de-annex its chosen site was always a scam, according to a recent guilty plea by one of its principal boosters. ...Instead, the scheme bilked investors out of at least $397,330, according to the guilty plea entered Thursday by Cody Fell of Springdale. Fell is a contractor and principal in the firm.
PRAIRIE GROVE -- The 100-foot wind turbine near the western edge of town stands as a guidepost, elaborate bird perch and lonely symbol of a renewable energy industry that just can't seem to take root in Arkansas.
"Arkansas' federal delegation has been doggedly persistent in protecting the voice of Arkansas landowners and the state's role in approving interstate transmission lines," he said. "I appreciate the work of the delegation, and I am very happy for all the landowners who have expressed their concern on this project."
The bottom line is that Wind Catcher expects electricity consumers in surrounding states to bear the risk of the cost to build and maintain the system while receiving none of the economic benefits.
I’ve spent a portion of the past decade engaged in various efforts to encourage development of alternative energy resources in Arkansas, motivated by two factors – a belief that climate change is real and must be addressed and a desire to position Arkansas to capture a big chunk of the trillions of dollars that will be spent solving this problem.
As Arkansas' congressional delegation stepped up its war Tuesday on a $2.5 billion wind-power transmission project, Clean Line Energy Partners has confirmed that it has shelved plans to string the controversial power line across Arkansas. Michael Skelly, the company's president, told Arkansas Business that the direct-current project, which would have transmitted 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy from Western Oklahoma to eastern Tennessee, is basically on life support.
The deal was sealed after it became apparent to Clean Line that TVA had little appetite to complete a six-year-old memorandum of understanding to purchase the project’s wind power. Late last year, just weeks after TVA said it was still studying whether to sign the contract, agency President Bill Johnson said the Clean Line project didn’t make economic sense, given TVA’s flat demand and ample generating capacity.
The Arkansas Securities Department has issued a cease-and-desist order against a Texas company and its CEO over what the state called the illegal sale of securities involving a proposed wind farm in Northwest Arkansas.
The securities commission says Dragonfly sold three investment contracts that were not registered; that Davis failed to tell investors he was convicted in 2009 in Oklahoma of wire fraud and money laundering; and that he told investors a $10 million federal grant was imminent when the U.S. Department of Energy had previously said the project was unlikely to receive the grant.
The federal lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Jonesboro by Golden Bridge LLC and Downwind LLC, the two landowner organizations, will test the legality of a decision by the U.S. Department of Energy to aid construction of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line through provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
A bill aimed at stopping a project to transmit wind energy across Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee passed out of a U.S. House committee Wednesday. In a 19-11 vote, the House Committee on Natural Resources advanced the Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Land.
DOE is resorting to a small provision that has never been used, from a law passed more than a decade ago. This law states that it does not “affect any requirement of any Federal or State law relating to the siting of energy facilities.” In other words, even though the Obama Administration approved the project, many legal experts think that Clean Line and DOE must return to the Arkansas Public Service Commission for final approval on the project’s location.
Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 establishes specific conditions that must be met before this authority is used, and we expect the Department to release all details of their review so that our staff and Congressional investigators will be able to continue the process of oversight.
“Basically this decision says that Washington, D.C., knows more than the people of Arkansas do about whether to build across the state giant, unsightly transmission towers to carry a comparatively expensive, unreliable source of electricity to the Southeast where utilities may not need the electricity. This is the first time federal law has been used to override a state's objections to using eminent domain for siting electric transmission lines. It is absolutely the wrong policy.”
A group of Arkansas Republican lawmakers on Friday accused President Obama of ‘executive overreach’ over his administration’s plan to partner with a private company to develop a 705-mile wind power transmission line.
The company that pushed to build a wind farm west of Springdale for more than a year is canceling the controversial project following the results of a special election Tuesday. About 760 voters in the small town of Elm Springs decided by a roughly 2-1 margin to repeal last year’s annexation of the proposed project’s site, according to the unofficial results. The vote returned 312 acres and jurisdiction over the project to Washington County.