Articles from New York
Deepwater Wind, once poised to introduce offshore generated wind to the continental United States and specifically East Hampton, is mired down in a review process fueled by considerable community opposition. Its much-ballyhooed project, slated to land in Wainscott in 2022, may well be dead in the water, though no one associated with the company is saying as much.
Invenergy officials admit that without payment in lieu of taxes (P.I.L.O.T.) agreements, the $455 million wind project will not happen. Even with subsidies the turbines could not produce enough power to pay full property taxes and make a profit for a developer. They point to the P.I.L.O.T. payments and host community fees for towns, counties and school district, as well as lease payments to landowners as reasons to support the project.
In order to be granted this certificate, Ball Hill Wind must provide the Public Service Commission with a description of the facility and “the manner in which the cost of such plant is to be financed, evidence that the proposed plant is in public interest and is economically feasible, and proof that the applicant is able to finance the project and render adequate service.”
To avoid bird deaths, the organization said, companies shouldn’t locate wind turbines in areas where there is high risk of bird collisions. “In my opinion, there are probably two places that are absolutely the worst places to put wind turbines. It’s the Great Lakes region and the Gulf Coast of the United States,” said Shawn Graff, vice president of the Great Lakes Region at the American Bird Conservancy. “In these areas, during migration, the number of birds is huge.”
A representation of what Galloo Island would look like if 400-foot wind towers had been built. The turbines on the island would have likely been about 600 feet tall, but the developer behind it has no intention of pursuing it further for the foreseeable future. Opposition leaders rejoiced when they heard another chapter in the saga of developing a wind farm on Galloo Island had come to a close, but wind farm supporters lamented the news.
“We continuously review our development assets to maintain the proper balance of risk and opportunity in our nationwide portfolio of development assets, and when adjustments are required we make them,” said Dahvi Wilson, vice president of public affairs for Apex.
Last week, Assemblyman Fred Thiele pulled his support for Deepwater, joining a coalition of commercial fishermen, Montauk and Wainscott residents, and others who think the proposed wind farm is a Trojan horse. “Fred’s comments are very significant,” Bragman said. “I intend to talk to him about it. It won’t lower the carbon footprint . . . this massive infrastructure in this tiny hamlet is unsettling.”
Moreno-Caballero calls for even more stringent noise limits at night: “An outdoor limit of 45 dBA during the nighttime may not be sufficiently protective if residents have open windows, a condition that may occur during the summer and as a result outdoor limits should be between 40 dBA to 42 dBA Leq-8-hour.” No recommendation was made for average night noise exposure of wind turbines in the WHO-2018 guidelines as currently “quality of evidence … is too low to allow a recommendation.”
In the case of colossal wind turbines, town officials are willing to see them erected on hilltops in a manner that devastates the country setting. Some people living both in Allegany those years ago and today in the towns of Freedom, Farmersville and everywhere the Alle-Catt wind farm is proposed worked all their lives to be able to enjoy their rural homes among the woods and ridges of Cattaraugus, Allegany and Wyoming counties. Six-hundred-foot wind turbines will destroy that lifestyle for someone.
Outside the meeting room, Schroder said the planning board’s action was “a signal to the (Farmersville) town board. They need to take a hard look at the local law and make changes in the interests of residents, not Invenergy.” Schroder added, “I hope they will look at protection for residents we’ve been asking for: A 3,000-foot setback from the property line, 40 dBA sound level and a 450-foot height.”
"[This] is the classic 'bait and switch.' What we were originally told about the project and its goals are no longer true. A project originally proposed by an American company to address the growing energy needs of eastern Long Island, now is to be part of the portfolio of an international energy giant, whose first decision was a 44-percent increase in the size of the project. We are left to imagine what other changes might be made or what other projects might show up on our doorstep in the future. . . . Because of the 'bait and switch' tactics of Deepwater/Orsted, I cannot trust them with my community's future."
Soon after, the board opened up the floor for public comments, and many voiced their concerns over the recent testing. Local resident Joni Riggle suggested “shadow flicker detection systems,” but quickly became unruly. “People should experience what 20 minutes of shadow flicker is like. In fact, I’d like to show you.”
Harris explained that the major reason the projects were based in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area was that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, had not completed a lease auction for the other areas in the waters off New York, and may not until this year’s end or next year. The current New York bid solicitation required that developers currently hold lease rights to their proposed projects.
“As we continued to learn more about the proposed project and what was going on, there were just red flags that just kept coming up, and we just kind of kept looking further and seeing what was going on,” she said. ...Clear Skies Above Barre feels like Heritage Wind has not been acting in an ethnical manner, but Richardson said they need information they don’t have access to — all their leases are confidential.
Members of Farmersville United, the group opposed to the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm and others are wondering what happened to the Farmersville Town Board’s survey on proposed wind law changes. According to one town board member, the board has been briefed on the survey, which was mailed to town property owners in mid-December. They had to be returned or postmarked by Dec. 27.
The turbines were installed in 2013-2014 as part of a renewable energy program designed to generate enough power to save the authority as much as $420,000 a year on energy bills. The authority spent $500,000 on design and up to $4.8 million on installation. But the machines went offline between October 2017 and January 2018 because of mechanical issues. The suit alleges negligence, professional malpractice, breach of warranty and breach of contract.
What appeared to be a done deal is now the subject of a lawsuit.
“The Freedom Town Board changed the allowable height of commercial wind turbines from 450 feet to 600 feet but without any consideration of the potential adverse impacts on the environmental or the community. This violates at least two laws, the State Environmental Quality Review Law, and General Municipal Law which requires such a review. ..."Actions like these by cash-strapped towns seeking to cultivate intrusive industrial wind farms without any concern for the impact of what they’re doing are understandable, but illegal."
“The agency can and should improve the draft provided,” the council’s letter read. “Projects that are consistent with current laws and regulations, are guided by science, that protect intact forests, that promote sustainable and resilient communities, and that expand carbon sequestration and the resiliency of natural and human communities will be key to making New York and the Adirondacks a world leader in the fight against climate change.”