Articles from New York
You may need to brace yourself for thicker sweaters and thinner wallets next year, as Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric and Gas are seeking sizable rate increases. If approved by the state Public Service Commission, the higher rates could go into effect by August 2010 and raise the average bills of households served by the utilities by roughly $400 to $450 a year. ...The PSC has an 11-month deadline for ruling on the request. No dates have been set for hearings.
The fact is that every claim made by the wind industry and its financially motivated promoters results in the very opposite effect in reality. ...After five years of researching and writing about this issue, I have not been able to substantiate a single claim developers make for industrial wind energy, including the one justifying its existence -- that massive wind installations will meaningfully reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, shutter any conventional power plants, or reduce meaningful levels of CO2 emissions.
What is not being addressed in any of these debates is the larger question of what position wind power will take in the national energy production cycle. Because wind power technology has been around for a long time, it is at an advanced stage of development, and it is cheaper than solar power. Thus, it achieved a quick popularity with people seeking a quick alternative to coal and oil. However, wind power has its own drawbacks.
A public hearing will be held Saturday morning in Italy, Yates County, on a proposed 18-turbine wind energy project now pending before the Town Board. Ecogen LLC, based in suburban Buffalo, is seeking town approval to erect 415-foot-high turbines, each rated as capable of generating up to 2.3 megawatts of electricity.
The Orleans Town Council seemed most concerned with whether the Wind Committee's recommendations would still allow the proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm. ...Councilman Thomas A. Johnston said he looked at every parcel in the current wind overlay district, where project development is allowed. None of them had enough space to comply with the recommended setbacks and have room for turbines.
A bombshell was dropped at the Arkwright Town Board meeting with an announcement by Tom Stebbins, project manager for the Arkwright Summit Wind Project. He said that Horizon Wind Energy will not begin building turbines in Arkwright next April, as he had earlier indicated. "We will continue the permitting process and our commitment to the town with regard to this project," he told the town council.
In the last year I have been to some of the local hearings and information meetings about wind turbine parks and have visited several operating turbine sites, but I have not heard a lot of discussion about the impacts of nighttime lighting. I spent an evening in Cape Vincent looking at the nighttime lighting of the Wolfe Island wind turbine park. ...Standing on the shore in Cape Vincent, in the dark, looking across three miles to the nearest turbine light (five to seven miles to the farthest), more than 20 red strobes blitz simultaneously every two-and-a-half seconds.
State police closed a portion of Route 3, from Bolton Road to Benton Road, for about three hours Wednesday after the base of a wind turbine and the trailer it was attached to became unlatched from the rig hauling the oversized load. Both the trailer and turbine overturned and rolled into a nearby cornfield, state police said.
Permits for small-scale wind turbines gained a fast permitting track in the Adirondack Park. Combining regulation with New York state's push for alternative energy sources, staff at the Adirondack Park Agency established a general permit to move residential wind power more quickly through the regulatory review process. APA commissioners unanimously approved the measure at their recent meeting.
The town's Zoning Board of Appeals is standing by its decision that Roger D. Alexander's 92-foot-tall personal wind turbine is illegal. At a ZBA meeting Monday, Chairman Edward P. Bender said Mr. Alexander does not have to take his wind turbine down immediately. It's up to the Town Council to make that decision, he said.
General Electric Co. grabbed a major foothold into Europe's growing offshore wind market Monday by completing the acquisition of a Norwegian wind turbine company. The $18 million deal for ScanWind was originally announced last month.
Wind-farm-lease holders may soon be able to opt for lump-sum payments for their anticipated lease agreements instead of waiting for periodic checks. Chuck Hinckley, the former chief operating officer of Noble Environmental Power, is now CEO of American Wind Capital Co. in Essex, Conn., which just announced that it has had an infusion of cash from investment bankers and a private energy-technology investor.
I recently read about Lewis County's loss of income from the Maple Ridge Wind Farm because of the loss of their Empire Zone certification. This is something of great importance to any community that is considering wind farms. When monies come into a community, budgets are set up and the spending begins. Projects are started, and the community depends on the yearly income from the wind farms to meet the demand of new expenses and projects. Now Lewis County has to make up a loss of income.
Representatives of town governments want more of the financial pie from new industrial wind power developments, but many Cattaraugus County residents say they are financed by federal debt and long-range costs to the community will outweigh benefits. These sentiments dominated three public hearings on a tax-incentive proposal for wind developers by the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency.
The Arkwright Town Board spoke with one voice when it unanimously voted to table a Horizon Wind Energy waiver request. The request involved granting an easement on property Horizon has an option to purchase on Meadows Road that abuts the county owned Earl Cardot Overland Hiking Trail.
The New York Independent System Operator, the North Greenbush nonprofit that operates the state's wholesale electricity market, has told federal regulators that three power plants in upstate New York may have been trying to inflate profits by making artificially high bids. The NYISO won't publicly reveal the names of the generators -- or just how much they might have cost consumers.
The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency will seek public comments at 6:30 p. m. tonight, Wednesday and Thursday in hearings on proposed revisions to the agency's uniform tax exemption policy to accommodate wind farm developments. The revisions, if adopted, will set a schedule for payments-in-lieu-of-taxes.
Every state in the Northeast has set a target for increasing the amount of renewable energy it produces. Wind power is a big part of this push, but it may pose a danger to birds and bats. As part of a collaboration of northeast public radio stations, David Chanatry reports from the site of the biggest wind farm in the region.
The Sept. 1 letter of Claire Jones hits a key point. Ms. Jones apparently is a regular visitor to the Thousand Island area from far away. I too am a regular visitor, and like so many, we cannot believe how some local town officials are seriously prepared to transform the area in a most profound way. Having seen the Maple Ridge Wind Farm many times on my way to the Thousand Islands, I am shocked that efforts are under way to bring such visually dominating infrastructure to the Thousand Islands.
The corporate owner of one of the largest wind turbine farms in upstate New York - a 50-turbine undertaking in Cohocton, Steuben County - has been given $74.6 million in federal stimulus grants. ...First Wind has ties to the administration of President Barack Obama. A New York City hedge fund, D.E. Shaw & Co., is a major investor in First Wind ...Lawrence H. Summers, who now heads Obama's National Economic Council, was a compensated managing director at D.E. Shaw before leaving late last year.