Articles filed under Impact on Economy
A proposed 120-metre wind turbine would knock 50 per cent off the value of thousands of nearby homes, an action group claims. Save Our Skyline (SOS) was formed in response to a planned turbine taller than Wakefield Cathedral at Coca Cola's warehouse at Wakefield 41 Industrial Park. SOS claims 3,800 homes within a mile radius would see 54 per cent knocked of their value by the turbine. The information comes from a recent study by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Renewable energy projects, which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct, are singularly dependent on a small cadre of institutional investors to put up money in return for tax credits and early electricity generation revenue. And many of the biggest backers of renewable projects are on shaky ground or have disappeared altogether, saddled by bad bets in the housing and consumer credit markets. Among them: bankrupt Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers Holdings.
Goldman Sachs on Tuesday slapped sell ratings on the two largest publicly traded U.S. solar power firms, with the broker flagging the possibility of oversupply as overseas subsidies dry up in the face of the global economic meltdown. Goldman analyst Michael Molnar forecast "strong headwinds for valuation" as he downgraded shares of First Solar (FSLR) to conviction sell from buy and SunPower (SPWRA) to sell from buy.
Wind energy is considered beneficial because of the reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants and hazardous wastes as well as a decrease in the reliance of foreign energy. It's controversial however, because it's more than three times more expensive than traditional energy sources, such as coal, and far less reliable. ..."We believe a better option would be to send price signals to the market that encourage those renewables that can produce electricity during peak demand periods and that are built closer to the urban or load centers," [Linowes] said.
In newspaper advertisements, ApCo says customers who sign up are "investing in a future of energy that's both clean and green." ...But ApCo has already agreed to buy the green power. ApCo contracted for 75 megawatts of energy from the Camp Grove Wind Farm in central Illinois and 100 megawatts from the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in western Indiana. ApCo already buys power from Summersville Hydro in West Virginia, and has plans to buy from the Beech Ridge Wind Energy project in Greenbrier County when it is finished. So what's the benefit if ApCo customers sign up, given that the company's already buying the green power?
Denouncing a proposed $45 million Minnesota Power rate hike as "exorbitant," Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Friday encouraged the Duluth utility's customers to attend public hearings and make their opposition known. "Families and small business are struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising prices for energy, health care, gas, food and a troubled economy," Swanson said in a news release, which characterized the utility's proposal as unnecessary.
Officials with the Maine Power Connection wrapped up a weeklong tour of Aroostook County on Thursday morning, addressing business leaders, legislators and community members about a proposal to build a new $625 million transmission line from central Maine to connect northern Maine to the New England electric grid. The project would bring wind turbine projects online and close a 25-mile gap between the Maine Public Service system lines in Houlton and the Maine Electric Power Co. ..."Northern Maine customers will be held harmless," he stressed. "Northern Maine delivery rates can't go up - that is our goal. If that doesn't happen, this project is a no-go."
Of the proposals under consideration, at least one would be off the coast of Ocean County, 18 miles from Long Beach Island. Although a study prepared for the BPU noted the impact of wind farms off the Jersey coast on the fishing and tourism industries would be temporary and relatively minimal, it indicated there was far greater sensitivity to the visual impact of wind farms in Ocean County than in Cape May and Atlantic counties. The BPU should take that into account. ...The projected loss of tourism revenue would drop off dramatically if wind farms were located 6 miles or more off the coast.
While Randolph's chairman is optimistic about a 145-megawatt wind farm development, he's bothered by how much money - or rather how little - the town will get in the deal. ...Under the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's shared revenue utility payment guidelines, $2,000 per megawatt of power generated is split between the county and town. The county gets two-thirds, while the town gets one-third. For a 145-megawatt project, that would provide roughly $96,667 per year to be split between the towns of Randolph and Scott, which also would house some We Energies' turbines, while the county would take in about $193,332.
Wind turbines are generating more than electricity in Coke County. They're also producing significantly more tax dollars for the Robert Lee Independent School District. And that's the problem. Under the state's "Robin Hood" school funding formula that takes from more affluent and gives to less affluent districts, Robert Lee ISD could end up benefiting little from the cash windfall. ...Under the present system, the state "recaptures" funds from property-wealthy districts and uses them to assist with financing public education in school districts deemed property poor.
The Wall Street Journal recently noted that increasing wind power to 20 percent in the next two decades alone would require a $2 trillion investment. Energy costs already strain household budgets, especially those of lower-income families and individuals. This year, U.S. households bringing home less than $50,000 a year - that is, half of households - will spend a quarter of their after-tax income on energy, double the percentage they spent in 2001.
A landmark court ruling has ordered that Jane Davis be given a discount on her council tax because her £170,000 home has been rendered worthless by a wind turbine 1,000 yards away. This is effectively an official admission that wind farms, which are accused of 'spoiling countryside views and producing a deafening roar', have a negative effect on house prices. ...One of these impacts is of course safety. In June this year a 16-foot wind turbine blade smashed through a farmhouse roof in Northern Ireland as the farmer and his family slept inside.
Whether the reports of health hazards are true or not is almost irrelevant. Just the fact that many people are truly concerned about the potential health effects of living near a wind farm, or the electromagnetic radiation from high voltage electrical wires, is reason enough to try to avoid buying a property that is close to power lines. It's a simple law of economics: As demand for a product goes down, so does its price. When you have a certain number of people avoiding a certain property, for whatever reason, the price of that property will be negatively affected.
Creating a welfare-dependent industry in the province may benefit the backers of these projects, but the potential cost to taxpayers is huge, and the outlook for an unsubsidized industry is grim. ...The wind power industry in Canada gets a federal government subsidy of $10 per megawatt hour. But B.C. consumers can expect to dig deeper. The cost of electricity from wind power is about $71 per megawatt hour. That compares to about $48 for natural gas and $25 for electricity produced from B.C.'s heritage hydro assets.
When Young County commissioners began discussing details of the abatement with special counsel Alan Carmichael last week, the majority seemed very interested in finding a way to maximize the amount of money Young County stands to bring in if the farm is built. While that makes perfect sense up front, it could prove perilous to the entire project. With several other counties vying for wind farms from BP, it may not take much to sway the company one way or another. In Archer County, rumor has it that commissioners are planning to agree exactly to the proposal made by BP.
Giant wind generators planned in the centre of The Weaver Valley could cost the region's tourism trade millions in lost revenue - say objectors. The cluster of four 410ft high turbines, which are 100ft taller than Big Ben and would even dwarf the Fiddlers Ferry Cooling Tower, would be amongst the tallest in the UK. ... Mike Cooksley, chairman of tourism organisation Visit Chester and Cheshire ...said: "Regional parks should be protected, developed and enjoyed by both visitors and residents. "The countryside of Cheshire is epitomised by this site and is seen by many as the antidote to urbanisation and relief from city life."
Glacier County Commissioners Michael DesRosier and Ron Rides At The Door approved distributing $100,000 of NaturEner's $188,943 Wind Generation Impact Fee to the Glacier County Road Department for operations in FY 2008-09. The action came during the commissioners' session on Monday, Aug. 18. Chairman John Ray is on vacation and did not attend Monday's meeting nor did Clerk and Recorder Glenda Hall who is attending a conference this week.
A Delmarva Power consultant estimates that three land-based wind contracts will cost residential customers the equivalent of 24 cents more a month over the life of the contracts. The estimate was part of a package of financial information Delmarva has submitted to the Public Service Commission, which will consider approval of the company's land-based wind power contracts in the coming months.
JPMorgan analysts are recommending investors take a neutral stance on electric utilities and independent power producers, a less upbeat position than the securities firm took earlier this year. ...The firm also said it has received calls from a number of investors worried about T. Boone Pickens' high-profile plan supporting wind power could hurt power prices.
Iberdrola of Spain, owner of Elk River, realized over $9.9 million in PTC allowances in 2007. Foreign companies are not regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission. There are no state or federal regulations of any kind on WECS. Few Kansas counties have wind regulations. WECS will force consumers to pay for their electricity three times; to build the WECS, build conventional power as backup, and additional transmission lines to carry power from the WECS to the grid. WECS will not produce large economic benefits to a community as evidenced by records from Gray County (Montezuma), or Butler County (Elk River). Elk River has produced seven jobs. Most employees live outside the community.