Articles filed under Impact on Economy
Two area wind energy opponents filed a lawsuit Monday against the Taylor County Commissioners Court for granting what the plaintiffs say are illegal tax abatements to wind farms developed within the county. According to the lawsuit, wind energy equipment is not eligible for tax abatements under the state tax code. In 2004 and 2006, Taylor County commissioners granted five tax abatements potentially worth $5 million to $10 million to three companies that have built farms of wind turbines in rural areas of the county. "That's my money the county is giving away illegally. We're asking the court to rectify this," said Dale Rankin, one of two plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
By the time federal regulators stopped accepting public comments about the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm on Monday, two of the letters had already raised some eyebrows among the project's critics. That's because the two letters were signed by the same person, state Division of Marine Fisheries director Paul Diodati, but they struck noticeably different tones. ...Diodati's first letter [dated Feb. 20] spells out the loss of access that fishermen could face as well as concerns about rescue crews reaching a troubled boat in the area. But the second letter, dated March 7, tones down the rhetoric considerably, reducing the section that lists the potential impacts to fisheries to just a few sentences. The section also mentions a couple of possible benefits, such as certain species becoming attracted to the newly built tower foundations.
With the current threat of some 725 industrial-scale wind turbines proposed for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent many local residents have begun to alter their plans for the future. These altered plans will have a serious economic spin-off for our municipality. The following is a list of some economic opportunities that are being lost due to the threat of industrializing the countryside with wind turbines: ...Wind farms will reduce any infill housing in rural Chatham-Kent and preclude many lifestyle developments and economic opportunities. Existing housing located next to wind farms will deteriorate and become abandoned. Is this the vision we have for our municipality?
Unreliable renewable generation contributes to high spot prices. "The flaws in the policy to ban new thermal power stations are being graphically illustrated by current high electricity spot prices," said Ralph Matthes, Executive Director of the Major Electricity Users' Group (MEUG). "Yesterday provisional spot prices at Haywards averaged 19 c/kWh. These are extremely high prices reflecting relatively tight supply. Yet there was no security of supply risk yesterday, just generators pricing their output to reflect current and possible future scarcity. The existence of unreliable and intermittent renewable generation such as wind did not mitigate the high spot prices. ..."Yesterday the Te Apiti wind farm had peak generation of approximately 30 MW. Installed wind turbine capacity at Te Apiti is 90 MW. Average wind generation for the whole day from Te Apiti was approximately 12 MW. Just when we need as much supply as possible to cover known outages and hence put pressure on spot prices, wind has been missing.
Offshore windfarms in Morecambe Bay may be producing green energy - but they are killing off traditional trawling fleets, experts say. And the problem could become more drastic for all inshore fishing unless the Government takes action, according to the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. The latest report of the committee highlights the plight of trawler fishing in the bay, and says that the local industry has been decimated by the proliferation of wind farms and gas storage facilities. When local vessels, mainly fishing out of Fleetwood, are sold on they are now very rarely replaced in the bay.
High costs aren't the only problem facing New Yorkers. They also must worry whether the lights will stay on. Recently, the state's power-grid operator predicted looming shortages unless the state builds more power plants over the next decade to meet rising demand. That's no easy feat. With the 2003 expiration of Article X of the Public Service Law, which streamlined the permitting process for building large power plants, it now can take more than five years for a proposed plant to get built. Consequently, few investors are lining up to build the plants New York needs. The Spitzer administration favored an extension of Article X but with a green twist. The law, Spitzer said, must exclude nuclear and coal-fired plants. Such provisions may please environmental groups, but it won't do anything to help add the 2,750 megawatts needed to maintain the reliability of the New York grid by 2017.
The reason solar, wind, geothermal and power conservation stocks crashed largely comes down to fears of recession and to politics - as opposed to a major bubble across the green industry. While there are exceptions like waste-to-energy, most alternative energies depend on federal tax credits. The production tax credit (PTC) provides 19 cents per kilowatt hour for renewable energies, while the investment tax credit (ITC) offers a 30 percent rebate on the cost of a solar system. But the tax credits "sunset" every year or two and must be renewed, creating a boom-and-bust cycle. ...And with the PTC and ITC going the way of the dodo on Dec. 31, fears of recession and a credit crunch have all conspired against green investors.
Public Service of New Hampshire may not be happy with Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative legislation that’s making its way through the Legislature, but the utility won’t actively oppose it, says Gary Long, president and chief operating officer. In an interview with New Hampshire Business Review, Long said PSNH “didn’t oppose what went through the House,” even though the company had major concerns with the bill that would set a regional cap on carbon emissions and force utilities to bid in an open auction to obtain allowances to emit carbons. Long said he was concerned that the free-market model proposed for the carbon allowances might drive up electric rates.
The Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm proposal exploits the Delaware Renewable Portfolio Standard Act intended to foster the use of renewable energy sources. ...To qualify as an electricity supplier, BWW has to offer a supply that meets customer needs all the time, not just to the extent the wind blows. The BWW proposal drafts Delmarva as its supply partner, reducing supplier competition. Further, Delmarva's SOS customers may lose the right to choose another supplier if the BWW take-or-pay wind and Delmarva backup power partnership proves expensive. They could be locked in for 25 years.
A centerpiece of the recent Roth Capital investment conference in California was an "Investing in Green tech" expert panel. Its goal was ostensibly to reveal how to make obscene profits by investing in green tech stocks. But it did the exact opposite. As the panel went on, it became clear that even these experts -- people who now devote their careers to advancing "green" technologies -- weren't quite sure what the perfect green tech policy, incentive, initiative, or technology looked like. But who could blame them?
UPC Wind, developer of two Steuben County wind farms, has agreed to pay $14.5 million in lieu of taxes over the next 20 years. The company announced the agreement with the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency on Monday. The county agency will administer the payments, which will go to the town of Cohocton, the Wayland-Cohocton Central School District and the Avoca School District, UPC Wind said in a news release. The agreement covers payments in lieu of taxes on the developer's Cohocton and Dutch Hill wind power projects. Construction of the Cohocton project began last fall. ...James Hall, a spokesman for windmill project opponent Cohocton Wind Watch, said the figures in the new agreement conflict with earlier information provided to the group by the Industrial Development Agency.
As Florida moves to implement those measures and consider others, businesses are concerned. ''We are injecting into the argument what the cost will be and the competitive effect of putting our state at an economic disadvantage to all other states that don't have strict emissions standards,'' said Jose Gonzalez, vice president of government affairs for Associated Industries of Florida, a lobbying group for businesses. ``It's certainly laudable. The governor is trying to do the right thing. But the way we get there is the question.''
Investing in a Te Uku wind farm is as risky as buying an apartment in Auckland. ...Mr Gallagher presented calculations which showed a rate of return of 1.1 per cent on the wind farm. "If the wind energy is just 4.1 per cent less than forecast then the project changes from a marginal investment to a rejected investment proposal." He said a more effective investment for Wel would be to spend $200 million installing 70,000 heat pumps in Waikato homes.
A draft utility industry analysis of comprehensive climate change legislation awaiting Senate floor action concludes that the bill would sharply raise electricity prices, force many utilities to switch from coal-fired generation to natural gas, and impose an average cost of $1,500 on every U.S. household beginning in 2015. ...Fuel-switching by 2020 would increase natural gas wellhead prices by 22% above projected levels, while prices for coal, which now produces roughly half of all electricity, would fall to 30% by that year as more than 37% of existing coal-fired generation would be retired, CRA said.
Idaho's regulated utilities, wind developers and state regulators have finally reached consensus on how much it costs to add wind to utilities' transmission grids. Three orders issued Tuesday by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission establish the amount of discounts utilities can assess against wind developers to account for the cost of integrating wind into their systems. The orders also remove a cap on the size of small-power projects that can qualify for a rate published by the commission.
Mohawk Valley power rates would eventually fall because of the proposed New York Regional Interconnect line, but not before they rise, company officials said Friday. That's a reversal of the company's prediction in 2006 that upstate power rates would go up even as downstate rates would fall. ...That assertion was met with skepticism from local politicians and economic-development officials, who continue to see the planned, 190-mile, 1,200-megawatt power line as a threat to the Utica area's economy. "I think that's part of the misinformation that we have continually been getting from NYRI," said U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y. "There isn't an hour that goes by in Congress that we don't talk about alternative energy and the high cost of energy. No one expects the cost will decrease."
Mr Gallagher's research underpinned by interviews with 85 tourists, selected at random on Raglan streets in January and February suggests visitor numbers would plunge from the current upward trend into decline, with most accommodation providers, tourism activities or attractions hit by the wind farm. ...The company found Raglan would go from a position of having "net word-of-mouth" of 75 per cent positive feedback from visitors to having a net word-of-mouth of 84 per cent negative. "In other words visitors would tell their friends to stay away.
In the meantime, Bluewater Wind continues to make promises to Delaware Lt. Governor, John Carney, who met with company officials recently says, they have an idea for pumping 150-grand into Delaware Tech. "They want to set-up a regional training program here for wind turbine technicians here in Delaware. The commitment to build the regional hub here for installation of the wind farms as well as the training program to provide training for workers to operate and maintain the turbines once they are installed is contingent upon approval of the project."
The long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Cape Wind application to place 130 wind turbines in the waters of Nantucket Sound is finally out. ...Although the MMS DEIS seems to clear the way for Cape Wind to build its Nantucket Sound wind farm, CapeCodToday.com will be printing remarks made by experts in the wind-energy/finance fields that identify many serious flaws in the DEIS and in the methods and information used to paint a healthy picture of the Cape Wind project. MMS's own peer review raises serious questions about how MMS arrived at the conclusions their report contains.
Lawmakers in Jefferson County are about to get a crash course in wind farms and the revenue they generate. Tomorrow, the Board of Legislators will meet with Syracuse attorney Kevin McAuliffe, who specializes in payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements relating to wind projects. Because there are a number of wind farm proposals in the county, lawmakers are looking into ways PILOT programs can be structured. In any PILOT deal with a wind farm developer, money is paid to the county, school districts and municipalities where the turbines are located. Legislature Chairman Ken Blankenbush said he'd like to see a uniform PILOT deal - a one-size-fits-all package for every wind company.