Archive for the ‘Corporate welfare’ Category

Excellent analysis of why a public policy response is needed for enforcing wind turbine noise standards: from a former Lt. Gov. of Vermont, Brian Dubie

October 7, 2015

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.
by BRIAN DUBIE on October 6, 2015 at 9:33pm

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.

What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why.

An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet). We recently learned that the developer of this proposed project plans to use Chinese made, Gold Wind 2.5mw turbines. The Chinese manufacturer Gold Wind http://www.goldwindamerica.comdoes not even list the noise rating of this turbines. Hiding a noise rating from the public is bad omen for proper siting for an industrial wind turbine. Let’s assume that the developer will use a GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines. GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise. Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther. (more…)

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From Friends of Maine Mountains: 20 Facts About Wind Power … Why “Spin, Baby, Spin” Is Nonsense

September 20, 2015

Friends of Maine’s Mountains  284 Main St., Ste. 200  Wilton, ME  04294
The Facts about Wind Energy Development in Maine

(Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization with IRS 501(c)3 status. Visit us on-line at http://www.friendsofmainesmountains.com or e-mail to info@friendsofmainesmountains.com.)

“If CO2 is the problem, wind power is not the solution.”

“EVERY operating, multi-turbine, wind facility in Maine that has been sited near people has significant, unresolved disputes over noise and shadow flicker. Continuing to site wind turbines using the same standards that have caused conflict assures that the problems will grow in number.”

When asked if they think wind-generated electricity is good, affordable, green, useful, and necessary most people will say ”Yes, of course.” But the fact is, none of these things have ever been proven. Wind- generated electricity has been effectively shielded from scrutiny by marketing and lobbying, with no obligation to verify industry claims. Wind-generated electricity has high impact and low benefit to Maine’s economy and environment. Following are 20 truths the wind industry does not want you to know, 20 reasons to take a closer look.

(more…)

One Mile Setback From Wind Turbines! Maine Communities Are Waking Up To Turbine Noise

September 19, 2015

Examples of poorly sited wind turbines too close to neighbors like Vinalhaven and Mars Hill, Maine communities are fighting back: “The residents of Fort Fairfield asked the Town Council to develop a set of rules for wind energy development that would protect the public health, safety and welfare of the town’s citizens,” Fort Fairfield Town Manager James Risner said in a press release issued after the vote. “The Wind Energy Technical Review Committee took its duties seriously, dug deep into the matter, and delivered its recommendations to the council in the form of this ordinance.” 

“… My thought is that Augusta doesn’t care about us. The only place on the earth that cares about Fort Fairfield is Fort Fairfield.” 

Fort Fairfield passes wind ordinance with one-mile setback

By Anthony Brino, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 18, 2015, at 11:26 a.m.
FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — After a recent moratorium and almost a decade of informal proposals for wind turbines, the Fort Fairfield Town Council approved a new wind ordinance Wednesday with a one-mile setback from nonparticipating landowners, noise abatements and viewshed protections.

Some residents cheered the action while supporters of wind power decried it as a de facto ban on development of such renewable energy projects.

“We’ve tried to impress that this [ordinance] is not pro- or anti-wind development,” said councilor John Herold, a member of the 11-person committee that wrote the ordinance. “If we don’t have this ordinance, we revert to the state standards. My thought is that Augusta doesn’t care about us. The only place on the earth that cares about Fort Fairfield is Fort Fairfield.” (more…)

Newsweek: What’s the true cost of wind power?

April 14, 2015

Newsweek Magazine: OPINION
What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?
BY RANDY SIMMONS 4/11/15 AT 5:22 PM

As consumers, we pay for electricity twice: once through our monthly electricity bill and a second time through taxes that finance massive subsidies for inefficient wind and other energy producers.

Most cost estimates for wind power disregard the heavy burden of these subsidies on U.S. taxpayers. But if Americans realized the full cost of generating energy from wind power, they would be less willing to foot the bill—because it’s more than most people think.

Over the past 35 years, wind energy—which supplies just 2 percent of U.S. electricity—has received $30 billion in federal subsidies and grants. These subsidies shield people from the uncomfortable truth of just how much wind power actually costs and transfer money from average taxpayers to wealthy wind farm owners, many of which are units of foreign companies.

Proponents tend to claim it costs as little as $59 to generate a megawatt-hour of electricity from wind. In reality, the true price tag is more than two and a half times that. (more…)

How the wind power lobby gets its way in the Maine Legislature

January 7, 2015

LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature
By: NAOMI SCHALIT, SENIOR REPORTER ©MAINE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEREST REPORTING | 8 HOURS AGO

The industrial wind lobby was not happy.

Its plans to keep building hundreds of wind turbines in rural Maine were threatened by the LePage administration.

During the summer of 2013, the Department of Environmental Protection, run by a LePage appointee, had made things harder for wind developers by putting more requirements into permit applications.

The wind lobby saw the new requirements as illegal and obstructionist from an administration hostile to wind power. And they believed the red tape would slow down — even kill — the expansion plans of their multi-million-dollar industry.

They needed help and by the summer of 2013, they knew where to go: to their friend and supporter Justin Alfond, the president of the Maine Senate. (more…)

RFK Jr.: Wind plants are gas plants

August 19, 2014

Some wind enthusiasts are still convinced embracing three wind turbines on Vinalhaven is doing something “good”. But “wind plants are gas plants”, says Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and to understand why, listen or pick up at 2:15 min.

From the Economist: Sun, Wind and Drain

July 28, 2014

Free exchange
Sun, wind and drain

As the years go by, bumper sticker (“spin, baby, spin”) enthusiasts of wind power must be scratching their heads about a Vinalhaven turbine project that hasn’t lowered electricity costs. One would hope that reasonable people would consider reasonable evidence like comparing electricity bills. But beyond the bills, even if you don’t mind paying more for wind power, shouldn’t you care whether wind power is reducing carbon emissions or whether supporting wind power is ever going to amount to a solution to the energy crisis?

From the point of view of the neighbors of the wind turbines — who have been objecting for years to the noise exceeding state limits — it is upsetting (putting it mildly) that benefits of wind power as promised don’t exist. Real property, natural quiet and health have been sacrificed for other people’s enthusiasms. Those enthusiasms might be self-satisfying but they don’t have much to do with reality as the Economist points out in the following excellent report:

 

Wind and solar power are even more expensive than is commonly thought

The Economist, Jul 26th 2014 | From the print edition

SUBSIDIES for renewable energy are one of the most contested areas of public policy. Billions are spent nursing the infant solar- and wind-power industries in the hope that they will one day undercut fossil fuels and drastically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being put into the atmosphere. The idea seems to be working. Photovoltaic panels have halved in price since 2008 and the capital cost of a solar-power plant—of which panels account for slightly under half—fell by 22% in 2010-13. In a few sunny places, solar power is providing electricity to the grid as cheaply as conventional coal- or gas-fired power plants.

But whereas the cost of a solar panel is easy to calculate, the cost of electricity is harder to assess. It depends not only on the fuel used, but also on the cost of capital (power plants take years to build and last for decades), how much of the time a plant operates, and whether it generates power at times of peak demand. To take account of all this, economists use “levelised costs”—the net present value of all costs (capital and operating) of a generating unit over its life cycle, divided by the number of megawatt-hours of electricity it is expected to supply.

The trouble, as Paul Joskow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has pointed out, is that levelised costs do not take account of the costs of intermittency.* Wind power is not generated on a calm day, nor solar power at night, so conventional power plants must be kept on standby—but are not included in the levelised cost of renewables. Electricity demand also varies during the day in ways that the supply from wind and solar generation may not match, so even if renewable forms of energy have the same levelised cost as conventional ones, the value of the power they produce may be lower. In short, levelised costs are poor at comparing different forms of power generation. (more…)

Wind Blows Good and Bad on Vinalhaven

July 23, 2014

“If these turbines can’t be run in compliance during all conditions, then they need to be turned down… We hope the Supreme (Judicial) Court decision will point in that direction. … It’s hard for people to acknowledge that a mistake was made.”

Wind blows good and bad on Vinalhaven
Five years on, a landmark project generates power and frustration

BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER
tturkel@pressherald.com | @TuxTurkel | 207-791-6462
VINALHAVEN — Sally and David Wylie are having an addition built onto their island vacation home. A patio door admits views of the woods and water, but the sunny, southern exposure has no windows. That south wall is a foot thick, and stuffed with sound-deadening insulation.

“On a bad day, we can get away from it,” David Wylie said. The Wylies are creating an acoustic cocoon for their new bedroom to get away from the “whomp, whomp, whomp,” the airplane-like drone and the low-frequency resonation that they experience periodically from the three massive wind turbines that are clearly visible from their deck.

Sally and David Wylie of Vinalhaven are building an addition to their home with sound-deadening walls to escape the “whomp, whomp, whomp” generated by turbines at the Fox Islands Wind Project.

“We moved out here for the peace and quiet,” Sally Wylie said. “We didn’t want any of this and we’re very sad.”

Five years ago this November, the residents of Vinalhaven and North Haven became part of an alternative energy experiment that drew national attention. Burdened by high electric rates, they erected New England’s largest coastal wind project, a proud achievement for a small island community, 12 miles out to sea from Rockland.

Today, the Fox Islands Wind Project is the tallest structure in Penobscot Bay. Standing higher than a football field is long, 388 feet from ground to blade tip, the turbines are visible from miles away.

For people who glimpse them on the horizon, for passengers on the ferry between Rockland and Vinalhaven, for neighbors who live in their shadows, the turbines have become a powerful symbol.

But a symbol of what? (more…)

Friends of Maine Mountains: Maine poll exposes softness in wind energy support

May 20, 2014

Please check this home page and blog for the latest news, or subscribe to our RSS feed. Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM) is the leading opponent of senseless industrial wind projects that destroy our state’s scenic assets, especially if those projects INCREASE the light bills for working Mainers.

Maine poll exposes softness in wind energy support
May 20, 2014

(Portland, Maine) Answers to questions asked recently by an independent, nonpartisan polling firm indicate that support for building industrial wind turbines in Maine is not as strong as wind power cheerleaders have led policy makers and the public to believe.

Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM), a group that opposes industrial wind turbine projects, commissioned Critical Insights of Portland, Maine to ask three questions about wind energy in its semi-annual Tracking Poll. The company completed 601 telephone interviews (including cell phones) with randomly selected voters across the state between April 16th and April 24th, 2014. CLICK HERE for a PDF of the results, which indicate that support for building industrial wind turbines declines appreciably when respondents learn that: (more…)

Bangor Daily News gets it wrong on Vinalhaven electricity rates

May 12, 2014

The following was sent to the Bangor Daily News, by Fox Islands Wind Neighbors after the recent news report that included data on FIEC rates. Our chart is based on the exact numbers provided to all ratepayers by FIEC. If you think the wind turbines are saving you money, check the numbers: the numbers don’t lie.

Image 2

“As neighbors fighting the wind turbine noise on Vinalhaven, we have paid close attention and tried to understand the ways in which ratepayers on the island are being misled about the trend in rates upward.

Often, media reports on the Vinalhaven situation — and wind power in Maine as a general matter — fail to get to the underlying economic / financial data. This is a difficult analysis, I know from experience, but it appears to us that you simply took the Vinalhaven electric utility’s word on the matter of the 5 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s a number, by the way, that taken as a single data point would be impressive to the folks who are lending FIEC the money, but it is not indicative of the rates for the year, and itself is not even accurate (the actual January energy rate was 5.7₵/kwh – closer to 6₵ than the 5₵ stated).

In the article you also say: “Generally, the price for customers is 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, Farrington said.” That’s certainly better than saying we all paid 5₵/kwh, but the real numbers say even the 11₵/kwh is inaccurate: the actual average energy rate for the last 12 months was 11.5₵/kwh, and for the 2013 year was 11.8₵/kwh, both more than the 11₵/kwh you quote Mr. Farrington as saying.

Because the electric utility has been fairly cagey about what it is charging ratepayers, I would be suspicious about the statement you make “The cooperative was able to sell electricity to ISO for 14 cents per kilowatt-hour during the past winter”. I would be curious if you actually saw the purchase agreement or evidence where ISO/NE paid 14 cents per kilowatt hour for the winter.
This is very tough information for citizens to ferret out.

Still, from our point of view, where there is smoke there is fire and with the Vinalhaven electric utility there is plenty of smoke. We hope you can reassure us that BDN reviewed every data point from its original source — not just one data point — or can explain why.