— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
You’re welcome to circulate and otherwise use as you wish.
You’re welcome to circulate and otherwise use as you wish.
The wind hucksters are back. In Chateaugay, Belmont, and maybe Burke.
Just when it seemed the statewide Wind Energy gig had run its course, it wheezed back to life when Gov. Cuomo unexpectedly threw several hundred million dollars its way. (My guess is Cuomo did it to appease all the people he pissed off by banning natural gas fracking.)
What’s killing wind energy, nationally, is Congress’s refusal to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the wind companies’ chief source of income — taxpayers’ money. At the moment, Congressional die-hards have only managed to extend the “wind” PTC retroactively through December 2014. Their opponents are holding the line. (It’s a partisan tug-of-war. Republicans argue that wind energy is little more than corporate welfare. Democrats say wind energy is an answer to Global Warming, a bogeyman many Republicans consider vastly overstated if not outright bullshit.)
Regardless of which argument you support, without reliable federal subsidies (PTC), there’s no financial future for wind energy.
Congressional Republicans, incidentally, have a point. Wind energy is intermittent, not “dispatchable,” and requires 24/7 “spinning reserve” power backup from coal, nuclear, natural gas, or hydro. It’s absurd to imagine wind power as a contender in the nation’s energy mix.
Wind power will go the way of 19th-century sailing vessels. All 29 sails on this schooner are obsolete for anything but recreational purposes. This isn’t Politics 101, it’s Physics 101.
In any event, Cuomo’s generosity brought the Jericho Rise wind project back from the dead — and the Burke Town Board wants some of the action. To get in on the windfall ($206 million), Burke had to — and just did — pass a wind law permitting turbines in this dairy-farming slice of paradise.
Here’s where the cow manure hits the proverbial fan.
Burke’s problem is straightforward. It has nothing to do with the merits or demerits of wind energy. Disregard whether you think they’re “ballerinas” in the sky or a monstrous eyesore. In its heyday, the wind salesmen made all sorts of extravagant claims for their wares, including “getting the USA off foreign oil” and
Just when you thought you’d seen the last of Hinckley & Quirke—they’re back! No kidding! Same two guys. New gig. Different wheels. (We hope they bring back the Hummer. Made them real easy to spot. They were worth keeping track of.)
Charles “Chuck” Hinckley, lately of “Noble Environmental LLC”
They call themselves American Wind Capital. Check it out.
—Trevor Butterworth, Wall St. Journal 4/27/10 (with appreciation)
Al Gore has a dream, a dream increasingly shared, according to opinion surveys, by people all over the world. It is that the 19th century, the age of steam and iron and coal, will finally end and that, as Mr. Gore wrote in an article for the New York Times in 2008, the time will soon come for “21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth.”
“I would compare my relationship with the wind developer to a relationship with the Devil himself. [Sheldon] is another example of why industrial wind farms do not belong anywhere near people”—Glenn Cramer, Town Councilor (Sheldon, NY).
Editor: The following letter was written 10/30/09 by Sheldon, NY, Town Councilman Glenn Cramer, responding to a letter (click here) by a Cape Vincent landowner trying to sell his town on industrial wind turbines.
Timothy Chase lives in Chateaugay in a house with big fat liens on it. And I warn you right now this is going to be a sad story and if you don’t like sad stories stop reading right now.
The article below (scroll down the page) was published March 17th. It features (former) Noble employee Cheryl LeClair, whose home in Altona has been ruined by turbine noise (including low frequency noise) and maddening shadow flicker. In Cheryl’s words:
European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) also calls for study of wind power’s record to determine its true benefits, costs, and adverse impacts
Rowe, Mass., Jan. 15, 2009 — On the morning of October 4, 2008, before the second national protest against industrial wind energy development in Paris, several groups from France and other European countries agreed to form the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW).
“Deer River Flow,” watercolor by Sandra Hildreth
RiverCityMalone was sent this essay by a reader. It’s a concise correction to many of the exaggerations and half truths routinely expressed by the wind developers and slavishly repeated by the newspapers in Franklin & Clinton counties. Anyone who has attended a town meeting over the past four years, where wind salesmen were pitching the benefits of their product, will resonate to Mr. Goodrich’s essay, which we reprint with appreciation.
“I recently spoke with a homeowner who lives on the Number 5 Road in Chateaugay, NY. Her farm is surrounded by the newest crop of turbines.” So begins a letter by a lady named Flossy Powell. Ms. Powell submitted her letter to RiverCityMalone around Christmas time.
Flossy’s letter is disturbing. It describes the experience of an acquaintance in Chateaugay (NY) who now finds herself surrounded by (what appears to be) the Noble Chateaugay Windpark.
Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with minor revisions from The Empire Page, 12/13/08. Our appreciation to Mr. Sullivan and TEP.
Adapted from www.plataformahorta.org, with appreciation
Many NYS politicians, members of the media and environmentalists see wind power as an all-encompassing solution to global warming, energy independence, and much needed job creation.
But are these rosy expectations supported by scientific fact and wind project performance? Or is this merely feel-good public policy and wishful thinking?
Visit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) website, where you can see all the power production figures for NYS, quarter by quarter throughout the calendar year. This includes output from coal-fired plants, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar. The works. Any electricity sold to the NYS Independent System Operator (“the grid”) shows up on the FERC website. This is known as “transparency.”
The following text and images are all taken from a weblog by William Tucker, author of Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America’s Energy Odyssey. Tucker is a seasoned journalist. He has done us all a great service by demythologizing nuclear power.
Tucker thinks it’s time to retire the name “nuclear power,” loaded as it is with frightful connotations, and start using the more realistic and palatable name, “terrestrial energy.”
The following is a crash course on the subject, courtesy of Bill Tucker. The Editor.
Panic has set in among wind scammers and other environmental terrorists over reports that an intrepid knight has been seen battling wind turbines throughout the wind-farm wastelands of Ellenburg, Churubusco, and Chateaugay.
Forget Barack Obama and John McCain. Next door Albert Johnson and Jim Otis are battling for Burke Town Supervisor. It’s a hot contest. Signs, newspaper ads, flyers, door-to-door, speeches–and bitterness.
The following was published in the Press Republican 9-7-08. Jack Sulllivan subsequently submitted it to RCM for publication. The Editor.
Mr. Colin Read claims in an August 12th Press Republican “Opinion” column that the 217 wind turbines scheduled for Franklin and Clinton counties would produce enough “permanent and sustainable electric power for 200,000 homes.” Impressive, except it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
The following article appeared in the NY Times 8-26-08, written by Matthew L. Wald. RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading. The Editor.
When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.
That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.
The following article appeared in the NY Times 8-17-08, written by Nicholas Confessore. RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading. The Editor.
BURKE, N.Y.–Everywhere that Janet and Ken Tacy looked, the wind companies had been there first.
Dozens of people in their small town had already signed lease options that would allow wind towers on their properties. Two Burke Town Board members had signed private leases even as they negotiated with the companies to establish a zoning law to permit the towers. A third board member, the Tacys said, bragged about the commissions he would earn by selling concrete to build tower bases. And, the Tacys said, when they showed up at a Town Board meeting to complain, they were told to get lost.
—Helen O’Neill, Associated Press
The following article describes the impact of the wind plant on the people of the Tug Hill plateau (Lowville, NY). It appeared in Yahoo News, 8-16-08, by Helen O’Neill of the Associated Press. RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading. The Editor.
“Listen,” John Yancey says, leaning against his truck in a field outside his home.
The rhythmic whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of wind turbines echoes through the air. Sleek and white, their long propeller blades rotate in formation, like some otherworldly dance of spindly-armed aliens swaying across the land.
Yancey stares at them, his face contorted in anger and pain.
—Joseph Spector, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
RiverCityMalone supports this kind of YIMBY (“Yes in my backyard”)
The following article appeared in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 7-28-08, written by Joseph Spector. RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading. The Editor.
At first there were sporadic complaints last year to the office of Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.
Then the outcry grew. North Country residents alleged that undue influence was being put on local leaders to approve multimillion-dollar wind farms, with turbines 200 feet or taller, in their rural communities near the Canadian border.
—Op-Ed by Calvin Luther Martin
Sometime yesterday (7-15-08), NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued a stunning press release, “Attorney General Cuomo Launches Investigation into Wind Power Companies’ Conduct across Upstate New York.”
Noble Environmental Power is one of them. (The other, UPC Wind, operates downstate.) The investigation is based on months of research by the Attorney General’s office, including a discreet visit to Malone by an Assistant Attorney General to interview town officers and other interested parties.