Dear Dr. [Elizabeth] Thorndike [New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) board member],
I was one of the attendees at NYSERDA’s Environmental Groups meeting in Albany on 11/10/08. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, and all the involved NYSERDA representatives, for the very informative meeting on the many energy issues we are facing today. I am looking forward to receiving the links to the Power Point presentations that were presented that day, and as were promised.
I also wanted to thank you very much for providing us a venue where NYS citizens can voice their concerns regarding intelligent energy choices for our state. I look forward to the meeting specific to the industrial wind issue that was discussed again this year. …
My background as a NYS certified professional Health Educator, life-long organic gardener, Cornell-certified Master Gardener, Silver Lake Association Water Quality Chair serving as representative to Wyoming County Soil & Water & Silver Lake Watershed Commission, long-time National Wildlife Federation member/NWF-designated “Backyard Wildlife Habitat”, and mother who raised her twenty-something-year-old children in cloth diapers, is evidence of my life-long commitment to the environment.
My concerns, as I voiced at the meeting that day, are in regard to the headlong rush to spend millions and millions of dollars on industrial wind – an unreliable, non-dispatchable, supposedly “green” technology. Unbelievably, Mr. St. Croix declared in his replies to our queries about wind, “You can’t judge something because it has a couple bad months to start. We’ll see how it does in 15-20 years.” In my humble opinion, this is not the kind of rationalization that should be the basis of determining intelligent energy choices in New York State. [And the fact is, we have seen how it’s done in the past 15-20 years —Ed.]
Mr. St. Croix’s willingness to give this kind of blind support to wind seems to be lacking the common sense that NYSERDA’s mission statement directs. NYSERDA’s mission, as stated on your website, is as a “public benefit corporation … who strives to improve the state’s environmental well-being … placing a premium on independent, objective analysis.”
Currently however, much of the information on wind provided on NYSERDA’s website is nothing more than an AWEA promotion piece, repeating word for word many typical wind company claims. This is the furthest thing from independent objective scientific analysis I’ve ever seen. This needs to be immediately corrected. I would think that NYSERDA representatives who are still lead by principles of what’s right and wrong, rather than by preference of what’s the most profitable, would be appalled by this.
There was a gentleman representing NYSERDA who was sitting behind you near the door taking notes, who asked those with specific suggestions on improving NYSERDA’s Toolkit and website to send them to him. Unfortunately, he did not give out his contact information. If you could let us know who he was, and his contact information, we would be glad to oblige his request for suggestions.
At the end of the discussion specific to wind energy on Nov. 10, I was further dismayed as you noted what you had been previously hearing regarding the wind issue was that it was a “bird and bat issue”, and now you are hearing that it is “more of an aesthetics issue”.
Apparently, we have not been doing a good job of getting our message across clearly. While these are certainly important secondary issues, the main problem with wind is that it is simply not a scientifically, economically, nor environmentally sound energy policy.
What we are seeing in the case of wind energy is the very businessmen and investors who stand to make obscene profits at NYS taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ expense proposing wind as a solution to reduce CO2 emissions and thereby reduce global warming. To date, we have seen no independently reviewed scientific studies verifying their financially motivated claims. With some 60,000 industrial wind turbines in the world today, this should be very easy to do.
It seems there is fear among many that genuinely challenging this “green” energy movement – which is backed by the same investment banks, big corporations, and politicians that backed the housing fiasco that took us all to the cleaners, means risking the loss of political funding. It is very unfortunate if this is, in fact, how our energy decisions are being determined today.
While many may be well intentioned in this mad rush for all things “green”, sadly, most are completely misinformed about the realities of the goings-on of Big Wind in rural NYS. As I, and many others, cited the day of the 11/10/08 meeting, the blatant corruption and division in our communities that we are witnessing as a result of Big Wind LLC’s running amok is unbelievable! (Example: The former supervisor of my small town ushered wind in the back door before anyone knew what was going on, got an accommodating zoning law on the books before she left office, and then started her new position as Horizon Wind Energy’s Project Manager only 8 months after leaving office.) The job of good government is to foresee and prevent this kind of divisiveness, not promote it.
So, PLEASE – we are looking to you folks, those we are trusting to responsibly serve their mission as a “public benefit corporation … placing a premium on objective analysis” – please give careful attention to our concerns and questions as you work to best serve the taxpayers and ratepayers of New York State.
These are the questions I had at last year’s meeting, and am still waiting for answers to:
1.) What independent, transparent measurement has been done anywhere in the world demonstrating that wind projects have actually offset significant levels of CO2 throughout an electricity grid system?
2.) Considering the relatively small amount of highly variable energy actually produced per square mile of permanently disfigured landscapes, how many industrial wind turbines, scattered over how large an area, would it take to collectively deliver a capacity value equivalent to any conventional generating system – defining capacity value as the ability to produce specified amounts of energy at a specified rate at any time?
3.) How can wind’s variable “flutter”, which provides virtually no effective capacity, replace any generation that does provide effective capacity or be used to shore up an aging power plant infrastructure in the face of increased demand?
4.) NYSERDA’s reliance on a 20% capacity credit for wind (which assumes adequate forecasting techniques) would have significant implications for increasing the use of “spot market generation” if that 20% figure proved far too optimistic. This cost would most assuredly be passed on to the NYS ratepayers. How would NY electricity consumers know about the way NYISO would handle such a situation?
5.) Since NYS already gets nearly 50% of its electricity from the emissions-free sources of hydro @ 19%, and nuclear @ 29%, and since emissions-free is the goal – is it not ?!? – why waste millions of taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ dollars on the unreliable, non-dispatchable, inimical source of wind?
Thank you for your time, and attention to our concerns in your work to facilitate intelligent energy choices in New York State.
Mary Kay Barton, life-long NYS resident
P.O. Box 69
Silver Lake, NY 14549
I have also included a small sampling of information and videos I have collected on industrial wind over the past couple of years that if you aren’t aware of, you definitely should be. Setbacks as close as 500′ from the foundations of peoples’ homes are being pushed through in communities that are being exploited by Big Wind LLCs.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), our government’s source for energy statistics, in 2007 total nationwide electric generation from oil was only 1.2%, and most of that usage came from a tarry residual oil, or coal-like petroleum coke – both otherwise almost useless byproducts of refining.
According to the EIA’s 2007 Annual Energy Outlook Report, wind provided 4/10 of 1% total nation-wide generation in 2005, and due to “considerable uncertainties”, “might provide 9/10 of 1% total nationwide generation by 2030”. We could devastate every inch of our beautiful New York countryside with industrial wind turbines, and it’s not going to do a thing to alleviate foreign oil dependence.
Despite all of corporate wind’s propaganda claims, the basic facts regarding industrial wind remain the same – wind can’t dent a grape in the scheme of things. Plain and simple:
1.) While it’s true that all energy sources receive subsidies, wind is outrageously over-subsidized and can never be economically viable on its own. According to the EIA, on a dollar per MWh basis, wind receives $23.34 – compared to coal at $0.44; natural gas at $0.25; hydro at $0.67; and nuclear at $1.59. Together, coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear produce 95% of our nation’s electricity supply, and for each of these mainline conventional generators, we as ratepayers get extremely high reliability and performance – each with an effective capacity exceeding 99.99%.
2.) The subsidies for wind go for a power source that can not replace any conventional generation sources, because wind provides virtually no capacity value (can be relied on to be there when called upon) – which wind reps would have us believe is no big deal. Wind also requires constant “shadow capacity” – that is, conventional power sources to back up the inimical power offered by wind, highlighting the fact that wind can not replace our reliable, dispatchable power sources.
3.) Our taxes in the form of federal subsidies cover wind developments to the tune of 65%, while state incentives cover an additional 10%. No wonder wind garners the attention of the greedy!
4.) All conventional generation sources are controllable and dispatchable – wind is neither.
5.) The very reason for the existence of the industrial wind industry is their claim of CO2 savings. With some 60,000 industrial wind turbines encumbering the world today, NO coal plants have been shut down, many new ones continue to be built (one every four days in China), and NO proof of CO2 savings has been shown anywhere in the world.
6.) The thermal implications of trying to balance destabilizing “wind flutter” on the grid are enormous. Wind’s volatility forces conventional generators to have to work harder, thus, more inefficiently – increasing their CO2 emissions, in order to balance things out.
7.) The Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension for wind for just one year (2009) will cost American taxpayers $7 billion dollars – on top of the PTCs already being paid from previous years. Massachusetts Secretary of Energy Ian Bowles recently said, “Renewable plants have an enormous subsidy under the Renewable [Energy] Portfolio Standards law. If they still can’t compete, they probably shouldn’t be built.”
And what do we get, besides the above list, for continuing to foot the bill for this poster child of corporate welfare at American taxpayers’ expense?
- A resource typically built hundreds of miles away from load centers where the electricity is needed, which will require at least another trillion dollars of taxpayer money to build the additional transmission lines that will be needed through undeveloped, rich habitat;
- The requirement that up to 90% of the electricity from wind be matched with redundant generation to ensure reliability when the winds die down – ensuring taxpayers will have to pay twice as additional generation is needed.
As Robert Bryce states in his recent book Gusher of Lies, limited liability wind companies are “the electricity sector’s equivalent of ethanol”, which he documents as one of the worst energy “scams”. He continues, “The hype [for wind] has lost all connection with reality.”
Watch as a wind turbine explodes, which the Discovery Channel documented as hurling debris for at least a 1/2 mile, and then tell us you would want these industrial installations placed only 500-800′ from your house: www.wind-watch.org/video-turbinecollapses.php
Here’s a recent ABC news clip in which Charlie Gibson reported the truth about the intense sound associated with these immense machines. You should also note that this “little” wind farm is composed of only 4 turbines, far removed from people’s homes (a far cry from what’s going on in WNY): www.wind-watch.org/news/?p=18885
This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.
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