May 11, 2012
Letters, New York

Speak out for home rule on wind power

Watertown Daily Times Letter to the Editor, via: 11 May 2012

Perry White’s column regarding efforts by Upstate New York Power Corporation to sell wind-generated power to Fort Drum was revealing.

He reveals the pitfalls of selling energy from an intermittent energy source to a local consumer, the abandonment of underwater transmission from Galloo Island and an antiquated electrical grid, thus exposing the increasingly tenuous nature of the wind industry as they face the loss of taxpayer subsidies.

The fact that an aging grid bottles a significant portion of the intermittent power that wind does generate, as well as the abysmal 25 to 30 percent of nameplate capacity generated at peak operation, shows where the real Achilles heel for the industry is. They can’t operate or compete with current electrical rates, and raise a profit for their shareholders, without subsidies.
Without the capacity for storage, wind-generated power is subject to the intermittent nature of the source. Backup power, from traditional sources, is required, adding costs for the ratepayer.

So without subsidies or an upgraded smart grid, most municipalities, and surely, New York State Energy Research Development Authority and state government should recognize that this industry is revealing itself for what it is – self-serving and sustainable only at the public’s expense, all the while posturing as green and renewable.

Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case. Local land- use regulation under home rule has been removed from the powers granted to municipalities under Article X Power NY legislation (involving power projects generating over 25 megawatts), passed by the Cuomo administration at the 11th hour of the last legislative session.

Assemblywoman Addie Russell, state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush voted against this anti-home rule legislation.

I urge you to familiarize yourself with the travesty this legislation proposes: support of a failing technology, and more importantly, a wholesale removal of the ability for municipalities to form their own siting criteria to protect the health, safety, welfare and property values of their constituents. So far, 12 counties, including St. Lawrence and Jefferson, as well as many towns have passed resolutions opposing this legislation.

Are you content to let the posse in Albany make conditions and decisions that your community will have to live with? Our region’s self-interests will never see the light of day, let alone get a fair, transparent hearing.

The Article X legislation and its particulars are up for public comment. A copy of the legislation can be found at the Public Service Commission’s website: under electric generating facilities. The deadline for public comments is May 29.

David Duff

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