Category Archives: US Wind

Wind Power Is Brought to Justice -Wall Street Journal

By Robert Bryce  November 28,2013
The Justice Department announced late last week that a subsidiary of Duke Energy  has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was a long-overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.As Justice noted in its news release, this is the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.

While it is heartening to see the Obama administration finally following the law, Justice’s decision might also indicate that the green bubble is about to burst.

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Consider data from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry group. In 2012, when federal subsidies were flowing, wind companies installed a record 13,131 megawatts of new capacity—about 6,500 turbines. But installations have tanked this year amid uncertainty over the extension of the federal production tax credit, which offers companies a hefty 2.3 cent per kilowatt-hour subsidy. During the first three quarters of 2013, the domestic wind industry installed a mere 70.6 megawatts of new capacity. Wind-industry lobbyists are desperately trying to get the production tax credit extended again before it expires at the end of the year. The Duke case won’t endear them to the public.

The renewable-energy craze may also lose its lustre as the public discovers how expensive “green jobs” are. Texas is the top wind-energy state in the nation. But in January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs  reported that each wind-related job in the Lone Star State is costing taxpayers $1.75 million.

There is also a public backlash against ruining scenic countryside with giant wind turbines. The outrage spans from the United Kingdom to Wisconsin. Last year, to cite just one example, about five dozen landowners in Herkimer County, New York filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Hardscrabble Wind Power Project. Their many complaints included reduced property values and excessive noise. To judge from news reports, suburban and rural residents don’t want 130-meter-tall windmills in their neighborhoods. They also don’t want the constant noise the turbines produce, or the relentless blink of the turbines’ red lights all night, every night.

Definitive proof that the green energy bubble has burst will come when the government brings more legal action against renewable companies for violating U.S. law. That may be happening: The Fish and Wildlife Service has 18 active investigations into bird kills at various wind-energy projects. Seven have been referred to Justice for prosecution.

And it may not be limited to wind energy. Last week, Chris Clarke  of the California public television station KCET reported that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a new solar-thermal plant in the Mojave Desert, killed 52 birds in October. Many of the birds were apparently killed by the intense heat generated by the project’s mirrors. It appears that the project is attracting birds, which means the deaths may increase when the facility reaches capacity. Mr. Clarke went on to opine that the solar-thermal projects now being built in the California desert “could well depress bird populations from the Arctic to the Panama Canal.”

Apologists for wind and solar power insist that wind turbines only kill a few birds while climate change is the real threat. Last month, in a letter to The Wall Street Journal, an official from the American Wind Energy Association said that wind energy “enables the U.S. to develop a diverse energy portfolio better equipped to fight climate change—the number one threat to wildlife, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Perhaps that’s true. But everyone is threatened when the law is not applied equally, and so the Justice Department should continue ruffling the feathers of lawbreakers in the green-energy business.

 

Wind energy is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars.

http://quixoteslaststand.com/2013/11/13/u-s-big-subsidies-for-wind-solar-dont-make-sense/   Not one more turbine should be installed, until a complete, top to bottom, cost/ benefit analysis has been done, to see what kind of value we are getting for our money, and how much CO2 has been eliminated, because of all of our “investments”!  If it is not worth the money we have been paying….get rid of it!

Town agrees to reduce operating hours of turbines; Issue far from over as final settlement still must be reached

Credit:  By CHRISTOPHER KAZARIAN | Falmouth Enterprise | November 8, 2013 ~~

Falmouth’s wind turbines will return to their 12hour operation following an agreement reached between neighbors and town officials in Barnstable Superior Court yesterday.

The agreement is tied to Neil P. and Elizabeth Andersen’s claim that the town’s wind turbines constitute a nuisance, which was affirmed by the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals in May. The town has since contested that appeals board decision in superior court with initial proceedings held in September and an ensuing one held last month.

Prior to yesterday’s hearing, Falmouth selectmen had decided in a 3-2 vote to increase the operation of the turbines from their 7 AM to 7 PM model to one in which the machines would be operating from 5 AM to 9 PM as a way to generate enough revenue to cover the town’s expenses.

But that changed yesterday when Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse directed both parties to engage in discussions to determine if there was any agreement on a temporary plan of operation of the turbines while the two sides work toward a final settlement.

Town counsel Frank K. Duffy Jr. and selectman Rebecca Moffitt, representing the town, came to an agreement with the Andersens’ attorney, J. Alexander Watt of Barnstable, and Christopher Senie of Westboro, who is representing several neighbors as parties in the case.

As part of the agreement, the town will also direct building commissioner Eladio R. Gore to devise a plan to eliminate the nuisance. The first step in that plan will be to begin acoustic testing in a variety of conditions, with one turbine running and both running at various times.

J. Malcolm Donald of Blacksmith Shop Road, a vocal opponent of the turbines who attended yesterday’s hearing, lauded the temporary agreement. “I think it was earth shattering that the parties finally, after more than three years of disagreement, actually sat down and talked,” he said. “I think it is kind of a stroke of genius of the judge. This is economical judicial action.”

While progress has been made toward a final resolution, Mr. Senie said nothing has truly been settled. “There really isn’t any agreement that has been reached. There’s been a consensus that we should take a look at a possible global settlement of [four] different pieces of litigation. We have a long road to travel to get there,” he said.

Those four lawsuits, he said, include yesterday’s as well as two separate nuisance claims against the town, one brought forward by the Andersens and another by his clients, who live near the wind turbines. The fourth lawsuit is an appeal of Barnstable Superior Court Judge Robert C. Rufo’s decision in June that Mr. Gore did not need a special permit from the appeals board to erect Wind 1, which became operational in March 2010.

In order to reach a final settlement, Mr. Duffy wrote in an email this morning that the neighbors will have to submit a list of proposed actions to the town that they believe will end all outstanding zoning and nuisance claims. That list will be discussed by selectmen once Town Meeting concludes next week.

Both parties will report on the status of negotiations to Judge Muse by Thursday, November 21.

“We are still at the very beginning stages,” Mr. Senie said. “Judge Muse did a great job to begin to shape a global settlement,” he said. “The town agreed to go back to the 12hour operational period from 7 AM to 7 PM and we appreciate that very much as an interim measure. We’re glad to have that while we have real discussions about a final and formal settlement.”

Whether an agreement can be reached, he was unsure, although he was pleased to see the direction negotiations are heading in. “I think we arrived at a new moment yesterday,” he said. “It is positive and constructive. I don’t know if it will prevail. We have an awful lot of people who have to agree on an awful lot of items. I’m not sure what will happen, but everyone is sincere about this.”

Town agrees to reduce operating hours of turbines; Issue far from over as final settlement still must be reached.

Lack of Demand Closes Turbine Parts Manufacturer: Wausakee Composites, Cuba City’s largest private employer, closing : Wsj

July 26, 2013 5:15 am  •  

The largest private employer in Cuba City is closing its doors.

Wausaukee Composites, a parts manufacturer for the wind turbine industry, announced Thursday that it will close its more than 40,000-square-foot facility in the city’s industrial park.

The move, effective Friday, will eliminate 36 jobs from the city and comes after the company went into temporary shutdown mode on June 14 with an unknown call-back date.

“You never want to lose a plant, but the silver lining is we saw it coming and we were able to prepare for it,” said Taylor Gronau, economic development director for the city on the eastern edge of Grant County.

“I think Cuba City will fare well coming out of this. That building and site is incredibly useful. We think we can have this building sold within a year.”

In a letter to the state Department of Workforce Development, Edward Trueman, president and CEO of the company, said 33 employees will lose their jobs on Friday, while the remaining three employees have accepted positions at the company headquarters in Wausaukee, located in Marinette County.

“Wausaukee only recently learned that the primary customer served by the Cuba City facility was closing one of its facilities and would no longer be ordering component parts from Cuba City,” Trueman wrote.

He also cited federal tax law changes and decreased investment in the wind energy industry for a lack of new customers to replace the business recently lost.

The Cuba City employees, who are not represented by a union, do not have bumping rights at the company’s Wausaukee and Owosso, Mich., plants but are welcome to apply for any open positions, Trueman said.

Wausaukee Composites is a subsidiary of Sintex Industries, a multinational manufacturer and distributor of structural plastics and textiles.

Wausakee Composites, Cuba City’s largest private employer, closing : Wsj.