12/30/10 VIDEOS OF THE DAY: Rock out to wind turbine construction AND then try to live with turbine noise AND Who cares about birds getting killed by wind turbines when there is so much money to be made? AND You break it, you pay: Wind project residents mandate property value guarantee AND Like a bad neighbor... Acciona is there
OUR WIND INDUSTRY VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Click on the image below to watch a happy wind developer talk about his project. Note the lack of homes in this video. Also note the compression of the soil and other side effects of the heavy machinery required during turbine construction. Rock out to the guitars in the background.
OUR REALITY VIDEO OF THE DAY
Life with turbines: Click on the image below to hear the turbine noise from a wind project home in DeKalb, Illinois. Recorded December 17th, 2010
WIND DEVELOPMENT THREATENS ICONIC AMERICAN BIRDS
December 29 2010
Safeguards needed to prevent population declines in the Whooping Crane and Greater Sage-Grouse, and reduce mass mortality among eagles and songbirds.
(LOS ANGELES) – Today, American Bird Conservancy announced that three iconic American bird species face especially severe threats from wind energy development.
“Golden Eagles, Whooping Cranes, and Greater Sage-Grouse are likely to be among the birds most affected by poorly planned and sited wind projects,” said Kelly Fuller, Wind Program Coordinator for American Bird Conservancy, the nation’s leading bird conservation organization.
“Unless the government acts now to require that the wind industry respect basic wildlife safeguards, these three species will be at ever greater risk.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) currently estimates that more than 400,000 birds are already being killed each year after being struck by the fast-moving blades of wind turbines.
This figure is expected to rise significantly, and will likely eventually pass the million mark as wind power becomes increasingly ubiquitous under a Department of Energy plan to supply 20% of America’s power through wind by 2030.
Golden Eagles have already been one of the major victims of the largest wind farm in the United States at Altamont Pass in California. The Altamont wind farm was sited in an area that eagles and other raptors use to hunt ground squirrels and other small mammals.
Using the now-outdated towers as perches, thousands of raptors have been killed as they launch out through the spinning turbines towards their prey. While new tower designs have been developed, they don’t completely eliminate the risk.
Much of the additional wind build-out planned for the western U.S. is expected to occur in areas used by Golden Eagles.
A further threat to birds is expected to come from the major transmission line build-out required to service new wind farms. Large birds such as the endangered Whooping Crane can fail to see the wires in time and die after colliding with them. According to a recent FWS report, “The Great Plains states traversed by the Whooping Cranes during their fall and spring migrations are among the windiest states in the nation.
The best places for wind energy development in these states overlap to a large extent the Whooping Crane migration corridor, and many of these areas provide attractive stopover sites. Thus, the potential for impacts to Whooping Cranes from future wind energy development is high.”
The threat to yet more birds comes not from collisions, but from loss of their habitat due to wind farm construction. The Greater Sage-Grouse is already reduced to a tiny fraction of its former range and population size due to degradation of sagebrush habitat in the West.
The proliferation of giant turbines looming over the habitat can cause birds to abandon remaining traditional breeding grounds. The total habitat footprint from wind farms is predicted to exceed 20,000 square miles by 2030, much of it in states such as Wyoming, one of the last remaining sage-grouse strongholds.
While the threat from wind development stands out for these three iconic American birds, it is by no means limited to a small handful of species. More than ten billion birds are estimated to migrate across the country each spring and fall, many at night.
Wind turbines will be an unexpected obstacle to these migrations. Plans to build a wind farm at Canada’s Point Pelee—a migration hotspot on the Great Lakes—were recently shelved due to a public outcry over the expected impact on songbirds, but other wind developments are planned along the U.S. side of the lakes, and in other areas through which migrating birds funnel, with as-yet uncalculated bird impacts.
While Whooping Cranes are protected under the Endangered Species Act and Golden Eagles under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, most migratory birds are only protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has seldom been enforced to prevent such mortality as is predicted as a result of wind development.
The Greater Sage-Grouse, meanwhile, currently receives no federal legal protection, though several states have stepped up to protect remaining core breeding areas. In the face of increasing wind development, realizing the potential for state agencies to do yet more will be important for this species.
“Without strong standards designed to protect birds through smart siting, technology, and mitigation programs, wind power will soon affect millions of birds. Given the subsidies paid to the wind industry by the government, many of the negative impacts to birds will be unwittingly funded by the American taxpayer,” said Fuller. “We understand the problem and we know the solutions. American Bird Conservancy supports wind energy, and some operators are already working to protect birds, but we need to make all wind power bird smart now before major build out occurs.”
HAMMOND WIND PANEL ADOPTS HOME GUARANTEE
SOURCE The Journal, www.ogd.com
December 30 2010
By Matt McAllister,
HAMMOND – Is the Hammond Wind Committee nailing the coffin on the town’s chances of hosting an Iberdrola-owned wind farm?
The committee voted 9 to 1 Tuesday evening – with committee member and leaseholder, Michele W. McQueer, casting the lone dissenting vote – to adopt the controversial Residential Property Value Guarantee (RPVG) as a suggestion to the town board.
In a recent letter from Iberdrola Renewables to the committee, Mark Epstein, Esq., senior counsel, wrote, “We believe that if the Committee chooses to pursue the RPVG, it will prevent any development of windpower facilities in Hammond.”
Iberdrola Communications Manager Paul Copleman e-mailed the following statement on Wednesday: “We are disappointed in the Committee’s decision to recommend the Residential Property Value Guarantee in its current form. While we appreciate and welcome the Committee taking a close look at the concerns expressed by some community members, we have explained the significant and potentially prohibitive burden such a RPVG would place on both members of the community and any company wishing to open a business in Hammond.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Committee, but most likely won’t reach any decision about the project’s viability until Hammond adopts zoning laws governing wind energy.”
The agreement, drafted by Richard K. Champney, committee member and real estate attorney, was reviewed over the past several weeks by all committee members, who offered their suggestions. Many members of the public were also considered, according to Mr. Champney, who said he had received a horde of phone calls and e-mails, none of which offered opposition to his proposal.
After a lengthy discussion, a motion was made by Merritt V. Young and seconded by Ronald R. Papke.
The revised document includes changes in Section 13, “Exclusive option of any residential property owner living within close proximity (two miles) to a wind turbine,” where a property owner has a once in a lifetime right to be reimbursed for his or her real property and five acres surrounding that residence at the then appraised value, if they follow the provisions listed in the document.
These provisions now include:
* Property owner must notify guarantor within 90 days of issuance of an industrial wind farm permit;
* Property owner must have been the legal owner of real property at the time permit was issued;
* Property owner and the guarantor will enter into a 30-day cooling off period where property owner discusses entering into a Good Neighbor Program and if it is not possible, they will continue to complete the agreement application;
* Guarantor will consider relocating wind turbine out of a two-mile radius of the property owner’s residence;
* If property owner and guarantor have not reached agreement within 60 days, the property owner orders a certified property appraisal that can be used as cost replacement value;
* If still no agreement, a second and/or even a third appraisal can be ordered which will then be averaged with the first to determine the final controlling value the property owner will receive as a buyout from the guarantor (wind company). This option cannot be used in conjunction with any future guarantee of the sale of a residence.
In further discussion before moving on to the next issue, there was mention made of a Good Neighbor Agreement that Iberdrola representative, Jenny Burke, had just made available to committee members which was apparently offered as an alternative to the RPVG.
Good Neighbor Agreements are made between non-participating land owners in the vicinity of wind turbines and the wind company, according to Ms. Burke, and can involve either monthly or annual payments in exchange for closer proximity. In response to a question from committee member, Frederick Proven, Ms. Burke said such agreements typically apply to anyone living within 3000 feet of a wind turbine but that it hadn’t been decided for this particular project because a turbine layout has not yet been established.
Mr. Champney said that a landowner could not apply for both agreements, as it would constitute “double dipping.” He said he would be willing to hold a complimentary workshop for landowners to help them understand the ramifications of a Good Neighbor Agreement.
Members discussed property management issues that included oversight of the wind project, decommissioning, and insurance and liability issues.
Board members also discussed the wind overlay district and attempted to clarify how it applies to the waterfront. Several committee members felt that rather than starting at Route 12, it should begin at the St. Lawrence River shoreline. This discussion will continue Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Hammond Central School Library, with additional agenda items to include economics and tourism, setbacks and environmental issues.
WIND FARM PLAN CHALLANGED
SOURCE The Border Watch, www.borderwatch.com.au
December 30 2010
An eight Mile Creek landowner is furious after learning his house would be within 750 metres of wind turbines if the proposed wind farm development goes ahead at Allendale East.
The Acciona Energy project has been temporarily stalled pending the outcome of a court decision after Allendale East dairy farmer Richard Paltridge opposed the development, standing alone in his battle against the company.
But in the past week, Paul Manning and his wife Kaeli have thrown their support behind Mr Paltridge — only to find out that up to 30 residents also share their objections, but chose to remain anonymous because they feared victimisation.
“We are a hard working young family — my partner has shed blood, sweat and tears to make that property what it is today,” Mr Manning told The Border Watch.
“She literally cried when she began to comprehend what the wind farm’s impact will have on our future plans, including the future development of our investment, our retirement, in terms of the potential for the property and the personal connection we have with it.”
According to Mr Manning, many of the landowners, including himself, do not live on their properties, but work interstate and were therefore ill-informed or excluded from a community consultation process about the $175m development.
He has joined the Concerned Residents Group fighting to have the consultation process re-opened.
“We are very disappointed and concerned at hearing about decisions and actions so detrimental to our family’s future,” Mr Manning said.
“The only previous communications we have received in regards to this very serious matter was a very simple and poorly copied generic pamphlet that was delivered nearly two years ago — we have received nothing since.”
“With gag orders on many of the neighbours and our current work interstate, we have heard little about the planning, design and impact of the wind farm.”
Mr Manning said the proposed wind farm added to other issues already looming over the community and causing them to lose confidence in Local Government.
“Through our recent investigations, one thing has become increasingly clear about the view the community has of the government at all levels,” he said.
“There is a real undercurrent of a no confidence vote brewing within the community due to the problems with the cray fishing season being shortened and all the forests and timber mills scheduled to be sold off to overseas interests — many jobs will be lost and the real talk is that the region will become a ghost town kept in a near death state by the humming and whirring of turbines — this has already been demonstrated at similar locations.”