5/19/11 You let a Wind Devloper put his nose into your tent and now he's sueing you for $25 million dollars-- AND--Same turbines, different country: The noise heard 'round the world: That one the wind developers keep telling us isn't a problem AND Big issue: Big subsidies for Big wind
FROM RHODE ISLAND
TURBINE DEVELOPER FILES $25-MILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST NEIGHBORS
READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE: North Kingstown Patch, northkingstown.patch.com
May 18, 2011
By Samantha Turner
"According to court documents....[the wind developer] requested preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the defendants."
The developer of a 427-foot wind turbine is suing seven neighbors to the tune of $25 million in Washington County Superior Court for breach of contract.
Mark DePasquale, CEO of Wind Energy Development LLC, filed a lawsuit Apr. 28 against the homeowners who have not recorded their deeds to reflect a land swap with him as agreed. The quit-claim deeds are needed to continue construction on a 427-foot turbine located in DePasquale’s backyard within the North Kingstown Green subdivision.
The lawsuit (Wind Energy Development LLC v Nicole Newcombe et al) follows the Apr. 8 revocation of the North Kingstown Green building permit by the Town of North Kingstown, halting construction on the wind turbine slated for completion later this year.
In May 2010, it was determined that a land swap was necessary to address the turbine’s blades – measuring about 160 feet in length – crossing into an area of open space outside of DePasquale’s property lines. In a reconfiguration agreement executed by all residents of North Kingstown Green in May 2010, the portion of open land was swapped for land owned by DePasquale at his property in accordance with the town’s zoning and planning ordinances.
DePasquale needs 30 deeds altogether. During a North Kingstown Building Board of Appeals meeting May 4, he said he owns 16, and has acquired all but one of the remaining 14 deeds necessary to have the building permit reinstated.
According to court documents, without DePasquale’s requested preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the defendants, the plaintiffs are at risk of “immediate irreparable harm” including “loss of rights in the plaintiffs’ recently revoked building permit,” “increased construction costs,” “loss of future incoming and profits, injury to the plaintiff’s reputation” and loss of previously expended costs. Court documents indicate that “approximately five percent of the total construction of the wind turbine” has been completed with about $350,000 thus invested in the project.
The suit names Nicole and Scott Newcombe of 52 Thornton Way, Sean Coen and Colleen Clare of 32 Thornton Way, Todd and Kimberly Teixeira of 28 Thornton Way and Subhransu Mohanty of 29 Thornton Way as defendants. The seven NK Green residents have been outspoken in their opposition to the turbine, speaking out at North Kingstown Town Council meetings and through letters to the editor.
The defendants are prohibited from “conveying, transferring, selling, assigning, mortgaging or otherwise encumbering respective interests in the reconfiguration property” to anyone besides the plaintiffs throughout this suit in order to keep the status quo.
The 427-foot turbine was approved back in October by the North Kingstown Planning Commission, becoming North Kingstown’s first approved turbine. Though its approval went largely unopposed at first, more residents and locals came out in opposition during the following months.
WIND TURBINE NOISE ANGERS RESIDENTS
READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE:
Dublin People, www.dublinpeople.com
May 18, 2011
“The problem is particularly bad at night and my husband and I have difficulty sleeping. It’s like having a washing machine on in your bedroom. “I’m living so close to them that I can hear the constant droning and have to close my windows.”
Angry residents living in the vicinity of five wind turbines are pleading with their local authority to find a solution to the noise emanating from them, which they claim is affecting their quality of life.
Residents on Hole-in-the-Wall Road, Donaghmede, say they have had their sleep disturbed due to the “whirring” sound of the turbines, which are located in nearby Father Collins Park. They are now pleading with Dublin City Council to address the problem.
Father Collins Park opened in the summer of 2009 following a major redevelopment that cost approximately e20 million. One of its main features is the turbines that harness the wind and provide the energy that powers the park’s lighting and water features.
The turbines were shut down for a considerable period last year after some maintenance problems and have only been operating as normal in the last couple of months. Margaret Earlwood, who has been living on Hole-in-the-Wall Road for the last 16 years, said the park is a brilliant amenity.
“However, the noise from the wind turbines are affecting our quality of life,” she stated. “The problem is particularly bad at night and my husband and I have difficulty sleeping. It’s like having a washing machine on in your bedroom. “I’m living so close to them that I can hear the constant droning and have to close my windows.”
Ms Earlwood pointed out that she wouldn’t complain for the sake of it and said she had no objection to wind turbines in general. “If they are creating electricity and they are good for the economy, I’ve no problem with that,” she said.
“It’s purely a location issue. I just think they should be out at sea and that they shouldn’t be in a residential area. “For eight or nine months they were switched off and it was great. Then when they went back on the noise problems started up again.”
Ms Earlwood said the ideal situation would be to have the turbines removed completely. “When they get faster the noise gets worse,” she added. “If they’re going 24-7 you get no break from it. “When they first came along we tried to put up with them. It’s not pleasant and we are trying to find ways to get around the problem.”
Eddie Cummins, who runs Eddie’s Smokeless Fuels along with his son, Alan, said his family was also affected by the noise. “You can’t open your windows,” stated Mr Cummins, whose business is located on Hole-in-the-Wall Road. “Alan lives at number one (Hole-in-the Wall Road) and I live at number three and we are right facing the turbines.
“We can’t sleep with the noise. You can also hear them in the workplace during the day.” Mr Cummins has called for the turbines to be moved or some other solution to be found. “You like to open your windows to let a bit of air in, especially in the summer months,” he added. “It’s a bit annoying.”
Dublin North East TD Sean Kenny (Lab) has called on the city council to switch off the turbines at night to allow nearby residents sleep. “I have been contacted by sleepless residents at houses at Hole-in-the-Wall Road, and nearby Grattan Lodge apartments, who are appealing for an end to the nightly noise generated by the turbines,” said Deputy Kenny.
“An apartment resident told me recently that they were totally stressed due to the noise. “It is becoming clear that wind turbines are problematic in highly built up areas and the planning regulations and guidelines need to be reviewed.
“I am calling on the Environment Minister and the Dublin City Manager to take immediate action to ensure that residents in the North Fringe area can go to work and about their daily business with the benefit of a good night’s sleep.”
A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council confirmed that they had just received a complaint about noise levels from the Father Collins Park wind turbines. She said a decision was pending on the most appropriate environmental assessment of the site.
LAMAR LEXANDER ON WIND ENERGY SUBSIDIES
www.chattanoogan.com 18 May 2011
“Today, the production tax credit for wind gives 2.1 cents for every kilowatt hour of wind electricity produced by a wind turbine during the first 10 years of operation.
Let’s put this into a context that is current. The new Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm in Oregon will have 338 of these huge wind turbines, producing enough power to run approximately 250,000 homes and will cost the American taxpayer about $57 million a year in subsidies for that electricity produced.
If we allocated the tax credit per home, taxpayers will be paying $2,300 over the next 10 years for each of the homes served by the Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm in Oregon.
Senator Lamar Alexander said today that Congress should address wind energy subsidies during debate on oil company subsidies, noting that the 10-year price tag on the wind production tax credit is $26 billion—about $5 billion more than tax breaks being debated for the five biggest oil companies—despite the fact that wind is “about the least efficient means of energy production we have.”
Senator Alexander said in a speech on the Senate floor: “So I ask the question: If wind has all these drawbacks, is a mature technology, and receives subsidies greater than any other form of energy per unit of actual energy produced, why are we subsidizing it with billions of dollars and not including it in this debate? Why are we talking about Big Oil and not talking about Big Wind?”
In addition, at an afternoon hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Subcommittee, ranking member Alexander continued to question wind subsidies. U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu testified that he believes onshore wind “is a mature technology.” Chu said the Department of Energy’s wind research efforts have shifted to more innovative technologies, such as offshore wind and deepwater wind.
The full text of Senator Alexander’s floor remarks follows:
“We have been debating tax subsidies to the big oil companies. The bill proposed by the senator from New Jersey would have limited it to just the big five oil companies even though many of the tax breaks or tax credits or deductions they receive are the same tax credits that every other company may take– Starbucks, Microsoft, Caterpillar, Google, and Hollywood film producers, for example. Many of the other credits look a lot like the [research and development] tax credit or other tax credits all American businesses may receive.
“Well, I am one Senator who is very intrigued with the idea of looking at all of the tax breaks in the tax code. There are currently about $1.2 trillion a year in what we call tax expenditures, and those are intended to be for tax breaks we think are desirable. I am ready to look at all of them and use the money to reduce the tax rate and/or reduce the Federal debt. But if we are going to talk about energy subsidies — tax subsidies — we ought to talk about all energy subsidies.
“Senator John Cornyn of Texas has asked the Congressional Research Service to do just this. It is an excellent study, and I commend Senator Cornyn for asking for it. This is some of what it finds: According to the report, fossil fuels contributed about 78 percent of our energy production in 2009 and received about 13 percent of the Federal tax support for energy.
“However, during that same time 10.6 percent of our energy production was from renewables and 77.4 percent of our energy tax subsidies went to renewables. So if we are to compare the subsidy per unit of energy, the estimated federal support per million BTUs [or British Thermal Units] of fossil fuels was 4 cents, while support for renewables was $1.97 per million BTUs.
“So, federal subsidies for renewables are almost 50 times as great per unit of energy as federal subsidies for fossil fuels. [But] this would be distorted because hydroelectric power is included within renewables. Most people think of renewables as ethanol, solar, or wind and those are the renewables that actually get the subsidies, while hydroelectric does not.
“So, the federal taxpayer support for renewable energy is at least 50 times as great per unit of energy as compared with fossil fuel energy. So why aren’t we including subsidies for all renewables in our debate? Specifically, if we are talking about ‘Big Oil,’ why don’t we talk about ‘Big Wind?’ The Senate seems an appropriate place to talk about ‘Big Wind.’
“The Energy Policy Act of 1992 created what is called the production tax credit for energy produced using renewable resources. Most of this money has gone to subsidize ‘Big Wind.’ It is a policy that was supposed to last a few years. It has lasted two decades.
“Today, the production tax credit for wind gives 2.1 cents for every kilowatt hour of wind electricity produced by a wind turbine during the first 10 years of operation. Let’s put this into a context that is current. The new Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm in Oregon will have 338 of these huge wind turbines, producing enough power to run approximately 250,000 homes and will cost the American taxpayer about $57 million a year in subsidies for that electricity produced. If we allocated the tax credit per home, taxpayers will be paying $2,300 over the next 10 years for each of the homes served by the Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm in Oregon.
“This doesn’t even take into account the fact that $1.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to this project means Big Wind will have its risk of default also financed by the taxpayer. Fossil fuel companies don’t have that advantage. Nuclear power companies don’t have that advantage, even though their electricity is completely clean — no sulfur, no nitrogen, no mercury, no carbon. If, like nuclear or fossil loan guarantees do, the wind farm in Oregon had to pay the risk of default up front as a fee, it would cost another $130 million. That is money out of the pockets of taxpayers.
“The total cost of the wind production tax credit over the next 10 years will cost the American taxpayers more than $26 billion. Let me say that again. American taxpayers are subsidizing Big Wind over the next 10 years by more than $26 billion with one tax credit. In fact, the tax breaks for the five big oil companies we have been debating on the Senate floor this week actually cost less than all of the money we give to big wind. The tax breaks for the five big oil companies amount to about $21 billion over 10 years.
‘According to the Energy Information Administration in 2007, big wind received an $18.82 subsidy per megawatt hour — 25 times as much per megawatt hour as subsidies for all other forms of electricity combined. But wind is about the least efficient means of energy production we have. It accounts for just about 2 percent of our electricity. It is available only when the wind blows, which is about one-third of the time. The Tennessee Valley Authority says it is reliable even less than that, meaning we can have it when we need it only about 12 to15 percent of the time.
“Wind farms take up a huge amount of space. Turbines are 50 stories high. Their flashing lights can be seen for 20 miles. An unbroken line of turbines along the 2,178-mile Appalachian Trail would produce no more electricity than four nuclear reactors on 4 square miles of land.
“Wind is generally the strongest–and land available–where the electricity isn’t actually needed. So we have thousands of miles of new transmission lines proposed to get the energy from where it is produced to where it needs to go. Those often go through conservation areas, and according to the National Academy of Sciences, wind power is more expensive than other forms of electricity, such as coal, nuclear, biomass, geothermal, and natural gas.
“We haven’t even talked about the fact these wind turbines only last about 25 years. The question is: Who is going to take them down? Wind farms also kill as many as 275,000 birds each year, according to the American Bird Conservancy. They can interfere with radar systems, and many who live near them say they are very noisy.
“So I ask the question: If wind has all these drawbacks, is a mature technology, and receives subsidies greater than any other form of energy per unit of actual energy produced, why are we subsidizing it with billions of dollars and not including it in this debate? Why are we talking about Big Oil and not talking about Big Wind?
“I believe there are appropriate uses of temporary incentives and subsidies to help jump-start innovation and the development of new technology — such as jump-starting electric cars, or natural gas fleets of trucks, or loan guarantees for nuclear power plants and other forms of clean energy — as long as these are short term. I believe research and development is an appropriate role for the federal government whether it is in recycling used nuclear fuel or finding alternative biofuels made from crops we don’t eat. I believe it is entirely appropriate for there to be research for offshore wind farms, which we don’t know as much about and which might actually prove to be a useful supplement in the Northeast. But my point is, if we are going to debate subsidies to Big Oil, we ought to be debating all the energy subsidies including those to Big Wind.
“There is a difference between the Republican plan and the Democratic plan for $4 gasoline and high energy prices. The Democratic cure for high prices is basically to raise the price. They want to tax energy more, but that makes energy cost more. Republicans want to find more American energy and use less energy. We might sum it up this way: Republicans want to find more and use less; Democrats want to find less and tax more.
“The Democratic plan, according to Senator Schumer of New York, was never intended to talk about lowering gas prices. Senator Reid agreed, Senator Baucus agreed, Senator Landrieu agreed, and Senator Begich agreed, but why aren’t we talking about trying to find a way to lower gasoline prices when it is $4 a gallon and going up?
“The Republican plan is very specific: Find more American oil and more American natural gas. We can find that offshore where 30 percent of our domestic oil and 25 percent of our natural gas is produced. We can find it on Federal lands, and we can find it in Alaska.
“The other part of our equation is to use less. We have some agreement with the Obama administration on some of these ideas. There are a number of them, such as jump-starting electric cars. Senator Merkley and I have a bill that is before the Energy Committee tomorrow to do just that. I believe electrifying our cars and trucks is the single best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. There is legislation to jump-start natural gas for trucks, biofuels from crops we don’t eat, and fuel efficiency. All these are various ways to use less.
“Senators Thune and Barrasso have performed a service by setting the record straight to show that the United States produces a lot of oil. We are actually the third largest oil producer in the world. So I ask this question: If less Libyan oil can raise gasoline prices — which it did — then shouldn’t more American oil help lower gasoline prices? At least, for every dollar of American oil we produce, it is one less dollar we have to send overseas for foreign oil.
“So, Madam President, the Republican plan is to find more American oil and natural gas and to use less. My suggestion is, if we are going to be talking about tax subsidies for Big Oil, let’s talk about tax subsidies for all energy. The Senate floor seems an especially appropriate place, if we are going to talk about Big Oil, to also talk about tax subsidies for Big Wind.”