Entries in Invenergy (41)

10/28/11 Taking the problem seriously: Senator Lasee speaks out on behalf of those who will be most affected AND Fire in the belly VS Fire in the hole: Standoff on Lowell Mountain continues. Protesters stand firm 

The video above shows wind turbine shadow flicker affecting homes in Fond du Lac County. Filmed by Invenergy wind project resident, Gerry Meyer


By State Sen. Frank Lasee,

SOURCE Journal Sentinel, www.jsonline.com

October 27 2011

How would you feel if you or your kids started feeling sick? What if you or your kids suddenly started having headaches, ear aches, nausea, dizziness or couldn’t sleep well anymore in your own home and you knew it wouldn’t ever go away?

This is happening right now in Wisconsin. Families who had happy, healthy lives found themselves suffering illnesses that started after wind turbines were built near their homes. Scientific evidence indicates that there are health impacts that are associated with large wind turbines, many as tall as 500 feet. A bill that I introduced requires new safety setback rules based on health studies.

We aren’t sure why wind turbines seem to cause illnesses. Is it electrical pollution, radio waves, sound waves that are too low to hear, vibrations, shadow-flicker or noise?

We know some adults and children who live near turbines feel nausea, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, ear aches, agitation, and other symptoms – and their illnesses clear up when they are away from home.

Two families whom I represent have moved out of their homes because of illnesses they felt after eight wind turbines were built nearby; others want to move but can’t afford to. A Fond du Lac family abandoned their $300,000 remodeled farm house because their 16-year-old daughter developed intestinal lesions and was hospitalized for them. After they moved away, she recovered. Others have said that deer and birds they feed in their backyards disappear when the turbines turn, and they return when the turbines stop.

This problem isn’t confined to Wisconsin. There are studies coming from other countries and states that report health issues for those who are too near large wind turbines. These new wind turbines are nearly 500 feet tall, taller than 40-story buildings, and nearly twice as tall as the state Capitol.

To be fair to people who live in rural areas where turbines are being built, we need to find out what is “too close” and what distance is acceptable for the health of adults, children and animals. Right now, we don’t know. Right now, it depends on whether you are pushing for or against wind turbines or have to live near them.

The purpose of my bill is to get the facts before others are harmed. It requires that a “peer reviewed” health study address these health effects and be used by the state Public Service Commission to establish a safe distance for wind turbine setback rules.

People should be secure in their homes; they shouldn’t be forced to move because they are being made ill by something built near them. In Wisconsin, we owe our citizens more than someone’s opinion on whether their home is safe -whether their children are safe.

Wind turbines are causing real hardship for real people. Some can’t afford to move to preserve their or their kids’ health. Could you? Our government has a duty to know the facts and protect our citizens regardless of whether we are “for” wind energy or “against” wind energy.

State Sen. Frank Lasee, of De Pere, represents Wisconsin’s 1st Senate District.

The video above was recorded by Larry Wunsch, a resident of the Invenergy wind project in Fond du Lac County. Wunsch is also a firefighter and a member of the Public Service Commission's wind siting council. His recommendations for setbacks and noise limits were shot down by other members of the council who had a direct or indirect financial interest in creating less restrictive siting guidelines.



by Chris Braithwaite, The Chronicle, 26 October 2011 ~~

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, the old question goes, does it make a sound?

Here’s a more timely variation on the question: If you hold a demonstration in one of the most inaccessible places in the Northeast Kingdom, have you demonstrated anything?

There was a certain brilliance in the idea, dreamed up by opponents of the industrial wind project on Lowell Mountain, of planting a campsite on the western edge of Doug and Shirley Nelson’s farm, too close to the wind project to permit safe blasting.

But there was also a weakness inherent in the plan. It’s so hard to get to the campsite that almost nobody knows what goes on up there.

There’s great drama in the idea of determined demonstrators standing up to the high explosives that, as this is being written, are reducing four miles of remote ridgeline to a nice, level, 34-foot-wide gravel road.

But drama demands an audience. Without one, even the most daring and determined resistance risks becoming an exercise in futility.

Some of the demonstrators who climbed the mile-long trail to their campsite on Wednesday morning, October 19, were prepared to go down the mountain in police custody.

The stage, it seemed, was finally set for the confrontation with authority they were braced for.

It had been set up the Friday before by the wind project’s developer, Green Mountain Power (GMP). The big utility had gone to court and quickly obtained a temporary restraining order against the Nelsons and their guests. It ordered them to be 1,000 feet from the property line for an hour before, and an hour after, high explosives were detonated near the farm.

Blasting had proceeded on Monday and Tuesday, but at a safe distance that didn’t provoke any confrontation between GMP and the handful of demonstrators on hand.

But the mood was different Wednesday. GMP had called the Nelsons to say there would be blasting from 2 to 4 p.m.

On top of the mountain, the demonstrators got their first clear view of two big drill rigs, poking holes in the rock about 800 feet from the campsite.

With binoculars, they could watch workmen carry boxes of high explosive from a cubical white body mounted on tracks to the drill holes. Then they could watch as a large backhoe dragged massive mats of steel and rubber over the blast site, while other massive machines made a ponderous retreat.

All that clatter aside, the place was remarkably quiet. The demonstrators exchanged a bit of small talk, did a bit of planning, but didn’t talk much about their concern for Lowell Mountain, or their despair at what GMP was doing to it. Their presence in that high, steeply sloped forest said those things for them.

Nor did the demonstrators have anything to say to two GMP workers who passed within a few feet of them, putting yet more yellow warning signs on trees along the disputed line that separates the Nelson property from the project.

They numbered each sign with a marker, photographed it, and moved on out of sight to the north.

The four demonstrators who were prepared to be arrested gathered up their gear and tossed it into one of the tents. If necessary, it would be carried down the trail by the people who were there to support them.

Two more GMP workers approached the protesters as they moved as close as they could get to the blast site, just after 3 o’clock.

The one who wore a blue hard hat, Dave Coriell, is community outreach manager for Kingdom Community Wind, which is the name GMP gave to its project.

The one in the unpainted tin hat, John Stamatov, manages the construction project for GMP.

Mr. Coriell, who used to do public relations work for Governor Jim Douglas, looked a little out of his element. That wasn’t true of Mr. Stamatov, though he looked like he’d be more comfortable running a bulldozer than a video camera.

Mr. Coriell stopped within easy earshot of the protesters. Behind him, Mr. Stamatov started recording the proceedings on his camera.

“I’m going to have to ask people to please move back,” Mr. Coriell said. Nobody moved.

If the demonstrators didn’t move 1,000 feet down the mountain, Mr. Coriell continued, they would be in violation of the temporary restraining order.

Copies of the order were nailed to a scattering of nearby trees.

“I ask you to please move back,” Mr. Coriell said. “I’m not going to force you physically to move.” Nobody moved.

“If you’re not going to move, I’d ask you for your name or some identification,” Mr. Coriell said.

Nobody said anything.

“That’s a cute dog,” Mr. Coriell said of Koyo. A handsome yellow lab who’d carried a backpack up the mountain for his owners, Koyo was the only demonstrator who used his real name. If he was flattered, Koyo didn’t say so.

I identified myself to the GMP twosome, and said I planned to stick around and see what happened next.

“By standing there you’re risking serious injury or death,” Mr. Stamatov said.

Knowing that, I asked, was GMP still going to touch off the explosives?

“We’re hoping people move,” said Mr. Coriell.

They withdrew across the wide orange ribbon that divides the construction site from the forest.

But they came back a few minutes later. Stepping up to a tree, Mr. Coriell read the entire text of the restraining order aloud to the silent demonstrators, while Mr. Stamatov recorded the event.

The two withdrew again, but remained in the clearcut that GMP’s logging crew had created where the crane path will run along the top of the ridgeline. They were not significantly further from the blast site than the demonstrators.

Everybody waited. It became quiet, an ominous silence that settled as the last machines withdrew.

The demonstrators were there, of course, in the belief that their presence would stop the blasting.

They had been warned that they were standing in harm’s way, and they had every reason to believe it.

What Mr. Coriell hadn’t told them was that the contractor, Maine Drilling and Blasting, had carefully laid a much smaller charge than it hopes to use in the near future, and covered it with particular care with particularly large blasting mats.

At 3:26 the silence was broken by three loud horn blasts. According to the yellow signs on so many nearby trees, that signified five minutes until the explosion.

Two horns sounded four minutes later, the one-minute warning. Still nobody moved, nobody talked. One demonstrator, a young woman sitting legs crossed in a lotus position, closed her eyes.

The words “fire in the hole” carried through the silent forest from somebody’s radio and the explosives went off, sending a cloud of gray dust into the sky. There were no casualties.

The demonstrators had stood their ground, a they had pledged to do. And GMP had blown up another piece of Lowell Mountain, as it was so determined to do.

If there’s a moral victory to be claimed, it clearly goes to the protestors. But that may only serve as consolation, a year or so from now, as they contemplate the wind towers on Lowell Mountain.

8/27/11 Dear Mr. President, please send us more Big Money for Big Wind, AND Wind Goliath Invenergy pushes 'scrap value' ploy and road repair wranglin' on rural residents

A Press Release from the Public Relations arm of the American Wind Energy Association:



Iowa, Aug. 24—A coalition of 24 governors from both major parties and each region of the country has asked the administration to take a series of steps to provide a more favorable business climate for the development of wind energy, starting with a seven-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to provide stable, low tax rates for wind-generated electricity.

A letter from the governors, sent last month to the White House, has since been made public by the Governors Wind Energy Coalition. Signed by coalition chair Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI), and vice chair Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), the letter says:

"Although tax credits for wind energy have long enjoyed bipartisan support, they are scheduled to expire next year. Wind-related manufacturing will slow if the credits are not extended, and some of the tax credits' benefit will be lost if Congress pursues a last-minute extension. It is important to have consistency in policy to support the continued development of wind manufacturing in the United States. Extending the production tax credit and the investment tax credit, without a gap, is critical to the health of wind manufacturing in our nation. The wind manufacturing industry in the U.S. would benefit even greater if the extension of these credits would be for at least seven years."

"Governors have always focused on jobs and economic development as their main responsibility. Now that Washington is following suit, it helps for these Governors to tell Washington what has been putting people to work in their states," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "It is also helpful for them to support the removal of roadblocks that can occur in administrative agencies, so that deployment objectives are not unintentionally thwarted."

The governors' letter also calls for:

- Establishing a combined intergovernmental state-federal task force on wind energy development to "ensure the Administration's wind energy goals are met."

- Expanding the Department of Energy's renewable energy programs to "focus not only on technology research and innovation, but also on technology deployment and market development," noting that, "these are precisely the types of efforts other nations are utilizing to successfully compete with the United States. We must recognize that a scientific breakthrough five or 10 years from now, plus several more years for commercial acceptance, will be of little value if our wind industry has been relegated to minor players in the global marketplace."

- Improved collaboration on siting new wind turbines: "... [W]e believe wind energy and wildlife protection are entirely compatible and we urge a prompt resolution of the Wind Energy Guidelines and Eagle Guidance concerns."

- Expediting deployment of offshore wind: "A new U.S. offshore wind sector would create tens of thousands of jobs in businesses ranging from R&D and engineering to manufacturing and marine construction."

- Identifying transmission and grid integration priorities for Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) such as the Bonneville Power Administration

The 24 governors' letter concluded, "We believe these actions will help address some of the national economic and energy challenges before our nation. We look forward to working with you and your Administration to further our nation's wind energy development to help drive economic growth, energy development, and the creation of high-paying jobs." Full text is available from the coalition's website.

The wind energy success story has come up on the campaign trail as well, such as when President Obama met with small business owners Aug. 16 in a diner in Guttenberg, Iowa. In the group was Rob Hach of Anemometry Specialists, a weather tower company based in Alta, Iowa, that surveys locations for wind turbines. Hach pressed for the Production Tax Credit's extension, as did the governors. Photo here.

Previously, at the Republican straw poll Aug. 13 in Ames, Iowa, six GOP presidential candidates including frontrunner Mitt Romney signed their names to a 130-foot turbine blade to show their support for the wind energy industry. (See further details.)

Governors play a major role in promoting wind energy themselves. In Iowa, Gov. Branstad signed the nation's first renewable energy standard during the first year of his first term, in 1983. That encouraged Iowa to become the first state to generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind, a goal which the George W. Bush administration predicted the entire nation can reach by 2030.

As in Iowa, wind energy has become big business in Texas, where over 10,000 megawatts (MW) of power has been installed while Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been governor.

GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, in signing the wind blade Aug. 13 at the Iowa straw poll, said he favors a 10-year extension of the national tax incentive, to avoid the "up-and-down effect" on renewable energy development when the policy changes. "If you're going to have tax credits that are designed to create investment, they have to have a long enough time horizon that people who invest believe that they'll be there," Gingrich said.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a leader in getting the PTC for renewable energy extended from 2003 through 2012, also signed the wind blade that day. He said that considering the U.S. currently spends $830 million a day on foreign oil, we need an "all of the above" energy strategy that includes wind.

Steve Lockard, CEO of TPI Composites, greeted the presidential candidates at the wind blade, which was made at his factory and drives turbines each capable of making power for 500-1,000 homes. Lockard said U.S. business appears to be strong through 2012, keeping 700 workers at his plant working around the clock. "There's growing concern about 2013 demand, due to the expiring tax credit," Lockard said.


NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Which Governors are asking for seven more years of government money for wind development?

Rhode Island
Gov. Lincoln Chafee-I

Gov. Terry Branstad -R
Vice Chairman

Gov. Mike Beebe -D

Gov. Jerry Brown -D

Gov. John Hickenlooper -D

Gov. Rick Scott- R

Gov. Neil Abercrombie- D

Gov. Pat Quinn- D

Gov. Sam Brownback-R

Gov. Steve Beshear -D

Gov. Paul Lepaige -R

Gov. Martin O’Malley-D

Gov. Deval Patrick -D

Gov. Rick Snyder-R

Gov. Mark Dayton -D

Gov. Brian Schweitzer- D

New Mexico
Gov. Susana Martinez-R

North Dakota
Gov. Jack Dalrymple-R

Gov. Mary Fallin- R

Gov. John Kitzhaber-D


Gov. Tom Corbett-R

South Dakota
Gov. Dennis Dugaard-R

Gov. Christine Gregoire-D

West Virginia
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin-D





SOURCE:  The News-Gazette, www.news-gazette.com 26 August 2011 Tom Kacich,

URBANA — Officials with the company proposing a 30-turbine wind farm in northeast Champaign County are asking the county zoning board to allow them to figure in the scrap value of the turbines when covering decommissioning costs.

Further, representatives of Chicago-based Invenergy LLC also asked that they be allowed to negotiate township road agreements beyond the time the case would be before the county zoning board of appeals. Instead, they want to extend the negotiating period to the time that the county board votes on the proposal.

But a number of people at Thursday’s zoning board meeting urged the board not to grant any waivers or road agreement extensions to Invenergy.

“Let’s get it done out here in the public and let’s let everybody see it,” said Doug Bluhm, an Ogden Township board member.

Marvin Johnson, the highway commissioner in Compromise Township, one of two townships in Champaign County where the wind turbines would be located, said he thought negotiations regarding upgrades to township roads were “moving along real good and I’d like to see it going that way.”

Deb Griest of Urbana, a former zoning board of appeals member, also urged against agreeing to any extensions.

“This is the board where these discussions do occur constructively.”

Michael Blazer, an attorney for Invenergy, pledged that “if we think we will damage (roads) in advance, we will fix it in advance.”

Invenergy also asked that it be allowed to calculate the value of the scrapped wind turbines when it sets aside money for decommissioning costs.

But some audience members voiced displeasure with that idea.

“You don’t know what that value could be. It could be zero,” Bluhm said. “Using scrap value is a shot in the dark.’

About 75 people attended the first of four scheduled zoning board hearings on the wind farm application, and about a dozen testified or asked questions. The next hearing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1.

The wind turbines in Champaign County would be part of a larger wind farm, most of which would be in Vermilion County, known as the California Ridge Wind Energy Project.

Mike Herbert, business manager and financial secretary for IBEW Local 601 in Champaign, endorsed the wind farm proposal, saying that Invenergy “builds quality projects” and would upgrade township roads so that they’re “as good or better” than they are now.

Four county board members — Republicans Steve Moser and Gary Maxwell, and Democrats Alan Kurtz and Pattsi Petrie — attended the zoning board meeting.

4/1/11 How Green is a Bat Killing Turbine? Dead bats mean more corn borer larvae, more pesticides and lower crop yields AND When wind developers say MAKE ME: Invenergy ignores PSC's requests for latest bird and bat post construction mortality study AND It's April Fool's day but this is no foolin'--- Where wind developers have been prospecting in Wisconsin

NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: According to numbers in a previous bird and bat post construction mortality study paid for by Invenergy for the Forward Wind project located near the Horicon Marsh, the turbine related bat-kill numbers are staggering: it appears that well over 10,000 bats have been killed in just three years of the Forward project's operation.

The turbine related bat kill rate in Wisconsin is ten times higher than the national average and the second highest in North America. Yet nothing is being done about it. In fact, the Public Service Commission can't even get Invenergy to submit a long-past-due required mortality report.

Who ya' gonna call?

Better Plan has contacted the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, Bat Conservation International and a multitude of journalists with this information but so far no one has moved to look more closely into this story.

Meanwhile, bats are being slaughtered by the thousands in Wisconsin wind projects. Horton may hear a Who but at the moment environmentalists and media aren't taking any calls from Horton.

 Next Story


"Agency staff has repeatedly requested the required reports. To date, no satisfactory explanation has been received for their delay nor a firm date established for their submission. At minimum, submittal of the final report is required to comply with the requirements of the Commission’s Final Decision for this docket. Please submit the required reports."

-PSC's letter to Invenergy dated 3/25/2011



DATE: MARCH 25th, 2011

Dear Mr. Collins:

In the Commission’s Final Decision on July 14, 2005, Forward Energy LLC (Forward) was required to conduct post-construction bird and bat studies in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Data collected from these studies were to be submitted to agency staff on a quarterly basis. In addition, Forward was required to conduct a population viability analysis with associated sensitivity analyses for bat populations.

As a means of complying with the Commission’s Final Decision, three study plans were reviewed and approved by agency staff. These studies included a bird use, a bat use, and a bird/bat mortality study. Within each of these plans was an agreed-to timetable for field study and report submittal.

Forward initiated field studies in July 2008. The bat use and bird use studies ended in November 2009. Data collection for the mortality study ended in May 2010. The last report received from Forward summarized data collected through February 1, 2010. Forward has not submitted a report summarizing the data collected during the period of April through May of 2010.

Additionally, the final report has not been submitted. The final report is required to contain at a minimum the following items:

Summary of all field data collected during the years of 2008, 2009, and 2010;

Comparison of pre-construction and post-construction relative abundance and diversity of birds;

Impact gradient analysis of bird use and behavioral data relative to the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge;

Analysis of the changes in pre-construction versus post-construction avian habitat;

Analysis of the type and number of bats that use the Forward airspace compared to the bat fatality estimates resulting from the wind turbines;

Mortality estimates incorporating scavenger and searcher efficiency rates using the best available estimation formulas and reported as avian and bat fatalities per megawatt per year and per turbine per year;

Additional analyses including comparing the mortality at control sites to the mortality at turbine sites and correlation analyses between mortality and weather, turbine locations, turbine operating status, and bird and bat activity.

Agency staff has repeatedly requested the required reports.

To date, no satisfactory explanation has been received for their delay nor a firm date established for their submission. At minimum, submittal of the final report is required to comply with the requirements of the Commission’s Final Decision for this docket. Please submit the required reports.

If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact Marilyn M. Weiss by telephone at (608) 241-0084 or by e-mail at marilyn.weiss@wisconsin.gov.
/s/ Dan Sage
Dan Sage
Assistant Administrator
Gas and Energy Division

NOTE: Click on the image below to watch a video about Invenergy's Forward Project wind turbines alongside Wisconsin's famed Horicon Marsh and near the Neda Mines, home to the largest bat population in the state.






April 1, 2011

BOSTON, -- Thomas Kunz, Warren Distinguished Professor in Boston University's Department of Biology, has coauthored an analysis published this week in the journal Science that shows how declines of bat populations caused by a new wildlife disease and fatalities at industrial-scale wind turbines could lead to substantial economic losses on the farm.

Natural pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and yet insectivorous bats are among the most overlooked economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, noted the study's authors, scientists from the University of Pretoria (South Africa), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Tennessee, and Boston University.

"People often ask why we should care about bats," said Paul Cryan, a USGS research scientist at the Fort Collins Science Center and one of the study's authors. "This analysis suggests that bats are saving us big bucks by gobbling up insects that eat or damage our crops. It is obviously beneficial that insectivorous bats are patrolling the skies at night above our fields and forests—these bats deserve help."

The value of the pest-control services to agriculture provided by bats in the U.S. alone range from a low of $3.7 billion to a high of $53 billion a year, the authors estimated. They also warned that noticeable economic losses to North American agriculture could well occur in the next 4 to 5 years because of the double-whammy effect of bat losses due to the emerging disease white-nose syndrome and fatalities of certain migratory bats at wind-energy facilities. In the Northeast, however, where white-nose syndrome has killed more than one million bats in the past few years, the effects could be evident sooner.

"Bats eat tremendous quantities of flying pest insects, so the loss of bats is likely to have long-term effects on agricultural and ecological systems," said Justin Boyles, a researcher with the University of Pretoria and the lead author of the study. "Consequently, not only is the conservation of bats important for the well-being of ecosystems, but it is also in the best interest of national and international economies."

A single little brown bat, which has a body no bigger than an adult human thumb, can eat 4 to 8 grams (the weight of about a grape or two) of insects each night, the authors note. Although this may not sound like much, it adds up—the loss of one million bats in the Northeast has probably resulted in between 660 and 1,320 metric tons of insects no longer being eaten each year by bats in the region.

"Additionally, because the agricultural value of bats in the Northeast is small compared with other parts of the country, such losses could be even more substantial in the extensive agricultural regions in the Midwest and the Great Plains, where wind-energy development is booming and the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome was recently detected," said Kunz.

Although these estimates include the costs of pesticide applications that are not needed because of the pest-control services bats provide, Boyles and his colleagues said they did not account for the detrimental effects of pesticides on ecosystems or the economic benefits of bats suppressing pest insects in forests, both of which may be considerable.

The loss of bats to white-nose syndrome has largely occurred during the past 4 years, after the disease first appeared in upstate New York. Since then, the fungus thought to cause white-nose syndrome has spread southward and westward and has now been found in 15 states and in eastern Canada. Bat declines in the Northeast, the most severely affected region in the U.S. thus far, have exceeded 70 percent. Populations of at least one species, the little brown bat, have declined so precipitously that scientists expect the species to disappear from the region within the next 20 years.

The losses of bats at wind-power facilities, however, pose a different kind of problem, according to the authors. Although several species of migratory tree-dwelling bats are particularly susceptible to wind turbines, continental-scale monitoring programs are not in place and reasons for the particular susceptibility of some bat species to turbines remain a mystery, Cryan said.

By one estimate, published by Kunz and colleagues in 2007, about 33,000 to 111,000 bats will die each year by 2020 just in the mountainous region of the Mid-Atlantic Highlands from direct collisions with wind turbines as well from lung damage caused by pressure changes bats experience when flying near moving turbine blades. In addition, surprisingly large numbers of bats are dying at wind-energy facilities in other regions of North America.

"We hope that our analysis gets people thinking more about the value of bats and why their conservation is important," said Gary McCracken, a University of Tennessee professor and co-author of the analysis. "The bottom line is that the natural pest-control services provided by bats save farmers a lot of money."

The authors conclude that solutions to reduce the impacts of white-nose syndrome and fatalities from wind turbines may be possible in the coming years, but that such work is most likely to be driven by public support that will require a wider awareness of the benefits of insectivorous bats.

The article, "Economic importance of bats in agriculture," appears in the April 1 edition of Science. Authors are J.G. Boyles, P. Cryan, G. McCracken and T. Kunz.


Wisconsin wind project locations: proposed, existing and being built:



Town of Lincoln


Madeline Island


Town of Bayfield


Towns Glenmore, Greenleaf, Holland, Morrison, Wrightstown

Invenergy's Ledge Wind project (currently on hold)

Emerging Energy's Shirley Wind project (Town of Glenmore. Now under construction)

For the latest information, visit the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Renewable Energy website (bccrwe.com)



Towns of Brothertown, Charlesburg, Chilton, New Holstein, Rantoul, Stockbridge


We Energies Glacier Hills project (under construction)

Towns of Arlington, Cambria, Leeds, Randolph and Scott.



Invenergy is prospecting south of Prairie Du Chien


Town of Springfield

EcoEnergy developed the project, then sold it to WAVE WIND LLC 

According to news stories, Wave Wind was looking for a contract with WPPI to buy the power. The outcome of negotiations between these two parties is unknown as of September 2010

News stories:

Dane County's wind farm fate rests with WPPI

Towns of Herman and Rubicon


Town of Clay Banks

Download Clay Banks Wind ordinance


Towns of Ashford, Brownsville, Byron, Eden, Empire


Cuba City, Towns of Hazel Green, Paris, Plattville, Smelser, Patch Grove, Mt. Hope


Town of Green Lake


Town of Montfort

Town of Casco

Towns of Belmont and Seymour

Towns of Mishicot, Two Creeks, Two Rivers

 Town of Centerville  Developer: Spanish company www.urielwind.com

For the latest information on Manitowoc County projects visit Windcows.com

Towns of Ridgeville and Wilton

Town of Kaukauna

Town of Freedonia

Towns of Center, Janesville, Spring Valley, Magnolia, Union

Landowner contracts in the Towns of Magnolia and Union originally secured by EcoEnergy have been sold to Spanish wind giant Acciona . Acciona says it has suspended the project because of low wind resource. However, they still own the project and can sell it.


Town of Rhine


Town of Forest


Town of Arcadia

Town of Ettrick

Download Trempealeau County wind ordinance

Town of Westby


Towns of Addison, Nabob, and West Bend

3/28/11 Was it the regulatory environment or "Naked-Wind Farm" situation that caused Invenergy to cancel Brown County project AND Big Wind+Big Money+The Mob = True Love AND Why a stroll in the prairie might be a bad idea

Note from the BPWI research nerd: In wind-industry speak, a wind project that does not have a power purchase agreement with a utility is known as a "Naked Wind Farm"

 Use of term “Naked wind farm”:

"NextEra Energy Inc., the largest U.S. generator of wind power, said it hasn't been able to obtain multiyear contracts for about $1 billion in turbines capable of generating 612 megawatts of electricity. These so-called naked wind farms increased as cheaper natural gas and the lack of a federal clean-energy mandate reduced pressure on utilities to buy renewable power.

SOURCE: Stamford Advocate"

Without a utility committing to a long term power purchase agreement, financing for a large wind project becomes very difficult. Was this the real reason Invenergy pulled out of the Brown County wind project?

Although Invenergy claims it's Wisconsin's regulatory environment that caused them to cancel the project, in the same letter to the PSC they make it clear they will continue development of other wind projects in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Invenergy and wind lobbyists push a media spin on the story that does not stand up to scrutiny.

Examples of spin on Invenergy’s cancellation of wind project

Now Wisconsin Loses a Wind Farm – CleanTechnica: Cleantech ... <http://cleantechnica.com/2011/03/26/now-wisconsin-loses-a-wind-farm/>

Large Wisconsin Wind Farm Killed By Politics | EarthTechling <http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/03/large-wisconsin-wind-farm-killed-by-politics/>

Wind Power Wilts in Wisconsin, Surges in North Dakota <http://cleantechnica.com/2011/03/27/wind-power-wilts-in-wisconsin-surges-in-north-dakota/>

Developer Pulls Plug on Wisconsin Wind Farm Over Policy .. <http://solveclimate.com/news/20110323/wisconsin-wind-energy-renewable-portfolio-standard>

Teamster Nation: Developer cancels plan for WI wind farm because of Walker  <http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2011/03/developer-cancels-plan-for-wi-wind-farm.html>

Regulatory Flux Blamed for Canceled Wisconsin Wisconsin Farm ... <http://midwest.construction.com/yb/mw/article.aspx?story_id=157119321>

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ruins everything, including wind power ... <http://www.grist.org/article/2011-03-25-wisconsin-gov.-scott-walker-ruins-everything-including-wind-powe>

Better Plan noted that reporter Thomas Content did not mention Invenergy's plans to continue development of wind projects in our state when he first reported the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. We are glad to say he has included this critical piece of information in the following story:


SOURCE: Journal Sentinel, www.jsonline.com

March 27, 2011

By Thomas Content  

State energy regulators would be asked to go back to the drawing board to develop statewide rules governing wind power projects, under a bill to be considered this week.

The Legislature’s joint committee for review of administrative rules voted earlier this month to temporarily block a wind farm site rule developed by the state Public Service Commission.

But that action was only good for 30 days. To keep the rule from taking effect Friday, the committee will meet again Tuesday to consider a bill that would send the issue back to the PSC and direct the agency to develop revised guidelines within six months.

After the rule was suspended, Chicago wind energy developer Invenergy LLC dropped its plan to build a large wind farm near Green Bay.

Invenergy’s proposal would have included setbacks of 1,000 feet, which is less than the 1,250-foot minimum sought by the PSC in its rule. The PSC rule that’s been blocked from taking effect also would have provided specific noise and shadow flicker requirements for wind farm turbines.

A property rights bill introduced in January by Gov. Scott Walker and supported by wind farm opponents and the Wisconsin Realtors Association would restrict development unless a turbine is placed 1,800 feet from a neighbor’s property line.

That bill threatens to stall wind power development in the state but was welcomed by a citizens group that has fought the Invenergy proposal.

The Brown County Citizens for Responsible Energy said it was pleased that the Invenergy proposal was dropped. Group spokesman Steve Deslauriers said the 1,000-foot setbacks were “irresponsible” and would have harmed nearby homeowners.

The local group mobilized against the Invenergy Ledge Wind energy project, and residents near the Invenergy project were well represented at public hearings earlier this year on wind farm siting.

The property rights group is seeking an even stricter statewide standard than that sought by Walker – 2,640 feet, Deslauriers said.

“Our hope is that real world experience of existing wind project residents be heard and addressed in the new statewide wind siting rules,” he said.

Invenergy’s decision “will benefit the taxpayers and ratepayers of Wisconsin, as well as preserve the health, safety, and property values of those who would have been forced to live within the industrial turbine project,” the Brown County group said.

The organization said it “will continue to work vigilantly to prevent the irresponsible development of industrial wind projects.”

Supporters of wind energy development say the state of flux on wind rules will stall development, leading to a loss of jobs tied to wind turbine construction as well as revenue for host property owners and local governments.

The PSC rule would not have applied to large wind farms like Invenergy’s, although Walker’s bill would have. Utility observers expect the PSC to adopt consistent standards for all wind projects.

In its most recent wind farm decision, the PSC ruled that 1,250-foot setbacks be required for We Energies’ Glacier Hills Wind Park, now under construction in Columbia County.

Alissa Krinsky, Invenergy spokeswoman, declined to say whether the 1,250-foot setback imposed in the We Energies case would have been acceptable for the Brown County project.

Invenergy said last week it would increase its development efforts outside Wisconsin, in light of regulatory uncertainty here. At the same time, Invenergy said it planned to develop other in-state projects that “do not require as significant an investment during an unstable climate.”

Jeff Anthony, vice president of business development at the American Wind Energy Association, said he realized there was significant opposition to the Invenergy project, but he said the state’s regulatory climate likely proved to be “the last straw” for the Chicago firm.

“This is not rhetoric. This is real, in terms of lost opportunity for jobs and economic development in the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of compromise, Anthony said wind developers already compromised during the drafting of the PSC rule. Along with the setbacks, the noise and shadow requirements set by the PSC “were going to be very tough rules to meet” but provided the industry a framework to proceed with projects, he said.

Next Story


SOURCE: Hawaii Free Press

Monday March 28, 2011

by Andrew Walden

Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind stood comfortably with Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, Rep Mazie Hirono, and HECO CEO Dick Rosenblum at the grand opening of the Kahuku Wind energy project on Oahu’s North Shore Thursday.   As he should. 

First Wind–formerly known as UPC Wind--got its start in wind energy by launching Italy’s IVPC--a company now subject to a record breaking asset seizure by Italian police.  The Financial Times September 14, 2010 explains:

Italian anti-mafia police have made their largest seizure of assets as part of an investigation into windfarm contracts in Sicily. Officers confiscated property and accounts valued at €1.5bn belonging to a businessman suspected of having links with the mafia.

Roberto Maroni, interior minister, on Tuesday accused the businessman – identified by police as Vito Nicastri and known as the island’s “lord of the winds” – of being close to a fugitive mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro.

General Antonio Mirone, of the anti-mafia police, said the seized assets included 43 companies – some with foreign participation and mostly in the solar and windpower sector – as well as about 100 plots of land, villas and warehouses, luxury cars and a catamaran. More than 60 bank accounts were frozen.

Until his arrest last November, Mr Nicastri, based in the inland hill town of Alcamo, was Sicily’s largest developer of windfarms, arranging purchases of land, financing and official permits. Some projects were sold through intermediaries to foreign renewable energy companies attracted to Italy by generous subsidy schemes….

The renewable energy sector is under scrutiny across much of southern Italy. Some windfarms, built with official subsidies, have never functioned….

Mr Nicastri sold most of his windfarm projects to IVPC, a company near Naples run by Oreste Vigorito, also president of Italy’s windpower association. Mr Vigorito was also arrested last November on suspicion of fraud and later released. He denied wrongdoing.

Of course the folks who started IVPC know nothing about any of this.  Reacting to an earlier round of arrests, First Wind founder Brian Caffyn told the November 15, 2009 Boston Herald: “I read about it in the papers, and I was very surprised.”

Will Hawaii’s windfarms actually work?  The “Clipper Liberty” wind turbines installed at Kahuku and on Maui are made by a company founded by a former Director of Enron Wind.  Clipper Liberty Vice President of Engineering is also an Enron Wind veteran.

Gaynor and Caffyn were once much more public about their corporate ties to Vigorito’s IVPC.  First Wind was originally known as UPC.  The UPC Solar website touts “Mr. Caffyn personally oversaw the establishment and construction of the largest wind energy company in Italy — Italian Vento Power Corporation.”

IVPC’s english-language website states:  “The Group came to light in 1993 from an idea of Oreste Vigorito who formed the company I.V.P.C. S.r.l. on behalf of UPC, an American company which operates in the wind sector in California.”  (Emphasis added.)

The UPC Solar website explains: “UPC’s earliest wind farm developments were built in 1995 in Italy. At the time UPC sold IVPC, its Italian wind business, in 2005, it had built approximately 650MW of capacity representing over 50% of the total installed Italian wind capacity.”

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute News Summer, 2005 reports on the activities of WPI alumnus Gaynor: 

"...As president and CEO of UPC Wind Management, located in Newton, Mass., Gaynor was tapped to bring the success of the parent company, UPC Group, to North America. In Europe and North Africa, UPC affiliates—including Italian Vento Power Corporation—have raised over $900 million in financing and installed some 900 utility-scale wind turbine generators (WTGs), with a total capacity of more than 635 megawatts. UPC subsidiary companies, positioned across the United States and in Toronto, are currently pursing some 2,000 megawatts in projects from Maine to Maui..."

In March, Gaynor secured financing for a $70 million project on the island of Maui. [The project is a joint venture with Makani Nui Associates, which owns 49 percent.] The 30-megawatt wind farm at Kaheawa Pastures will be Hawaii’s first utility-scale project to be put into service since the 1980s. Plans call for 20 towers, 180 feet tall, with 1.5-megawatt General Electric turbines. Construction is expected to begin this summer, and the project should be completed by the first quarter of 2006. When operational, the wind farm will supply up to 9 percent of demand to customers of Maui Electric Company.

The Kaheawa Pastures site is situated on state conservation land, between Ma’aleaea and Olowalu, at elevations ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 feet.

Makani Nui is also a partner in the Kahuku Wind project.

Business Week reports that Caffyn is a Director or Partner in dozens of Limited Liability Corporations tied to wind energy projects.  These include Hawaii’s Kaheawa Wind Power, LLC, Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC, Hawaii Wind Construction, LLC, and UPC Hawaii Wind O&M. 

Caffyn is also listed as a Director or Partner of Italian Vento Power Corporation (IVPC), Srl, IVPC 4, Srl. (Italian Vento Power Corporation), IVPC 6, Srl, IVPC 2000, Srl., IVPC Energy B.V., IVPC Energy 3 B.V., IVPC Energy 4 B.V., IVPC Energy 5, B.V., IVPC Energy 6, B.V., IVPC Energy 7, B.V., IVPC Gestione, Srl, IVPC Management, Srl, IVPC Management 2, Srl and IVPC Marche, Srl. Mr. Caffyn served as Director or Partner of IVPC Marche 2, Srl., IVPC Puglia, Srl, IVPC Service, Srl, IVPC Service 2, Srl, IVPC Service 3, Srl, IVPC Service 4, Srl, IVPC Service 5, Srl, IVPC Service 6, Srl, IVPC Sicilia, Srl., IVPC Sicilia 2, Srl., IVPC Sicilia 3, Srl., IVPC Sicilia 4, Srl., IVPC Sicilia 5, Srl., IVPC Sicilia 6, Srl., IVPC Umbria, Srl., IVPC Wind, Srl.

The UK Independent September 16, 2010 reports:

After decades of drug-running, extortion and prostitution, the Mafia appears to have found a rather more ecological way of laundering their money: green power.

And if the assets of the Italian police's latest target are any indication, the Mafia is embracing the renewable energy business with an enthusiasm that would make Al Gore look like a dilettante. The surprising revelation of organised crime's new green streak came as Italian police said yesterday they had made the largest recorded seizure of mob assets – worth €1.5bn (£1.25bn) ($2.1bn US) – from the Mafia-linked Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri, who had vast holdings in alternative energy concerns, including wind farms.

Organised crime in Italy has previously been notorious for trading in environmental destruction – principally earning billions of euros by illegally dumping toxic waste. But most of the newly seized assets are in the form of land, property and bank accounts in Sicily, the home of Cosa Nostra, and in the neighbouring region of Calabria, the base of the rival 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate.

So naturally, First Wind is very comfortable with Hawaii politicians and business leaders. 

THE FUTURE: Wind Energy's Ghosts

The list First Wind owned companies (some inactive) registered in Hawaii includes the following:




BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bolt failures caused a wind turbine's rotor and blades to fall from a tower in north-central North Dakota, and six other turbines have been shut down while their bolts are replaced, a state regulator said Thursday.

Members of North Dakota's Public Service Commission, which oversaw the development of the 71-turbine wind farm, said Thursday they would seek more detailed information about how widespread the problems may be.

"That's a fair bit of equipment concern that I would have, quite frankly," Commissioner Kevin Cramer said.

The wind project, which was dedicated last October, is located near Rugby in Pierce County. It is capable of generating up to 149 megawatts of electricity.

It is owned by Iberdrola Renewables Inc. of Portland, Ore., which is a unit of Iberdrola Renovables SA of Valencia, Spain. The turbines themselves were manufactured by Suzlon Wind Energy Corp., a unit of Suzlon Energy Ltd., based in India.

Spokeswomen for Iberdrola and Suzlon did not immediately reply to telephone and email requests for comment Thursday. Suzlon has previously described the accident as an isolated incident.

Jerry Lein, a commission utility analyst, said Iberdrola officials told him that bolts that attached the wind turbine's rotor and blades to a power shaft had failed. The shaft transfers the energy generated by the turning blades to an electric generator.

No one was injured when the rotor and blades toppled from the tower March 14 and crashed to the ground.

Lein said the wind farm was shut down and its turbines inspected. The turbines that did not need bolt replacement have been restarted, he said. The damaged material has been sent to a lab for analysis.

"They want to look further into the mechanism there that was failed before," he said. "They said that, specifically, they're replacing the bolts that hold it together."

The bolts are normally checked every six months, Lein said.

Commissioner Brian Kalk said the agency should seek to examine the wind farm's maintenance records. He wants to hear more information from the companies within two weeks, Kalk said.

"I'd like (the companies) to get back in front of us as quickly as possible ... and give us their best estimate of what is going on," Kalk said.

The commission's president, Tony Clark, said the agency should hold an informal hearing on the incident.

"Nobody has a greater incentive to find out what went wrong than the company does," Cramer said. "But, at the same time, the citizens of Pierce County, they're probably a little bit concerned too. ... You might not want to go hiking in the prairie for a while." 

3/24/11 Invenergy Doth Protest Too Much: says it's abandoning Ledge wind project due to regulatory uncertainy in Wisconsin but adds it is still planning to develop other wind projects in our state




March 24, 2011

By Thomas Content

Supporters of renewable energy say a We Energies wind farm now under construction might be the last big wind project built in the state in the near future after a Chicago developer canceled a big project near Green Bay.

We Energies is building the $367 million Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County, northeast of Madison.

On Monday, Invenergy LLC canceled its plan to build a wind farm that would have had 100 turbines, 10 more than We Energies is building at Glacier Hills.

The Ledge Wind Energy Center project south of Green Bay would have generated 150 megawatts of electricity, but was the most controversial wind project proposed in the state, as local residents concerned about noise and shadow flicker from wind turbines mobilized in opposition to the project.

Residents in rural Brown County have been the most outspoken group in the state in support of Gov. Scott Walker's property rights bill restricting wind farm development, and in opposition to rules developed last year by state energy regulators for where wind farms can be located.

Alissa Krinsky, an Invenergy spokeswoman, said the local opposition to the project wasn't a factor in the company's decision.

Instead, the company cited uncertainty in Wisconsin over the rules wind power companies must comply with to obtain project permits.

A legislative committee voted along party lines earlier this month to block a new statewide rule governing locations of wind farms from going into effect. The rule was developed by the state PSC in response to a directive from the state Legislature.

In a letter to the PSC, Invenergy said it could not justify further investments in the project "while substantial uncertainty persists regarding relevant project regulations."

The company said it would work with industry and state leaders to forge a regulatory environment that's more conducive to wind development and investment. "At the same time, we'll increase our development efforts outside Wisconsin, in states that offer more regulatory certainty," Invenergy said.

The company has also built natural gas-fired power plants in Wisconsin and the Forward Wind Energy Center near the Horicon Marsh three years ago. It has built wind projects in Canada and across the country, including Illinois, Texas and West Virginia.

In Wisconsin, several smaller wind power developments are still expected to go forward this year, including a seven-turbine project also in southern Brown County.

That project received a building permit last week from the Glenmore Town Board, despite protests from wind power opponents.

Other projects expected to be built include small developments in Monroe and Calumet counties, said Michael Vickerman, executive director of the advocacy group Renew Wisconsin.

But large wind projects are expected to remain stalled as the Legislature and Walker administration shift away from the Doyle administration's support for wind power development.

Vickerman projected that the Ledge Wind project would have provided $600,000 a year in payments to local communities and Brown County. The changing environment surrounding wind energy in Wisconsin is likely to affect companies beyond wind power developers.

At a recent energy conference in Milwaukee, Tom Boldt, chief executive of Boldt Construction, said his firm planned to remain active in wind power development in other states, as prospects for such projects appear to be diminishing in Wisconsin.

Boldt has built several large wind farms and is one of the state contractors hired by We Energies to work on the Glacier Hills development.

Uncertainty about the state's wind power situation comes as the Legislature and Walker administration may consider bills to relax the state's renewable electricity mandate.

Under state law passed with bipartisan support more than five years ago, 10% of Wisconsin's electricity must come from renewable sources - including wind, solar and landfill gas-to-electricity projects - by 2015.

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