Washington Post review of “Windfall” documentary

Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday reviews “‘Windfall” documentary about the local conflicts engendered by a wind project in Meredith, N.Y.

Faucets don’t spit fire in “Windfall,” making its local premiere Saturday at the Environmental Film Festival. But incendiary water may be the only side effect not associated with wind power in Laura Israel’s absorbing, sobering documentary about the lures and perils of green technology…

via Ann Hornaday reviews ‘Windfall’ – The Washington Post.

NY Assembly Bill Would Create Wind Project Siting Task Force

The siting of wind facilities in New York is by and large a local affair. Unlike some states, New York does not have in place a comprehensive statewide framework for wind energy facility siting. Enter the state legislature.

Assembly Bill A04793 would establish a New York state task force on wind generating facilities siting to study the need to implement a uniform statewide policy regarding the siting and permitting of wind energy production facilities. The bill, referred to the Energy Committee,  has no Senate “same as” as of 3/14/2011.

The Senate does have pending a somewhat related bill pending, however. Senate Bill S01086 would authorize and direct NYSERDA to conduct a comprehensive study of the potential siting processes required to establish wind energy production facilities. The Senate bill has been referred to the Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

With the legislative session set to end in a few months, at this juncture passage of either bill seems somewhat remote.

Text of Bill A04793 | Text of Bill S01086

[3/18/2011: Nice article on how Wisconsin is currently dealing with the issue of whether states or locales should determine wind project siting policy.]

US Chamber: NY Wind Projects Delayed

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, its new Project No Project report

assesses the broad range of energy projects that are being stalled, stopped, or outright killed nationwide due to “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) activism, a broken permitting process and a system that allows limitless challenges by opponents of development.

The study is nationwide in scope and discusses energy projects generally. New York wind projects which, per U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are unnecessarily stalled are:

  • Adirondack Wind Energy Park, Gore Mountain
  • Alabama Ledge Wind Farm
  • Cape Wyckoff Wind Project
  • Allegany Wind Farm Project
  • Hardscrabble Wind Farm
  • Horse Creek Wind Farm
  • Jericho Rise Wind Farm
  • Jones Beach Wind Farm
  • Jordanville Wind Farm
  • Marble River Wind Farm
  • Prattsburgh Wind Farm

What is needed, according to the Chamber, is

a careful consideration of how all these permitting obstacles and uncertainties and time delays can be addressed so as to speed up the processing, consideration, approval decisions, and development of many of the job creatingprojects whose progress has so far been denied.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, Project No Project — Progress Denied: The Potential Economic Impact of Permitting Challenges Facing Proposed Energy Projects

Albany Times Union article

ACE-NY 2010 Policy Agenda favors “one stop shop” for energy facility siting

Well, we brought you the New York State Towns Association’s legislative agenda, which calls for continued local control over wind and other energy facilities siting. Comes the policy agenda of the Alliance for Clean Energy, NY, which favors a state “one stop shop”, with local representation. The issue of (clean or otherwise) power plant siting oversight has been a constant irritant for municipalities, developers and utilities alike since the expiration of Article X some seven years ago.

ACE NY strongly supports the enactment of a law establishing a “one-stop shop” siting board for new power plants. We support a fuel neutral siting bill but believe that if any generation projects are provided with streamlined permitting, that priority should be provided for clean energy projects. Since clean energy generation sources should be the state’s preferred generation resources, they may warrant slightly different substantive and procedural treatment within a reenacted siting bill. A siting board would provide much-needed consistency in treatment of projects across the state; better interagency coordination of needed permit approvals; and clearer, streamlined time frames for all interested parties. ACE NY supports the inclusion of provisions for intervenor funding and inclusion of local representation on the board for specific project review, and is open to discussion as to the appropriate project size limit for inclusion in a new statewide siting law.

The policy agenda otherwise endorses more wind energy, including offshore.

Source: Final ACE NY Policy Agenda 2010.

NYS Towns resolution calls for continued local wind siting oversight

From the 2010 Legislative Resolutions of the Association of Towns of the State of New York:

Resolution No. 9: Preserve and Strengthen Local Government’s Role in the Siting of Energy Generation Facilities

Whereas, Governor Paterson signed Executive Order 24 of the year 2009, setting forth a goal to reduce current greenhouse gas emissions from all sources within the state 80 percent below levels emitted in the year 1990 by the year 2050; and

Whereas, the wind energy facilities (WEFs) will likely play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and

Whereas, the proper regulation of the siting and installation of WEFs is necessary for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of neighboring property owners and the general public; and

Whereas, local governments have successfully developed, implemented and administered local WEF siting laws and policies with the input and guidance of local taxpayers, residents, business and agricultural representatives, environmentalists, energy generators, planners and lawyers; and

Whereas, the Wind Code of Conduct negotiated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and agreed to by the predominate players in the Wind Energy Market has addressed potential conflicts of interests in the siting of wind energy facilities; and

Whereas, Article X of the Public Service Law (PSL), which set forth the siting procedure to construct and operate major power generation facilities with a capacity of 80 megawatts or more, expired Dec. 31, 2002, thereby requiring electric generating project developers to undergo local zoning review and environmental review pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law);

Now Therefore Be It

Resolved, that the Association of Towns calls upon the Governor, State Legislature and State Agencies to develop new laws and regulations that will preserve local authority over the siting of WEFs; and Be It Further

Resolved, that legislation authorizing the renewal of the state siting procedure for power generation facilities (PSL, article X) should include measures to enhance local government participation in the siting process such as, but not limited to: ad hoc membership on the state siting board, adherence to local siting polices, required community host agreements, and/or access to intervener funds.

Source: Association of Towns.

Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition 2010 Wind Energy Recommendations

A bi-partisan group of 29 state governors, among them New York State Governor David Paterson, released a set of recommendations to advance the potential of wind power. The recommendations are:

  • Adopt a Renewable Electricity Standard
  • Develop New Interstate Electric Transmission System Infrastructure as Needed to Provide Access to Premier Renewable Energy both On-Shore and Offshore
  • Support Coastal, Deep Water, Offshore Wind Energy Technology Research and Development
  • Streamline Permitting Processes for Both Offshore and On-Shore Wind Development Projects
  • Dramatically Expand Wind Research, Innovation, and Collaboration
  • Extend the Treasury Department Grant Program Created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Adopt a Long-Term Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) with Provisions to Broaden the Pool of Investors Eligible to Participate

Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition 2010 Wind Energy Recommendations.

New Zealand wind farm noise standard

What sound regulations are appropriate for on-land wind power facilities? It is a question that has vexed the industry and municipalities alike. Perhaps there are pointers to be learned from the good people of New Zealand.

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association today welcomes the release of the new Acoustics – Wind farm noise Standard (NZS 6808:2010), saying it will ensure people who live near new wind farms are not exposed to unreasonable levels of sound.

via World of Wind Energy.com | Wind Power Companies, News & Events For The Wind Energy Professional – New Standard a robust solution for wind farm noise.