Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYPA and the Despicable Oswego 11/13/09 Offshore Wind Project Presentation

Shown here are the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project power point slides presented at the 11/13/09 meeting in Oswego, NY city hall given by the New York Power Authority. The slides are in order with the slide#1 one at the bottom of this group and the last one at the top. These slides are what the NYPA has been hiding from the general public!! Unless you were at the Oswego 11/13/09 presentation - seeing the slides here is the first opportunity the average person will have had to view early details of this offshore wind debacle - the images are NOT on the NYPA web site. Matter of fact - there is no mention whatever of the Oswego 11/13/09 meeting anywhere on the NYPA web site. Notice how beautiful the lake scene is in the (title) slide #1 of the NYPA presentation (bottom slide) - this scene is what they propose to change for the rest of our lifetime. They are planning to place hundreds (maybe thousands) of the largest wind turbines money can buy - into this scene beginning 2.3 miles from shore & in water depths less than 150 feet deep - creating an industrial offshore wind facility in Lakes Ontario and Erie. Lake Erie and Mexico Bay in eastern Lake Ontario are likely to suffer the worst due to shallower water conditions. NYPA's effort is to create electrical power for metropolitan NYC and Long Island because the folks downstate couldn't stand having this nightmare offshore facility in their neighborhoods. But don't blame just NYPA CEO and President Richie Kessel - he's just a mouthpiece for the real villain - Governor Paterson. Paterson is the mastermind behind this offshore debacle and Kessel is pushing it for him. New York's Great Lakes fresh water and land under the water is owned by the people of New York State and we shouldn't let Paterson and Kessel alter or destroy this natural resource. Few states in the USA are fortunate enough to have this fresh water resource in their backyard. For Kessel and Paterson - New York's north coast is simply an industrial repository to locate massive, ugly, noisy, property depreciating machines that will work less than 30% of the time producing volatile, intermittent, expensive electric to be shipped downstate where the need is greatest while the New York's north coast gets raped. It's no different than shipping downstate's garbage upstate or industrial power lines leading downstate. Upstate is a dumping ground for land uses NYC and Long Island refuse to tolerate. The wind profiteers will be foreigners while the abused US taxpayers foot the bill for 70% of the offshore wind facility! Lake shore municipalities that are most affected will have little or nothing to say about stopping the project.

NYS just witnessed its second major collapse of a terrestrial industrial grade wind turbine (in Fenner, Madison County on 12/27/09) - the first being at Altona, Clinton County, on March 6, 2009. The NYPA proposed offshore wind farms will have much larger turbines than the ones that have collapsed - in addition to the fact that they will be mounted on monopoles 150 feet tall "attached" to the lake floor. And no USA company has ANY experience building an offshore wind facility. NO offshore turbine has been located anywhere in the world in freshwater! Furthermore - USA made wind turbines don't have a good track record on land much less in water. Both collapsed turbines were built by G.E. and the Clipper turbines erected at the Steel Winds project in Lackawana, NY and others at Cohocton, NY have been plagued by major gearbox and fractured blade problems. How much hope would you have of success in an offshore turbine lasting in either Lake Ontario or Lake Erie? But who cares? US taxpayers will foot 70%+ of the bill to erect the wind facility that will operate maybe 30% of the time. And when we are in the dog days of summer when the temperature is near 100 degrees and there's no wind and the turbines are sitting there idle and brownouts are on the verge of happening - think about the $1.5B investment squandered on this folly! NYPA's Richie Kessel claims he's looking to build a 500Mw offshore wind facility in the lakes and that NYPA will buy ALL the power the facility produces through a power purchase agreement (PPA). Compare that with the existing Robert E. Ginna 498Mw nuclear power plant in Wayne County, NY now producing safe, dependable, reasonably priced electric 100% of the time as it has for the past 40 years - on less than 500 acres of land. The Ginna plant just sold recently to Constellation Energy for about $420M.

[Niagara County lawmakers earlier this year filed a lawsuit against the New York Power Authority that seeks to rescind the illegal transfer (sweep) of more than $544 million in surplus NYPA funds to the State of New York General Fund. No doubt both NYPA’s Kessel and Gov. Paterson knew the details of this illegal transaction and approved it. Keeping this $544M illegal sweep in mind – if NYPA had taken $420M and purchased the Robert E. Ginna nuclear power plant (Wayne County, NY) to become part of NYPAs operation to produce electricity – the output of Ginna would equal the output of the proposed offshore wind fiasco and $1.5B wouldn’t be needed to build Kessel’s offshore wind facility that would work only 30% of the time producing low quality, intermittent, volatile, expensive electricity. And the life of the offshore wind facility is only 25-30 years while Ginna is licensed until at least 2029 and has been operating since 1966 producing electric power nearly 100% of the time at a fair rate. What is NYPA thinking? What gives a better bang for the buck – wind or nuclear?]

Could you be naive enough to believe that only one wind farm would be built in the Great Lakes in NYS waters? That the whole process would stop there? Is that what Kessel's drawings show? Kessel and his downstate minions have no compassion for the Great Lakes - this is a money issue not an environmental or electrical power issue - Kessel and his political friends don't live upstate or play here or have to look at the Great Lakes. Former Gov. Spitzer has already kicked Kessel's ass and ideas for an offshore Long Island wind facility out of the picture. Kessel has already tried and failed to sell Long Island on an offshore wind plant at over $1B. You see - Kessel was fired by former Gov. Spitzer as head of the Long Island Power Authority for his mismanagement in his home area. Now, Gov. Paterson, the most unpopular governor in New York's history, a novice we didn't even elect, has resurrected Kessel - since they both wish to force their "green" idealogy on unsuspecting upstaters via the back door. Kessel failed to sell his dog & pony show on his home turf on Long Island but he's persistent and trying again except the victims this time are upstate New Yorkers - which should be more acceptable to downstaters. But the task of erecting the offshore wind facility won't be easy. Think about this for starters - there isn't a vessel right now in America that's capable of installing an offshore wind turbine anywhere in the Great Lakes. A vessel would need to be designed and built to do this job as any from Europe would not fit through the St. Lawrence Seaway!

Please have a look at these power point slides from the Oswego presentation beginning with the bottom slide #1 - most of the text and illustrations are self explanatory. Please share this information with anyone you think may be appalled by what Paterson and Kessel have in store for upstate New Yorkers. This project must be stopped! This project is illegal! Pressure must be brought upon municipalities and counties bordering the lakes to take a position strongly opposing any offshore wind project. Don't think for a moment that only the lake shore property owners and businessmen will be the victims of this development - the ripple effect from an offshore wind project will be widespread - particularly when assessments and property taxes are updated.

See the many other articles on this site referring to the NYPA offshore wind turbine debacle. Additional offshore project details on the NYPA Request For Proposal (RFP) can be seen on the NYPA web site.

Comments on these Oswego presentation slides. Slide #1 is the NYPA title slide, at the bottom of this group, with a beautiful view of a lake scene with NO wind turbines. Slide #2 shows Richie Kessel on April 22, 2009 announcing the horrible Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project plan on the shores of Lake Erie. Slide #3 begins the NYPA misrepresentations by hinting that wind energy is "clean" when its not. What's clean about a sideshow technology that kills birds and bats. What's clean about offshore wind turbines that can impact aquatic life? What's clean about disturbing the lake bed while trying to install monopoles to support turbines? What's clean about noise generated by these ugly machines that disturbs people's ability to sleep and causes other well documented health issues? NYPA touts the local development opportunities which will be limited and hardly worthy of mention. Kessel's idea of local development opportunities needs revision too. He makes a big deal trying to convince listeners that the need to make offshore turbines parts will bring thousands of well-paying jobs into NYS. This too is wishful thinking as the foreign wind developers will use well tested and proven turbines manufactured in Europe not the troublesome units like those installed in Buffalo's Steel Winds project or the Cohocton, NY disaster. NYPA also mentions the public's desire for renewable energy but let's go a couple of steps further - why not ask the public about sticking offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes and see what the response is? NYPA should stick to what they know about renewables - hydro and the fact that hydro is a renewable without the many drawbacks of wind. And Gov. Paterson's 45 x 15 proclamation - can this be taken seriously? Here's another downstater wishing to industrialize the Great Lakes - a guy we New Yorkers didn't even elect - someone who has become the most unpopular governor in the state's history - now drawing a line in the sand proclaiming what we'll be doing for energy in 2015. Nobody will remember in 2015 who Paterson was! He'll be kicked out of office in less than a year and downstater Kessel will soon follow. Slide #4 Why Offshore Wind - if there truly is a need for more energy then why opt for a means of producing it with the worst choice? If there is a growth in demand for energy why pick a means of producing it (via wind) where you pay more for it than other choices you could make? Why pick a means of producing it (via wind) when the means produces intermittent power, and volatile electricity? Why select a means of producing electric (via wind) when it may produce nothing when the need is the greatest? This slide also perpetuates the biggest lie wind supporters use to convince or sell people on the idea of wind energy - that wind energy will help reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels and middle-east oil. The NYPA should know better than to continually repeat this lie as Kessel did during the Oswego presentation. Less than 2% of all electricity produced in the USA is produced by fossil fuel generators. With that in mind - IF the middle eastern countries suddenly stopped selling oil to the USA - this action would have virtually NO IMPACT whatever on America's ability to generate electricity. The slide also says there's no water or waste generation but doesn't mention that wind turbines are BIG users of electricity and cannot operate without electricity. Without electric power to each turbine - they cannot run and are designed to shut down immediately to prevent self destruction. And the note about proven offshore technology in Europe - there's a world of difference between the few offshore wind farms built in Europe recently and what's planned for the Great Lakes. Start with the differences between freshwater and salt water, ice affects, earthquakes, and turbines sizes planned for the Great Lakes vs what's been built in Europe. Slide #9 shows a typical proposed offshore wind farm. Text that's too small to read identifies a 33KV/132KV offshore substation and another arrow identifies a transmission cable to shore. Offshore substations contain thousands of gallons of oil. Turbine nacelles also contain over 1,000 gallons of oil. Oil is also found within the electrical cable that runs between the turbines and to the shore. Lots of opportunity for spillage and contamination here! At the Oswego presentation they showed a short video that demonstrated how a cable was being buried under water using a jet plow. The video seabed is hardly what's to be expected in rocky Lake Ontario - the jet plow would never work but it sure looked neat in the video showing how easy it might be to bury a large cable in a sandy ocean bottom. Slide #11 Outreach and Education is another NYPA misrepresentation as the public has deliberately been kept from knowing what NYPA plans for the Great Lakes. The information in these slides is a great example of the lack of outreach. The only people invited to the few "public meetings" that have been held are elected officials and selected business leaders. There has been no "outreach" or open or inclusive process to date involving the general public. NYPA wants the turbine developers (foreigners maybe?) to be the ones who unload details on the general public and take the resulting flak and heat that's sure to happen. Slide #12 Permitting Agencies - notice that those shoreline municipalities affected the most - the ones who are the victims of this horrible project - won't have anything to say about their future and all the grief this project will dump upon them. The towns and counties are not among the permitting agencies as the land under water is NOT within their jurisdiction! This is what NYPA likes best about this project - taking the public and local officials right out of the picture and have virtually no voice to object. Instead you'll have the downstate gang like Kessel, Paterson, Schumer, Grannis, & Bloomberg running and supporting the show. On the other hand - there are many other agencies not listed that will need to approve this horrible plan. PILOT payments to the towns and schools - there won't be any in this scenario! But don't give up hope - this project is illegal and the NYPA knows the legal steps will be tested and this process will use up plenty of time and millions of taxpayer dollars before the whole plan is scuttled in the end. Slide #13 - NYS and Federal permitting considerations - the list is hardly complete and some of the most important considerations are missing. Slide #14 Environmental Considerations - it's always amazing how much thought is given to how a project is going to affect wildlife & the environment yet its horrible impact on humans is never considered an issue. What about property values, noise, light trespass, shuttering, viewshed loss, splitting communities, turning neighbor against neighbor, greed-driven conflicts of interest, etc.? NIMBYism - doesn't this mean Next It Might Be You? Slide #15 Site Screening - some of what this slide refers to is more visible with the map slides coming up. The wind resource note 7.5 m/s at 80 meters is referring to wind speed requirements meaning that the wind must blow at 7.5 meters per second at 80 meters above water level. The 80 meters is the approximate distance from the water to the rotor hub height. (A meter is approx. 39") Slide #17 shows Lake Erie waters offshore in NYS in mostly reds where the mean wind speed is 7.5 m/s or greater making this area good for wind farms. The blue area above the dotted line is Canadian water and the blue area to the left is off the Ohio coast. Slide #18 show the mean wind speed exclusions in dark blue off the NYS shore in Lake Erie. These areas would not be suitable for turbine locations and are close to the shore anyway. Slide #19 shows the Lake Erie Bathymetry (water depths) off NYS in four section depths. The area in deep blue toward the center of the lake is too deep for locating offshore turbines (over 150 feet deep) and would be excluded from turbine locations. Slide #20 shows the deepest area of the lake in deep blue - where turbines won't be located. Slide #21 shows other exclusions that might affect turbine locations such as shipping lanes. Turbines would not be located in known shipping lanes. One shipwreck location is also marked with a red triangle. Slide #22 shows the potential wind farm locations crosshatched blue in Lake Erie after the exclusions have been removed. The numbers indicate the possible megawatt capacity of that potential area. Slide #23 shows in reds - Lake Ontario's mean wind speed in NYS waters that is acceptable for wind turbines. Slide #24 shows mean wind speed exclusions for Lake Ontario in dark blue these are very close to the shoreline. Slide #25 shows Lake Ontario Bathymetry and you can see the water depth patterns of Lake Ontario are much different than Lake Erie making for less possible locations for offshore turbines. Slide #26 shows a dark blue area that is over 150 feet deep - too deep for turbine locations while the lighter blue areas are acceptable locations for turbines. Slide #27 shows other exclusions in Lake Ontario such as shipping lanes and several shipwreck locations. Slide #29 shows the tentative timelines that NYPA is supposedly working to on the offshore project - they've already missed badly the community outreach goal by a year. Slide #30 shows offshore mini-turbines in Denmark in saltwater. Slide #32 is of a Danish wind farm 8 to 12 miles offshore! That's hardly what's being proposed for Lakes Erie and Ontario but still unacceptable.

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