Cutbacks to existing contracts rattle Europe’s renewables proponents

Germany is attempting to control electricity costs after it’s EEG, considered a renewables’ surcharge, jumped to over 5 euro cents/kWh in this, a German election, year. This despite the relatively small contribution of wind (8%) and solar (5%) to total 2012 electricity generation in Germany (bdew figures).
The German Energy Blog explains proposed changes to the EEG, with perhaps the biggest surprise being a straight 1.5% cut in payments on existing contracts. German Renewables groups proposed alternatives (Bloomberg) essentially to stop excluding industry from paying for renewables (industry has benefitted from falling market rates as costs were increasingly transferred from market pricing to the feed-in tariff’s fixed rates), and the government cutting back on it’s tax haul.
Regardless of the choices in controlling consumer cost, it’s a lot of effort for 13% of supply. 

Spain gets far more than 13% of it’s supply from renewables – the Canadian Broadcast Corporation noted wind producting 25% of Spain’s electricity in January. Spain celebrated with another round of actions (details at Lexology) to curtail a massive $28 million euro tariff deficit, growing at ~5 billion euro dollars a year,
The cuts, expected to save ~1 billion euros a year – keeping in mind the deficit is ~5 billion – have foreign “investors” feeling litigous, according to Reuters

The entire article can be read at Cold Air Currents

City of Kawartha Lakes Council to send strong message against wind turbine project

“If you let three in…you’ll be letting in hundreds…the only safe places in Ontario will be Muskoka, Caledon and King City.”

Several members of Manvers Wind Concerns show up at City Hall to oppose wind turbine project
(KAWARTHA LAKES) They were on their feet applauding when it was over. City of Kawartha Lakes council voted 15-2 in support of a staff recommendation urging the Province to refuse an application for the Sumac Ridge wind turbine project in Manvers Township.
“They’re coming – unless you can stop them.”
That’s what Paul Reed of the Manvers Wind Concerns group told City of Kawartha Lakes council on Tuesday (Feb. 5), as dozens of people packed the public galleries in council chambers.
At a special council meeting, there were 18 speakers on the agenda. The overwhelming feeling is that wind turbines have a negative impact on health, property values, wildlife habitat and overall quality of life.

Continue Reading at mykawartha.com

Uncertain future for Ontario wind under new premier

Apparently some in the wind industry found Kathleen Wynne’s campaign “ominous”

Uncertain future for Ontario wind under new premier | Windpower Monthly:

CANADA: The future of the wind industry in Ontario looks increasingly uncertain following the election of the new leader of the province’s ruling Liberal Party.
Kathleen Wynne will succeed Dalton McGuinty as Ontario’s Premier having campaigned on, among other issues, getting greater community buy-in for wind projects before they proceed.
Wynne’ election comes just weeks after the World Trade Organisation upheld complaints from Japan, the US and the EU, and found Ontario’s local content rules under its renewable energy feed-in tariff programme were discriminatory .

Despite Wynne’s ominous campaign..

The entire article can be read at Windpower Monthly:

Blaming the victims of Big Wind (Curt Devlin) – WTS

Wind Turbine Syndrome | Blaming the victims of Big Wind (Curt Devlin):

Just as we blame the poor for their poverty, we seem compelled to blame the victims of Big Wind for their own illness.  Apostles of the wind industry, like Dr. Dora Mills, Dr. Robert McCunney and Australia’s Professor Simon Chapman, are only too happy to furnish the tacit explanations needed to justify blaming these victims for their own plight.  These typically include psychosomatic causes, hypochondria, delusions, and other forms of mental illness.  Interestingly, these “diagnoses” are always arrived at without benefit of examining a single patient, conducting an independent study, or even speaking with those suffering adverse health effects.
It is guilt is by reason of insanity.  In this inverted logic, the victims are to blame, not the turbines.
In some cases, we are told the illness associated with these toxic monsters is actually caused merely by the negative perceptions created when someone is ill-disposed to renewable energy—as though anyone could be against such an idea in principle.  This is the always-handy nocebo effect.

The justification for blame is particularly absurd and reprehensible because it flies in the face of a simple fact. Most of the people who become ill were actually in favor of wind energy; that is, until they gained firsthand experience of turbines spinning near their homes.
Why are so many ready to blame the victims of wind? Why so willing to receive these explanations without skepticism, without demanding the same scientific rigor demanded of wind critics? Dr. Ryan’s work is especially useful on this question. The answer is simple; it is a convenient form of social denial. People prefer blaming victims over taking responsibility for confronting the real issue.

Read Curt Devlin’s entire article at Wind Turbine Syndrome:

Cheap Canadian Imports contribute to historic low New York electricity prices

A report out of New York state notes 2012 had the lowest electricity price in years – and then speculates on the reasons of low 2012 pricing, and the cause of high rates today.

New York’s electricity prices reach historic lows – The Buzz: Business news – Capital Region business, industry news – timesunion.com – Albany NY:

The average price of wholesale electricity in New York state last year was the lowest recorded since the advent of a competitive power market 12 years ago.
The New York Independent System Operator, a nonprofit collaborative that runs the state’s wholesale electricity markets, says the average price per megawatt hour of electricity in the state was $43.23 last year, more than $5 lower than the previous low set in 2009.
Interestingly, wholesale prices in the Capital Region and all the way down to New York City and Long Island reached $150 per megawatt hour on Wednesday, which is unusual. It is possible that a problem with a transmission line could have caused the spike. The high pricing later spread all the way to the Finger Lakes.

Continue reading at The Buzz: Business news

The answer to today’s high rates is in overall demand in a number of connected markets.  Most significantly, Quebec is setting consumption/demand records today.

The anwer to the low average rates has a lot to do with low natural gas pricing – but cheap imports from Quebec and Ontario are also relevant.


Original version posted at Cold Air Currents

Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy

Cosa Nostra and Cosy Relationships
“Uncle Vincenzo,…for the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . it’s a business we can live on.”

Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy – The Washington Post:

In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.
The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow so-called “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.

Read the entire article at The Washington Post

Emotions run high at wind meeting

Sweetener doesn’t appear to work
Despite throwing out a sweetener – a promise of more than $8 million in local benefits for Snowy Ridge and Settlers Landing wind projects – Sprott Power got the same chilly reception from hundreds of people who attended the meeting.
The company has promised to form a community liaison committee prior to construction, to improve community relations and so locals can be informed.
They have also pledged to contribute $8 million toward local initiatives over the 20-year life of the the projects. They said there would also be property tax revenue for the City of Kawartha Lakes and local spinoffs from construction and operations.President and CEO Jeff Jenner said each project would pump $4 million into local coffers – 60% would be spent during the construction phase, buying local services; 20% would be spent on property taxes and 20% on community programs. Jenner estimated it would mean a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year.
Jenner said they are big supporters of all of the communities they are in For example, in Amherst, Nova Scotia, he said they support the hospital and YMCA.
He said here, they would like the community liaison committee involved in where money is spent.
Asked if he thought that would change anyone’s mind in Pontypool, Jenner said “I don’t think it will sway anyone here tonight.”
That was one thing he and Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble could agree on.
Stauble said they first heard about this offer at the Dec. 13 meeting. However, she said the company had been “a little vague” about details.

Please read the full article at The Lindsay Post

Federal government to fund Windsor hum research

Another sound “annoyance” is being investigated more thoroughly due to federal government funding.

Federal government to fund Windsor hum research | Windsor Star:

Picture from source article

With a general idea of the “where,” pinpointing the mysterious “what” that’s causing the Windsor hum might become a reality thanks to some local research expertise and funding from the federal government.
On Monday, Bob Dechert, parliamentary secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, came to Windsor to announce the government’s plan to fund a $60,000 research project that will help figure out what is causing the strange l0w-frequency noise that has been plaguing the city’s west end since the spring of 2011.
“We want to protect citizens’ quality of life,” Dechert said. “This study is a step in the right direction.”

Continue Reading at the Windsor Star: