Friday, December 21, 2007

SCIDA December 20, 2007 Letter by James Hall

There has never been any attempt for historic mitigation for the UPC Dutch Hill and UPC Windfarm Prattsburgh projects for the Towns of Naples and Wayland. No legitimate PILOT can be approved that includes the, disclosed eleven (11) turbines that fall within the Naples School District. Town and School Districts have the authority to opt out of PILOTS. Independent tax authority can exercises its right to opt out of the Tax Exemption provisions of New York State Real Property Tax law §487, pursuant to the authority granted by paragraph 8 of that law or by any other provision of law. Naples School Board members have publically stated they reject a SCIDA PILOT. Surely SCIDA has no authority over Ontario County?

(Click to read entire letter)

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Naples, Bristol residents hoping the PILOT won't fly

They asked the Naples school board not to accept payments-in- lieu-of-taxes as compensation for three wind turbines in the school district.

By HILARY SMITH Messenger Post Staff

NAPLES - Residents and members of the Naples Valley-Bristol Hills Association and Cohocton Wind Watch were united in their pleas to the Naples Board of Education on Wednesday night: reject the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes plan proposed by the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA) , and instead demand full taxation the three three Cohocton Wind project turbines that fall within the Naples school district.

The school board only recently learned that the turbines are within the district. It was an oversight by UPC Wind, the company behind the project, that the board was not informed; an oversight for which UPC public outreach coordinator Rick Towner was sent to the meeting to apologize on behalf of the company.

Towner turned some heads, however, when he denied an audience member's request to stand up or turn toward the audience while speaking so he could be better heard.

"I'm addressing the board," Towner replied and continued speaking, adding that project manager Chlis Swartly would address the board at a later date.

SCIDA Executive Director James Sherron also spoke at the meeting and submitted letters to board members asking them to vote for a "freeze" that would keep the share of the PILOT received by the Naples school district at the same level for 20 years. PILOT paysments are typically divided between the county, town and school district in which a PILOT-associated project falls. When asked what would be the benefit of freezing the PILOT distribution ratio, Sherron said it would make budgeting easier for the district.

Sherron told the school board that SCIDA would delay its scheduled Dec. 20 vote on the PILOT program, and that a public hearing on PILOT plans would take place in late January.

In letters submitted to the school board and to the Messenger, local advocacy groups Cohocton Wind Watch and the Naples Valley Bristol Hills Association (NVBHA) urged the board to reject PILOT payments and demand the full value of tax revenue from the wind project.

"We are convinced you can make a better offer," said Elisabeth Johnsen Cowley on behalf of the NVBHA. Allowing SCIDA to dictate the terms of the PILOT payments, said Cowley, is akin to "letting a goat watch the grain bag."

Cowley raised longstanding concerns about the negative inlpact of the wind tur- bines on property values and whether accepting PILOT payments would diminish the amount of state aid the district receives.

Cohocton Wind Watch had sinillar concerns, listed in a letter signed by member James Hall.

Hall's letter criticized SCIDA's methods and transparency, stating that "James Sherron, Executive Director of SCIDA consistently misrepresents his authority and fails to effectively administers his duties."

The letter cites as evidence a March 28 audit of SCIDA by the state comptroller's office, which lists eight specific recommendations for improving SCIDA's functioning. Sherron responded that the audit was merely a form letter sent to all IDA's in the state.

School board President David Till said the board would form a committee to further investigate the district's payment options.

A public hearing concerning PILOT payments and Windfarm Prattsburgh, a UPC project that may include turbines in the Naples School District, will be held at the Prattsburgh Town Hall at 10 a.m. on Dec. 18.

Contact Hilary Smith at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 343 or at

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Superintendent vows to fight loss of wind-energy production taxes

In Cities all across America, wind farms are causing controversy. In many cases Towns and school districts are told they will receive money only to find out that they may never actually see it. As concerned citizens we must ban together to make sure Naples Central Schools gets a their fair share. After working on a PILOT program for more than two years SCIDA has never informed Naples that there will be wind turbines in the taxing school district. This link is just one case among many where the district is fighting back.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Town of South Bristol's response to our letter

V Town of South Bristol

6500 Gannett Hill Road - West
Naples, New York 14512

Daniel Q. Marshall

December 10, 2007

Mr. Robert Bergin, Director Public Affairs
89 East Avenue
Rochester, New York 14649-0001

Dear Mr. Bergin,

For several months now, the residents of South Bristol have been listening to your plans for the construction of a 34kw sub transmission line thru the heart of our community. Three different routes have been suggested and to date we are not sure which one will be chosen.

Both RG&E and NYSEG have met with our residents on several occasions. While we appreciate the effort to communicate with our residents, each meeting has caused more confusion over the real purpose for this project.

We were first told it was being done to meet the “rapid development” of South Bristol. As leaders of this town, we know that just is not the case. We were then told the project was meant to solve periodic outages in the northern portion of the county. It is true Farmington has had issues with outages, but the town supervisor told me he had never heard that the solution would be to bring power from the south.

The Town of South Bristol is opposed to this project for a number of reasons.

1. We are opposed to any project that requires the clear cutting of a 100’ swath thru our heavily wooded and exceedingly steep lands. The concept runs counter to our new Comprehensive Plan that extols the virtues of both our Scenic and rural character. People live in and visit South Bristol to enjoy this pristine area.

2. We have not been shown adequate information regarding the costs to bury a line as opposed to going overhead. It may be more expensive, but given our area, it needs to be considered.

3. Property values will be significantly affected. It would be impossible for a 100’ cut across a property not to effect land values. Our residents deserve better.

4. We are being asked to sacrifice something we hold dear for the benefit of others. We are concerned that without a well-defined purpose, the costs for this project will outweigh the benefits being sought. If the project is only a back up source for the Farmington area, is it worth it?

5. We are concerned over reports by residents that survey marks have been found on property where permission was never granted. This kind of infringement cannot be tolerated.

In Ontario County, the Town of South Bristol has a special role. We are not expected to provide major economic growth with the development of industry in our town. We are asked to provide an environment that will appeal to those who work elsewhere in the community. We are asked to provide recreation such as golf courses, ski areas and hunting. We are also encouraged to promote tourism that benefits all the communities in Ontario County. Destroying our scenic vistas, and creating environmental concerns will not help us fulfill our role.

We have a duty to protect our community. In doing so, we ask that you take the extra steps necessary to protect our town. Please consider alternative methods to achieve your goal.


___________________________ ______________________________
Daniel Q. Marshall –Supervisor Dale Stoker – Councilman

___________________________ ______________________________
Donna Goodwin – Councilwoman Thomas Hawks III - Councilman

Barbara Welch – Councilwoman

Cc: New York State Public Service Commission
Senator Dale Volker
Assemblyman Joseph Errigo
Geoff Astles, County Administrator, Ontario County
Mr. Frank Duserick, -Supervisor, Town of Naplesoice Your Choice Say NO to Overhead Power Lines

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Did you know they want to put 11 wind turbines in the Naples School District?

Yup, that is what they want to do - although they say they did not realize this until 2 weeks ago.

Do we really believe that?
Who is "they"? "they" is SCIDA otherwise know as Steuben County IDA.

If we allow these 11 turbines in our district, the Naples School would realize approx $3750 (total) in taxes for the 1st year - maybe a little more the 2nd year. Something is very wrong with this picture - don't you agree?

It is very important that the Naples School Board and residents of Naples School District voice their concerns on the questionable proposed PILOT program for UPC Steuben county at SCIDAs public hearing in Prattsburgh at the Town Hall 19 North Main St. on December. 18th 2007 at 10 am.

Read the letter to the editor of the Naples Record in the post below this to understand what is going on.

As a result of this letter, we gained some headway regarding the proposed wind turbines in the Naples School District. The NVBHA presented the letter, along with other information to the Naples School Board Meeting on 12/12/07. Mr James Sherron of SCIDA was also there trying to tell us how this would benefit our school district with the tax dollars they would be paying..... yeah, right. The headway that we gained was this - Mr. Sherron said that the vote would not take place as planned on the 20th. They first need to supply a letter to the school & second, they are required to have a public forum. They would have snuck this through if our "watchdog" had not been on top of it.

When Mr. Sherron stood up at the school board meeting, he introduced himself and stated that the goal of SCIDA was to create jobs & widen the tax base. They have been in existence for 30 years, a public benefit corporation and treated as a municipality. They offer incentives to buy or lease land not to take off the tax roles and not affecting the the schools. (Who is he trying to kid?)

If you can attend this morning meeting, please send us an email to discuss possible car pooling.
SAVE THE DATE DEC 18TH at 10:00 am

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Letter to the Editor by Elisabeth Johnsen Cowley

Letter to the Editor!

Are you a taxpayer in the Naples School District?

It has come to light that 2 if not 3, industrial wind turbines from the Cohocton UPC Pine Hill project are under construction within the Naples School District. SCIDA(Steuben Industrial Development Agency) and UPC, Cohocton(developer) would like the Naples School Board to accept a PILOT program(payment in lieu of taxes) for the part of UPC' industrial development that will be within Naples School District, Ontario County.

If you compare the numbers from The Daily Messengers article;" A Stirring To The South " concerning the PILOT program in Cohocton, you will realize that the money SCIDA and UPC might offer the Naples School Board is minuscule in comparison to taxation based on full value for these turbines.

The school board members are elected to fulfill the obligation to provide the best possible education for our children and youth. Every property owner in the Naples School District contributes to this effort and should be treated equally. Every piece of property with homes/buildings/etc..., is taxed depending on its value. This should be the case also for new industrial sites like the wind turbines, an industry we do not benefit from locally.

Turbine 1,2 and 3 in the UPC project, with a value of at least $ 2-3 million each, would be a considerable addition to the tax base in the Naples School District.(keep in mind that more leases have been signed for turbines in our district)

If one looks at recent history we remember that the last school budget in Naples was rejected. Enrolments in our school system have gone down. Property values in our area are decreasing. As concerned citizens we might worry that school taxes will increase and thereby make it difficult for many families to keep residing in our community.

As tax payers and part of the elective body, we ask that the Naples School District take action to reject any PILOT for the UPC industrial wind project that lies within the Naples School District. Any attempt by SCIDA to circumvent the fair and equitable tax treatment of the Naples School District should be rejected too.

Representatives for both SCIDA and UPC have been invited by the school administration, to the school board meeting in Naples December 12th, to present/inform the board members about their PILOT program.

It is important that the Board and residents of Naples School District voice their concerns on the questionable proposed PILOT program for UPC Steuben county at SCIDAs public hearing in Prattsburgh at the Town Hall 19 North Main St. December. 18th 2007 at 10 am.

The PILOT program will be voted on two days later, December 20th, at SCIDA's offices in Bath.

The Naples School Board's members are serving the community as volunteers. They put in countless hours and work for the district the very best way they possible can. They deserve our utmost respect!

As an obsrevation, the Naples School Board has a very short time to form an educated decision on this challenge.

Good luck to them!

Elisabeth Johnsen Cowley, Naples New York

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NYRI Petitions the New York State Public Service Commission for Clarification on the Transportations Corporations Law

ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- New York Regional Interconnect Inc. (NYRI) today announced it has petitioned the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) for a declaratory ruling to clarify the applicability of state legislation on the authority of the PSC to site transmission line projects.

(Click on link to read entire report)

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Fenosa, Iberdrola Fall After Losing CO2 Repayments

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Union Fenosa SA, Spain's third- largest power company, fell the most in more than five years in Madrid trading after Spain's government reduced rates utilities can charge over carbon-dioxide emissions.

Fenosa dropped as much as 6.3 percent, the biggest decline since October 2002, and traded at 46 euros as of 10:58 a.m. local time. Iberdrola SA, Spain's second-largest power producer, slipped 1.5 percent to 10.83 euros.

Power companies were ordered to stop charging customers for CO2-emissions permits that are freely granted to them by the government. The change, previously established for 2006, was extended to the 2008 to 2012 period by the cabinet on Dec. 7.

``Analysts believed this was a one-off measure just for 2006, so carrying it forward was a surprise,'' Credit Suisse's Raimundo Fernandez-Cuesta said by phone. ``This will have a clear impact on valuations and earnings for the power companies.''

Spanish utilities are paid for wholesale power in the so- called pool market based on their cost structure. Fenosa, Iberdrola and other power companies have been including a value for CO2 permits as a cost in their generation expenses for those allowances that were granted freely by the government.

``This changes our valuations for the power companies,'' said Fernandez-Cuesta, who has a ``neutral'' rating on Fenosa and advised clients today to sell the stock.

Nuclear, Hydro Plants

The change will also affect cost-recovery for nuclear and hydroelectric generators. Although they don't generate emissions, and therefore aren't granted CO2 permits, they have been adding the theoretical cost of permits into their prices. That's because the wholesale price paid for any type of generation is based on the most expensive generator needed to supply demand each day.

``The windfall profits of the sector induced by CO2 will be reduced,'' Enrique Soldevila, an analyst at Banco BPI, said in a note to investors. ``As a consequence, the impact of high pool prices will not be as positive as the market was expecting.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Tobin in Madrid at

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Saturday, December 8, 2007


If you have not signed the petition for your town board meeting (Monday 12/10/07) and would like to sign, please call Debi Burns at 374-2938.
Thank you for your support.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007


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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Proposed RG&E Transmission Line Routes

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Iberdrola sees US acquisition as platform for wind

New York, 28 June: Iberdrola is to acquire US utility Energy East, in a move that the Spanish energy giant says will underpin an expansion into the US renewables market.

On Monday, Bilbao-based Iberdrola agreed to acquire Albany, New York-based Energy East, in a friendly transaction, for €3.4 billion ($4.5 billion) and the assumption of €3 billion in debt. US and state regulators must approve the deal, which the companies expect to close by mid-2008.

Iberdrola already owns more than 17,500 MW of renewable generating capacity, including large-scale hydro, and has acquired some US wind projects. But Energy East would give it a larger presence in the country.

Energy East owns utilities in New York and New England that operate mainly as distribution companies, owning little generation. But with its steady utility revenues, Energy East will become "a platform for further growth in the US," said José Luis del Valle, Iberdrola's director of strategy and development. There is strong support for wind in the US, he said, from federal tax benefits and state Renewable Portfolio Standards that require utilities to obtain a percentage of their power from renewables.

Strong drivers are the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides 1.9 cents/kWh for renewables, and accelerated depreciation for equipment. But companies may only claim the credits if they have taxable US income, which Iberdrola would gain in Energy East.

"The profitability of wind energy can only be maximised by taking advantage of the tax credits," said Iberdrola CEO Ignacio Galan, during the webcast. The Energy East acquisition will "enable tax optimisation of Iberdrola's renewables business in the US".

Iberdrola obtained 1,600MW of operating or planned US wind farms when it acquired Scottish Power and its PPM Energy subsidiary in April. That same month, it bought CPV Wind Ventures, with 3,500MW in development.

These deals followed Iberdrola's 2006 purchase of Community Energy, which is developing 2,000MW of wind and which markets green energy. Iberdrola will also gain up to 1,000MW of US wind farms to be built by Spanish turbine manufacturer Gamesa. And it signed a contract to buy 2,700MW of Gamesa turbines – an advantage in a market where turbine shortages have hampered some developers.