Subsidies & Corruption in the Wind Power Industry

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Providing the cleanest, safest energy possible should be everyone’s goal. Problems appear, however, when the overly enthusiastic among us force green forms of energy with the lure of subsidies before regulations and resources are established.

Subsidies create a Texas oil rush environment and now even China is jumping in on the U.S. subsidy windfall via G.E.

Dubious characters have gone green because green has proven to be a rich source of money and governmental power and one doesn’t have to go beyond Wall Street to know that’s true.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters represent many issues, but the two issues they all agree on are “end Capitalism and overthrow the government.” It didn’t take long to find out who was behind the event as enthusiastic occupiers talked about all the money and support pouring in from Daily Kos, Media Matters, MoveOn, et al.

Most interesting of all was the protesters praised Brookfield Properties, owners of Zuccotti Park, where they are camped out. While I was there, they said they had a helpful source there, a VP named Melissa somebody. From day 1 of this fiasco, Brookfield has been an enthusiastic partner with the far left occupiers.

The reason why is not hard to figure out. Bookfield Asset Management wants to merge its hydoelectric and wind power assets into a $6  billion public renewable power company. As such, it would only rank behind the largest, Italy’s Enel.

George Soros is a major stockholder in Brookfield Properties and most of us know where he stands as a self-proclaimed Socialist. Sitting on the Board of Brookfield Properties is Diana L. Taylor, Bloomberg’s live-in girlfriend.

Brookfield also owns Granite Wind in NH and NY. They received a $168 million dollar green loan from Obama’s DOE. Joe Biden’s son lobbied for the loan. The International company was worth $454 million in 2009 and $3.2 billion in 2010, so why does the DOE have to guarantee up to 80% of a $168.9 million load for their wind farm project? The company has extensive investor protection, leaving the taxpayer on the hook for $135 million if they go down. Does it sound like Solyndra?

Obama has already come out in support of the OWS as have Pelosi, Biden, Wasserman-Schultz, Israel, and many other Democrats. Bloomberg said the OWS can stay as long as they want. The OWS are Obama’s community organizers who plan to marshall the left so Obama can win re-election.

Looking at the Brookfield-OWS connections resounds the corruption bell. Is the Brookfield deal about the environment or power, control, money, and unfettered greed? In the very least, it’s incestuous. It’s comical that the OWS, who hate corporations, are being manipulated by an enormous corporation.

Wind farm corruption has been rampant throughout this country and the world. In windy Wyoming, NY, wind developers moved in to the tune of $655 million with three projects. It was so lucrative that landowners received $8000 a year for each turbine and towns received direct payments, allowing three of them to give up collecting property taxes according to the Buffalo News.

An investigation into whether the companies bribed or intimidated municipal officials to approve the projects compelled Andrew Cuomo to put a code of conduct in place. One local official voted for the project even though his brother-in-law had five turbines on his property. While no one was prosecuted, the companies agreed not to hire town officials responsible for approving wind projects or pay off official’s relatives. There are fines of $50,000 to $100,000 if this is violated. Read more here: Green Energy

Cuomo investigated First Wind of Massachusetts and Noble Environmental Power of Connecticut because of accusations that they attempted to acquire land permit approvals for several projects in NY by bribing officials and using anti-competitive business practices.

The NY Times reported word of corruption in 12 counties in NY.

The corruption is worldwide, however, and it is rife throughout the EU, thanks to the overzealous demands of the Kyoto treaty, which Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama have supported in part or in whole, and thanks to the subsidies.

Brussels has ordered all 27 EU nations to ensure that 1/5th of their energy is renewable by 2020 and has given out an average of 5 billion Euros in subsidies annually. Wind farmers can then claim generous premiums for every watt of electricity they generate. Italy sells power from wind farms for 180 Euros per kwh, the highest rate in the world.

From the Energy Tribune: “According to the US corporate security consultancy, Kroll, the Mafia and organized crime generally, have been skimming millions of Euros from the EU’s €6 billion ($8.7 billion) clean energy budget since 2007. Originally set up to fund green projects between 2000 and 2013, Kroll has detected increasing fraud and criminal activity, especially over wind subsidies in Italy, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, as well as other parts of central and eastern Europe.

Jason Wright, a Kroll senior director who is responsible for monitoring projects by legitimate clients, says, ‘The energy sector has always had a higher level of corruption issues, but EU pressure to meet lower carbon targets has undoubtedly created a gold rush mentality towards EC alternative energy subsidies.'”

Scams range from building wind turbines that stand idle to some left derelict.

Italian police froze $1.9 billion in Marfia-linked assets of a Sicilian businessman Nicastri, called “Lord of the Wind,” who holds numerous wind and solar farms which he has allegedly used to launder money. He has direct links to the boss of bosses, Matteo Messine Denaro.” Read more here: Energy Tribune

Police wiretaps show extensive Mafia infiltration in the industry because the subsidies are seen as a windfall when money is tight. One Mafioso said, “Not one turbine blade will be built in Mazara unless I agree to it.”

One Mafia investigator, Eduardo Zanchini, says, “Anything that creates wealth interests the Mafia…Nothing earns more than a wind farm.”

Similar scandals are emerging in Corsica, the Canary Islands, Greece, Pakistan, Britain, and so on.

In one scandal in Greece, eight people were arrested in Operation Eolo, for bribing officials in the coastal town of Mazara del Vallo with gifts of luxury cars and bribes of 30,000-70,000 Euros. Another fifteen people were arrested on embezzling and fraud charges amounting to 30 million Euros in EU funds. This is the tip of the iceberg.

For all the expense related to subsidizing wind turbines, there are fewer jobs being created.

Kenneth Green of American Enterprise Institute found that an equal amount of capital would create one job in the green sector and 4.8 – 6.9 jobs in industry or the economy in general.

Researchers have also found that the vast majority of green jobs created were temporary. Most of the jobs created (60%) end up being for installers or temporary work such as construction and disappear once the panel or wind tower is operative.

In our frenzied unnatural pace towards renewables, we have improperly investigated the possible consequences. Bill Bishop, reporting on the dark side of wind energy, says that there are two sides to the benefits of the wind energy coin. It’s not all rosy and it’s not all clean.

A number of new studies describe “wind turbine syndrome,” health problems caused by those living near the giant, twirling machines. The research found that living close to wind turbines can cause sleep disorders, difficulty with equilibrium, headaches, childhood “night terrors” and other health problems. Allegedly,  low-frequency noise and vibration generated by wind machines can affect the inner ear, triggering headaches; difficulty sleeping; tinnitus, or ringing in the ears; learning and mood disorders; panic attacks; irritability; disruption of equilibrium, concentration and memory; and childhood behavior problems.”

A British physician, Amanda Harry, describes a similar phenomenon. She studied ten families living close to turbines and eight eventually moved out of their homes. “All these problems were resolved as soon as these people got away from the turbines, got in the car and drove away from the house,” Harry said.

This premise needs more proof, but it should be investigated now, rather than later.

There are also untold reports of bird deaths with an average of 67  Golden Eagles dying per year in the Bay Area alone. The Golden Eagle is an endangered species. It would take 167 pairs of Golden Eagles to compensate for the mortality rate caused by wind turbines. Read more here: Daily Mail

If that isn’t enough, China is targeting GE’s wind turbine market. With $15.5 billion, China’s windmill maker, Sinovel Wind Group Co. and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. won their first major foreign orders this year. They plan to set up their first in the U.S. The Chinese Communists own us.

I’m not saying I’m against wind power because I’m not. My objection is the extravagant subsidies which are so rushed that they preclude adequate forethought and regulations, but do facilitate corruption.

If a product is good, it won’t need outlandish subsidies, the free market will take care of it. Simply put, subsidies are more socialism for the U.S.A.

Additional information:  With Wind Energy, Opportunity for Corruption and In Rural NY, A Whiff of Corruption

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