Thursday, October 16, 2014

INCOME INEQUALITY

It Costs a Lot to Be Poor
A Blog Action Day Post
#BlogAction14


The widening gap between the rich and the poor, underemployment, wage stagnation, below-poverty-level minimum wage rates, low savings rates, the retirement savings crisis, the consumer price index (including the infamous chained CPI), etc.: We all know or can readily find these dismal statistics, compiled by those who toil in the field of dismal science, also known as economics.

But often missing from the figures and analyses is the fact that it is very expensive to be poor. The poor and lower middle class simply do not have enough money to use their money efficiently. Poverty and #Inequality are expensive.

For example, families and individuals with little money find it difficult to:
  • take advantage of the savings afforded by bulk purchasing and sales opportunities;
  • take advantage of spending rewards programs;
  • purchase fresh foods, which are more healthful, nutritious, and expensive than processed foods;
  • obtain preventive health care, such that conditions and diseases that might have been treated fairly inexpensively early on become much more expensive and dangerous over time;
  • maintain and repair their homes, such that when repairs can no longer be ignored, they may need more costly replacement or renovation work; or, if their homes become too dilapidated, they may be forced to move [also costly and, for seniors, potentially disorienting, leading to earlier (and very expensive) nursing home admissions] or become homeless;
  • maintain and repair their vehicles, again, leading to breakdowns and expensive repairs, or even accidents, injuries, and death;
  • earn money on their meager savings, since they are limited to investing in saving and checking accounts that pay little or no interest and, indeed, typically incur high monthly maintenance and other fees; and
  • obtain inexpensive loans, since they are less likely to be deemed credit-worthy, which, in turn, may force them to resort to expensive payday loans and loan-sharking operations.
Add to that the stress and extra time and hassle needed to chase down bargains, tackle do-it-yourself repairs beyond one’s competence level, and arrange for transportation, and you can begin to calculate the true measure of just how much it costs to be poor.

As my father often said, “no matter where they are, the rich always live well and the poor always live poorly.” To that I would add, “and the poor spend a lot of money to do so.”





Thursday, March 20, 2014

Proposed Wind Energy Projects in New York State


US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
 Proposed Offshore Wind Energy Lease Area.

As promised in my previous post, here is a list of 27 proposed wind energy projects that would be located in New York State or just offshore, in the Atlantic Ocean. The list includes projects that are listed on the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) active interconnection queue, as well as several others that are in early stages of development or whose status remains unclear. These projects represent a total of 3,555.35 MW generating capacity, with potential expansion to 4,269.35 MW.

To view a map of these project, click here.

Proposed as of March 2014:

1. Alabama Ledge Wind Farm - 40 turbines, 79.8 MW, an EDP Renewables North America  project, would be located in Genesee County, in the Town of Alabama.

2. Allegany Wind Project - 29 turbines, 72.5 MW, an EverPower Wind Holdings  project,  located in Cattaraugus County, in the Town of Allegany. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 237.

3. Arkwright Summit Wind Farm (formerly called "New Grange Wind Farm") - 44 turbines, 79.2 to 79.8 MW, an EDP Renewables North America project, would be located in Chautauqua County, in the Towns of Arkwright and Pomfret. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 421.

4. Baron Winds - 300 MW, a Baron Winds LLC project, would be located in Steuben County. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 396.

5. Black Oak Wind Farm - 7 turbines, 11.9 MW, a Black Oak Wind Farm LLC project, located in Thompkins County, Town of Enfield. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 398.

6. Bone Run Wind Farm - 68 turbines, 130 MW, an Iberdrola Renewables project, would be located in Cattaraugus County, in the Towns of Randolph and South Valley.

7. Brookfield Wind Energy - 200 MW, a NextEra Energy Resources project, would be located in Chenango and Madison Counties. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 425.

8. Call Hill Wind - 102 MW, a NextEra Energy Resources project, would be located in Steuben and Allegany Counties. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 422.

9. Cassadaga Wind - 26 MW, a Cassadaga Wind LLC project, would be located in Chautauqua County. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 387.

10. Copenhagen Wind Farm, 49 turbines, 79.9 MW, an OwnEnergy project, would be located in Lewis County, in the Town of Denmark. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 395.

11. Crown City Wind Energy Center - 44 turbines, 72 MW, an Air Energie TCI project, would be located in Cortland County, in the Towns of Cortlandville, Homer, Solon, and Truxton. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 276.

12. Dairy Hills Wind Farm - 38 turbines, 79.8 MW, an EDP Renewables North America project, would be located in Wyoming County, in the Towns of Covington and Perry.

13. Deepwater Energy Center - 150 to 200 turbines, 900 to 1,200 MW, a regional offshore wind energy project by Deepwater Wind New England LLC, would be located in the Atlantic Ocean, on the Outer Continental Shelf, 30 miles off Montauk, New York, and 15 miles off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. 

14. Dry Lots Wind - 11 turbines, 33 MW, a Dry Lots Wind LLC project, would be located in Herkimer County, in the Town of Litchfield. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 372; NYS PSC Matter 12-F-0365.

15. Franklin Wind - 16 to 28 turbines, 50.4 MW, an EDP Renewables North America project, would be located in Delaware County, in the Town of Franklin. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 247.

16. Horse Creek Wind Farm - 48 turbines, 96 MW, an Iberdrola Renewables project, would be located in Jefferson County, in the Towns of Clayton, Brownville, Orleans, and Lyme. NYISO Queue No. 189; NYS PSC Matter 12-F-0575.

17. Hounsfield Wind Farm (also known as "Galloo Island Wind Farm") - 82 turbines, 244.8 to 252 MW, an Upstate NY Power Corporation project, would be located in Jefferson County, Town of Hounsfield, on Galloo Island in eastern Lake Ontario. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 270; NYS PSC Matter 12-F-0575.

18. Jericho Rise Wind Farm - 53 turbines, 79.9 MW, an EDP Renewables North America project, would be located in Franklin County, in the Towns of Belmont and Chateaugay. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 397.

19. Long Island - New York City Offshore Wind Project - 97 to 194 turbines, 350 to 700 MW, an Offshore Wind Collaborative (New York Power Authority, Long Island Power Authority, and Con Edison) project, would be located in the Atlantic Ocean, on the Outer Continental Shelf, 13 nautical miles off Rockaway Peninsula.

20. Marsh Hill Wind - 10 turbines, 16.2 MW, an Invenergy project, would be located in Steuben County, in the Town of Jasper. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 378.

21. Monticello Hills Wind - 6 turbines, 19.8 MW, a Veolia project, would be located in Otsego County, in the Town of Richfield. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 362.

22. North Ridge Wind Farm - 50 turbines, 100 MW, an Iberdrola project, would be located in St. Lawrence County, in the Towns of Parishville and Hopkinton. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 354.

23. Prattsburgh - Italy Wind Farm - 34 turbines, 78.2 MW, an Ecogen Wind LLC project, would be located in Steuben and Yates Counties, in the Towns of Prattsburgh and Italy respectively. NY PSC Case Nos. 07-E-0301 and 07-E-064.

24. Roaring Brook Wind Farm - 39 turbines, 78 MW, an Iberdrola project, would be located in Lewis County, in the Town of Martinsburg. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 197.

25. Rolling Upland Wind Farm - 36 turbines, 59.4 MW, an EDPR Renewables North America project, would be located in Madison County, in the Town of Madison. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 322.

26. South Mountain Wind - 8 turbines, 18 to 20 MW, an Atlantic Power project, would be located in Delaware County, in the Town of Walton. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 371.

27. Watkins Glen Wind - 50 to 70 turbines, 122 MW, a NextEra Energy Resources project, would be located in Schuyler and Chemung Counties. NYISO Interconnection Queue No. 360.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wind Energy Projects in New York State

Operational as of March 2014

Steel Winds (US EPA Region II image)










It can be difficult, as I've recently found, to get a handle on the status of existing, proposed, and withdrawn wind power projects. Developers and operators change names or sell the projects, the names of projects change, projects are combined or separated or shelved, only to be dusted off again, and designs change.

The following list represents my best efforts to compile a list of wind projects currently operating in New York State. Any errors are entirely my own, so if you discover any, please let me know so that I can correct them.

These projects account for a total nameplate or maximum generating capacity of 1,726.25 megawatts (MW). To view a map of these projects, click here.

1.  Cohocton Wind, a First Wind project located in Steuben County, Town of Cohocton, operational as of 2009: 35 turbines, 87.5 MW.

2.  Dutch Hill Wind Project (Cohocton II), a First Wind project located in Steuben County, Town of Cohocton, operational as of 2009: 15 turbines, 37.5 MW. The Cohocton Wind and Dutch Hill Wind Project are often represented as one project.

3. Fenner Wind Farm, an Enel Green Power North America, Inc., project located in Madison County, Town of Fenner, operational as of 2001: 20 turbines, 30 MW. One of the Fenner turbines collaped in December 2009, temporily reducing the wind farm's capacity to 28.5 MW. Construction on a replacement turbine began last year. 

4. Hardscrabble Wind Power Project, formerly called "Top Notch Wind Farm," an Iberdrola Renewables LLC project located in Herkimer County, Towns of Fairfield, Norway, and Little Falls, operational as of 2011: 37 turbines, 74 MW.

5. Howard Wind Project, an EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., project located in Steuben County, Town of Howard, operational as of 2011: 27 turbines, 55.35 MW.

6. Madison Wind Farm, an EDP Renewables North America LLC project located in Madison County, Town of Madison, operational as of September 2000: 7 turbines, 11.55 MW. Just one month ahead of the Wethersfield Wind Farm, the Madison Wind Farm was the first wind energy project to commence commercial operations in New York State.

7. Maple Ridge I Wind Farm, formerly called the "Flat Rock Wind Power Project," a joint venture between Horizon Wind Energy and Iberdrola Renewables LLC; located in Lewis County, Towns of Lowville, Harrisburg, Martinsburg, and Watson; operational as of 2006: 140 turbines, 231 MW. Together with Maple Ridge II, this is one of the largest wind farms east of the Mississippi River.

8. Maple Ridge II Wind Farm, a joint venture between Horizon Wind Energy and Iberdrola Renewables LLC; located in Lewis County, Towns of Lowville, Harrisburg, Martinsburg, and Watson; operational in 2006: 55 turbines, 91 MW.

9. Marble River Wind Farm (Marble River I Wind Farm and Marble River II Wind Farm), an EDP Renewables North America LLC project located in Clinton County, Towns of Clinton and Ellenburg, operational as of 2012: 70 turbines 215.25 MW.

10. Munnsville Wind Project, formerly called "Central New York Wind," an E. ON Climate and Renewables North America LLC project located in Madison and Oneida Counties, Towns of Stockbridge, Augusta, Easton, and Madison, operational as of 2007: 23 turbines, 34.5 MW.

11. Noble Altona Windpark, a Noble Environmental Power LLC project located in Clinton County, Town of Altona, operational as of 2009: 65 turbines, 97.5 MW.

12. Noble Bliss Windpark, a Noble Environmental Power LLC project located in Wyoming County, Town of Eagle, operational as of 2008: 67 turbines, 100.5 MW.

13. Noble Chateaugay Windpark, a Noble Environmental Power LLC project located in Franklin County, Town of Chateaugay, operational as of 2009: 71 turbines, 106.5 MW.

14. Noble Clinton Windpark, a Noble Environmental Power LLC project located in Clinton County, Town of Clinton, operational as of 2008: 67 turbines, 100.5 MW.

15. Noble Ellenburg Windpark, a Noble Environmental Power LLC project located in Clinton County, Town of Ellenburg, operational as of 2008: 54 turbines, 81 MW.

16. Noble Wethersfield Windpark, a Noble Environmental Power LLC project located in Wyoming County, Town of Wethersfield, operational as of 2009: 84 turbines, 126 MW.

17. Orangeville Wind Farm, formerly called "Stony Creek Wind Farm," an Invenergy LLC project located in Wyoming County, Town of Orangeville, operational as of 2014: 58 turbines, 92.8 MW.

18. Sheldon Wind Project, also known as the "High Sheldon Wind Farm," an Invenergy LLC project located in Wyoming County, Town of Sheldon, operational as of 2009: 72 turbines, 112.5 MW.

19. Steel Winds I, a First Wind project located in Erie County, Town of Lackawana, operational as of 2008: 8 turbines, 20 MW. This windfarm, built on the site of an abandoned steel mill, was able to use as part of its infrastructure the old mill's road network and offsite transmission lines. It was the first commercial wind power project in the United States to be located on a former Superfund and industrial brownfields site. In 2007, it won Power Engineering Magazine's "Best Renewable Project of the Year Award."

20. Steel Winds II, a First Wind project located in Erie County, Town of Lackawana, operational as of 2012: 6 turbines, 15 MW.

21. Wethersfield Wind Farm, an Enel Green Power North America, Inc. project, operational as of 2000: 10 turbines, 6.6 MW.

Numerous other wind projects (including two offshore wind projects) -- totaling more than 3,700 MW -- are in various stages of development. More on these later.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Killing Frost 2012

Climate Change Comes to the Garden

The 2012 killing frost has long since passed, and a light blanket of snow covers my disheveled garden.  A bout of pneumonia has kept me from fall cleanup tasks.

Climate change came to my garden this year, disrupting plantings and growth and adding to the work involved, not the wholesome, joyful work of gardening, but the drudgery of pulling up dried-out plants despite constant watering.

I once read that climate change might bring new opportunities to central New York farmers; longer growing seasons and warmer temperatures might allow for the planting of crops that ordinarily cannot be raised here.

However, after experiencing on a very small scale the struggles that many of our farmers have had to contend with this year owing to wildly fluctuating temperatures, heat, and drought, any speculation  that climate change might bring beneficial economic change bears close scrutiny. While by midsummer, the mainstream media began paying much attention to the nationwide drought, the dry conditions in central New York really began last fall and continued on into winter and spring.  By summer, the ground was bone dry.

Spring came early; very warm days coaxed my pear blossoms out.  But the early warm days were only irregular spikes, followed each time by days of hard freeze. Petals drifted down like snow, and my two mature trees yielded  but one deformed pear.

French Breakfast Radishes
The pea and radish plants, in contrast, did surprisingly well, considering that they generally prefer cooler temperatures; while my bush beans languished in the hot, dry weather.  My pole bean vines on the other hand grew so long, they reached well beyond their tall teepees and up into the nearby trees.  Having expended so much effort on growing vines, they neglected to produce much in the way of beans.

Romano Pole Beans
 
Another surprise this year, the cucumber and zucchini plants grew remarkably well, along with the blue hubbard squash plants, notwithstanding shameful neglect, as I concentrated my watering efforts on the cucumber and tomato plants.

Just a few from bumper crop of cucumbers

Can you ever have too many zucchini? Yes!

The tomato plants produced abundant fruit, but it was smaller than usual and my best watering efforts were insufficient to forestall blossom end-rot.

Some Nice Tomatoes: Beef-Steak, Black Krim, and White Giant
Between the heat and drought,  many plants grew smaller, and then had rapid growth spurts whenever there was a bit of rain. It also seemed to me that some vegetables and herbs had a more bitter taste.

Even so, you can't beat homegrown fruits and vegetables. Squirrels agree; they carted off every single buttercup squash.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Biking Green: A Guest Post on Bamboo Bikes


Alert readers of Stories of the Road will recall that it was a broken freewheel that led Kara and Tom to divert off the 1976 Bikecentennial trail in Central Oregon to the nearest repair shop in Boise, Idaho, and from there, to make their own way cross-country.  Now, from FixieBikes.com -- a company based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in fixed-gear bicycles (bicycles without freewheels) -- comes a guest post written by Marissa Rosado, A Closer Look at a Bamboo Bike, a diversion to a more sustainable method of cycling.


You’ve always known riding your bike is better for Mother Earth than driving your Hummer to and from the grocery store. Why not take things a step further? Recent developments in bike manufacturing are opening up more opportunities to protect the planet with the added bonus of giving you a better ride.

Bamboo Bikes

Notoriously strong, bamboo makes an impressive bike frame. It’s light, and it looks nice. Once treated, bamboo is stiff, but not brittle, which helps the rider transfer pedaling power with more efficiency. Many have reported that the bamboo bike’s ability to dampen impact and vibration is mind-blowing. Bamboo is also extremely durable, resisting damage from impressive stress and impact. With its smooth, easy ride, an added perk to a bamboo bike is comfort, which is not to be underestimated.

Photo by Noah Scalin | Flickr.com
 
Making the Bike

For some, obtaining bamboo is as easy as retreating to their own backyards. Others find it growing wild in forested areas. What’s more impressive is the technique put into practice by Alexander Vittouris. Vittouris grows his bike bamboo into a mold. Once the bamboo is ready for harvest, there is very little processing left to do. This is the ultimate in environmentally friendly production. In place of nonrenewable sources and the harsh pollutants produced by factories, bamboo bikes leave a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

Zambikes

Bamboo in Zambia is like hipsters in Brooklyn: they’re everywhere. Two Americans sought to make something of this abundant resource after a visit to the country in 2004, and Zambikes was born. Though they do not produce fixed gear bikes, Zambikes builds custom bamboo bikes which not only puts Zambia on the map but also gives a much needed boost to Zambia’s economy.

When the company was founded, Zambian unemployment was somewhere over 60%. Zambikes provides employment, training, and opportunity to the Zambian population, which is an even more delicious bonus on top of the bike’s eco-cred.

Though the company currently does not have any dealers that ship to the U.S., the prospect is exciting. Be sure to look out for bamboo bikes in the future, as they may just be starting to gain traction.


Marissa Rosado is a writer on behalf of FixieBikes.com. She is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, MA.
Sources:
 
http://www.calfeedesign.com/products/bamboo/
http://imgur.com/a/SbtRy
http://www.psfk.com/2011/10/psfk-picks-top-five-bikes-made-of-alternative-materials.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/31/business/bamboo-bicycles-zambia-zambikes/index.html