by Robert C. Strasburg II
Results of inquiry to the
Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA) on 5/9/06 for confirmation of revenue formula presented by UPC
Wind Management, LLC.
After receiving the
letter from UPC suggesting revenues "in the range of $660,000"
for the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) program offered to the Town of
Cohocton, Steuben County, and Wayland Cohocton Central School in return
for favorable legislation allowing the placement of commercial wind
turbines in the Town of Cohocton, I attempted to get an answer from the Town Board
or the Planning Board as to what the formula was for determining
potential income to our Town from the installation of these wind
turbines, i.e. how much were they selling our viewscape for. I was
unsuccessful in getting straight information from our local officials so
to ferret out the data and went to SCIDA myself to ask some
I met with James P. Sherron the Executive Director of SCIDA and found his
information to be quite enlightening. Following is a summary of what I
The IDA is not able to get involved in a PILOT program such as the one
proposed by the European fostered wind company known as UPC unless a
Town formally invites the IDA.
In order to introduce government subsidies into a project in Steuben
County, the IDA must be directly involved.
The IDA attaches ownership to properties where these proposed wind mills
will go by taking Title or lease of these properties and thus removes
these properties from the tax roles. This allows the PILOT program to
The terms and amounts of revenue from the PILOT program that will govern
the wind turbine project in Cohocton are negotiable. Negotiations of
these terms are done by the Lead Agency; in this case it is the Cohocton
The PILOT revenue is based on the potential sale of electricity and is
not a guaranteed revenue amount.
The $660,000 as the suggested amount by UPC that Cohocton Town, Steuben
County and the school may receive from this PILOT program is determined
by a formula based on an assumed constant output of 30% of the actual
wind turbine rating. (I was not able to verify this number and it does
not conform to other studies I am familiar with, other studies suggest a
much lower output in the range of 10-20%)
Here are the separate factors that combine to produce the formula used
by UPC in their projection:
A 2MW turbine has a supposed potential output of 2 Megawatts per hour
UPC assumes a actual output of 30%* capacity
A Megawatt is 1000 kilowatts
The IDA used $0.04 to represent what a kilowatt of wind generated
electricity can be sold for on the electrical grid.
2MW wind turbine reduced to assumed actual production of 30% = 600
kilowatts per hour x .04 per kilowatt = $24 per hour x 24 hours in a day
= $576 x 365 days per year = $210,240 per year per 2MW wind turbine
gross revenue from the sale of electricity.
$210,240 per year per 2MW wind turbine x 58 proposed wind turbines in
Phase 1 & Phase 2 of the Cohocton wind turbine project = $12,193,920
gross revenue for UPC per year.
Proposed $660,000 in total PILOT payments by UPC to Cohocton Town,
Steuben County and the school ÷ $12,193,920 = 5% of gross revenue
expensed by UPC in PILOT funds.
In summary, using the numbers provided to me by UPC and the IDA, 95% of
the gross revenue generated from the sale of electricity from these 58
wind turbines included in the first two phases of the Cohocton wind
project is in the control of a Privately held Corporation that has
refused to disclose to me the identity of their investors. Has our Town
sought to discern where this money is going? Does it stay in our Town?
Our County? Our State? Our Country?
If the IDA did not remove these properties from the tax roles and UPC
was obligated to pay the taxes that would then be levied on all 58 of
these 2 Million dollar structures, these unknown investors would then
flee our hills and Cohocton could then consider strategically placing 5
of these wind turbines throughout the Town in places chosen for their
minimal impact and enjoy the $1,051,200 in revenue from the sale of
electricity. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that we
can service the debt, improve our Town, reduce our environmental and
health impact and keep 100% of the revenue in our control with that kind
of revenue. If they insist on having wind turbines, they should at least
be smart about it.
I am all for alternative safe energy, but a study of the facts quickly
reveals that this wind turbine industry is corrupt with corporate greed
bilking tax subsidies, raping viewscapes, funneling American money out
of local economies and worst of all, our Town Board has become victim to
Robert C. Strasburg II
60 Maple Ave.
Cohocton, New York 14826
*30% IDA assumption may be high