A little history before I get into today’s topic:
Back in October 2011, I posted a little rant titled “Confused in West Virginia.” My confusion, at the time, had to do with an August 2011 FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) filing for the Pinnacle wind plant in Mineral County WV and the fact that, while David K. Friend’s US WindForce LLC was the face of Pinnacle’s development in our community for years, US WindForce LLC was missing among the several company names listed in the application with the Pinnacle filing.
Until this filing I had no indication that Pinnacle Wind Force LLC, which as of January 2011 was owned by Mr. Friend’s US WindForce LLC, had been sold. Further adding to my confusion was that a week after the August FERC filing, which excluded US WindForce LLC, Mr. Friend was still apparently speaking on behalf of the Pinnacle project as US WindForce LLC.
I commented at the time that, in light of the confusion, ” it would be nice to know the specific entity responsible to fulfill the promises and agreements made to our community by US WindForce.”
Well folks, it seems the responsibility won’t fall on David K. Friend’s US WindForce LLC. The LLC appears to be kaput, based on this note on their web page:
US Wind Force LLC is no longer in business.
Contact email@example.com if necessary.
Now, with the evaporation of US WindForce LLC, it seems our Mr. Friend would like you to contact him at his new digs – Laurel Renewable Partners LLC.
Address for David K. Friend at apparently now defunct US WindForce LLC:
- 645 East Pittsburgh Street, Suite 356, Greensburg, PA 15601
Address for David K. Friend at Laurel Renewable Partners LLC:
- 645 E. Pittsburgh Street, #356, Greensburg, PA 15601
Interesting, don’t you think?
The address above for Mr. Friend’s Laurel Renewable Partners LLC appeared in a June 19, 2013 letter to the WV Public Service Commission, containing this in the subject block:
Mt. Storm Wind Force, LLC
Case No. 01-1664-E-CN (closed entry)
Transfer of Mt. Storm Wind Force, LLC Membership Interests
The gist of the letter is notification to the WV PSC that the interest of Mount Storm Wind Force LLC moves from US WindForce LLC to Laurel Renewable Partners LLC. For your convenience, here’s the letter in full:
So it now appears the disappearing David K. Friend of US WindForce LLC fame has resurfaced as David K. Friend of Laurel Renewable Partners LLC, assuming a major (all?) interest in Mt. Storm Wind Force LLC, which holds “a certificate of convenience and necessity (“Certificate”) to construct and operate a wind power generating facility in Tucker and Grant Counties, West Virginia.”
Coincidentally, a recent article in the Cumberland (MD) Times News notes that Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC, “has asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to allow more time for the company to begin construction of about 25 wind turbines atop that prominent Allegany County (Maryland) ridgeline.”
It seems the earlier cast of Allegheny County Commissioners enacted an ordinance to protect their residents which made compliance difficult for the wind company. But rather than adjust to the wishes of the community’s representatives, Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC is back for another shot, thinking that maybe “the current Allegany County commissioners are more receptive to wind turbine development than was the previous administration.”
And who’s leading the charge? Laurel Renewable Partners LLC, which now owns Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC, which used to be owned by none other than David K. Friend’s US WindForce LLC until, that is, US WindForce LLC went out of business.
Boy! Whoever thought up this LLC “Whack-A-Mole” thing must have had wind developers in mind. For sure, if nothing else, the whole process serves to confuse.
You see, in my view, wind developers were successful moving into the Alleghenies, which has marginal winds to support the technology, because folks knew little about them. Take the Pinnacle wind plant as example.
The LLC came in to the community swinging their bag full of promises, wooing community leaders with promises of jobs and cash and flooding the public with ready-to-print materials, much of it drawn from resources offered by the heavily funded national wind lobby. The few naysayers who dared question the encroachment were dismissed as backward thinking clods, or worse.
Permit review by the WV Public Service Commission shoved aside concerns for noise and wildlife – where US WindForce LLC ignored the concerns of both the US Fish and Wildlfe Service and the WV Department of Natural Resources.
One could wonder, with the potential demise of Edison Mission due to bankruptcy so soon after start-up of its Pinnacle wind plant, how seriously the WV PSC takes its own vision statement (Item 5) – “That consumers receive the best value in utility service from financially viable and technically competent companies …”
The WV PSC seems to have joined the ranks of other state regulators simply rubber stamping such projects.
Enabled by funding from sheepish government entities simply trying to comply with the whims of other government agencies, Pinnacle was constructed.
Serious questions regarding performance to promise which were raised to the very elected officials who supported the Pinnacle project were ignored, without the courtesy of a reply.
And now, the “partner” who secured permission to inhabit our fragile ridge line with these 747 size turbines is no more.
In the past, once a project was completed, those who objected were worn out and the newly disenchanted simply griped. The fight was not carried forward and wind LLCs had the luxury of little of their previous actions traveling with them into their next target area. This, of course, enabled them to use the same tactics in the next community.
But something has changed which might not favor the weed-like wind LLCs … their success. I’ve stated before that “The greatest threat to the wind industry’s growth is, in fact, the wind industry’s growth.” As these energy impostors consume more and more of our mountain ridges, the evidence of their horribly poor performance mounts.
The environmentalists who now support industrial wind will soon see, in the actual performance results, the technology has not, and cannot, live up to its promises. They will soon understand the dramatic cumulative impact of these rapidly adjoining installations which are forming a deadly gauntlet on the land they’ve sworn to protect.
One day, sooner rather than later I hope, they will insist that no additional habitat should be sacrificed to this poor performing profit-based business.
I can’t stress enough that communities dealing with wind developers must understand the Developer’s true role in the process, including final construction and operation of the wind plant they are promoting.
As example, a lot of folks thought Mr. Friend’s US WindForce would construct the Pinnacle project. In fact, Richard Kerns of the News-Tribune noted on September 1, 2009, that – “If approved, WindForce officials expect to begin construction in the spring, with completion by the end of 2010.”
Yet on October 26 2009, just a few weeks later, US WindForce LLC’s Mr. Friend testified before the WV Public Service Commission that, “The challenge is we don’t know quite for sure when it will go to construction. In other words, Edison’s — the very high echelons of Edison have to make a final go/no-go decision for this project. And if for some reason something changed between us getting the permit and they’re making that final determination, some kind of a significant change in the economy, they may look at it and say, look, we don’t want to do this.”
Obviously, Mr. Friend didn’t have as much control over the project as some community members initially believed.
The above referenced Cumberland Times News article about Dan’s Mountain LLC’s request for an extension ends with this comment: “DMWF has entered into a new agreement, this one with Exelon, for development of the local project. Eventually, Chicago-based Exelon would purchase the operation.”
To my mind, Laurel Renewable Partner LLC’s ultimate role in the Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC project should be publicly defined so Mr. Friend’s statements and commitments regarding the project may be considered in that light.
I’ve provided below the WV PSC testimony in which Mr. Friend describes the agreement between then US WindForce LLC and Edison Mission. The folks protecting Dan’s Mountain may find it instructional. (Beginning on Page 85)
WV PSC Testimony – October 26, 2009
For me, this comment appearing in a Business Wire article just prior to construction of the Pinnacle project says it all: “This project has come this far thanks to the partnership with the community,” said David Friend, chairman and CEO of US Wind Force. “We appreciate the community’s broad support for the project.”
Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a number of folks in Mineral County who vocally supported the construction of Pinnacle feeling a little duped by their “partnership” with a now defunct developer and a bankrupt owner.
AT NOTE 1: We encourage readers to visit the web site of The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), a consortium of citizen/environment organizations with membership in five states along the Allegheny Front.
AT NOTE 2: Please advise any corrections, omissions or dead links in the comment section. Your comments, pro or con, are always welcome.