New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that 16 companies representing the vast majority of wind energy activity in New York state have signed a Wind Industry Ethics Code, facilitating the development of renewable energy while helping assure that the industry is acting properly and within the law.
The code calls for oversight through an advisory task force and transparency that will deter improper relationships between wind development companies and local government officials, according to Cuomo.
Fifteen companies have now joined the two that signed late last year to make a total of 17 wind industry leaders agreeing to the code of ethics. According to the Alliance for Clean Energy, these companies, along with their subsidiaries, are responsible for more than 90% of the wind farm development (past, present or future projects) in New York state.
The new companies to sign on to the Code are Acciona Wind Energy USA LLC, BP Wind Energy North America Inc., Ecogen Wind LLC, E.ON Climate and Renewables North America Inc., Everpower Wind Holdings Inc., Horizon Wind Energy LLC, Iberdrola Renewables Inc., Invenergy Wind Development LLC, Northwind & Power LLC, Pattern Energy Group Holdings, Penn Energy Trust LLC, Sustainable Energy Trust Inc., Upstate NY Power Corp., Shell WindEnergy Inc, and Reunion Power.
The code was signed previously by Newton, Mass.-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) and Essex, Conn.-based-based Noble Environmental Power LLC. Both companies currently operate several wind farms in New York and have others in development.
The Wind Industry Ethics Code is a direct result of an ongoing investigation into, among other things, whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, and whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their official actions relating to wind farm development.
The Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes public disclosure requirements.
In addition, provisions of the code include the following:
– bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency;
– prevents wind companies from soliciting, using or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his or her official duties; and
– requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public Web site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development.
SOURCE: Office of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo