Iberdrola (Avangrid), Meadowsend Timberlands, and Stiles Brook Forest

The multinational corporation Iberdrola (aka Avangrid) — which is currently the target of multiple bribery, fraud, and corruption cases from California to Iberdrola’s home base in Spain; indeed all across Europe — now plans to develop an industrial wind project on Vermont land owned by New-Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands. Iberdrola / Avangrid has already successfully launched industrial wind projects elsewhere in Vermont, despite opposition from Vermont’s own Fish & Wildlife Department and environmentalists and communities across the state, and despite Vermont utilities making clear they are uninterested in buying any more Big Wind.

In an unprecedented move, Avangrid / Iberdrola has now offered to pay Grafton and Windham residents who vote for the wind project, a bald bribe that has even attracted the attention of the NY Times (“Vermont Wind Project Needs Votes, So Company Offers to Pay Voters”) and the scorn of editors at VT newspapers such as the Rutland Herald, who call it “corrosive,” and the Barre Times Argus, who calls it “an astonishing corruption of the democratic process.”

Grafton / Windham Industrial Wind Project Facts

In May 2012 the Selectboards of Grafton and Windham were informed that the Spanish- and Arab-owned corporation Iberdrola (operating here as Avangrid and Atlantic Wind LLC) was leasing 5,000 acres of land owned by Meadowsend Timberlands.

Iberdrola / Avangrid

Based in Spain, Iberdrola is the fourth largest energy company in the world, and the largest wind company in the world. Ownership is mostly Spanish; however, the second-largest shareholder and a strategic partner is Qatar (an oil-producing Arab Emirate on the Persian Gulf). Company value is $66 billion, annual revenues $44 billion, profits in 2011 just under $3 billion. Its energy output mix includes gas (34%), nuclear (19%), coal (12%), and renewables (23%). In the U.S., Iberdrola is the second largest wind company. It also owns utility companies such as Central Maine Power, Rochester Gas and Electric, and New York State Electric and Gas. In Vermont, Iberdrola also seeks to develop the Deerfield wind project, which was tied up in courts until in 2014 the court ruled in favor of Iberdrola. In New York State, Iberdrola was sued by 60 residents living near its wind facility in Herkimer County because of health and noise concerns.

Iberdrola’s fraudulent and corrupt business practices are known the world over, and the company currently faces millions of dollars in fines, tens of millions in proposed fines, and a worldwide ban on World Bank financing. In California, state utilities authorities recently found Iberdrola “misled state officials” and overcharged the state by $371 million, during the state’s 2000-2001 energy crisis. Iberdrola/ Avangrid is being investigated by Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, and a recent article in CT’s New Haven Register notes Iberdrola likely changed its US business name to Avangrid because of the “baggage” associated with Iberdrola being at the center of five recent cases of bribery, fraud, and corruption across the globe. Back home in Spain, Iberdrola was recently fined $27M for market manipulation.

Meadowsend Timberlands Limited

The proposed Grafton / Windham project is located on land owned by Meadowsend Timberlands Ltd. (a private timber company owned by the French family) and leased to Iberdrola. Meadowsend is based in New Hampshire and owns approximately 34,000 acres of land in various states. It owns 80% of the land that is leased for the wind facility in Sheffield, VT. It is the second largest private land owner in Vermont.

The parcel leased to Iberdrola / Avangrid consists of 5,000 acres, of which about 1,500 acres are in Grafton and about 3,500 acres are in Windham. A total of 55 properties abut the parcel in Grafton and Windham. 500 dwellings are located within a two-mile radius from the parcel, almost 1,000 in eight towns within a three-mile radius.

Read all posts related to Iberdrola (Avangrid), Meadowsend Timberlands, and Stiles Brook Forest:

Windham and Grafton Residents Outraged by Iberdrola’s Latest Actions

Windham and Grafton residents expressed outrage at Iberdrola / Avangrid’s latest offer of direct annual payments to registered voters. The company has offered direct annual payments to registered voters who choose to "opt in." The taxable payment is contingent on communities’ voting for the project, and has wide-ranging potential to skew the local vote, possibly including the vote for Vermont's governor which many see as a referendum on the future of industrial wind for Vermont's communities.

October 7th, 2016|

Shumlin Hands over VT National Forest to Corrupt Foreign Company While Literally Giving the Finger to VT Residents

No, you did not read that headline incorrectly. On Monday, September 19, 2016, VT Governor Peter Shumlin flipped the bird to VT residents who were assembled on park grounds, as Shumlin sped past in his SUV to join corrupt foreign multinational Iberdrola / Avangrid in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $80 million Deerfield Wind project, the first ever commercial wind project to be built in a national forest. Iberdrola / Avanngrid, who faces no less than five recent cases of fraud and corruption around the world, millions of dollars in fines, tens of millions in proposed fines, and a worldwide ban on World Bank financing, is the same company who has partnered with New-Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands to install 28 other unneeded turbines, also on Vermont land, at Stiles Brook Forest.

September 20th, 2016|

Windham Asks Iberdrola to Suspend Wind Project “Immediately”

The Selectboard letter to Spain-based Iberdrola (aka Avangrid) states: “From the perspective of the Selectboard and Planning Commission of the Town of Windham, the Stiles Brook Forest, sixty percent of which lies within our town, is not appropriate for your proposed industrial wind installation. The Windham Town Plan expressly forbids industrial wind and is based on years of careful study." The letter concludes: "We ask that you suspend your involvement with this project immediately. We will also propose to the land owner, Meadowsend Timberlands Ltd., that they engage the town in discussion that could lead to the town's acquisition of the property, so that it might be preserved for the good of us all, as opposed to its being utilized to enrich parties with no concern for our town, our region, and our people."

June 22nd, 2016|

California finds Iberdrola guilty of overcharging state $371 million

The Los Angeles Times reports that a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Judge has found Iberdrola (aka Avangrid) guilty of overcharging California consumers during the state's energy crisis of 2000-2001, that "the public was clearly, palpably, seriously harmed by the energy crisis," and that Iberdrola "misled state officials" to the tune of $371 million.

April 15th, 2016|

Iberdrola, fined $27M for market manipulation, lodges appeal

With five recent cases of fraud and corruption around the world, millions of dollars in fines, tens of millions in proposed fines, and a worldwide ban on World Bank financing, multinational Iberdrola is appealing its $27-million fine from Spain's National Markets and Competition Commission. Only time will tell if Vermont lawmakers will decide that they want nothing to do with the corrupt company, or with New-Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands, who together have proposed to install 28 unneeded turbines on Vermont land, at Stiles Brook Forest.

January 23rd, 2016|

Vermont lawmakers want to ban industrial wind energy

Industrial wind projects -- such as the Stiles Brook Forest turbines proposed by corrupt multinational Iberdrola (Avangrid) and New-Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands -- are now facing opposition not only from environmentalists and communities, but from lawmakers from all across Vermont. Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate want to ban any future industrial wind projects. Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex-Orleans, introduced a bill on the first day of the session earlier this month. Rep. Vicki Strong, R-Irasburg, introduced another on Wednesday.

January 23rd, 2016|

Grafton taxpayers (all of them) demand to be heard on issue of Industrial Wind

Non-residents, who shoulder 60% of the taxes in Grafton, VT, are asking to have their voices counted in the local outcry against Spanish and Arab-owned Iberdrola's ongoing campaign to ram 28 turbines into Stiles Brook Forest. The irony, of course, is that so-called non-residents have no voting power, while corrupt foreign multinationals such as Iberdrola, together with out-of-state landowners such as the New-Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands, are routinely given carte blanche to install unnecessary (and highly destructive) industrial wind projects on Vermont land and then sell the power to other states.

January 23rd, 2016|

Wind farm developer went to prison for wire fraud, money laundering

There must be something in the air. Just weeks ago it came to light that Iberdrola, the multinational corporation behind Meadowsend Timberlands' proposed Stiles Brook Forest industrial wind site, is the target of multiple fraud and corruption cases across Europe. This week we find the CEO of the company hoping to build [Oklahoma's] first wind farm west of Springdale embezzled about $785,000 in Oklahoma a decade ago, according to federal and state court records in Oklahoma.

December 1st, 2015|

Swanton, VT residents vote 731-160 against industrial wind. Shumlin also now changing his tune.

Governor Shumlin is saying very different things about Big Wind than he was just months ago, and it may finally spell the end of subsidy-grabs for mega-corporations like Iberdrola as well as opportunists like NH-based Meadowsend Timberlands, whose plan to develop a massive industrial wind site at Stiles Brook Forest is also expected to be voted down by Grafton and Windham, VT residents.

December 1st, 2015|

Iberdrola presumes to dictate terms and timeline of wind vote in Grafton

Grafton residents were hardly surprised to receive a letter from corporate lobbyist and Iberdrola project manager Jenny Briot, in which Briot informs the community how and when they will vote on her Spanish- and Arab-owned mega-corporation's plans to destroy VT ridgelines (the "Stiles Brook Forest" tract owned, ironically, by NH-based outfit Meadowsend Timberlands Ltd) and install an industrial wind project whose size and location to residences is unprecedented in the state.

December 1st, 2015|

VT Digger: “Critics Slam Windham County Wind Plan”

Health concerns, paltry financial returns, and declining property values were just a few areas of concern, Monday night, among Grafton and Windham community opposition to the foreign mega-corp Iberdrola and their proposed wind project at Meadowsend Timberlands' Stiles Brook Forest. The current industrial-wind siting and permitting process was also roundly condemned by VT Senator Joe Benning and former VT Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee.

November 13th, 2015|

VT Senators naysay Big Wind in Grafton & Windham; CPA reveals Iberdrola cash-carrot dangled in Grafton amounts to pennies a day

The majority of the project, proposed by Iberdrola Renewables for the Stiles Brook Frost tract owned by Meadowsend Timberlands, falls in Windham, where roughly 250 homes would be within 1.5 miles of the turbines. Regarding the big-money promises to Grafton, however: "using current town and state tax documents...a homeowner with a home assessed at $200,000 would save a maximum $359.12 annually" -- and it was "speculated that one-third to one-half of the population of Grafton won’t save anything because their tax payments are so low already."

November 11th, 2015|

“Vermont Has Company In Big Wind Concerns”

Environmentalists and community members fighting against the proposed Iberdrola / Meadowsend Timberlands / Stiles Brook Forest industrial wind project in Grafton and Windham are anything but alone. Germans, too, are suddenly having apprehensions about industrial scale wind development. As are the Irish and the Danes, who are also fed up with the behemoth wind generators. Yes, even Denmark, the country hailed as the gold standard in their embrace of wind energy....

November 10th, 2015|

Vermont Utility CEO explains why industrial “green” energy plan is DOA

One of the more appalling aspects of the proposed Iberdrola / Meadowsend Timberlands industrial wind project at Stiles Brook Forest: Iberdrola currently has no buyer for the energy they (might) produce, and would likely have to sell it "elsewhere" (read: NY), because Vermont utilities have made clear they are uninterested in buying any more Big Wind. Turbine_BurningIn a new interview with Vermont Watchdog, Dave Hallquist, CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, explains why Vermont’s so-called "green" energy agenda (ie, foreign multinationals blowing up VT ridgelines) appears to be dead on arrival.

November 7th, 2015|

BREAKING: Iberdrola the Target of Multiple Fraud and Corruption Investigations in Europe

It seems Iberdrola's chickens are coming home to roost, not only in Grafton and Windham, but also in Connecticut and across Europe. The Spanish- and Arab-owned megacorporation into whose bed Meadowsend Timberlands has crept, while offering Grafton and Windham money to do the same, is the target of multiple fraud and corruption cases across Europe. According to a new article in CT's newspaper of record, The Hartford Courant, an investigation by CT's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has revealed that Iberdrola has five recent cases of fraud and corruption around the world, with millions of dollars in fines, tens of millions in proposed fines and a worldwide ban on World Bank financing.

November 6th, 2015|

VPR: “In Grafton And Windham, Debate Over Wind Project Heats Up”

After attending a heated town meeting last week in Grafton, only to publish what amounted to a press release for Iberdrola, VPR now gives a nod to the widespread environmentalist and community opposition to the Iberdrola / Meadowsend Timberlands wind project that aims to 1) blast away irreplaceable VT ridgeline ecosystems at Stiles Brook Forest in Grafton and Windham and 2) sell the power elsewhere, because Vermont utilities have made clear they are uninterested in buying any more Big Wind.

November 6th, 2015|

The selling of southern Vermont: Iberdrola & Meadowsend Timberlands meet with Grafton and Windham

"[The] turbines would produce 96.9 megawatts of electricity, which is estimated to be enough to power all the homes in Windham and Bennington counties," an alternately hostile and exasperated Windham crowd was told Tuesday evening, as they gathered to hear the latest from Iberdrola and Meadowsend Timberlands (video here). That none of the energy produced at Stiles Brook Forest will actually go to Vermont utilities–who have made clear that they neither require nor welcome more industrial wind power — but will likely be sold instead to New York, remains an issue that Iberdrola and Meadowsend reps do their best to downplay.

October 30th, 2015|

Iberdrola & Meadowsend Timberlands: Putting a price on Vermont’s environmental future

On Monday night in Grafton, using figures based on hypothetical maximum-use scenarios, dangling 6- and 7-figure payouts, multinational corporation Iberdrola did their best to quiet environmentalist and community opposition to the unprecedented size and short-sightedness of the proposed Stiles Brook Forest industrial wind project whose largest beneficiary is NH-based land owner Meadowsend Timberlands.

October 28th, 2015|

Commons article on Iberdrola / Meadowsend turbine sites at Stiles Brook Forest

“While there have been past discussions about the financial benefits to towns that host wind facilities, there have been no specific details released regarding Iberdrola’s latest economic proposals at Stiles Brook. Those who oppose the project aren’t sure that any turbine-related cash infusions — no matter how large — will be worth it.”

October 16th, 2015|

Donn Welton Editorial: “Who Truly Decides on Wind Project Sitings?”

Donn Welton: "Who is in the best position to judge the tangible ecological, and then health, social and economic outcomes of an industrial turbine installation? Do we truly believe that Meadowsend Timberlands LLC, a private out-of-state landowner, and Iberdrola S.A., a multinational corporation based in Spain, have the best vantage point from which to decide on appropriate land use and conservation measures for southeastern Vermont?"

June 19th, 2015|

Chester Telegraph: “Wind developers invite skeptical Graftonites to info session”

"Melissa Belcher, of Meadowsend Timberlands Ltd., a partner in the proposed wind project, invited everyone to an information/social session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, that both her company and Iberdrola Renewables will hold at Grafton Ponds, 783 Townshend Road.... Belcher’s remarks were not received well by either the Select Board or members of the audience. Planning commission member Rex James said he is concerned that 'the cooperate sponsored event' of June 16 would not answer the questions needing to be addressed."

June 4th, 2015|

Brattleboro Reformer: “Wind concerns addressed at Grafton forum”

"Iberdrola Renewables built two test towers (MET towers) in Windham and one in Grafton on land owned by the New Hampshire based Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, which some believe is a precursor to an application for a large scale wind development project" at Stiles Brook Forest in Windham County.

February 26th, 2014|

VPR reports on flood-prone Grafton community fears of industrial-wind project runoff issues

Regarding Meadowsend Timberlands' proposed wind project at Stiles Brook Forest: "The impact of high-elevation wind turbines on waterways should be carefully watched to reduce the chance of increased flooding downstream. That was the advice from a water resource engineer to a group of Grafton residents hoping to prevent an industrial wind project in their town. The Grafton forum was the third event in a series held by local wind opponents and Vermonters for a Clean Environment, a statewide nonprofit group. The local opposition group formed after the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola Renewables built three wind test towers in Grafton and Windham."

February 26th, 2014|

Townshend wind forum explores concerns

"Tears welled up in Larry Lorusso's eyes and his voice began to crack as he spoke about the environmental impacts the [Iberdrola] Hoosac wind project has had since it first went online last year. 'My mountain was out back,' he said, taking a moment to try to collect himself. 'It was the enchanted forest. I loved going up there and [it was] a very beautiful place and I watched them wreck it little bit by little bit. So, I understand something was taken from us. Part of it is the noise, our peace and quiet.' Iberdrola Renewables - which is headquartered in Spain - recently built two test towers (MET towers) in Windham and one in Grafton on land owned by the New Hampshire based Meadowsend Timberlands Limited."

November 24th, 2013|

Iberdrola cited for violations, may lose right to operate Groton wind farm

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (‘SEC’) has announced hearings to determine whether to suspend and revoke the Certificate of Site and Facility granted Groton Wind LLC, wholly-owned and managed by Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. Iberdrola’s Groton Wind has been cited for the following violations: Unauthorized relocation of the project’s operations and maintenance (‘O&M’) building; Unauthorized relocation of two of the Gamesa G87 turbines; Failure to comply with the NH State Fire Code; Failure to comply with the NH State Building Code; Safety and Maintenance concerns; Inadequate Environmental, Health, and Safety Plan.

November 6th, 2013|

Rutland Herald: “From wind developer: disrespect, condescension”

An open letter to Jamey French of Meadowsend Timberlands: "It is disquieting that the nature of your relationship with Iberdrola remains a mystery to us. Although you insist that you are in command of this project, Iberdrola has served as your mouthpiece, and our effort at dialogue with Iberdrola has not been a fruitful one. Their attitude is cavalier, to put it mildly. Your secrecy and stonewalling about a project of this magnitude in the heart of our community have created an atmosphere in which it is difficult for townspeople to make plans, sell property or imagine our futures. Because of this, many of us do not consider you to be the excellent neighbor you commend yourself for being. Instead, your behavior strikes many of us as ignorant, cruel and unjust. It seems likely that the Windham community, which supports renewable energy and has a history of reasonable behavior, would have responded very differently to a respectful approach, one that made our concerns part of the discussion from the beginning."

May 6th, 2013|

VT Public Service Board rubberstamps mega-corp Iberdrola’s MET towers

Iberdrola Renewables said Monday it will start to construct three controversial wind-measurement towers in Windham and Grafton later this month. Iberdrola, a Spanish company that is one of the largest energy companies in the world, and its subsidiary, Atlantic Wind LLC, received a certificate of public good last month from the Vermont Public Service Board to build the three meteorological towers, two in Windham and one in Grafton. All three towers will be on the Stiles Brook Forest tract owned by Meadowsend Timberlands Ltd., of New London, N.H., which owns 5,000 acres in the two towns. The decision disappointed officials and residents in the town of Windham, which has a ban on industrial wind projects outlined in its town plan. Windham had received support from the Department of Public Service in its bid to keep the wind-measuring towers out of town.

January 9th, 2013|

Windham and Grafton residents trumped by three-person VT Public Service Board

Although fought tooth-and-nail by the actual residents of Grafton and Windham, the three-person VT Public Service Board had the ultimate say. And in a Dec. 20 decision, the board granted Iberdrola (operating as Atlantic Wind LLC) a "certificate of public good" (ironically enough) to build the test towers. The structures will be built at Stiles Brook Forest, land owned by Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a New Hampshire company owned by the multimillionaire French family.

January 2nd, 2013|

Windham repeats its opposition to wind

At issue is a proposal from Iberdrola Renewables to place three meteorological testing towers at Stiles Brook Forest, land owned by New Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands Limited. Two towers would be in Windham, while the other would be situated in Grafton. Iberdrola representatives -- operating as Atlantic Wind LLC -- have said they intend to apply to the Vermont Public Service Board for a certificate of public good for the testing towers."We would like the governor to know that unequivocally," said Mary Boyer, who chairs Windham’s Select Board. "We would ask the governor how he expects the fourth-smallest town in the 49th-smallest state to advocate for ourselves against a multinational corporation with more than $40 billion in revenues."

July 14th, 2012|