January 27, 2013

Paul Gaynor forgets to mention mafia connection

In today’s New York Times, First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor writes:

In 2004, another G.E. colleague asked me to join UPC Wind Management as president and chief executive, and I accepted. Because another wind company had a similar name, we changed our name to First Wind in 2008.
That “other” wind company was in fact its own parent. They changed the name because its deep corruption was coming to light in Italy. That “other GE colleague” was Brian Caffyn  ...

UPC Solar: Our Management
Mr. Caffyn ... was the founder and inaugural Chairman of UPC Wind (now First Wind). ... Mr. Caffyn is also Managing Partner of UPC Capital Partners and UPC Energy Partners. He spent the first part of his career in project financing for wind, cogeneration, hydro, solar, geothermal, waste-to-energy and biomass energy projects with GE Capital, Heller Financial, Inc., and several private companies. Mr. Caffyn personally oversaw the establishment and construction of the largest wind energy company in Italy — Italian Vento Power Corporation.
Brian Caffyn: Executive Profile & Biography, Business Week
Mr. Caffyn is a co-founder of UPC Energy Group and UPC Group. ... He founded First Wind Energy Company in 1996 ... He founded First Wind Holdings, Inc. and served as its Chairman. He founded and served as Chairman of First Wind Energy LLC (UPC Wind Partners, LLC). ... Mr. Caffyn served as Director or Partner of ... Italian Vento Power Corporation (IVPC), Srl, ...
Caffyn, founder and former CEO and [still?] chairman, has been expunged from mention on the First Wind web site.

Italian Vento Power Corporation: Background
The Group [Italian Vento Power Corporation] came to light in 1993 from an idea of Oreste Vigorito who formed the company IVPC Srl on behalf of UPC, an American company which operates in the wind sector in California. ...

Between 1996 and 2000, UPC forms several project companies for the installation of new Wind Farms in the Campania Region, in Sardinia and in Sicily. During this period, the Group develops 241MW. In 2005, UPC sells its assets held in Italy to the Irish group Trinergy and furthermore, sells the 50% of the original IVPC Srl (with its trade mark) to Oreste Vigorito who remains in partnership with Eurus Energy (ex Tomen) which owns the other 50%.

Trinergy, in its turn, in 2007, sells the assets previously acquired from UPC to the English group International Power [IP]. Oreste Vigorito is Managing Director of the ex IVPC Group, previously called Trinergy and now IP Maestrale, until November 2008 when he hands in his resignation.
Anti-mafia police make largest asset seizure, by Guy Dinmore, Financial Times, September 14, 2010
Italian anti-mafia police have made their largest seizure of assets as part of an investigation into windfarm contracts in Sicily. Officers confiscated property and accounts valued at €1.5bn belonging to a businessman suspected of having links with the mafia.

Roberto Maroni, interior minister, on Tuesday accused the businessman – identified by police as Vito Nicastri and known as the island’s “lord of the winds” – of being close to a fugitive mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro.

General Antonio Mirone, of the anti-mafia police, said the seized assets included 43 companies – some with foreign participation and mostly in the solar and windpower sector – as well as about 100 plots of land, villas and warehouses, luxury cars and a catamaran. More than 60 bank accounts were frozen. ...

The renewable energy sector is under scrutiny across much of southern Italy. Some windfarms, built with official subsidies, have never functioned. ...

Mr Nicastri sold most of his windfarm projects to IVPC, a company near Naples run by Oreste Vigorito, also president of Italy’s windpower association. Mr Vigorito was also arrested last November on suspicion of fraud and later released.
Green energy tangled in web of shady deals, by Guy Dinmore, Financial Times, May 5, 2009
Over coffee, Mr Nicastri confirms that he has developed the "majority" of Sicily's wind farms, arranging land, financing and official permits. He then sold the projects for construction to IVPC, a company run by Oreste Vigorito, who is also president of Italy's wind power association.

Mr Nicastri says he has worked on projects resulting in construction of wind farms for International Power (IP) of the UK; Falck Renewables, the London subsidiary of Falck Group based in Milan; IVPC; and Veronagest, another Italian company.

"I am not a prostitute for everyone. There are other prostitutes for the others," Mr Nicastri laughs, mentioning other multinationals with wind assets in Sicily. ...

IP became the single largest wind farmer in Italy with its 2007 purchase of the Maestrale portfolio of mostly Italian wind farms, including five in Sicily, for €1.8bn from Trinergy, an Irish company, which had purchased them from IVPC.
Wind Power, by Joan Killough-Miller, WPI [Worcester Polytechnic Institute] Transformations, Summer 2005
As president and CEO of UPC Wind Management, located in Newton, Mass., Gaynor was tapped to bring the success of the parent company, UPC Group, to North America. In Europe and North Africa, UPC affiliates — including Italian Vento Power Corporation — have raised over $900 million in financing and installed some 900 utility-scale wind turbine generators (WTGs), with a total capacity of more than 635 megawatts. UPC subsidiary companies, positioned across the United States and in Toronto, are currently pursing some 2,000 megawatts in projects from Maine to Maui.
Also of note from Gaynor's NY Times piece: “Some people will always be against development, whether it’s a shopping mall, a condo project or a wind farm.” Yes, “wind farms” are “development”, no different from shopping malls and condo projects, which is why they should similarly never be allowed on the ridges, open spaces, and coasts that wind developers target.

wind power, wind energy