With the emergence of recent proposals, there appears to be growing interest in expanding
renewable energy sources in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s government has taken several steps
to encourage the use of renewables, including setting net metering guidelines for small-scale
generators (less than 25 kW) of photovoltaics, hydroelectric, and wind.1 Net metering guidelines in
New Hampshire require that utilities purchase any electricity generated by small scale generators in
excess of what they use. Further developing renewables beyond small-scale generation, particularly
wind, can help New Hampshire increase the proportion of energy generated from renewable
sources. In fact, developing the
full potential of wind resources in
the state holds great promise for
helping to meet the state’s energy
In community after community where industrial-scale "wind farms" have been proposed, mundane and sparsely-attended board meetings have been transformed into standing-room-only affairs. Residents and property owners are anxious to know whether rumored plans to construct twenty, fifty or even a hundred of the 400-foot tall wind turbines are "a done deal." Most significantly, the electorate wants to know the extent to which their town has the power to decide whether or not wind farms will dominate their rural landscape. /p
Many people accept the well-publicized claim that windmills will be able to supply a significant share of our country’s growing requirements for electricity. They also believe that wind energy is environmentally benign and a way to avoid emissions from other sources of energy for electric generation. Political leaders in windy states have even been persuaded that “wind farms” will provide economic benefits, principally through rental payments to landowners.
As proposals to build “wind farms” have proliferated, however, the adverse impacts of wind energy are becoming clear to a growing number of citizens, consumers and taxpayers. They are learning that “wind energy” has adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts. They are learning that many of the claimed benefits of wind energy are misleading or false, and that the true costs of wind energy are higher than advertised -- with those higher costs falling on taxpayers and electric customers.
(1)uncertainly over future natural gas prices
(2)the value of long-term fixed-price contracts for renewable energy
(3)what impact do renewables have on gas prices?
(4)what impact do high gas prices have on renewables?
Counsel for the Environment (CFE) appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project (KVWPP) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). CFE takes no position in support or opposition of the KVWPP at this time. The following comments seek to ensure the Final Environmental Impact Statement provides the public with the most detailed information possible on the environmental impacts of the proposed wind power project.
ECO-Northwest’s 1-month, $15,000 study, sponsored by the local business lobby organization, the Phoenix Group, has been met with deep skepticism in the Kittitas Valley. Regardless of how people feel about wind farms in this valley, most people recognize this report as simply a blatant endorsement of proposed local wind energy projects, bought and paid for by those behind these projects. A local newspaper story about ECO Northwest’s report titled “Are Wind Farm Benefits Full of Hot Air?” (The Yakima Herald-Republic, 10/2102) reflects this public skepticism about the impartiality of this study.
The report makes the incredible claim that property values will not be affected and the unsubstantiated claim that the county will receive millions of dollars in increased revenue. Although the wind energy companies state that they will hire only 22 people, the report manages to inflate this to 53 jobs and claims that these people will somehow result in an additional $4.2m being spent within the county.
ECO Northwest’s report also neglects to consider the effect of major wind farms on tourism, one of the most important factors in the local economy. It does not consider alternative locations for such projects, or alternative forms of renewable energy in Kittitas County, or whether the county will benefit from the power generated. Nor does it consider that the proposed location for these wind farms is an area that the city of Ellensburg will need for future expansion of its population, an area that will be closed off for housing if wind farms are built there.
Senior planner Darryl
Crawford, of the Central Shenandoah Planning
District Commission, handed planners a list
of recommendations to consider for wind energy
permit applications last week, telling the
commission it should determine whether Highland
County wants industrial wind plants
within its borders. A summary
of Crawford’s 20-page set of recommendations
Wind power is good for the environment, right?
On a small scale, yes. However on a commercial level, wind generated electricity cannot be stored, creating factors that negate most of the environmental benefits. Environmentalists around the world are now recognizing that wind development is often more harmful than it is beneficial.
Q. Has the applicant demonstrated a good faith effort to resolve noncompliance issues?
A. The brief answer is no. When Zilkha Renewable Energy applied to EFSEC for permits in January 2003 they made no attempt at that time to apply to Kittitas County in a timely manner in order to resolve non-compliance issues. It took the applicant five months to complete a short application. The (initial) applications to the County were not complete. They had major flaws like the application not being signed, not providing a list of property owners within 300' of the project site, not providing the signatures of the landowners within the project area, and stating that they were only applying for certain permits from the County but not those required (to achieve compliance). The major flaws within each submittal were the most basic elements of the application and listed on the front page of the application. In all the years I have been a Land Use Planner I have never had an applicant provide an application with so many fundamental flaws so many times. I cannot help but think that this was a strategy of Zilkha's all along. This issue was even brought up to the applicant when they continually delayed submitting a complete application to the County. When a complete application was finally received I sent out the Notice of Application within one week. This was the first and only action that the County had control over and it was completed in a timely manner. Zilkha Renewable Energy knew that we were relying on the DEIS to be published which is why we could not give them a conclusive date when the County would hold hearings. On numerous occasions between June and October 2003 we let Zilkha know how much time it would take the County to process their application once an adequate DEIS was complete and the process was in our hands. When the DEIS completion date was pushed back so was our timeframe.
REF encourages the development of renewable energy and energy conservation whilst safeguarding the landscapes of the United Kingdom from unsustainable industrialisation.
In pursuit of this goal, REF highlights the need for an overall energy policy that is balanced, ecologically sensitive and effective.
REF is a not-for-profit foundation formed by individuals concerned by the uncontrolled growth in proposals and planning applications for power stations in inappropriate rural areas.
We are part of a growing national consensus that the United Kingdom’s energy policy is unbalanced, and that the drive for renewable energy generation has been inadequately planned, a fact that has resulted in a developer-led industrial feeding-frenzy that is neither green nor sustainable. It is improbable that this current broad-scale industrialisation of the countryside will bring about any significant reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases or meet the long-term energy needs of the UK (as laid out in the Feb 2003 Energy White Paper).
We aim to raise public awareness of the issues and encourage the creation of a structured energy policy for the UK, which is both more ecologically sensitive and effective.