Wind industry is being allowed to develop across the United States with few state or federal regulatory fetters and fewer regulations based on empirical studies. Turbines reach the field for installation benefit of huge tax-payer subsidies, but without benefit of government studies, inspections or reviews ordinarily accorded such industrial development. Impacts come to light after a decade of performance and a host of private studies.
The problem at this point could not be clearer: the town's wind turbines have intruded on the lives of residents in that area. The community must now ﬁnd a solution. More bickering, more accusations of unfairness, of conspiracy will do nothing, nothing whatsoever, to help get to that solution.
We understand the distress of the residents in the neighborhood of the turbines. It is clear something has to be done.
Some of the most harmful side effects [of turbines] have only become widely documented as a result of the installation of thousands of turbines around the world in the past five years. Turbines have gotten taller ...These newer machines have little track record, and we are all part of a grand experiment with few protections in place for neighbors and towns, especially on issues of public health, water flows, and property values.
Sadly, once the layers of "woulds, coulds and shoulds" were peeled back, I found industrial wind failed to keep its environmental promises. Save the canned boilerplate responses to criticisms, the wind industry offered nothing conclusive to demonstrate it would significantly reduce emissions or close fossil fueled
plants. There is no conclusive evidence that one coal plant has been closed as a direct result of the installation of tens of thousands of wind turbines. Not one! I've asked advocates to name one facility. Answer . zippo!
And yet the DPU - controlled by the pro-Cape Wind Patrick administration - determined that the contract is both in the public interest and "cost-effective," as required by the Green Communities Act. The court essentially confirmed that the state board had the legal authority and the expertise to make those determinations.
When the public rallied behind the Bluewater Wind offshore project four years ago, the drama played out against a backdrop of economic prosperity, high -- and rising -- electricity prices, and no reason to doubt a federal commitment to the price subsidies underpinning the pioneering idea.
But today, with almost all of that changed, Bluewater's owner, NRG Energy, faced the new normal.
I and other farmers and landowners try to get help in fighting this wind farm company, but we get no help. We've lived here for more than 60 years, but a big, rich, communist Chinese company comes in and, in 3 months, runs over the rights of we, the people.
I've received calls from residents from as far away as Lyndon, Kirby, and Westmore complaining about the blinking red aircraft collision avoidance lights at night. Neighbors are telling me they also can hear them and that they are shocked to see the turbines from "everywhere they go" -- from local roads, from I-93 near Franconia Notch (40 miles away!), as well as from nearer ridge lines between Littleton and St. Johnsbury.
But what is Pantego Wind Energy LLC? It is a subsidiary of Invenergy, a Chicago-based energy corporation that is one of the five largest (and the number one independent) owners of wind generation plants in the U.S. This corporation with more than $130 million in assets wants you (and me) to subsidize their Pantego Wind Facility.
To apply these concepts in the context of social protest, especially in a state like Vermont with a long and honorable history of dissent, is chilling. How dispiriting that the debate over wind power in Vermont has come to this! The law already makes trespassing a crime without setting precedents that would encourage future claims of monetary damages against protest movements. Those potential ill effects of such precedents, unless superseded by the Legislature, will linger long after the blasting on Lowell Mountain is done, just weeks if not days from now.
If common sense prevails, Salem will abandon this out-of-scale, clearly inappropriate location for such an enormous commercial-industrial wind turbine immediately. If not, then the City Council should exercise its legislative authority and vote it down.
From Malta in the Mediterranean to Altamont in California, the landscape is littered with decommissioned wind farms, all bankrupt, all eyesores and all funded with local tax dollars. These things have been failing for nearly 35 years. Shinish Creek will be no different. Britain, Germany and Spain - all touted as "leaders" in wind energy.
Well, hear this. The voices of the opponents of wind turbine developments on land in rural Ontario have not been heard. Period.
And there is absolutely nothing in Bentley's rhetoric to suggest they will be in the future.
It is clear that the PSB ignores witnesses whose testimony identifies negative impacts from wind developments. The regulator has been captured by the regulated. We need a new or different public process (perhaps Act 250) for renewable energy projects, especially utility-scale wind turbines. The common refrain we hear from interveners after each PSB decision is, "It was as though we weren't even there."
Contrary to the claims of the developers, wind turbines are not quiet and they are not benign. They are not environmentally responsible and they are not cost effective.
Wind turbine noise is highly intrusive and disruptive.
No one would build wind turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy paid for through household bills. If the 10,000 wind turbines, as promised by the government are built, then customers can expect their bills to rise by hundreds of pounds. Of course the government and the power companies will ensure that these "green taxes" are not detailed on the bills. What will we be left with when the subsidies run out?
Most people will agree that renewable energy is a wonderful thing. But wind turbines only produce energy when they are working, and the town should have a clear knowledge of the upcoming regulations before it decides to invest in any wind turbine project.
The economic case for wind power is fatally shaky. Too expensive and so unreliable that it requires a duplicate plant for backup. So wind advocates point out that it is hydrocarbon-free.
But if you grant the arguments for global warming, these two projects are too small to make a difference and, worse, a serious misallocation of scarce resources.
Identifying those of us in the audience who were not First Wind employees, attorneys, lobbyists, contractors or consultants, First Wind's attorney complained "these people" are running all around the state opposing wind projects.
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