General and Impact on Economy
It was pretty clear all along that building a wind farm in the waters of Lake Erie or Lake Ontario would be way too expensive.
What we didn't know until last week was that it wouldn't just be way too expensive: It would have been a boondoggle of epic proportions.
The fix is in. Our governor has allied himself with the wealthy private developer and the big foreign utility National Grid, which stands to reap hundreds of millions from bloated electricity rates Cape Wind will saddle consumers with. Like the Big Dig, which Massachusetts politicians used like an ATM for decades, Deval Patrick has reaped the rewards with huge campaign contributions.
The news that Cape Wind and National Grid, a regional power distributor, will soon negotiate the cost of power from the proposed 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound sounds like the last act is near.
Perhaps, but it's likely to be a dramatic one. Consider, if you will, the difficulties of calculating the costs of producing power over let's say 20 years if you are unsure of the cost and source of capital, the cost and speed of construction, the unknown difficulties of maintaining offshore power production, the uncertainties of the consumer market.
Of the proposals under consideration, at least one would be off the coast of Ocean County, 18 miles from Long Beach Island. Although a study prepared for the BPU noted the impact of wind farms off the Jersey coast on the fishing and tourism industries would be temporary and relatively minimal, it indicated there was far greater sensitivity to the visual impact of wind farms in Ocean County than in Cape May and Atlantic counties. The BPU should take that into account. ...The projected loss of tourism revenue would drop off dramatically if wind farms were located 6 miles or more off the coast.
Iberdrola of Spain, owner of Elk River, realized over $9.9 million in PTC allowances in 2007. Foreign companies are not regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission. There are no state or federal regulations of any kind on WECS. Few Kansas counties have wind regulations.
WECS will force consumers to pay for their electricity three times; to build the WECS, build conventional power as backup, and additional transmission lines to carry power from the WECS to the grid.
WECS will not produce large economic benefits to a community as evidenced by records from Gray County (Montezuma), or Butler County (Elk River). Elk River has produced seven jobs. Most employees live outside the community.
The long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Cape Wind application to place 130 wind turbines in the waters of Nantucket Sound is finally out. ...Although the MMS DEIS seems to clear the way for Cape Wind to build its Nantucket Sound wind farm, CapeCodToday.com will be printing remarks made by experts in the wind-energy/finance fields that identify many serious flaws in the DEIS and in the methods and information used to paint a healthy picture of the Cape Wind project. MMS's own peer review raises serious questions about how MMS arrived at the conclusions their report contains.
Democratic presidential candidates have been stumping for "green collar jobs," contending that workers need federally-funded training to help build the new energy economy and fill the avalanche of work coming to the burgeoning domestic clean-tech and alternative energy sectors. ...There is plenty of enthusiasm about the prospects of work in green industries, though everyone seems to have their own optimistic ideas about the types of work that will arise. ...But low-wage earners and unskilled laborers deserve some honest clarity about how much additional green they can expect to receive in their paychecks when they take those so-called green collar jobs with the lowest barriers to entry. Many of these positions are unlikely to afford them a bridge to high-paying, skilled work. Cleaning a house or hotel room with chemical free products is still working in the hospitality sector.
Wind power is not the answer to global warming. Do we have alternatives? We certainly do have alternatives to windmills but they would disrupt the lifestyle of electors and consumers. In Paris, an article in the September 2007 issue of the medical journal, The Lancet, shows with supporting calculations that it would be better to minimize human consumption of meat, for 80% of agriculturally produced methane comes from farm animals. Wind turbines won't even alter the greenhouse gas equation but by a mere .03%, as mentioned above. The way to reduce CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases is to use less energy. Governments must massively invest in energy conservation measures rather than in these wind machines. According to another research, if every English household switched for one single low energy light bulb, a fossil fuel-burning electrical plant could be shut down!
Wind power would only be interesting if energy produced can be stored. It has been proposed to fill reservoirs of large hydroelectric dams, for example. An Australian method has just offered in September 2007 to store electricity in liquid accumulators. Quebec would thus be able to utilize wind energy because the major part of our electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, which is not the case for Ontario or New York where, as almost everywhere else in the world, wind power must be backed up by carbon-based generating stations.
Add to this the damage to the tourism industry, and the whole concept of ranks of wind turbines across the roof and shores of Wales, producing intermittently and unpredictably amounts of electricity far less than developers lead us to expect, seems utterly foolish, especially when there are much less damaging ways to produce electricity (in which Wales is self-sufficient, in any case).
The ski industry is the "lifeblood" of northern New England precisely because it draws visitors eager to appreciate the rural splendor - and spend their money. While Cape Wind supporters often make hasty, anecdotal references to wind farm-related tourism in obscure European enclaves, the Cape's fickle, tourist-based economy relies on loyal return visitors - not curious one-timers. Just a small dip in tourist-related spending would result in thousands of lost jobs and millions of lost dollars.
Given two identical houses at the same price, one with wind turbines on the horizon, which would you buy?
No prizes for guessing that the twirling monsters would be a deterrent. But the British Wind Energy Association dismisses this as a "myth about windfarms - their impact on house prices".
It is hardly surprising that a trade organisation uses "spin" to sell its windmills, but I wonder how it will react to the news in Denmark's Copenhagen Post (July 30) that its government is drafting a proposal suggesting that "homeowners living in the shadow of the 150-metre giants be compensated for lost property value where values have been brought down by the presence of nearby wind turbines".
Tiny turbines on short towers may make people feel good about generating "green energy," but they make no sense economically. The fact that the real cost may be hidden or spread out over millions of payers does not change the basic economics.
There is a person near here who has had most everything done to his house to try to keep the noise out. The power company, from what I understand, is paying for trying to keep the noise out in his home. Nothing has worked. He still has the constant noise in his home. Unfortunately, the tower is on the neighbor's land. He is just going to have to put up with it.
I had two couples come out looking at lots and both of them wanted front lots or lots at the top of the hill. When the women got here and looked around, they looked at the view to the north and to the south. No way, they said. We are not going to look at those towers the rest of our lives and both couples left. One of the couples bought 40 acres. The other couple would not buy around the wind charger area.
Our experience shows that there is a real noise problem, which can be severe. Unfortunately, it is clear that existing regulations are not adequate to protect people, and until this whole noise phenomenon is better understood and regulated we feel that Councils and wind developers should be exercising the Precautionary Principle. Large wind turbines should not be permitted close to residential areas.
Town officials who want to find out about wind power should book a room at the Flat Rock Inn in Tug Hill, in the midst of New York's largest wind plant, which has more than 150, 400-foot-high turbines. If they like the look during the day and the sound at night, they should come back and tell their constituents that the current proposal for wind power is just perfect.
We, however, disagree. Yes, wind power is a wonderful solution to our energy problems but, like many good things, it can become a bad thing when used irresponsibly. Wind power plants must be carefully and responsibly sited and operated. The proposal as it stands is unsatisfactory and would seriously harm our community.
Mr. Keller writes about surprise in "extent of the decline" in the production of the province's four wind farms. There is no surprise among those who have studying the bigger industry picture and are not seduced by the exaggerated claims made by the industry and its supporters. Perhaps that surprise comes from the dawning realization that these turbines are not all that they have made out to be.......
Wind generation is not even a partial solution to our energy needs, and climate concerns.
There seems to be a misunderstanding about what is meant by property value.
There is the absolute dollars value of a property. There is irrefutable proof that one property sale worth $230,00 has fallen through directly because of the proposed wind energy project. This matter is now in the hands of the lawyers.
The only MLS listed property sale on the Gulf Shore since this project became known about sold at 30% less than the assessed value. Sales have been made elsewhere in the County, but not on the Shore.
There are at least seven property owners who have canceled or indefinitely postponed plans to build because of the project.
We applaud any effort to offer incentives to increase the use of renewable and alternative energy sources to power Michigan.
But we hope the 25-percent goal can be reached by offering incentives, not by issuing mandates. The cheapest source of energy in the United States is coal. For the time being, at least, renewable sources of energy are a more expensive alternative. It would not bode well for economic development in Michigan if the state had astronomical energy costs.
The debate over wind turbines for Meredith is already an emotionally charged one. It is an issue that pits neighbor against neighbor; for a landowner, receiving payment from a wind company to erect these monstrosities on his property effectively does so at the expense of his immediate neighbors.
Therefore, I find it hard to understand the assertion from members of the town board that this is good for Meredith. This is, in fact, tearing our town apart, and one need only attend a town board meeting to realize the anger that is being generated will be with us for a very, very long time.
Even the most basic research will reveal the life-changing impact of the turbines on nearby communities. Of course, you will find some who speak well of them, but they are very much in the minority. Most people who live close (and, according to the feeble 1,000-foot setbacks, some people will be very close) speak of lives ruined by vibration, flicker and so on. Let there be no misunderstanding, those who sign up to take these turbines will inflict misery on anyone else close by.