Impact on Wildlife or Connecticut
How did Gamesa Corporation, a wind-energy company from Spain, find Shaffer Mountain, a small section of the Allegheny Front in Pennsylvania, which lies in Somerset and Bedford counties?
Although we do not know all the details, we do know in 2004, that Gov. Rendell and Kathleen McGinty, secretary of Department of Environmental Protection, enticed Gamesa to abandon plans to build in Texas, by promising Gamesa that it would receive millions of dollars in grants, loans, and tax credits, financed with taxpayers' money.
Federal income tax shelters will allow Gamesa to avoid paying taxes owed and thereby recover two-thirds of the capital cost of each turbine - about $2 million each.
We also know that Gamesa has received tax-free status through 2018 by locating on land that is a Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone. Even before Gamesa started construction in our state, the company had purchase agreements and letters of intent to sell 400 megawatts worth of wind-generated power to Pennsylvania utilities.
But how did Gamesa find Shaffer Mountain? It's simple: Shaffer Mountain has wind.
More consideration and belief need to be given to the vast research that has been done regarding the impact of wind turbines on our environment before decisions are made again that will profit a few and harm many.
My basic position on wind energy in our state is that before decisions are made on building industrial turbines across our mountain ridges, we should have a good idea of what the costs as well as the benefits of those projects will be to West Virginians, both now and in the future. There can be honest disagreements about what those costs and benefits will be, and how they should be weighed. But I hope no one would disagree with the proposition that the decisions to be made on wind turbines - which raise the prospect of permanently altering the face of our State - should be made in a fully informed, considered way.
To that end, I believe the immediate need is for there to be a serious, public discussion of wind energy in this State. Members of the news media can play an important part in this discussion, but only to the extent that they report the facts, study the issues carefully, and issue thoughtful commentaries -- rather than merely publishing industry talking points.
Do you know where your money and representation goes when you support a wildlife, environmental or nature organization? If you think it is going to save and protect wildlife you might want to take a second look.
While the Sierra Club asks its members for support to save The Endangered Species Act it is lobbying on the side of the American Wind Energy Association to defeat legislation that would protect endangered birds and bats. Even though thousands of birds, bats, eagles and other endangered species die every year from deadly collisions with wind turbines.
New Scientist's report on the large number of bats succumbing to wind turbines reinforces a common misperception - that the blades move slowly (12 May, p4).
It is true that the blades of older, small wind turbines rotated rapidly and so would appear to a bird or bat as a semi-solid disc to be avoided.
Modern 2-megawatt wind turbines make an apparently lazy 10 to 20 revolutions per minute, but the blades are around 40 metres long.
Simple geometry shows that the blade tips travel at between 150 and 300 kilometres per hour.
For a bird or bat in misty weather, these aircraft-sized blades appear from nowhere at intervals of between 2 and 4 seconds, a scenario that even a fighter pilot would find alarming.
Whether to welcome industrial installations - for that's what wind farms are - should be judged carefully. That's why the 2007 Legislature directed its interim council to produce a coherent, comprehensive study of the siting and decommissioning of commercial wind farms.
If North Dakota is to become the country's wind electricity leader, wisdom, and not anything less, must rule.
That pretty much leaves energy conservation as the only option everyone can agree on, and the challenge won't be resolved simply by building more energy-efficient devices and turning off the lights in rooms we're not using.
Either the "green" movement needs to lighten up on alternatives to fossil fuel or get used to the idea that we're going to be burning a lot of coal and natural gas for the long haul.
So, why don't we just build us some nice clean nuclear power plants, instead of clogging up our landscapes and seascapes with these ugly windmills, hmmmm?
Another disturbing threat to Taiwan's Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins Sousa chinensis is the development of wind farms within their existing habitat. Despite the obvious fact that the construction of wind farms will result in loss of habitat for the already struggling population of Taiwan's Humpback dolphins, one also has to consider what other impact the construction of these proposed offshore wind farms will have on the Humpback dolphins and other cetaceans in that area.
Much of upstate New York, from north of Albany to Buffalo, from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, is in danger of being transformed beyond recognition by industrial wind parks. Some 50 of these wind parks are being planned and even built.
All of this is being done in the name of clean energy and saving the planet. But it isn't clear that wind power is such a panacea in the battle against global warming that developers of these wind parks should be allowed to run roughshod over some of our loveliest land. What we need are statewide siting guidelines that take other environmental factors, including visual impacts, into consideration.
Wind power does not, in fact, live up to the claims made by its advocates. Its impact on the environment and people's lives is far from benign. Research also reveals that there is a very cozy relationship between fossil fuel plant owners and wind factory owners. The reason is simple: the more you build wind factories, the more you must build fossil fuel plants. Wind factories cannot operate without standby fossil fuel plants.
What a scam! They lead people to believe they replace fossil fuel plants, but the truth is that they perpetuate them! How soon people forget Enron's smoke-and-mirrors business plan.
If Jerry Patterson's vision of the Texas coast is one full of wind turbines, then perhaps Texas needs a new land commissioner.
Earlier this month, the National Academy of Science put forward some compelling evidence that industrial wind power has some serious flaws. Also, recent U.S. Congress hearings brought forth several expert testimonies that warn of a potential environmental disaster (birds, bats, etc.) due to poor siting of turbines and lack of accountability. There are gaping holes in the protection of wildlife, birds and bats in particular, from poorly sited, constructed and monitored wind turbines in both the U.S. and Canada.
Wind energy is an important renewable energy source. However, it is important to have a comprehensive plan for siting these high-tech wind facilities across New York state, in order to avoid any negative impacts upon surrounding areas. I have recently introduced legislation, S.4608, which seeks to study the need for a statewide comprehensive plan for siting wind facilities. Additionally, this bill would place an 18 month moratorium on any new construction or issuing of new permits for the construction of wind energy facilities, to enable the task force to complete its study and make recommendations.
America’s growing wind power industry is now facing new challenges — resistance to the wind turbines. Wind power critics have raised concerns about visual pollution, such as on Cape Cod and upstate New York where rows of wind turbines constructed or proposed can impact scenic skylines. America’s Defense Department has raised concern about the impact of multiple wind turbines on defense radar systems. Now, conservationists and coal advocates have asked Congress to seek an assessment of how many bats and birds are maimed or killed by wind turbines’ blades before the industry grows too large.
Rep. Alan Mollohan is proving refreshingly thoughtful and farsighted on one of the emerging issues facing West Virginia - the pros and cons of wind power.
He makes a persuasive case that the state should regulate its newest energy industry now.
On Tuesday, the 1st District congressman told a congressional subcommittee he is very concerned about the impact wind farms could have on the wildlife and natural beauty of the state......Mollohan is right. It's time to slow this heavily subsidized stampede.
"Does it seem odd to anyone but me that the April 2005 through March 2006 bird study shows exactly what Forward Energy was looking for - even though it was compiled and analyzed by people who have far less professional experience than those who have written studies that are contrary to this one," stated Dr. Kaspar. "Furthermore, the data does not support the conclusions."
But as the number of turbines grew into the hundreds and then the thousands, concern arose among residents, adjacent landowners and environmental groups.
Wind power can be a viable method of producing electricity, and it is widely considered a clean, safe and reliable source of energy. However, it does have adverse effects in locations such as the San Gorgonio Pass, including the loss of developable land and danger to local wildlife.
Wind-energy companies claim that they only use a fraction of the land, leaving the rest as open space. But in essence, modern wind-energy projects involve massive industrialization of undeveloped land. The newer turbines that have been installed in recent years are large, typically 100 meters (330 feet) tall. Indeed, some developers of future projects are proposing turbines that are 125 meters (410 feet) tall.
Local homeowners and adjacent landowners are the ones immediately affected, and they are now very active in opposing any new wind-energy projects. Other opposing parties are residential developers and the city of Desert Hot Springs. The latter sees a tangible loss of developable land south of Pierson Boulevard, an area the city is considering annexing for future growth.
In addition to the impact wind-energy projects have on land, the structures cause problems in the air as well. The tips of the turbine blades reach speeds of 200 mph to 300 mph, depending on wind speed, which can harm animals.
As a result of studies in other areas, such as Altamont Pass near San Francisco, we know that wind-energy systems cause deaths among many species, particularly raptors, owls and other migratory birds. A major concern for environmental groups, including The Sierra Club, is bird and bat mortality.
We want forms of alternative energy that do not pollute our planet and foster our dependence on foreign oil. But what choices are we given? The only one available is wind power. All of the others are on the back burner waiting for the funding and recognition that the wind lobbyists have usurped.
In order for us to get on the band wagon for this new industry we are made to feel un-American and un-Environmental if we even question it, much less don't buy into it.
But, these whitewashed green monsters kill wildlife and wildlife habitat. And whether we know it or not killing them, will kill us. When you kill the king, you kill the kingdom. When you save the king, you save the kingdom.
An alert was issued to the birding community in Maryland about a bill that has been proposed in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate that would expedite the construction of wind farms at will.
If you live in Maryland and care about the environment and wildlife, please contact your representatives in Annapolis and urge them to oppose this bill.
The bill would eliminate any requirement for any public review or notification — or even informing adjacent land owners whose property values could plummet. Nor would there be any environmental review of the impact on wildlife, endangered species, or forest fragmentation. All an applicant for a wind project would have to do is request a construction permit from the Public Service Commission.
Nobody is trying to keep wind farms out of the state — only to keep them subject to adequate review to ensure that the locations and construction methods that are chosen will not harm birds and other wildlife and plants.
A Feb. 2 letter by windpower industry lobbyist Frank Maisano ignored two major problems that industrial windplants face in Pennsylvania:
# Huge numbers of industrial-scale wind turbines will be needed to provide even a small fraction of the electricity we use (4,000 utility-scale turbines covering 500 miles of ridgeline to provide 10 percent of the commonwealth’s electricity).
# Because Pennsylvania’s winds are relatively modest, industrial windfarms are being built mostly on forested ridgetops to capture the most powerful winds. In the Keystone State, these ridgetops are our last strongholds of unfragmented forests and the unique species there.
Readers should be aware that Frank Maisano also was the spokesman for the Global Climate Coalition, a now-defunct umbrella group for companies opposed to the Kyoto treaty, and who dismissed the Kyoto Protocol as largely symbolic in nature.