General and USA
Over the past few days, there have been two unrelated but promising developments, both in New England, in the debate over wind power. The first was a finding by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that a wind project slated for construction in Massachusetts coastal waters would inflict "pervasive" and "destructive" harm on the seabed and on neighboring historic properties. The second was a decision by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission prohibiting the purchase of power from eight wind turbines also to be situated in coastal waters.
It figures to be a doozy, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a debate over the economic, environmental and social impact of a giant wind farm that would turn 32,000 acres of the county's densely populated farmland into a Don Quixote-like landscape dotted with 400-foot tall wind turbines, capped by rotors the size of football fields.
Chinese wind power provider A-Power Energy Generation Systems(SPWR) and its U.S.-based partners announced on Thursday plans to build a wind turbine production and assembly plant in Nevada that will create up to 1,000 permanent jobs for the state and more jobs during the construction phase.
The announcement about the Nevada plant was notable for two reasons: the selection of Nevada as home state for the wind energy plant, and the political power broker who is associated with the state.
Supporters of the wind farm need to honestly ask themselves whether they would like to have 130 huge turbines planted on their favorite public space, whether it be a mountain ridge in Vermont, a canyon in the Southwest, or an ocean vista off Key West.
With a footprint larger than Manhattan, with turbines each the size of the Statue of Liberty, this industrial project is out of place in an area that borders marine sanctuaries on all sides.
Nantucket Sound is a national treasure and it must be protected at all costs.
Money spent on wind turbines from China will not jump-start an industry in America.
The whole point of the federal government's stimulus program is to create jobs. In America.
Unfortunately, that's not how it's working out, according to four U.S. senators who raise concerns that should not be ignored.
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I cannot believe that it took four Democratic senators to hit the White House mule with a 2 by 4 on such an obvious matter of good politics and policy yesterday, but kudos to Bob Casey, Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, and Chuck Schumer for insisting that funds from the 2009 stimulus bill be used to create American jobs, not foreign ones.
Back in the 1950s, the standard Western movie would include a scene in which some dignitary from Washington would meet with an Indian chief and his council in the hope of resolving grievances that had sent the Indians on the warpath. The other day, we got a replay of that scene when a real-life government dignitary sailed into Nantucket Sound with a group of Wampanoag Indians for the ostensible purpose of resolving their grievances.
"Wind cannot be relied upon to provide firm generation at full capacity coincident with peak demand." warns Hertzmark. "Wind might be capable of contributing to the peak demand requirements at some times. However, this will rarely happen - and when it does, it will be for brief periods. For significant periods of time, no households will be served by the wind farms." Nor have either of the worlds "wind leaders" - Denmark and Germany - decommissioned any fossil fuel plants.
The editorial, "Wind is worth it" (Jan. 6) reminded me of my father's musing over a college student friend of my brother's who came to dinner and stayed four years. Walter would compliment my Dad's skill at the grill and the prime cut. "It's worth the extra money," he'd say.
My Dad would quip, "Of course it's worth the extra money when I'm paying for it."
Environmentalists are more openly at odds over two goals: the preservation of wide open spaces vs. the use of public lands for renewable energy projects.
The boosters of renewable energy development won a victory last week when the Bureau of Land Management announced that 31 proposed projects have been put on the fast track for approval.
But there are battlegrounds like the Mojave Desert in California.
On the surface it is easy to support green energy, but not every location works, particularly one that industrializes a national treasure and tramples the religious rights of Native Americans.
The National Park Service is right: Nantucket Sound is a culturally, environmentally and historically significant national treasure, one that deserves protection on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cape Wind could not have picked a worse location to crowd with 130 massive steel towers.
Residential insurance rates are a valid consideration, and one that ought to be examined, especially by those homeowners who will be directly affected by the turbines, which will include living within the blade throw, ice throw, fire, lightning, environmental spill hazards, etc. of a commercial wind turbine.
Since this setback issue is new for the insurance companies, actuaries for the insurance companies will be figuring out the exposure.
The big problem is that practically nobody understands how electricity works. It is pathetic to see and hear the amount of misinformation being bandied about concerning the ideas for replacing crude oil and coal.
The electric co-ops have tried for years to tactfully inform us that we have to use coal. People are apparently not listening.
I have been advocating for wind power for decades. I never thought I would see the day when I would be opposing wind power development. However, the current frantic rush to install industrial wind on every viable mountaintop is both shortsighted and ecologically damaging. All one has to do is look at the impact of the Kibby TransCanada industrial wind operation in the remote Boundary Mountains of western Maine. This is nothing more than industrial wind mountaintop removal.
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Attorney General Martha Coakley was quoted Nov. 17 in The Cape Cod Times: "We are running out of time to look at what we need to do for alternative energies." The article went on about Cape Wind and wind turbines as if commercial wind turbines are the only renewable energy resource in the world.
Who made the decision to bypass other sources of renewable energy such as photovoltaic, geothermal or heat exchangers?
We have wasted eight years in Massachusetts on the permitting process for 130 commercial wind turbines.
President Obama has repeatedly stated that his stimulus package has "saved or created" hundreds of thousands of jobs. And hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created. In Unicornland.
According to the Recovery.gov website - a website that the Obama administration has spent $18 million "stimulating" - millions have been spent and hundreds of jobs have been created in heretofore unknown areas of America ...The biggest problem, amazingly enough, isn't the Obama administration's incredible creation of districts from scratch. It's the Obama administration's use of stimulus funds to pay off its political allies.
In the last six months, I have devoted most of my time to wind energy because of all the recent development activity in the region. Part of my program entails delivering seminars and workshops on the topic. It always surprises me the false impressions or myths that some people have about wind energy and its potential.
AWEA CEO Denise Bode seems mildly disappointed by the numbers. Citing a slowdown in manufacturing of turbine components, Bode described the industry as "swimming upstream."
The contrary current may get even stronger if my recent visit to upstate New York is any indication. Arriving for a family visit, I found that I'd landed in the midst of an uproar over wind farms, both built and proposed.