Thanks to legislation passed a year ago, some wind-generation projects, such as the one Clipper Windpower Inc. wants to erect on Backbone Mountain, qualify for what is referred to as "fast-track approval," a move designed to circumvent much of the resistance created by those who are opposed to wind farms. Besides all of the negatives concerning wind turbines mentioned over and over again at hearings and in the columns of this and other newspapers (noise, inefficiency, blinking lights, potential threats to wildlife, etc.), at least one more emerged recently from the mayor and town councils of both Mountain Lake Park and Loch Lynn. It happens that the proposed turbines for Backbone Mountain will be located above the area of the towns' primary water supply (the Landon's dam reservoir). At least one expert says that the use of explosives to make way for the bases of the turbines could truly threaten the water supply.
... a critical analysis of the workings of our region's electricity grid reveals that industrial wind energy development within Appalachia belies its "green" reputation. ...Wind turbines will not lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law requires that 9.5 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources (basically from wind) by 2019, with a bump to 20 percent likely.
Do the math. Meeting the aggressive RPS goals of Maryland and other states in the PJM grid region will require the permanent destruction of hundreds of miles of forested Appalachian ridgelines to accommodate thousands of wind turbines.
Is it worth it? Hardly.
Industrial wind is perhaps the silliest modern energy idea imaginable. In the final analysis, it's a faith-based proposition, requiring people to close their minds and clap their hands to revive it from a life-and-death struggle against unbelief, bringing the technology back from the oblivion that the steam engine consigned it to hundreds of years ago.
Throwing vast amounts of the public's treasure down the rathole of wind is to deny investment in infinitely more effective technologies -- such as nuclear -- that will preserve the energy requirements of modernity. It is incredibly irresponsible.
I am for "property rights" as much as anyone else, but unless I have been living on a different planet than Commissioner Holliday, I do not believe that I can do whatever I want with my property. If that were the case, our natural landscape and environment would be in a very sorry state today. ...Let us face the facts: The real issue here is not "property rights," wind turbines, or anything else that makes any logical sense. All the logical arguments have been presented to no avail. The commissioners have the power now to regulate industrial wind, but choose not to.
That predatory wind operatives, who provide no meaningful product or service, would sacrifice these mountains for their narrow self-interest is outrageous. ...Synergics Wind LLC has clear-cut and bulldozed hundreds of acres around Roth Rock, without securing grading permits beforehand and in areas well-known for harboring state-endangered species. Synergics has not applied for or received any construction permit from the Maryland Public Service Commission, as required.
In any reasonable calculus, the state should insist that electricity be reliable, affordable to all, and secure. Moreover, it should aim to replace aging electricity infrastructure with systems that produce high levels of capacity value. And it should seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in electricity production.
So-called "renewables" like wind and solar are inimical to all these goals.
The excellent letter by Dorothy K. Biggs leaves unsaid what must be said ("County shouldn't let US Wind Force write its own regulations," May 16 Times-News).
We really need to know all about the dealings which the Allegany County commissioners have had with U.S. Wind Force, LLC.
What do you plan to do with the commissioners' request for [wind turbine] setback authority? ...Today's land-use challenges cannot be met by silence, ignorance, and obfuscation. Accountability and leadership are needed at the state level. With the passage of SB566, this is no longer a matter of local concern, and you know it. You have a historic responsibility to provide leadership where none now exists.
Frank Maisano's job, for which he is well-paid, is to trick communities and local officials into believing that erecting hundreds of wind turbines throughout Garrett County will somehow make life better here. It is a job repeatedly performed by him and other industry-financed promoters in rural areas throughout the country. ...My job, for which I am paid nothing and have no financial interest, is to attempt to educate people concerning the reality of this fundamentally exploitative business and the consequences of succumbing to its false promises.
I generally support the use of wind power as a source of cleaner energy, but this project seems dubious to me. One concern with wind power is what effect turbines may have on birds in a particular location, particularly during migration. The most obvious threat is the possibility of birds hitting the turbines. A more insidious threat is the reduction of habitat by 400 acres, and the degradation of surrounding forest with the introduction of more edge areas. Answering that concern would require significant field research; I would hope that the DNR would have that data on hand before granting permission for the project. My second concern is the use of public land for private gain. ...Overall, I think this is one project that the DNR should drop.
Sentiment against the proposal is running deep and strong. ...
While we are all for the "green" movement and alternative forms of energy, we agree with opponents who are worried about what 40-story high windmills will do the aesthetics of Garrett County. As was pointed out at the hearing, structures of that height easily dwarf anything else in Garrett County, including the seven Wisp ski resort. ...Before the project can go forward, the Department of Natural Resources has to adopt a policy on whether to allow turbines on state lands.
The state's forests in Garrett County are among the most beautiful and pristine sites in Maryland. Marring them with skyscraper wind turbines would seriously mar that beauty.