Impact on Landscape and Maine
Once the Rollins project was built, Rainer and Gaby Engle of Switzerland, who bought their "American dream getaway," faced 21 turbines -- the sounds and sights of which dominated their lakeside experience. They lost their enjoyment in the property and listed their property for sale.
The vote to allow King's wind business was a very close one, with people most affected having no vote. There were no local jobs created with the exception of a single management position, and some electricity will be free as long as the project makes money.
We've spoken clearly. Our state government must defend the will of the people. A foreign corporation must not have greater rights than American citizens. Iberdrola should respect the resolve of the people and abandon its wind development plans for Lexington and Concord townships.
More and more Mainers, who earlier had bought into the simplistic conclusion that wind turbines in Maine are a wonderful "green" solution for our energy needs, are learning that, by and large, Maine is not getting a justifiable economic or energy return from the wind turbines that mar the landscape.
Maine's experience with is instructive. While everyone was worried about the "visual" pollution of 450-foot tall white towers sticking up four to five times higher than the surrounding forest, the most invasive aspect of wind turbines has actually been the incessant low frequency "thuds" that come from the blades as they rotate.
This has caused issues for the people who live within the sound's radius which, even in forested areas, is significantly further away than the quarter mile setback.
For years environmentalist fought ski areas over putting one lift up to a summit for thousands of skiers and riders to enjoy. Now some of these same environmentalists support desecrating entire ridge lines with heavy-duty roadways and giant wind turbines towering 400 to 450-feet with wing spans greater than a 747. I do not get it. How do these big white erections pass as "green"?
The facts are the facts and the science is very clear - mountaintop industrial wind destroys forests, lays waste to fragile mountaintops, alters mountain hydrology, causes soil erosion and heavy metal leaching, eliminates important wildlife habitat, kills birds and bats, and does NOT reduce carbon emissions. In addition, it destroys the wild, scenic quality and silence of the mountains with flashing red lights and industrial high and low frequency sounds.
How anyone could ignore something 410 feet high is beyond me. These turbines, however, are far more than visual eyesores: They are permanent scars on our mountainous landscapes.
First Wind LLC of Boston is going through the LURC permitting process right now to build an industrial wind turbine project that would consist of 27 forty-three story tall turbines overshadowing pristine lakes ...that total over 17,000 surface acres.
People opposed to the sacrifice of Maine's landscape have the deck stacked against them. Laws in place prevent citizens from challenging the economic and environmental assumptions used to justify wind power. The cumulative effects of multiple wind projects are ignored by the agencies responsible for protecting our environment and wildlife habitats.
How did this happen?
That natural treasure, which we voted to protect one generation ago, is once again in jeopardy. Once again the citizens of Maine need to let their voices be heard, and once again step forward and say "no" to a proposal to place a massive industrial wind complex on the very doorstep, and just a few short miles from the southeast corner of the Bigelow Preserve.
Currently, there are three industrial wind projects being planning between Mayfield Plantation and Sisk Mountain in Chain of Ponds Township. Those projects, along with the constructed Kibby project, would result in a combined total of at least 200 industrial wind turbines that would cover about 23 miles of mountaintops. ...Iindustrial wind development has a long reach when it comes to visual effect.
They looked like a line of alien invaders marching across the face of the earth. I believe I counted 31 of them using my binoculars, with several more showing just their blades cutting in the back drop. I thought how horrible they looked.
I wondered how Maine reached this precipice, where developers and politicians permanently scar beautiful Maine landscapes. It seemed a strange twist for a state that once had prided itself on financially sound, aesthetically pleasing development, and even outlawed billboards decades ago.
Haven't we learned anything from Mars Hill and Vinalhaven about sound and human impacts?
What kind of energy is really going to be produced to mitigate the impacts stated above?
The applicant offered to put 1,000 acres into conservation. The 1,000 acres just happens to surround the turbines and roads. Gee, thanks.
Concerns about this project need to be expressed to the DEP soon.
Developers of mountaintop industrial wind are touting many promised benefits - from reduced greenhouse gas emissions and decreased dependence on fossil fuels to a huge economic renaissance.
These are all false promises spun to enhance public acceptance.
If the 1,800 turbines were constructed, as much as 50,000 acres of carbon-sequestering forest would have to be clear-cut. In addition, the turbines require electricity to run, which does not come from the turbines and must be generated on site by diesel generators or brought in on separate power lines.
One study done in Colorado actually determined that wind power increased carbon emissions by 10 percent.
As an environmentalist, I have for decades supported a move away from our addiction to oil to more eco-friendly, renewable energy, including wind. However, when I hear the developers spin the tragic Gulf oil spill to justify their desire to use our tax dollars to destroy Maine mountaintops, with as many as 1,800 400-foot turbines spread over 360 miles, I am appalled by how this "justification" is so disingenuous.
People who want to stop average American citizens from exercising their right to "have a say" love to throw out the NIMBY tag, thinking it will shame those citizens into silence or make them look selfish; thereby turning public opinion against them.
That's not how I see it.
If using a huge amount of real estate to generate a tiny amount of energy from an intermittent energy source sounds deranged, consider, too, that we haven't yet found the Holy Grail for storing wind-generated energy. Wind is either an instant energy snack or a famine. It must be used when it's there or immediately replaced when it isn't."