Maine and New Hampshire
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"?
I fear greatly the rush to turn its high ground into an electrical generator for out-of-state interests. I think Gov. John Baldacci is way off base in his unbridled support of this frantic race for government handouts that will enrich a greedy few at the expense of many ... including wildlife that can't speak for itself.
Mr. Carter's clear and thoughtful commentary against industrial-grade wind developments should speak loudly to citizens of Maine.
Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in "farms," that's an average of 238 per state, or more than one for each town in Connecticut. The cost would be $221 billion that the states don't have, though they might get a bulk-purchase discount of a billion or two.
The [New England] region's power system has had a long history of dependability, but electricity costs have been an issue for businesses and residents for decades. As the region plans ahead, New England's policymakers face a series of decisions that will have an abiding impact on our energy future. ...Economic, reliability and environmental goals are not always perfectly aligned when it comes to electricity generation and transmission. Whatever path policymakers choose to take will require trade-offs. How New England officials balance these sometimes conflicting goals will demonstrate our priorities, impact the regional economy and determine which objectives we can realistically achieve.
Although the approach is too late for projects that have already begun a federal review process, a dozen New England congressmen and senators have asked for help from the Department of Energy in coordinating a regional approach to siting liquefied natural gas facilities. Reps. Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have both signed on to this request, which makes sense for future energy projects.
Energy efficiency is by no means a permanent solution, but it should be a permanent part of the solution. Sensible energy use, combined with new power resources, is the only workable answer for New England.
My viewpoint was, and still is, that the huge towers (260 feet high), gigantic blades (add another 150 feet), blinking strobe lights, permanent removal of wind-hindering vegetation, and highly visible road and transmission infrastructures are totally inappropriate for wild, undeveloped, scenic and highly visible settings. And I said I thought that opponents should focus on those issues, as well as the small return in electricity for the massive public price paid, aesthetically and otherwise, and should perhaps stay away from the issue of bird mortality caused by the rapidly spinning blades. The jury is still out on that, I said, and conventional wisdom is that vastly more birds are killed by high-rise windows and free-running cats......Well, so much for conventional wisdom.
Editor's Note This opinion piece was written in response to a letter received from Lisa Linowes that is available via the link below.