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Commission: 'Need more facts' about wind farms

Saying the Mineral County Commissioners "need more facts" in regard to the ongoing controversy over wind farms, Pamela Dodds and Judy O'Hara of the Allegheny Front Alliance spoke to the officials at length Tuesday in an attempt to debunk several claims being made by proponents of wind energy. "I believe you need some more facts in order to better understand the claims that are being made," Dodds said. "U.S. Wind Force has made sweeping claims that are inaccurate and misleading."

KEYSER - Saying the Mineral County Commissioners "need more facts" in regard to the ongoing controversy over wind farms, Pamela Dodds and Judy O'Hara of the Allegheny Front Alliance spoke to the officials at length Tuesday in an attempt to debunk several claims being made by proponents of wind energy.

"I believe you need some more facts in order to better understand the claims that are being made," Dodds said. "U.S. Wind Force has made sweeping claims that are inaccurate and misleading."

Dodds' comments covered a wide range of issues, from the amount of electricity that is actually used in West Virginia to the dangers to wildlife.

"There is no need for new generating electric facilities in West Virginia," she
said, noting that "approximately 70 percent of the electricity produced in West Virginia goes out-of-state."

She also noted that the wind turbines, billed as a "green" method of reducing the consumption of other energies, is actually dependent upon electricity from the existing grid to operate oil heaters, gearboxes, and other components.

"If electricity is not supplied for these components, disasters can occur, such as ice throws when the blades are not... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

KEYSER - Saying the Mineral County Commissioners "need more facts" in regard to the ongoing controversy over wind farms, Pamela Dodds and Judy O'Hara of the Allegheny Front Alliance spoke to the officials at length Tuesday in an attempt to debunk several claims being made by proponents of wind energy.

"I believe you need some more facts in order to better understand the claims that are being made," Dodds said. "U.S. Wind Force has made sweeping claims that are inaccurate and misleading."

Dodds' comments covered a wide range of issues, from the amount of electricity that is actually used in West Virginia to the dangers to wildlife.

"There is no need for new generating electric facilities in West Virginia," she
said, noting that "approximately 70 percent of the electricity produced in West Virginia goes out-of-state."

She also noted that the wind turbines, billed as a "green" method of reducing the consumption of other energies, is actually dependent upon electricity from the existing grid to operate oil heaters, gearboxes, and other components.

"If electricity is not supplied for these components, disasters can occur, such as ice throws when the blades are not heated during winter and total destruction of the blades if a brake does not work to stop the turbine during wind speeds exceeding 57 miles per hour," she said.

"This additional use from coal-fired generating plants obviously causes even more carbon dioxide emissions."

Dodds also said that U.S. Wind Force estimations of a 35 percent operating capacity for the turbines in inaccurate, and that PJM - the operator of the grid which serves this area - has "now assigned a capacity factor of only 13 percent to wind facilities based on 18 years of observed performance."

And while coal-fired generating facilities are required to maintain a reserve of electricity that can be available during times of non-operation or emergency, Dodds says wind farms are not capable of producing those reserves.

"The operators of wind plants must therefore purchase the reserve from a reliable source, such as a coal-fired generating plant," she said.

Dodds also spoke of the affect on the spinning wind turbines on the numerous species of bats which inhabit West Virginia.

Referring to a 44-turbine wind farm located in nearby Tucker County, Dodds said, "At the Mountaineer wind site, approximately 3,000 bats are killed each year by the wind turbines.

"Recent studies show that as part of their mating behavior, male bats ascend to the tallest trees," she said. "They evidently regard the turbine towers as the highest trees and are killed during their ascent.

"Now a lot of people don't care about bats; I understand that," she said. "But bats are useful.

"A single bat can eat over 4,500 insects in one single night."

Noting that the West Virginia Natural Resources Law states that it is "illegal to kill, destroy ... wound or injure any wildlife" in West Virginia, Dodds said the Public Service Commission, if it approves the Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage, "is effectively allowing U.S. Wind Force to break the law."

Dodds also spoke of the effect the wind farm would have on the soil, ground water, and the condition of the roadways.

O'Hara centered most of her comments around the issue of decommissioning or removal of the turbines once they have reached the end of their useful life.

Questioning whether U.S. Wind Force would make good on their promise to set aside enough money to allow for the removal of the old turbines, she expressed her displeasure that, while Wind Force representatives had said "decommissioning is typically addressed as part of the leasing process," the leases are considered private documents and are not released to the public.

O'Hara told the commissioners that she is in favor of seeking green energy, "but this is not really green energy. It's green tax credits."

David Friend and Jim Cookman, representing U.S. Wind Force, were present at the commission meeting for the Allegheny Front Alliance presentation, but made no comment.


Source: http://www.newstribune.info...

JUL 16 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21238-commission-need-more-facts-about-wind-farms
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