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Going green carefully in Dixmont

With all this concern about how to address global warming, we always seem to rely on some kind of "quick fix" solutions. Over the past 10 years, many so-called solutions have been proposed, but very few technologies have proved useful or cost effective. Then comes the "clean and green" movement with industrial-scale turbine projects being expedited by legislative action in the form of LD 2283.

With all this concern about how to address global warming, we always seem to rely on some kind of "quick fix" solutions. Over the past 10 years, many so-called solutions have been proposed, but very few technologies have proved useful or cost effective.

Then comes the "clean and green" movement with industrial-scale turbine projects being expedited by legislative action in the form of LD 2283.

At our home out here in the woods, we had decided to put up a turbine to assist in our energy production so that when the solar array cuts back in the winter months, the winter winds would spin our turbine and pick up the slack. Rated to produce 200 kilowatt-hours a month requiring 12 mph winds to reach that production rate, it seemed doable.

The town of Pittsfield was looking into getting one at the same time. I haven't checked with the town manager to see how it is doing in its contribution to their transfer station, but I fully remember her having doubts that it ever would pay for itself and if they hadn't received a $50,000 grant to get it going, the idea of a turbine would have ended up just being a nice thought.

It is the same with our turbine. In more than a year, we haven't even received the first 200... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

With all this concern about how to address global warming, we always seem to rely on some kind of "quick fix" solutions. Over the past 10 years, many so-called solutions have been proposed, but very few technologies have proved useful or cost effective.

Then comes the "clean and green" movement with industrial-scale turbine projects being expedited by legislative action in the form of LD 2283.

At our home out here in the woods, we had decided to put up a turbine to assist in our energy production so that when the solar array cuts back in the winter months, the winter winds would spin our turbine and pick up the slack. Rated to produce 200 kilowatt-hours a month requiring 12 mph winds to reach that production rate, it seemed doable.

The town of Pittsfield was looking into getting one at the same time. I haven't checked with the town manager to see how it is doing in its contribution to their transfer station, but I fully remember her having doubts that it ever would pay for itself and if they hadn't received a $50,000 grant to get it going, the idea of a turbine would have ended up just being a nice thought.

It is the same with our turbine. In more than a year, we haven't even received the first 200 kwh from it yet. But when I called the company we bought it from, the spokesman said, "Wow, you must have some good winds!" I'm confused; that rating is for a month, I asked him to explain the rating and he said that is just a number the manufacturer comes up with at a set speed. But that is not how wind works; it's never steady and there's no way to regulate it.

Nevertheless, it is supplemental at best and more important, these small-scale turbines responsibly offer a genuine green generator that is manageable, easy to lay down, requires no fossil fuel use, with no collateral damage required such as quality of life for people and wildlife. Also, they do not take power from the grid for rotation to protect bearings against heavy weight on the many occasions when the wind is blowing too slowly.

In other words, the technical differences between my turbine and the industrial-scale units is that mine has a longer life span, lower maintenance and doesn't try to be something it is not.

It is evident that many people still don't realize what wind technology is really all about. Fifty thousand acres of cleared mountain ridges for a 4 percent contribution to the grid at approximately $4 million per unit (two-thirds of which is subsidized with our tax dollars) doesn't seem low impact or worth the taxpayers' investment, especially when these units can be depreciated on the books after only five years, giving the owners a huge tax advantage.

At a town meeting, one of the developers of CES told us here in Dixmont that our planning board has written an ordinance to regulate industrial-scale turbines that essentially bans them from coming to our town. Many of us have taken the time to investigate wind technology as well as attending many planning board meetings to be involved. The developers don't like it, but we've been kicking the tires for more than a year and what they are selling isn't passing the sniff test (www.dixmontwind.org).

We asked if the units use fossil fuels at all and his answer was; "200 gallons per unit in so many hours of operation requirement for lubrication." Sorry guys, that doesn't sound 100 percent efficient. What motivation does he have to make sure our town and its people remain safe when the current president is throwing all our tax dollars into a pig trough for industrial-scale turbines? Smaller scale designs can be done to fit host communities. Scale matters and we have other options with wind power and other renewable designs that are safe.

We need to ask ourselves what we have been conditioned to see, to think and believe and if it sustains what we value as we carefully go green.

Carolyn R. Dodge of Dixmont is a natural herbalist. She designed and built her off-the-grid home with her husband and two children. Her family offers a tour of their home in Dixmont every May 30.


Source: http://www.bangordailynews....

DEC 8 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23515-going-green-carefully-in-dixmont
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