Christopher West’s commentary from Jan. 21 (“Botetourt wind farm should be approved”) was one-sided, misleading, and a poor attempt to spin a case for wind turbines in Botetourt County. It demands a response.
Most adults will recall the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In the story, two incompetent weavers promise to make the emperor a new suit of clothes they claim is invisible to all those who are unfit or too stupid to see. The weavers were con men who didn’t make any clothes at all but somehow led many people to “believe” the clothes were invisible. No one dared to admit the emperor was naked except for a small child who declared that the King was in fact naked.
Mr. West and other wind energy salespersons claim that wind turbines are the answer to our energy needs. They spin “harnessing the wind” and want us to see what is not there. Large scale industrial wind projects are NOT farms, and they are not clean, or good for the environment. Those claims are simply salesmanship. They falsely claim giant wind turbines are “just as good as solar,” that Rocky Forge is “ideally suited” for turbines on a “remote track of land in northern Botetourt County.” Isn’t it the rural beauty of Botetourt County that continues to draw people to it? Why would we want to destroy the beauty of the mountain ridge lines in one of the most natural and scenic areas of the county with industrial turbines which at 680 feet would be some of the tallest turbines ever built?
Mr. West states “the project would generate enough power for up to 21,000 homes.” He failed to mention that the turbines will not store any of the power generated in Botetourt County, or that none of the power generated will be used in Botetourt County, or that a sizeable proportion of the power generated will be lost in transmission, or how much oil is dumped into the mountains when turbines fail, or the frequency of fires associated with wind turbine failures. Wind turbines are not new. There are thousands of them in California, but while many of them are still standing, many are not functioning. They are useless and too expensive to remove.
Mr. West and his associates are weavers who only want to show us what they want us to see, just like in the fairytale. They assume citizens are too stupid and gullible to notice what is really driving this proposed industrial complex. Their motivation is not “clean” energy generation; their motivation is greed. They and the land owners for this proposed project are seeking millions of dollars in compensation and profits.
Citizens and voters need to ask questions. These spinmeisters are attempting to con you into seeing something that is not there. Once they start the project, it will be too late. These wind turbines will not be effective, clean or good for Botetourt County.
Speak up now. Stop them while you still can.
Hanes is the retired director of the Norfolk Southern Railway Police Department. He lives in Roanoke County.