Article

Location is key

As chairman of Responsible Citizens for Responsible Energy (RCRE), our stand has never been to ban wind turbines from Carteret County. As our name implies, our main goal is to obtain responsible siting in the pending ordinance. It is our elected and appointed officials responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Carteret County by adopting an ordinance which mandates a safe and responsible setback of wind turbines from neighboring homes and properties.

I'm writing to ask folks who care about our county's future to contact Carteret County planning commissioners and attend the meeting on Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. at the commissioners' boardroom and urge them to SPEAK UP and tell the commissioners to be extremely careful when they finally adopt the new ordinance governing "wind turbines," not windmills.

As chairman of Responsible Citizens for Responsible Energy (RCRE), our stand has never been to ban wind turbines from Carteret County. As our name implies, our main goal is to obtain responsible siting in the pending ordinance. It is our elected and appointed officials responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Carteret County by adopting an ordinance which mandates a safe and responsible setback of wind turbines from neighboring homes and properties.

I have been to eight wind farms in three states in the past month - one in Vermont, five in Pennsylvania and two in West Virginia. One thing in common at all these wind farms is that they are located in remote areas. The wind farm in Searsburg, Vt., was very high on a ridge. A sign out front stated that turbines were... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I'm writing to ask folks who care about our county's future to contact Carteret County planning commissioners and attend the meeting on Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. at the commissioners' boardroom and urge them to SPEAK UP and tell the commissioners to be extremely careful when they finally adopt the new ordinance governing "wind turbines," not windmills.

As chairman of Responsible Citizens for Responsible Energy (RCRE), our stand has never been to ban wind turbines from Carteret County. As our name implies, our main goal is to obtain responsible siting in the pending ordinance. It is our elected and appointed officials responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Carteret County by adopting an ordinance which mandates a safe and responsible setback of wind turbines from neighboring homes and properties.

I have been to eight wind farms in three states in the past month - one in Vermont, five in Pennsylvania and two in West Virginia. One thing in common at all these wind farms is that they are located in remote areas. The wind farm in Searsburg, Vt., was very high on a ridge. A sign out front stated that turbines were installed in the early '90s and were relatively small at only about 200 feet. Could not even get close because there was a guard with a locked gate. Again, the closest homes here were at least two miles away.

Only at one farm in Pennsylvania at Bear Creek did I witness a house that was possibly as close as a quarter mile from one of the turbines. Other than that, at all the other wind farms, the homes were half a mile or more away, except the homes of the managers or owners of the land. At Bear Creek, Pa., I also talked to a homeowner, a gentleman in his '50s who informed me that there was a native trout stream in the forest that he had fished in since he was a boy. Despite alerting the wind turbine developers of the vulnerability of the trout stream, it was destroyed. It is now full of silt and mud runoff and there are no more fish and nothing is being done to correct it.

Waymart Wind Farm near Scranton, Pa., is right next to a very large state prison on a ridgeline. An armed guard came out when I took a couple of pictures, almost confiscated my camera and told me to leave. I was parked on the side of a public road.

The second thing is you can hear them quite easily, especially at night. I went to the Meyersdale wind farm at 3 a.m. and parked my car six-tenths of a mile downwind from the wind farm (22 turbines) and I could easily hear them from that distance. The sounds from the blades would sometimes synchronize and sound like an oncoming jet that never arrives. I had read and heard statements to this fact, but never witnessed it until that night. When they were not synchronized I just heard the regular swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of the blades.

At Somerset wind farm, also in Pennsylvania, I could easily hear the turbines from the upwind side, parked on the road a quarter-mile away and about 400 feet below the ridge. Believe me, you don't want to listen to this sound when you are trying to go to sleep.

In Thomas, W.Va., the Mountaineer wind farm project is built right next to a large quarry and on a ridgeline. Down in the valley are some farms about a half-mile or more away. Also in West Virginia near the town of Mt. Storm they are currently erecting a wind farm. I talked to a police officer on guard at the gate who told me that they have already put up 146 turbines with an expected total of 187 turbines. These are all large-scale utility turbines, 300-400 feet tall. I told the officer who I was and why I was there and what the situation was in Carteret County and he told me, "You don't want these near your home. They do make noise, especially when it is foggy and/or damp and they can be heard quite a way off."

Another thing I noticed during my tour of the wind farms is that most of the time they are not running. The only wind farm where all the turbines were running was Meyersdale, Pa. Everywhere else, the turbines were mostly stopped or running very slowly with occasionally one running at approximately 20 rpm. Also, at least four of the wind farms - three in Pennsylvania and one in West Virginia - are owned by Florida Power and Light (FPL Energy). FPL is the largest owner of wind farms in 15 states yet it does not have a single wind turbine in the state of Florida.

So, you can see that these wind turbines are not put close to residential or rural homes. Occasionally you will read of some town that will put one next to a school. If Hull, Mass., or the Massachusetts Marine Academy or some school in Iowa wants to risk the health and lives of their children on the grounds that it "can be used as an educational tool," then so be it. Whoever of you wants to step up and take responsibility for the life of somebody's child by pushing to have these put on school grounds in order to save money, that is a choice you will have to live with the rest of your life if one of those turbines should happen to break or self-destruct, or attract lightening. I am not going to take that responsibility and nobody should have to in order to accommodate the latest in renewable technology that only produces electricity about 24% of the time.

You are right, there is a "wind rush" going on all over the country, but the rush is to get tax incentive dollars and green credits and carbon credits that can be sold for large profits in order to keep other dirty industries running in this country.

Anybody that thinks that putting a few hundred 400- to 500-foot-tall wind turbines along the Highway 70 corridor in Down East Carteret County or in the other counties on the Eastern Shore of North Carolina is not industrialization has obviously never seen industrialization.

These units weigh 150 to almost 200 tons, depending on size, not counting the hundreds of yards of concrete that have to be poured for the foundation. Each site destroys a minimum of five acres during construction and this does not supply jobs - don't believe it no matter who tells you. All the labor during construction is brought in by specialized companies. The only jobs permanently might be a watchman or mechanic.

If you want to call us overly concerned citizens because we care for our health, safety and property values, then so be it, but never call us NIMBYs because as I read in the paper most of the people who want these wind turbines live in Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Chapel Hill or Raleigh or somewhere else where there is no possibility of these turbines being erected nearby, unless of course they own the land on which the turbines are going to be erected.

I have yet to meet a proponent of wind turbines, even the representatives on stage at the community college meeting, if any of them lived within a mile of an industrial wind turbine. The representatives just looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders and said "no."

And no, your electric rates are not going to go down either. They will go up whether they put the wind farms up or not as it is stated in Senate Bill 3. The only ones here that have a golden goose are the wind farm developers.

The author is Chairman of Responsible Citizens for Responsible Energy


Source: http://www.carteretnewstime...

AUG 17 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/16572-location-is-key
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