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Panel debates wind power

It qualified as a wind-wind situation, the gathering on the Frostburg State University campus on a breezy Saturday during which folks with differing opinions discussed the future of Western Maryland's zephyrs and the energy turbines they may or may not spin. Competing with a nearby bagpipe band, whose members were, coincidentally, playing wind instruments, the panel of four was part of the annual Appalachian Festival.

Spinning turbines good, or bad, depending on who you talk to

It qualified as a wind-wind situation, the gathering on the Frostburg State University campus on a breezy Saturday during which folks with differing opinions discussed the future of Western Maryland's zephyrs and the energy turbines they may or may not spin.

Competing with a nearby bagpipe band, whose members were, coincidentally, playing wind instruments, the panel of four was part of the annual Appalachian Festival.

Charlie Garlow, a lawyer who is a member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, spoke favorably about wind power, saying that the vision of them atop ridges makes him think that they are sentinels guarding our mountains.

Garlow explained, saying that the use of wind turbines may actually save mountains that would otherwise be subject to a coal mining operation known as mountaintop removal. The Morgantown, W.Va., native said when he sees turbines they say to him that they are a sign that people care enough to try to save the Earth. "What's not pretty about them?" he asked the few in attendance.

"Wind power is not impact free, but it has fewer impacts than the other power generators," Garlow said. "They are slow and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Spinning turbines good, or bad, depending on who you talk to

It qualified as a wind-wind situation, the gathering on the Frostburg State University campus on a breezy Saturday during which folks with differing opinions discussed the future of Western Maryland's zephyrs and the energy turbines they may or may not spin.

Competing with a nearby bagpipe band, whose members were, coincidentally, playing wind instruments, the panel of four was part of the annual Appalachian Festival.

Charlie Garlow, a lawyer who is a member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, spoke favorably about wind power, saying that the vision of them atop ridges makes him think that they are sentinels guarding our mountains.

Garlow explained, saying that the use of wind turbines may actually save mountains that would otherwise be subject to a coal mining operation known as mountaintop removal. The Morgantown, W.Va., native said when he sees turbines they say to him that they are a sign that people care enough to try to save the Earth. "What's not pretty about them?" he asked the few in attendance.

"Wind power is not impact free, but it has fewer impacts than the other power generators," Garlow said. "They are slow and graceful. There are 20 studies that show that each turbine kills two, three, maybe four birds per year."

Garlow called the people in the wind energy industry good hearted.

That is not how they were described by Jon Boone, a frequent critic of wind turbines. "There is no penalty for lying," Boone said, referring to the wind industry representatives.

Boone attacked the reliability of wind turbines for providing consistent energy. "It is proven that you can't store energy in bulk," Boone said, adding that turbines will not produce electricity when it is needed.

"Wind turbines have a massive footprint. They transform the landscape, reduce nearby property values and create relentless noise."

Boone contended that the wind energy industry successfully lobbied Maryland legislators to create regulations with reduced scrutiny for projects smaller than 70 megawatts. "Every wind project you see proposed in Maryland will now come in at fewer than 70 megawatts," he said.

David Friend, a vice president for U.S. Wind Force, LLC, reminded those in attendance of the "ominous predictions for blackouts" based upon the projected demand and supply of electricity.

"Every megawatt hour produced by something other than wind takes place because something is burned," Friend said.

Friend also disagreed with the statement that wind is not a predictable producer of energy.

"Wind ramps down slowly. Wind turbines produce energy 98 percent of the time," he said.

Friend said wind energy developers do not want to shut down coal or hydro energy, but want their product to become a part of the overall electricity production package.

Eric Moore, a physicist at FSU, said the university's stance is to take a look at the possibility of each and every method of electricity. He encouraged everyone to begin thinking about sustainable living, to consider what can be done on the local level to provide energy when massive multi-state energy grids falter.

"We are interested in wind energy not on just the industrial scale, but also at the residential level," Moore said.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/l...

SEP 21 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/17173-panel-debates-wind-power
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