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Listen to Freedom

But the launch of the Freedom turbines brings old adages to mind: "Buyer beware" and "the devil is in the details" ...Freedom threw out its commercial ordinance to make way for the windmills, leaving residents with no legal recourse should the sunny predictions of the developers fall short. It is also worth asking if Waldo County should welcome power plants selling exclusively out of state.

The recent history of wind energy is checkered with both giddy endorsements of our "green" future and horror stories from people whose lives have been ruined because they happened to live too close to a wind farm.

With one local wind project completed and a larger one on the horizon, now would be a good time to take stock and see what kind of utopia we're getting ourselves into.

The townspeople of Freedom spent the last two-and-a-half years wrestling with the costs and benefits of allowing an offshoot of Portland-based Competitive Energy Services to locate three 400-foot wind turbines on Beaver Ridge.

The turbines have been running for over a month, and according to Richard Silkman of CES, they have outperformed expectations both in the percentage of time that they are generating power and the efficiency of the turbines themselves.

From a global perspective, this is a gain, but local benefits are less clear.

Some nearby residents say they experience the strobing effect of "shadow flicker," and complain of a droning noise, at times double the maximum sound level projected by the developer.

By next year, Freedom should see a substantial increase in tax revenue as a result of the wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The recent history of wind energy is checkered with both giddy endorsements of our "green" future and horror stories from people whose lives have been ruined because they happened to live too close to a wind farm.

With one local wind project completed and a larger one on the horizon, now would be a good time to take stock and see what kind of utopia we're getting ourselves into.

The townspeople of Freedom spent the last two-and-a-half years wrestling with the costs and benefits of allowing an offshoot of Portland-based Competitive Energy Services to locate three 400-foot wind turbines on Beaver Ridge.

The turbines have been running for over a month, and according to Richard Silkman of CES, they have outperformed expectations both in the percentage of time that they are generating power and the efficiency of the turbines themselves.

From a global perspective, this is a gain, but local benefits are less clear.

Some nearby residents say they experience the strobing effect of "shadow flicker," and complain of a droning noise, at times double the maximum sound level projected by the developer.

By next year, Freedom should see a substantial increase in tax revenue as a result of the wind farm, but with all of the energy already contracted to a company that serves central and northern New Hampshire, Freedom residents hoping to partake of "green" energy will be left with the abstract thrill of pondering the windmills as they relate to sustainable energy.

Residents of Jackson, Thorndike and Dixmont have begun considering proposals from Beaver Ridge Wind's parent company Competitive Energy Services [doing business as Mt. Harris Wind, LLC], and separate inquiries from Joe Kennedy's Citizens Energy.

Like the residents of Freedom before, Jackson residents have been shrewd in their assessment of the potential wind projects. But the launch of the Freedom turbines brings old adages to mind: "Buyer beware" and "the devil is in the details" ...

As Steve Bennett of Freedom told Village NetMedia, wind energy may well be an important part of our energy program, but the effects on people need to be taken into consideration.

Whether the benefits of wind energy blind advocates to its faults, or wind is just another big business, it seems likely some developers will minimize the detriments to local people. And if the law doesn't require a study of the effects of shadow flicker or another side effect, don't expect the developers to bring it up.

Freedom threw out its commercial ordinance to make way for the windmills, leaving residents with no legal recourse should the sunny predictions of the developers fall short.

It is also worth asking if Waldo County should welcome power plants selling exclusively out of state.


Source: http://waldo.villagesoup.co...

DEC 12 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18223-listen-to-freedom
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