Saturday, December 25, 2010
Standing Up and Speaking out-- Even on Christmas Eve
The following letter was printed in the December 24th issue of the Waterville (Maine) Morning Sentinel. The author is a man whose home is approximately ½ mile from the three-turbine wind energy plant at Beaver Ridge in Freedom, which was developed--and is owned by--Patriot Renewables.
“Once again the “wind facts” get distorted by the press. In the newspaper’s Dec. 19 issue, another story was written as if it were the truth. It was stated that 1 megawatt of wind energy would power 750 to 1,000 homes. One might be impressed by that ratio — if it were true.
“What the writer failed to mention is that the capacity factor of wind energy is never more than 30 percent, even in the windiest of places. The wind doesn’t blow hard enough to get production higher than 30 percent of its nameplate over the course of a year. Applying the 30 percent factor to the author’s number gives us a more honest estimate of 225-300 homes per megawatt of installed wind power.
“Was this a mistake of a reporter not doing his homework, or was it a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader?
“The truth about wind power is even worse. On those many days when the wind doesn’t blow at all, no homes are powered by wind. Wind energy is not dependable, thus requiring a baseload source to be available and working at all times.
“Wind is only an expensive, feel-good supplement, requiring an operating reserve.
“Maine doesn’t need more electric energy; Maine needs cheaper electric energy. There are many less expensive and far more dependable solutions to Maine’s energy problems than wind.
“When researching wind development, one learns that developers aren’t mining the wind as much as they are mining our federal tax dollars. The property taxes that towns and counties get back from the turbines are just federal taxes being recycled — only in much smaller amounts.
“I call upon Gov.-elect Paul LePage and our new Republican-majority Legislature to practice the fiscal responsibility for which Mainers finally voted.”
Please feel free to click the Morning Sentinel link (above) to view the comments which were written online in response to this letter. I have met and spoken with Steve several times. He and his wife Judy have been involved in this conflict for longer than I have, and they have sacrificed much. They have earned my utmost respect and admiration. If nothing else comes of this battle to do what is right, and prudent, and rational--I will still be blessed. Blessed to have met a multitude of Mainers who are not so intimidated by Big Business and Big Government that they aren’t willing to make sacrifices for what they believe in. That they aren’t so cowed as to be unwilling to speak out. For speaking out is what we all must do—and what we haven’t done enough of in recent years. Below is my own comment to Steve’s Letter to the Editor of the Morning Sentinel.
The wind industry has, for many years, uttered the same rhetoric, over and over. "Wind is not 'the' answer, but is a necessary part of the mix." "Adding wind power will reduce our dependence on those who are plotting our destruction." "Wind is not the silver bullet, but it IS 'silver buckshot'." "Wind energy in Maine will help to bring our soldiers home." "Wind will contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, helping to counter global warming." “Maine is the Saudi Arabia of wind.”
But are these statements FACTS?
Unbiased scientists and economists are saying ‘No’.
Versions of this 'sales pitch' have been added here by people commenting on Mr. Bennett's letter. Personally, I wonder if these writers have a 'stake' in the game... if they are either employed by the wind industry or by a contractor who is building a project, or if they are land owners who are hoping for monetary gain from an industrial wind development. Their answers are simply too pat to belong to independent thinkers. I have found that every time citizens with no financial stake in industrial wind take the time to do individual and independent research on this issue, they come up with the same response: Adding expensive and unreliable wind energy to the mix is not a practical thing to do. And when the enormous environmental and health-related issues are added into the equation, mountaintop industrial wind shows itself to be a very poorly crafted plan for this state.
Someone should not be discounted for protecting his ‘back yard’. This world and its problems are great, and humans simply do not have the capacity to involve themselves in every single issue which plaques our planet and its inhabitants. But it is only natural for us to protect our home turf. That is inherent in every living thing, whether human or wild. If WE do not stand up and make our voices heard when our health, quality of life, or financial stability are threatened, who will?
I admire those Mainers who have been diligent enough to do their homework, research this topic, and then have the courage to stand up in the face of corporate power once they discovered the facts. If NIMBY’s did not exist, then who else would care enough to take a stand? Who would ever question the standard tag lines which are fed us by a government which is controlled more and more often by corporate interests, rather than the interests of individuals? Wind energy is not all its proponents purport it to be. The facts, when discovered, will blow you away.
www.windaction.org, www.windtaskforce.org, www.realwindinfoforme.com, www.stopillwind.org, www.highlandmts.org, www.windfarmrealities.org
A Proud NIMBY from Lexington Township
It is Christmas. We all needed-- and hoped for-- a well-deserved break. But no 'cease-fire' has been called in this battle for Maine's mountains, its people, or our way of life. There is no vacation to be had from the need to make common-sense or fiscally responsible decisions. And so, we push forward. Maine Wind Warriors are diligent. Alert. We are determined to help educate Mainers about the plan to industrialize 360 miles our our pristine and unique mountains. Determined to expose those fallicies which we have been programmed to believe are the truth.
My thanks go to the Bennetts, and to those many other residents of Maine who are stepping up to the plate. You are excellent role-models for the rest of us. Great examples for people like... me.
Photo #1: The three-turbine Beaver Ridge (Freedom, Maine) wind development.
#2: One of the Beaver Ridge turbines, taken from several miles away, towering over the farms at its base.
#3: A view of one Beaver Ridge turbine, up close.
#4: The blade of one turbine as it sliced though the horizon as I drove up to the Beaver Ridge development. Although the photo is not very clear, perhaps, the 'live' view was startling, and made me appreciate the immense size of these machines.