“Industrial wind is a NET LOSER: economically, technically, environmentally, and civilly – no matter where it is sited.”
Thanks to crony capitalism between both major political parties and wind developers, the federal wind Production Tax Credit was extended for the 7th time for this ‘infant’ industry (for a history of the first six extensions, see here). As a result, Big Wind LLCs continue to target Western, Central, and Upstate New York. And so the multi-decade grass roots backlash against Big Wind rages on.
One battleground is on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Despite overwhelming community opposition, APEX hopes to blight these shores (a major migratory flyway) throughout the Towns of Somerset and Yates (Niagra and Orleans Counties respectively) with 620-foot-tall industrial wind turbines. These massive turbines would be the largest land-based wind turbines in the U.S. to date.
For some perspective on just how out of place these giant machines would be, consider the fact that there is not a single building in all of Western, Central or Upstate New York that comes close – the tallest in Western New York being in Buffalo, standing 529 feet tall. One can only imagine how destructive these sprawling industrial wind factories would be to our tourist-dependent area.
A recent letter by a local, Gary Kent (who otherwise rightly opposes the siting of these towering machines among peoples’ homes here) highlights the misinformed position of those who buy in on political worldviews pushing so-called renewables (which are better described as ‘unreliables’).
These oft-repeated claims infer that anyone other than a ‘Democrat’ would prefer to see our planet destroyed by what they consider to be “evil” fossil fuels. Such politically motivated nonsense is bereft of any facts regarding the real costs of these ‘green’ energy policies. Such ‘Climate Change’ fear-mongering has helped create a multi-Trillion dollar industry dependent on taxpayer and ratepayer funded subsidies. It’s no wonder the corporations who stand to profit off these ‘green’ ($$$) energy policies spend $Millions on advertising campaigns.
Mr. Kent goes on, gushing about ‘renewables’ in his letter, claiming that the “Development of renewables is already stimulating economic development and jobs in New York State,” and “electricity generated by wind is advantageous.”
Ironically, akin to the position held by many of his fellow Democrats (ie: the Kennedys), he supports ‘green’ energy – as long as it’s NOT in his back yard. They are the real “NIMBYs” (Not In My Back Yard) in our energy policy discussions – believing it’s OK to dump these vast, sprawling industrial wastelands on someone else, just not on them.
My Response Letter-to-the-Editor
In an effort to further energy-literacy and get rid of these types of political, NIMBY-based arguments, I responded to Mr. Kent with this piece:
I am writing in regard to Gary Kent’s 12/15/15 letter regarding the industrial wind issue currently plaguing the area. With all due respect to Mr. Kent, ‘green’ energy is NOT a partisan issue. Frankly, I do not know a single person (Republican, Democrat, Independent, or otherwise) who is not all FOR protecting our environment.
According to Mr. Kent’s reasoning, wind turbines are OK sited elsewhere, blighting someone else’s horizons – just not ours. Those who support this kind of ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Back Yard) reasoning unintentionally give undue credibility to the scam of industrial wind.
Fact is: Industrial wind is a NET LOSER: economically, technically, environmentally, and civilly – no matter where it is sited. Let’s consider how.
New York State already has one of the highest electricity rates in the nation, in large part due to throwing $Billions of ratepayer dollars into the wind.
WHY destroy entire towns when just ONE (1) 450 MW gas-fired Combined Cycle Generating Unit, operating at a 60% Capacity Factor, located at New York City – where the power is needed in New York State (NYS), would provide more power than all of NYS’s installed wind factories combined, at about 1/4 of the capital costs — and would have significantly reduced CO2 emissions and created far more jobs than all those wind factories – without all the negative civil, economic, environmental, human health and property value impacts that are a result of industrial wind factories, or all the additional transmission lines to New York City.
The Institute for Energy Research tallied the numbers and found that each wind job costs $11.45 million, plus more than four jobs lost elsewhere in the economy; and all while wind is subsidized over 52 times more than conventional fossil fuels on a unit of production basis.
Consider multi-Billionaire wind developer, Warren Buffett’s candid admission, “We get tax credits if we build ‘wind farms.’ That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credits.”
Due to the unreliable, erratic, and volatile nature of wind, industrial wind turbines (IWTs) provide virtually NO Capacity Value, or firm capacity (specified amounts of power on demand). Therefore, wind needs constant “shadow capacity” from our reliable, dispatchable generators – that is, if you want to be sure the lights will come on when you flick the switch. Thus, as Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein candidly admitted, “Consumers end up paying twice for the same product.”
The list of accidents, blade failures (throwing debris over ½ mile), fires (10X more than previous wind industry claims), and more, is updated quarterly at this website: http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/AccidentStatistics.htm.
This lengthy and growing list is evidence of why these giant, moving machines do not belong anywhere near where people live.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA – the wind industry’s lobbying group) admits that the life of IWTs is only 10 – 13 years (January, 2006, North American Wind Power) – substantiated by studies of these short-lived lemons.
Adding insult to injury, NYS’s wind factories have been averaging approximately 24% Capacity Factors (actual outputs) – many days providing nothing at all. Physicist, and Malone, NY Town Board member, Jack Sullivan figures that NY wind factories are not even producing enough power to pay for themselves over their short life-spans.
If IWTs were cars, they would have been correctly dubbed LEMONS and relegated to the junkyard a long time ago.
According to AWEA there are approximately 45,100 IWTs in the U.S. today. Most IWTs are remotely sited, far removed from urban centers where the power is needed. This necessitates the addition of a spider web of new transmission lines (at ratepayers’ expense), which exponentially adds to the needless bird deaths being caused by the IWTs themselves.
Studies show there are MILLIONS of birds and bats being slaughtered annually by these giant “Cuisinarts of the sky” (as a Sierra official dubbed wind turbines in a moment of candor), necessitating the passing of special 30-Year Eagle-KILL permits by President Obama for his favored wind industry.
Sprawling industrial wind factories cause massive habitat fragmentation, which is cited as one of the main reasons for species decline worldwide.
The only thing that has ever been reliably generated by industrial wind is complete and utter civil discord. Neighbor is pitted against neighbor, and even family member against family member, totally dividing communities (already apparent in Orleans and Niagara counties). It is the job of good government to foresee and prevent this kind of civil discord, not to promote it.
Don’t be a NIMBY! This partial list of the destructive NON-SOLUTION that is industrial wind energy is reason enough not to support the scam of industrial wind – no matter where it is sited.
Mary Kay Barton, Silver Lake, Wyoming County
Mary Kay Barton is a New York State-certified Health Educator (retired), a Cornell-certified Master Gardener, and a tireless advocate for scientifically-sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation-certified “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”