Letter: Explore hidden costs of 'wind farm' proposals
While the recent vote in Savoy indicates strong opposition to a proposed revision of the town bylaw limiting the height and size of blades of any industrial wind turbines proposed for installation in the community, many facts about industrial wind turbines have been absent from both the public's conversation in Savoy, the proposal submitted and the media coverage.
It is tempting to be lured by the promised PILOT, first of $200,000 later revised downward to $73,000, as our communities and residents struggle to survive financially. It is easy to be lured by the promise of funds and what is believed to be a "green" source of energy. Residents must be fully informed of the full range of costs they will incur if a proposed "wind farm" (really a large number of industrial wind turbines cleverly re-named and falsely tagged as "renewable") is approved.
A few of the real costs of industrial wind turbine development that the residents of Savoy and other towns might want to consider include:
CO2 emissions are not eliminated nor significantly reduced. Because wind is intermittent, every industrial wind turbine requires a backup source of energy so that power is produced 24/7. The required backup (coal, gas, oil, etc.) means cradle to grave mining, transport, installation, operation, repair, decommissioning, waste and replacement every 20-30 years that all produce CO2 emissions.
Oil used in turbines — 700 gallons per 1.5 MW turbine plus 10,000 gallons per substation transformer. Loss of 50-60 acres of healthy CO2 sequestering forest. Diminished property values resulting in loss of tax revenue and potential tax increases. Increased cost of electricity for homes and businesses.
The manufacture of one 3 MW wind turbine requires: 335 tons of steel, 4.7 tons of copper, 1,200 tons of concrete, 3 tons of aluminum, 4,400 lbs. of neodymium, a rare earth metal leaving radioactivity in the soil and aquifer around each mine lasting for hundreds of thousands of years and the release of quantities of CO2. This is only a partial list.
To be more fully informed we suggest the following sources of reliable information: "Green Illusions — The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism" by Ozzie Zehner and "Techno-Fix — Why Technology Won't Save Us or the Environment" by Michael & Joyce Heusmann, Friends of Windham website
Savoy residents may be tempted by the funds offered and the claim of the wind industry that industrial wind turbines reduce our impact on the environment and climate change. The facts tell a very different story.
The writers are co-founders Citizens for A Wise Energy Policy.
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