Are wind turbines the Galtesque motor that would drive the world to clean, unfettered energy, torpedoing the corporate, collectivist stranglehold of Big Energy. Or, are they sleek and powerful diversions spawned by Big Energy and loosed upon the landscape to draw the lance from the heart of the beast demanding quixotic crusaders spend their time and energies tilting here and yon as the status quo hums along?
We want to know what you think. We want to know what questions and/or concerns you have regarding windpower in general and the placement of wind turbines along the peaks and ridges of the Southern Appalachians.
We asked for your input in this column back on 4/2/08. We have received a number of emails. Some of the concerns and/or issues raised include the following (paraphrased): effects of wind turbines on viewsheds in the mountains; research and information about small-scale, home-owner windpower; any way to arrive at a cost-benefit analysis?; how many acres would be used; noise pollution; cost and politics of transmission of wind generated power across the power grid and the effectiveness of land use planning and/or zoning (primarily height restrictions) as a deterrent to wind turbines. Do you have other/different concerns?
We are going to collect email and/or written questions and comments for another week or so. We would prefer your concerns be emailed either to me – firstname.lastname@example.org or SMN at email@example.com or both (again preferred). Please put “wind power” in the subject line. If you do not have access to email, please mail your concerns to SMN – Wind Power, P.O. Box 629, Waynesville, NC 28786 or fax (again prominently noting “wind power”) to 828.452.3585. All correspondence must include a name and contact information.
After this last round of comments is received we will review all and come up with a list of questions and/or issues that readers would like to see addressed regarding windpower and the placement of wind farms in the Southern Appalachians. We will run these questions/issues in an upcoming Naturalist’s Corner (probably 4/30) and ask for your responses. We will also ask for responses from knowledgeable people in the wind industry and those who oppose wind farms.
We are seeking to compare apples to apples. We hope to provide useful accurate information that individuals can use to educate themselves and come to an informed decision regarding windpower in general and the placement of wind turbines in the Southern Appalachians. If you have tried to research this issue you have probably been able to find a lot of information but not easily compared information. For example, how much area is required for a windfarm? Proponents of wind farms often talk about the footprint of a wind turbine – the actual area occupied by the structure itself – while opponents will include this plus spacing between turbines, plus ingress and egress and the area for other infrastructure like transmission lines etc. We think it would be useful to have this kind of information available in a format that would allow a direct comparison.
Remember to get the answers you’re looking for you need to send us your questions.
Don Hendershot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org