This column will be a posting of 13 questions/issues regarding wind power. We are seeking answers and or responses from interested lay people and from those with experience in and/or knowledge of any/all aspects of windfarms, and/or siting windfarms.
As noted in previous columns, we would prefer your responses 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 response to SMN – Wind Power, P.O. Box 629, Waynesville, N.C., 28786, or fax (again prominently noting “wind power”) to 828.452.3585. All correspondence must include a name and contact information. Plus, we would like a short bio or introduction from respondents noting what experience you have with wind power. It can be anything from “I’m an engineer who designs turbines” to “one was built next door to me.”
Smoky Mountain News reserves the right to edit your answers/responses for context and length. We want readers to be able to compare apples to apples. For those who would like to see their responses published in their entirety please note that and we will make arrangements to print them in the opinion section of SMN and/or on our Web site.
Questions follow in no particular order:
• What are the criteria used to distinguish between small, medium and large-scale windfarms?
• Is there an average or “ball park” figure when it comes to measuring how much land is required for a windfarm?
• What is meant by peak capacity?
• How often do wind farms operate at peak capacity?
• Is there a problem to be addressed regarding what many people describe as the intermittent (only works when the wind blows) nature of wind power?
• Is this problem being addressed? How?
• Are there valid wildlife issues such as bird and bat mortality, regarding the placement of wind turbines?
• Can these issues be mitigated? How?
• Is noise a problem?
• Should windfarms be sited in national forests?
• Are subsidies for the production of wind power appropriate?
• What impact will wind power have on greenhouse emissions? On other forms of pollution?
• Some local governments have been prompted to come up with ordinances regarding the siting of wind turbines. Are these types of ordinances needed? If so, what should their primary focus be?
There are other questions/issues. We will start with this “baker’s dozen.” Please respond to as many or few of these questions as you would like. We will begin posting responses on May 21. At that time we will also outline a format for the responses and let readers/respondents know how to keep abreast of the forum.
The Naturalist’s Corner
By Don Hendershot