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Windmill Myths 

Author:  | Human rights, Impacts, Law, New York, Safety

MYTH # 1: These wind towers aren’t really THAT big.
Fact: Ecogen’s 1.5 MegaWatt (MW) turbines will be nearly 400’ high, 80’ higher than the Statue of Liberty from the water to the tip of the torch. UPC’s proposed turbines up to 3MW towers – designed for offshore, far from people – will be up to 440’ high, as tall as the pyramids of Egypt. They will be visible for MILES, dominating the landscape, with flashing lights 24 hours/day.

MYTH # 2: These industrial machines don’t make THAT MUCH noise.
Fact: Like the generator in your garage, they ARE very quiet – when they aren’t working. But at their loudest, they generate up to 90dB of noise, equivalent to a tractor or a loud car stereo. The noise can be clearly heard (and felt) for 1000’ and beyond, and much farther based on local conditions. And except on a still day, IT DOESN’T STOP.

MYTH # 3: There won’t be THAT many towers here in Prattsburgh.
Fact: The two wind companies are planning for nearly 100 wind power generating towers – and that’s just PHASE ONE.

MYTH # 4: These industrial towers will be safe to be around.
Fact: The rotating blades have tip speeds up to 180 mph, with the potential to throw ice at high velocity up to 1800’.

MYTH # 5: Besides ice throw, which would never happen in the Summer, there are no other potentially damaging health effects from close proximity to these wind towers.
Fact: At sunrise and sunset, shadow flicker can turn the 230’ spinning rotors into giant strobe generators, which can cause seizures in susceptible individuals. Also, research indicates that the persistent extreme low frequency noise wind towers generate can cause neurological problems. “Wind Farms Make People Sick Up to a Mile Away”, Sunday Telegraph, January 25, 2004.

MYTH # 6: These windfarms won’t take up THAT MUCH space.
Fact: Ecogen’s first 50 towers will have a capacity of 150 megawatts (MW), generating on average 50 MW, only one-third of capacity. A 50MW gas-fired power plant can be sited on a city block. Ecogen’s proposed “Project Area” covers 35 SQUARE MILES. This is the size of the city of Rochester. And this is JUST ONE of the wind companies.

MYTH # 7: Wind power will help free us from foreign oil for generating power.
Fact: The Department of Energy projects that wind power will represent only 1.3% of US generating capacity in 2025 (Annual Energy Outlook 2005). Projected delivered power would be about four-tenths of one percent of US electricity consumption – 17 years from now.

MYTH # 8: Wind power adds to our supply of dependable electricity.
Fact: Because wind power output is highly variable – UNDEPENDABLE – it must be backed up by spinning reserves from fossil fuel electric generating facilities in order to ensure dependable power delivery. Wind power does NOT free us from dependence on conventional electric power generation.

MYTH # 9: These industrial wind projects will generate A LOT OF JOBS.
Fact: Each 50 tower project will generate 8 jobs, or less than one-sixth of a job per tower. Think of it: SIX wind power-generating factory sites for ONE job.

MYTH # 10: The taxes or payments these wind companies will pay will all be “extra” money.
Fact: In similar locales, non-leasing adjacent landowners have experienced a significant drop in property values, in some cases 20-40%. The potential flight of landowners and reductions in the value of recreational, vacation home and retirement property could have a severe negative impact on tax revenues. And now there are concerns that the State would also reduce payments to towns and schools, claiming we’ll no longer need the money.

MYTH # 11: Windmills are safe for the environment.
Fact: Inappropriately sited and constructed wind towers can negatively affect groundwater, and the nearly one-acre swept area of the 230’ spinning rotors is a killing ground for birds.

MYTH # 12: They can’t put these towers THAT CLOSE to my property.
Fact: Prattsburgh has no zoning protection for non-participating landowners. The edge of the rotating blades for these towers can be sited as close as 374 FEET from your property line (489′ from the tower base). The leasing landowners have a say regarding where their towers are placed on their property, you DON’T. Will they want these nearly 400’ noisemaking industrial towers near their house, or NEAR YOURS (or where you want to build your future home)?

MYTH # 13: If I lease my land to the windfarms, it’s “safe” money.
Fact: Unless you require that they do so, the windfarm developers will not indemnify leasing landowners against legal liability for instances in which your neighbors, their visitors, or visitors to YOUR property incur injury or loss resulting from the operation of these windtowers.

MYTH # 14: These industrial towers will be safely sited in an industrial park.
Fact: No. If you live or own property in the 35 square-mile Ecogen “Project Area” – where the great majority of the landowners have NOT leased to the windfarm developers – the industrial park has been brought to you, and you and your neighbors live inside it.

MYTH # 15: Windfarms make good financial sense. They are more cost-effective than other sources or electricity, because they pay nothing for fuel.
Fact: Factoring in all the costs, wind power is nearly TWICE as expensive as fossil fuel electric power generation. Wind power is made financially viable – and, short term, highly profitable for windfarm developers – through multiple tax incentives, power production credits, power purchase guarantees, and NYSERDA cash transfers, and this financial burden is borne by us, the taxpayers. And the electrical utility can pass on higher prices to us, the ratepayers. The green from this “green” power goes to the developers, who often sell off the projects within two years to large corporations for their value as tax shelters.

MYTH # 16: These windfarms are “green” power. We need then to help save us from global warming, and I should pay my utility a premium for it.
Fact: The U.S. Department of Energy projects that, even with the continuation of massive subsidies, wind power will represent only a fraction of the INCREASE in future power production, so wind power won’t impact global warming. Far worse, many wind projects receive Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) based on their projected production, which are then traded to heavy polluters, allowing outdated fossil fuel plants to generate pollution beyond normal regulatory limits. These wind projects are not green power, but BROWN POWER, and your electric utility wants you to pay a premium for it. Extraordinary.

MYTH # 17: We as citizens and land owners have no say in preventing the inappropriate siting of these 400’ high industrial machines.
Fact: Yes, we can step forward and defend ourselves. Concerned residents and landowners in Prattsburgh, Naples and Italy and throughout Upstate New York should join Advocates for Prattsburgh. We need your participation and contributions to help us with our fight to protect our property values, our personal rights, the special character of our towns, and our freedom to live our lives and enjoy our property in peace and quiet. Contact us at Advocates for Prattsburgh, PO Box 221, Prattsburgh, NY 14873, and through our website: www.advocatesforprattsburgh.org.

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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