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The Myopic View of Wind power

Is it any wonder that wind promoters have little trouble finding enthusiastic support for their projects, or that they can cause such short-sightedness in many who have no excuse for their naivete’? No, not really, because it appears that most self-proclaimed wind developers are actually pr specialists in disguise. This was aptly demonstrated in the Telegram’s March 5th paid editorial, “Know the Facts” by Noble Environmental, when industrial wind developments were referred to as “parks” and where an experienced credible expert was DIScredited precisely for his many years of experience! I wonder, what is the experience of the Noble folks…aside from their references to industry literature…or is that where it ends?

In these early stages of U.S. wind development, promoters still have it pretty easy. They’re our new best friends! But it’s likely their popularity will be short-lived, as it won’t take long before rural America realizes that their own initial awe and stupor was contrived, allowing the very quality of their lives to be stolen out from under them, and they will also realize, too late, that their loss was in vain.

These days, the commercial wind turbine (the largest industrial equipment known to mankind) is promoted as a majestic symbol of modern humanity’s concern for it’s habitat, and posing as such, it’s encroaching into areas where it has no right to be. Up close, in targeted communities that have become ground zero, it’s ironic that so little concern should exist for the human beings there, as their worlds are transformed by forests of giant machines into alien, surreal environments. Unfortunately, only then is more attention paid to the real issues associated with commercial wind development, issues that go way beyond mere “nimbyism.”

With meaningless rehearsed lines, developers parrot each other almost word for word to lure the unsuspecting landowner into believing that their signatures on the dotted line will somehow alleviate the consequences of traditionally generated electricity and help make the world a better place, when in truth modern commercial wind development introduces new and frightening human health issues and ruins natural environments wherever it goes, leaving behind token installations, that to the chagrin of the locals, have no true merit.

Grand scale wind turbines were a joke 20 years ago and they’re still a joke today. But the industry that’s evolved around three decades of disappointing government R&D will not be denied. They’ve carved a niche for themselves that conveniently fulfils the needs of politicians who must appear environmentally concerned and helps them appease demands by powerful environmental lobby groups. On the local level, commercial wind is peddled as an honorable way to make a few easy bucks.

There are approximately 65,000 operating wind turbines in the world today, already far too many by some’s standards. But even a tripling of this number, using the industry’s own touted statistics, couldn’t reduce global warming by more than 2%. Steadily rising energy demand and the fact that wind does not displace other fuels equally would further reduce any possible benefit.

Other countries have been resisting wind development for years, and by their example it’s clear that perhaps only the devastating effects of development itself will put an end to the folly. In the meantime, scholars and philosophers have a convenient soapbox from which to preach, all the while having no idea that rural communities everywhere are losing their natural environments to savvy entrepreneurs as they descend like locusts in an attempt to beat deadlines and precede the inevitable swell of opposition as their true agendas become obvious.

Sue Sliwinski

Sardinia, NY

Sue Sliwinski