May 29, 2005
General News

Columnist overlooked harsh reality of wind power

Jonathan Van Fleet’s column on May 7 titled, “What-ifs aired as windmill plan gains,” suggests he’s enamored of the ideal of wind energy, but spent little time verifying the downside.

Since wind is intermittent and largely unpredictable, industrial wind plants produce minuscule amounts of electricity.

A 30-megawatt site, as proposed in Lempster, operates on average at 25 percent capacity, or 7.5-megawatts (compared to Seabrook’s 1000-MW and Londonderry’s gas plant 720-MW).

For such a limited power source, wind facilities are massive and harmful to our ridgelines.

When was the last time you saw an energy plant tower 320-feet and require a 100-acre footprint? Access roads leading to the ridgelines are up to 70-feet wide, the ridge must be blasted flat, and the total area of impact, including loss of interior forested habitat, is estimated at 10-15 acres per tower.

And, yes, the towers kill bats and birds in huge numbers. They say blades spin at “only” 15-50 rpm, but that’s well over 100-mph for 240-foot diameter blade spans (size of a Boeing 747).

Regarding economic impacts, two Realtors in northern New Hampshire are on record stating the negative impact wind plants will have on property values.

These “in-your-face” sites create uncertainty in the market, detract from natural surroundings, and ,yes, they’re noisy.

The rhythmic ‘whomping’ can be heard over great distances and the low frequencies penetrate walls.

Claims that property values increase around wind towers are nonsensical, based on flawed studies prepared by wind proponents.

Promises of tax revenues and economic development consistently remain unfulfilled.

Wind developers may employ a few locals to cut trees and clear for roads, but after that, foreign laborers build the sites. Once on-line the plant is automated.

The real kicker comes when the developer seeks rebates arguing his towers are temporary structures or otherwise exempt from taxes applied to traditional power facilities.

There are great environmental and economic risks to accepting the ideal of wind power, without understanding the realities.

With all due respect, Lempster citizens do not need to hear about tourist opportunities and other wind propaganda. They need to recognize the harsh realities of wind development.

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