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Wind Power Discussion

George Follett and Tony Ferraro deserve our thanks for their willingness to participate in the most important community discussion in decades. I disagree about the merits of industrial wind turbines, but I respect their opinion and hope more readers will follow their example and write their own letter to the editor.

The decision to drastically alter our landscape will affect our quality of life, our wallets, and our grandchildren.

George and Tony have noticed ‘No Wind Turbine’ signs popping up all over our area. That is because a growing number of people are willing to publicly express deep concern by putting a sign in their yard. George said he was expressing ‘another point of view’ on the subject. I would suggest that those of us trying to balance the money and power of the developers are attempting to provide that other voice. Noble is part of JP Morgan, one of the world’s biggest investment corporations. They employ professionals and pay them to figure out what to do and say in order to implement their business plan. Those plans revolve around how to make the most money. It was that ethic, or lack thereof, that led this week to JP Morgan agreeing to pay a fine of $250 million for helping cheat America out of billions.

We, on the other hand, are locals trying to understand the implications of this proposed massive series of projects.

I am not against wind power and have seriously examined what it would take to power our home with a combination of wind and solar. I, too, had hoped that wind farms would be a good local action that would have a positive national and global impact.

But the more I learn, the more those hopes erode. Now I see the proposed development as a national, as well as local, rip-off.

George cites figures about how much gasoline we Americans use. Tony decries the OPEC cartel and its affect on gas prices. That is a problem, but one that has little to do with wind turbines. In fact, less than 3 percent of our national electrical supply is generated with petroleum. Tony states that wind power makes ‘dirt cheap’ electricity. In fact, even with a host of state and federal grants, subsidies, and tax breaks, wind generated electrical power is more expensive and is already increasing our electrical bills.

George’s letter also mentions the development of new turbines that are supposed to produce three times the electricity and are substantially bigger than the 400 footers now being discussed for our area. This is a glimpse of what lies ahead if we permit development.

And all that extra power they’re supposed to produce? I suspect the figure of 5 megawatts is probably as misleading as the 1.5 megawatt rating of the 400 footers. In operation, industrial turbines intermittently produce only about one forth of their rated capacities. That would be okay if we all didn’t tend to turn on our lights at dusk when the wind is calmest. And morning showers had best be shifted to the middle of the night when the wind tends to blow, or we will experience the same kind of major blackouts Spain has had twice this year.

So, if you truly believe wind turbines are beautifil, you may want to plan a vacation at any of the growing list of locations where developers are permanently changing the landscape. But from my point of view, the only thing they want to see is profits. And how many tourists who now constitute a major sector f our local economy do you think will still feel that this is a good place from which to escape the hubbub of the city? My sense is that they will find places that still have a countryside, although if the developers have their way, that will be hard to do.

Tony wants to get the turbines up ASAP. Sounds like a recipe for, ‘Marry in haste,repent in leisure.’

So, I urge our leaders to take a much more cautious approach before we get in bed with the likes of JP Morgan. Another Wall Street outfit, Goldman Sachs, is already putting up hundreds south of Watertown. Since that nearby area is already on ‘bleeding edge’ of this emerging technology, let’s learn from their experience before we cover our ridge tops with 800,000-pound concrete foundations.

Wayne Miller, North Bangor (NY)