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Wind turbines fail to deliver capacity  

Twenty miles east of Utica, just north of Little Falls in the towns of Fairfield and Norway, Atlantic Wind LLC has proposed an Industrial Wind Turbine facility consisting of 60-70 giant wind turbines almost 400-feet tall, about three times the height of a power-line transmission tower. They estimate the project’s “nameplate” capacity will be about 120 megawatts, a very misleading number.

There is another project for the towns of Stark and Warren for 75 two MW turbines with a nameplate capacity of 150 MW. The Town of Manheim is now investigating the possibility of a wind turbine project near the proposed Fairfield facility.

Current data from the Maple Ridge Wind Facility on Tug Hill, which at the time was rated at 240 MW, indicates it produced less than 30 Mw for almost 50 percent of the time during July, August and September of 2006, when electricity was at its greatest demand. It never once reached its nameplate capacity of 240 MW and it only went above 200 MW for about 30 hours in three months time.

This is documented by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In comparison, this would effectively make the Fairfield /Norway project more realistically a 15-20 MW facility in the summer months, because Fairfield has less wind resources than Maple Ridge on the Tug Hill Plateau.

Aside from the minimal amount of electricity the turbines generate, their nameplate capacity is used to determine the loading capacity of the “electric grid”. If we keep allowing wind turbine facilities to be constructed in Central New York there will be no choice but to have transmission lines for the power to be routed out of the area, in this case downstate.

It has been reported that Central New York already has an abundance of electricity, so is it possible that the construction of the proposed wind-turbine facilities is creating the need for the transmission lines? The lines need to be capable of handling the maximum rated nameplate capacity. If 1,200 Megawatts of nameplate capacity wind-turbine projects are constructed in Central New York, there will have to be a way to transfer the electricity out of the area, even though they would only be generating 100-200 MW on average and would only produce their maximum output on the windiest of days. The wind is intermittent and unreliable. The turbines require approximately a 30-miles-per-hour wind to produce their rated output.

It’s also common that anywhere the turbines are built the electric rates go up regardless of how much or how little electricity is being generated. As far as the electricity staying “local” ““ electricity follows the path of least resistance. It’s transferred into the “grid” and flows to the area with the greatest demand.

The “local law” for the wind projects in Fairfield and Norway allows an adjoining landowner who has a contract for a wind turbine to have it constructed 260 feet from a neighbor’s property line, but the law will not allow the neighbor to build a residential structure within 1,250 feet of the turbine, rendering almost 1,000 feet of his property useless.

This seems to some degree to be illegal. Perhaps this is “eminent domain without proper compensation.”

No one should be allowed to take away your rights as a property owner. But the Fairfield town board voted to allow this to happen. Why do the state and federal governments allow this to happen?

“Anti wind” groups such as Fairfield Concerned Citizens Inc. support renewable energy and wind power in the right locations, but believe there should be a more responsible approach in determining the best sources for renewable energy.

Nuclear power is far more dependable and efficient than wind power, less invasive, 100 percent renewable and is currently producing approximately 29 percent of New York State’s electricity. Wind turbines will never generate more than one-half of 1 percent of our electricity in the U.S. and no fossil fuel electricity generating facilities have ever been shut down as a result of wind turbines being constructed.

Wind turbines should not be built in residential areas. Everyone should support the groups and individuals fighting to keep these projects out of the towns.

Send donations to: Fairfield Concerned Citizens Inc., Box 1013, Little Falls, NY 13365

Andy McEvoy
Co-Director, Fairfield Concerned Citizens Inc.
Little Falls


16 February 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial 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. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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