The AES wind farm meeting in Troy was another blatant attempt by AES to win over the residents of Tioga and Bradford counties for their Armenia Mountain Wind Farm. Their presentation as might be expected was cheered on by leasers, contractors and local officials who have visions of money flowing with a complete disrespect for the detrimental effects on their neighbors and the environment.
All the benefits presented by AES can be soundly refuted as misleading and deceptive.
To imply that there will be no effect on the Armenia wetlands, migrating birds and bats, local land values, aesthetics, tourism and citizen safety (from turbine failures, noise and shadow flicker) is ludicrous. Thinking that this project will lead to lower electricity or solve global warming is also wrong. All the power from the Armenia project will go into the New York interconnect for distribution to other areas and the same power plants that supply us now will continue to run because wind farms only operate on an average of 30 percent of the time.
Wind farms are notoriously inefficient and there would not be a wind farm in Pennsylvania if it were not for liberal federal and state tax subsidies. Even the taxes and the lease payments expected from the Armenia project are generated in part by our taxes.
AES also has a dubious record of environmental disrespect. AES has a stake in the notorious Altamont Wind Farm in California, the most infamous bird blender in the U.S. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, which is suing AES and the other co owners of the Altamont Wind Farm, thousands of eagles, falcons, owls and other protected birds are being killed each year. Their overall environmental record, as evidenced by numerous lawsuits both domestic and abroad, cannot be explained away as the doings of a few misguided employees.
Local officials who are charged with protecting the health and safety of county residents as well as the environment must take into consideration all aspects of this project and not just the benefits to a few citizens or short term local gains. Their decisions will affect all citizens for years to come.
4 July 2007