The following is in regard to the Sept. 24 hearing at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts about utilities and energy, co-sponsored by state Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, and state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield.
Dear Sen. Pacheco and Sen. Downing,
I am a Williamstown resident and for the last four years have been following the issue of building wind turbines on the Berkshire mountain tops. I have written several articles about it, published in the local newspapers. Regarding the hearing on 9/24 at MCLA on this subject, I want to send you a summary of the concerns of local residents in our area:
1. Economic costs to the local communities:
Wind power plants produce very little and only intermittent electricity, at huge cost to taxpayers. These costs include $17 million in state funding, a federal production tax credit to wind power developers and a federal tax avoidance allowance to fully depreciate the value of the power plant in six years, so that local towns could not collect on its value after that time.
In addition, because wind is intermittent and can’t be stored, conventional fuels still have to be used for base, peak and emergency demands, rate payers eventually would have to carry the costs of connecting the wind power to the regional electrical grid, and state and federal agencies contracting with wind power plants to buy electricity would have to charge residents more than they do for other fuel sources.
Finally, the benefits of building these plants and the power generated would flow primarily to the developers and to large corporations in other locations rather than to the local communities.
2. Energy efficiency of wind turbines:
Because the wind blows intermittently and can’t be stored, one wind power plant in the Berkshires would produce in one year the amount of electricity used in the state for only half a day, meaning that a very large number of turbines would need to be built to meet state estimates of energy consumption.
3. Effect on the local environment and quality of life:
Building these wind turbines on the Berkshire mountain tops would degrade scenic hillsides, including destroying wetlands and some of the oldest growth forest in the state.
The turbines would kill hundreds of migratory birds and bats, which fly at the same height as the blades.
The turbines would interfere with recreation and, through noise pollution and strobe lighting effects, reduce the quality of homes within miles of their location.
…We all need to talk more – to our governors, our state and local authorities and within our own communities. Many of us, across the country, feel that we should not have to give our tax dollars for such methods of energy production, when they are so ineffective while destroying the environment we’re trying to save.
25 September 2007
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