Gamesa representative Tim Vought suggested that claims of environmental destruction from wind energy are unfounded. I wonder why in a recent report opposing wind development on state lands, the Pennsylvania Biological Survey would say:
n ‘‘The environmental impacts of wind energy are considerable. Bat mortality from wind turbines has been particularly high, especially along forested ridge tops in the eastern United States.”
n ‘‘Based on projections of installed wind capacity, it is estimated that by 2020 annual mortality in the mid-Atlantic highlands could be as high as 45,000 birds … and 111,000 bats.”
n “With wind energy development expanding on private lands in Pennsylvania, the forested ridge tops of state-owned lands will become even more critical for birds, bats and other species that utilize these habitats.”;
This sounds like environmental destruction to me. Is there is a difference in the unfragmented, private forest lands that Gamesa seeks to develop?
Vought says that wind development is critical to supplement nation’s energy supply. But in 2007, the National Research Council concluded that: “Wind energy will contribute proportionately less to electricity generation in the mid-Atlantic region than in the United States as a whole, because a smaller portion of the region has high-quality wind resources.”
It seems to me if the wind companies were sincere in making a difference in our energy needs, they would be focusing on areas west of the Mississippi River where the most productive and sustainable winds are located.
Why ruin our mountain top habitats and possibly have a devastating impact on bird and bat populations in exchange for a relatively small return?
Vought also stated wind developers conduct numerous pre- and post construction studies and that “elaborate” studies are required by the Game Commission’s Voluntary Cooperation Agreement. Under this agreement, no study data is required to be released to the public. There are no provisions for an unbiased third party to review or comment, much less conduct an actual on the ground impact study.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends that wind energy development “avoid fragmenting large, contiguous tracts of wildlife habitat” and advises that wind turbines be placed “on lands already altered or cultivated and away from areas of intact and healthy native habitats.” Why then does it seem like these are the exact types of areas continually targeted by Gamesa?
Vought says that harnessing wind is one of ways we can promote energy independence
Why is there no mention of conservation? The Biological Survey states that: “Energy conservation … could considerably reduce the demand for energy and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For example, residential home energy consumption in 2020 could be feasibly reduced by over 1/3 using existing technologies.”
This sounds much better than sacrificing our beautiful mountains, property values and wildlife.
Gary A. Miller
4 October 2007
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