A New York activist opposed to wind turbines urged locals on Saturday to organize to defeat a plan to bring nine to South Hutchinson Island.
The 400-foot-tall turbines proposed by Florida Power & Light Co. aren’t suited to Florida’s coast, which gets winds that average 5 mph to 8 mph, far less than optimal for wind power, said Brad Jones, a Naples, N.Y., resident battling wind turbines under construction or proposed for three of his neighboring communities.
Jones said the turbines also produce far less electricity than proponents claim, can significantly harm wildlife and produce visual and noise pollution that drives down property values.
“It’s basically the biggest sham of all time,” said Indian River Drive resident Julie Zahniser, who helped organize the meeting.
About 30 people attended the meeting, including County Commissioners Doug Coward, Chris Craft and Charles Grande.
Coward told the group he opposed the plan to put one of the turbines at Blind Creek, an environmentally and archaeologically sensitive slice of state conservation land that the county helped purchase.
“If I were hired to find the worst possible place to put a wind turbine, I would probably pick Blind Creek,” he said.
FPL’s plan calls for two other turbines to go on land owned by the state and the South Florida Water Management District. The remaining six would go on FPL property at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.
Grande and Craft said they were still weighing the issue.
“There’s another side to this,” Craft said, noting that no one from FPL spoke Saturday.
The meeting was billed as a forum for all views on the turbine proposal but was organized by anti-turbine activists.
Opponents have said the turbines would be a menace to migrating birds. The noise they produce also would bother nearby residents, as well as spawning fish and sea turtles, they said.
FPL officials have said the nine wind turbines could generate enough electricity to power 3,000 houses. They also have said that tourists will come to see them.
By Rachel Simmonsen
3 February 2008
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