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Hutchinson Island is wrong place to put wind turbines

It does not seem wise to invest in wind-turbine energy infrastructure within a coastal high-hazard zone, especially if sustainable long-term energy development is the goal (“FPL shifts sites for wind turbines,” Jan. 18).

Hutchinson Island is an eroding barrier island subject to frequent over-wash by storm events. The area south of the proposed sites has been an inlet nearly six times, and Blind Creek was cut open by the 2004 storms.

Placement of wind turbines on the island could encourage costly damaging responses to sea-level rise and hurricanes, including seawalls and massive dredge-and-fill projects on one of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in North America.

The public has not received assurances, much less data, as to whether these turbines can withstand hurricanes. The review process itself started off on the wrong foot. All but one county commissioner tried to rubber-stamp this project without public comment or sound data.

FPL officials told the community at the coal plant hearings that there wasn’t enough wind here to be productive, presumably to get their coal plant. FPL seems to be looking only at the price of land – not at science.

Without other details, such as wind energy siting standards, and with the lack of statutory requirement for the Department of Environmental Protection to oversee the siting, this project seems able to move forward without addressing very real issues that other states require be resolved.

Before this discussion continues, FPL needs to study whether wind is the best alternative energy for this region and properly review all sites and impacts.


Jensen Beach

Palm Beach Post

9 February 2008