I have been a home owner in Garrett County for over 40 years. I am opposed to the placement of wind turbines on public lands in Garrett County for both ecological and economic reasons.
There is certainly a place for wind turbines where the only alternative is small gasoline or diesel-driven generators, as in remote areas, on small islands, or on cruising sailboats, etc. But for generation of power for a regional or national grid, they are environmentally and economically unsound.
The reason they are being built (and I was one that built them) is that the government is leaning on utilities to develop alternative, so-called renewable, energy sources and providing them with tax incentives to offset the higher cost. The problem is that when the tax incentives expire, the utilities, or the companies that own the turbines, find that they are too expensive to operate and shut them down. Then we are left with the derelicts.
There are thousands of wind turbines in the Southern California desert, many of which are no longer maintained because they are uneconomical. There have been several wind farms in Hawaii, where the winds are strong and steady, that worked fine for a few years, but are now abandoned. And several companies that owned the wind turbines have gone broke. The insidious part is that we as taxpayers pay for the tax incentives to build wind turbines, and then as consumers of power we pay for the increased cost of generation.
Actually, I kind of like watching the wind turbines – from a distance. But if you live nearby, the noise and lights are very annoying. And in Garrett County the destruction of woodlands would be a travesty. As you may know, it would take about 1,000 wind turbines to equal the power of one conventional coal or nuclear (1,000MW) plant. And you still have to have the conventional plant available for when there is no wind. That is about 4,000 acres of trees to be lost forever – or at least until the turbines are abandoned.
28 February 2008
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