There has never been an industrial threat quite like the wind turbines to Potter County’s future. It seems such a shame that our precious county, with all its appealing natural attractions, should be so carelessly jeopardized.
The financial enticements offered up by AES Corporation, a global energy conglomerate that doesn’t give one hoot about Potter County and its residents, cannot possibly offset all that is good about this special place at the top of the world.
In Ulysses and Hector Townships, more than 13,000 acres spread out over dozens of miles would be given over to the construction of 79 mammoth wind turbine generators, each equivalent in height to a 40-story metropolitan office building.
If this industrial wind installation is allowed to move forward, additional wind plants will be constructed in other sections of the county. Homer Township has already passed a “come on in” wind ordinance that will place turbines on the south side of Coudersport, twice as close to residences as even the wind companies proposed. Unbelievable! Other turbine sites are being considered in Hebron, Eulalia and Sweden townships.
These wind installations are close to Cherry Springs and there will be no way to protect the park’s dark skies or the Pennsylvania Wilds. Dutch Hill, in Homer Township, is located just six miles from Cherry Springs. These turbines will be clearly visible from Coudersport and very possibly Cherry Springs.
Here’s what we will get in exchange for losing the dark skies and our beautiful ridgetops:
• Noise. AES claims its turbine generators do not cause excessive noise. But there are currently people all over the world filing lawsuits against wind developers who said the same thing. Their lives are ruined by the noise. Because the turbine generators are already up, it is too late for them.
• An increase in electric bills on top of the increases that are predicted after the caps come off in 2011, because wind-generated electricity is very expensive to produce and the electric companies are forced to buy this power at above wholesale rates.
• No appreciable decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, because “when the wind don’t blow, the power don’t flow,” causing a backup conventional power plant to run all the time.
(Also keep in mind that the ramping up and down of coal-burning power plants produces more carbon dioxide emissions as it tries to keep up with the erratic performance of the turbines.)
• No local jobs of any significance. The turbines are erected and maintained by outside professional contractors.
• No significant tax revenue. The turbines themselves are tax-exempt because they are considered equipment, not real estate.
• Devaluation of millions of dollars in real estate around the turbines (even though the wind industry tries to prove otherwise with slanted surveys). Dozens of home owners who live in close proximity to industrial wind installations have learned this already. Why some people believe that having a 410-foot turbine generator situated 1,300 feet from the nearest home will increase its value astonishes me.
• Potential compromise of the dark skies at Cherry Springs.
Potter County has too much to lose. We need to stand together.
For details on how to join the fight, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Arthur Kear is a restaurant owner in Ulysses and active member of “Save God’s Country,” a citizens group formed to battle an industrial wind installation in the Ulysses area. He lives in the area being targeted by energy company AES Corporation for approximately 80 turbines)
12 July 2008
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