Two separate groups recently went to the ridges of Bent and Poor Mountains to look and ponder if it should be developed for industrial use. Comparing our experiences, it is easier to see why we left with very different impressions.
May 19, 2010 was a wet, foggy day on Poor Mountain. The self-assigned assessment team of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition (RVCCC) along with Don Giecek, representing Invenergy LLC, weren’t able to see the extraordinary long range vistas from the highest peak in the region, nor the Lady Slippers at their feet. They saw transmission, radio, and TV towers. So while considering the “scale” of benefits promised by Mr. Giecek, they concluded that he was right and Poor Mountain’s natural environment indeed had already been “trashed.” So, with the promises of “gr-r-reat” benefits including the salvation of the planet , they decided that rainy day that Poor Mountain and the resident Bent Mountain community was a small sacrifice they, the board members, could make for humanity.
Nearly a month later, June 18, 2010, members of the Bent Mountain community enjoyed conducting a tour of the mountain including special and protected habitat on a gentle warm, sunny day. We traveled the abandoned Laurel Creek fire trail that was covered with lush green grasses and Lady Ferns. Our guest remarked at the seldom witnessed clarity of the water as he leaned his head outside the truck, looking down at the silt-free stones in the creek gorge below. We stirred up two rafters of turkey, saw several young bucks with their fuzzy antlers, and came upon a strutting Ruffed Grouse. We recognized that Invenergy’s proposed installation will impact an extraordinary area of remote wilderness.
Proponents have stated:
“The proposed Invenergy project has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 98,000 tons a year.”
On existing Wind Turbine installations 15% to 25% of rated capacity is all that can be expected on an annual basis in the Appalachian highlands due to the intermittent and turbulent nature of wind. This proposed installation’s maximum rated capacity is 45MW if it were running at 100% efficiency at 100% of the time. In reality, this project would have a maximum output of 11.25MW. The RVCCC calculation does not include the electricity drawn from the grid to maintain the turbines. Excess electricity from the turbines cannot be sent into the grid, it is drained off into the ground because the turbine system has no capacity to store electricity. A calculation that only addresses the rated output of the turbines, is very misleading, and is not the net gain of power drawn from wind.
Using RVCCC’s undocumented calculation factors, this brings the carbon emission reduction down to about 42,000 tons a year, more than 57% less.
Proponents have also stated:
Average Households Powered:
“The equivalent of approximately 8,500 to 10,000 households in the Roanoke Valley.”
Based upon an industry recommended residential wind turbine installation of 10Kw rated capacity, the claim is inflated by over 880%. The actual homes served would be 1,125 and there is no way to determine that they would be in the Roanoke Valley.
Invenergy, LLC has a strong financial interest in resuming Federal “energy credits” included in the current “Cap & Trade” legislation. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) has repeatedly and eagerly opposed “Cap & Trade” legislation, policies and abuses. The very concept of “Cap & Trade” created a financial trading market in 2003. The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) includes Invenergy’s founder & CEO, Michael Polsky as a charter board member.
Coal companies and coal-fired power plants are actually permitted to increase their carbon emissions into the atmosphere when they PURCHASE Energy Credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange. This exchange of “credits” is good for business for coal companies and a nationwide host of other carbon emitting industries. They are willing to pay massive amounts of money for these “credits.” As a result, a small group of people in Chicago are raking in big dollars under the guise of renewable energy. Does this sound like another Wall Street derivatives market scandal that plunged us into the most severe recession since the Great Depression?
And who is the source of such great riches? All of us will pay, through our taxes and our electric bills. And the actual reduction of carbon emissions is miniscule – all from the sacrifice of Poor Mountain.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding