Many things sound great at first: for instance, industrial-sized wind turbines disguised as clean energy.
Roanoke County will soon decide if property values will be severely diminished for more than 271 parcels of land and nearly 12,000 acres in Southwest Roanoke County, not including the proposed turbine site property or Montgomery County properties (including former state Sen. Madison Marye’s estate).
All this land, including part of the community center and new academy, is within a conservative two-mile radius of each proposed wind turbine. Why two miles? In mountains, sound travels farther from updrafts and downdrafts. Low-frequency sound radiates from wind turbines for two to three miles, causing vibration of structures (houses) and resulting in insomnia for residents when turbines turn. Sleep deprivation causes great stress and declining health.
A new idea can equal great problems, in this case: an increase in electric bills throughout the region, multimillion-dollar projects heavily subsidized by taxpayers, the threat of severe ridgetop erosion and siltation pollution, spring displacement, quarter-mile ice throws from 100-foot rotating blades and sleeplessness for hundreds.
And the wind farm would bring about no real coal reduction, net only one or two new jobs and create a headache for AEP: inefficient, unreliable source of electricity, that threatens surges, has no storage capacity and produces energy when demands are least (night and winter).
Catawba is another likely place for these 450-foot eyesores (13 stories taller than Roanoke’s 21-story Wachovia tower). What about placements on North Mountain, Masons Knob, Read Mountain, Fort Lewis Mountain? The Appalachians’ unsustained winds are inefficient for industrial wind turbine use.
In a struggling economy, what employer, employee, retiree, student, child or home worker can afford to lose his health, productivity and land’s value for an energy source that doesn’t sound positive at all when you add up the negatives?
It sounds great for the company putting the millions in their pockets and to decision makers who have not researched this adequately for the citizens they represent. Count the real costs, while there is still time.
Karen Scott, of Bent Mountain, is a soil scientist and Bent Mountain Christian Academy administrator and teacher.
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