In his Dec. 9 Letter to the Editor, Norman Hills, a member of the Marion Alternative Energy Committee, condescendingly states that comments made by those of us who spoke against placing a wind turbine on Great Hill, or in any other residential area in Marion, are “uninformed” and our comments “unnecessary.” Moreover, he states: “Fear mongering and threats of litigation are tools for confusion.”
It is not “fear mongering” to cite the recent NIH funded study by Dr. Alec Salt that reveals the negative response of the human ear to the low frequency sounds generated by wind turbines. Nor is it threatening litigation when we speak of the negative effects on the lives of residents living near the current wind turbine in Falmouth and the decision of 18 of those residents to sue the town in order to mitigate the effects and to stop the construction of a second turbine. These are simply facts that must be factored into any decision by the town of Marion. It is not enough to state, as Mr. Hills does, that “A wind turbine is designed to do one thing; convert wind energy into electrical energy, nothing more.” There are other things that a turbine does. It makes noise, creates shadow-flicker, displaces birds, disturbs the tranquil nature of an area and negatively affects home values. One wonders if Mr. Hills would be so sanguine if the proposed turbine were to be placed on Front Street or in the harbor, changing the character of the part of town where he lives. A large commercial wind turbine, twice the size of the one at Mass. Maritime, clearly affects the character of the town as much as, if not more than, the Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 6, which was opposed by town planners and residents for more than eight years.
How much economic sense does a single turbine make when Cape Wind has won federal approval for a 468 megawatt project in the waters off Massachusetts, and Providence-based Deepwater Wind has applied to build the largest offshore wind farm in the United States – a 200 turbine project in federal waters between Rhode Island and Massachusetts – with “an undersea transmission network that would stretch from Massachusetts to New York and connect to multiple states to which the company could sell its power.”?
There is a far better, less detrimental way to achieve some local green energy. Fairhaven is in the process of installing solar panels on three public works buildings. It is one of 12 Massachusetts towns to receive federal stimulus funds for such a project. Bill Fitzgerald, Public Works superintendent, is quoted as saying: “In addition to cost savings and environmental benefits, the Patrick administration saw the solar piece as a great way to jump-start the market with Massachusetts-made components…It was designed to make Massachusetts a leader in solar and create jobs.”
In a similar nod to the viability of solar installations here in the South Coast, A.D. Makepeace has announced that it is moving ahead with plans for two solar energy projects in Wareham that will provide enough power to service more than 700 homes. To quote Michael P. Hogan, president and CEO of Makepeace: “solar power…has tremendous positive environmental impact and no negative impact.”
And that is all that we who oppose the siting of a wind turbine on Great Hill or in any residential area of Marion are asking for – a green solution with no negative impact.
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