We could learn a lot from California. They have had industrial wind turbine projects since the 1960s. I contacted Tom Tanton, who served on the California State Energy Board for many years and now owns and consults for the engineering firm T2 and Associates, who told me there are many abandoned wind turbines in his state.
He said wind companies “flip” turbine projects like houses or abandon them after a few years due to the cost to repair them. There is little money to decommission the turbines, and he said they can’t stand on their own without taxpayer subsidies.
A suit against the NextEra Energy Resources wind project in Altamont Pass, Calif., where thousands of raptors are killed annually, was recently settled. The company has to replace 2,400 old turbines with new ones and pay millions in mitigation fees, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A recent Wisconsin DNR study of three Wisconsin wind projects concluded that they have the second highest bat kill in North America. Is our flyway on the Niagara Escarpment for cranes, songbirds, raptors and bats the next “Altamont Pass”?
Can we put a price on the value of our wildlife on tourism, agriculture and the quality of life in Wisconsin? Call your state legislators – the wind turbine lobbyists are blowing into Madison.
– Sandra Johnson, Greenleaf
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