Err on side of caution with wind power project
Credit: Daily Bulldog, www.dailybulldog.com 2 March 2011 ~~
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I encourage all residents and tax-payers in the River Valley area to attend the March 10th supper and DEP meeting regarding Patriot Renewables permit application to build an industrial wind development on Saddleback Mountain. This issue is not just about Saddleback and Carthage. Nor is it just about Colonel Holman Mountain or any one single ridge or community.
This is about Maine. Our mountains, our towns and our quality of life. This is about common sense and making wise decisions. This is about not rushing into something when it is not pressing or necessary, simply because outside influences have convinced us that we should support their plans.
For far too long, the wind industry had an open playing field with little or no opposition. They could and did indoctrinate Mainers with their promises of affordable, ‘home grown’ power. They touted wind’s ‘green factor’—claiming that wind-generated electricity would help reduce carbon emissions and counter global warming. They told us that it would enhance our national security and even… that it would ‘bring our soldiers home’.
And we bought it; hook, line and sinker. For awhile, we accepted it with no questions asked.
However, when finally asked to prove their statements, wind developers could not do so. When presented with factual data refuting their claims; they regrouped. They claimed those who opposed mountaintop industrial wind were selfish… that we ought to be dismissed as being nothing but NIMBYs.
I am proud to be a defender of my back yard, as well as the backyards of Mainers all across this state. For if we don’t stand up to protect our home and our way of life, who will? It is inherent in every living thing to do exactly that.
I once believed the wind lobby’s false promises and was a supporter of the concept of grid-scale wind energy plants. But then, I began to research this topic, and what I found was incredible. I was chagrined to realize how little attention I had given to the science and economics behind industrial wind. But as is evident all across this state–and even, around the world– the true facts are becoming common knowledge. When gauging reliable, constant, affordable and productive power sources, wind is at the bottom of the list.
Caught out in their misrepresentations of the facts, most wise industrial wind developers and proponents backed away from their original sales pitches. Now we see them taking a new tack. Today, it’s all about ‘jobs’. Temporary construction jobs. And, in their words, billions of dollars in ‘investment’. But this is not investment. This is ‘spending’. The spending of OUR money—tax-payer money—for a scant handful of full-time jobs, very few of which will be given to locals—if any.
While we want to see employees at Cianbro and Reed & Reed prosper, we also know that our local economies will not thrive due to the addition of these inefficient and towering machines. Small business owners may see a short-term boost in sales of gas, convenience store items and the like during those few weeks of construction. But once the developer has pulled out, that small economic boom goes with them.
And what are we left with? We are left with 400’-500’ tall turbines which can be seen for miles around, with blades which span an area over an acre and a half in size. We’re left with ancient mountains whose ridgelines have been forever altered, and hillsides with massive cuts criss-crossing them and clear-cuts scarring them. We’ll have high, low and ultra-low frequency noise and shadow flicker. And what was once Maine’s unique ‘quality of place’ and this state’s major economic driver is now no different than that which can be found everywhere else. Development of our pristine natural resources, for an industry which cannot deliver what they promise. The developer takes our cash. A few landowners profit from sales or leases. Optimistic and hopeful townspeople wait to see their taxes drop significantly.
Was it worth it? When the die-hard nature loving tourists stop coming, when folks ‘from away’ who’ve always wanted a wilderness retreat or a quiet cabin on a pond go somewhere else to buy their dream property–somewhere where the land is still protected and important—will it have been worth it? When CMP rate payers see their electric bills rise due to the cost of the new 450 mile long high voltage transmission corridor needed to transport the wind power to the New England grid—will it have been worth the sacrifice? When it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that we are not significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to the addition of wind to our energy portfolio, will we regret not learning the facts before giving our permission for developers to build their projects?
I urge citizens to take the time to research this important topic before we make irreversible mistakes. Attend meetings like the one in Carthage. Read articles. Google ‘industrial wind’ and related topics. Speak to scientists and energy experts and doctors and acoustic experts who are not going to profit from the proliferation of industrial wind. Take the time to consider the sources of your information, and then make an ethical and informed decision based on the facts you have unearthed.
We are in no hurry for additional electricity, but the developers are desperate to get the ‘go ahead’ for their projects, because our tax dollars are only available to them for a short period of time. They’ve seen which way the wind is blowing, and they realize they are fighting against time.
Please err on the side of caution and common sense before making a decision which has long-term (or even permanent) consequences.
Lexington Twp., Maine
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