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Be informed on Kewaunee County wind farm  

Credit:  Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com 18 March 2011 ~~

Element Power LLC claims three main reasons for sighting this proposed location. However, when one truly considers all input, this area is NOT the area to build wind generation sites. And looking beyond the reasoned cited, we haven’t even begun to touch upon the scores of potential impacts to residents within the area.

Wind potential is good here. This is one reason they claim. Seriously?! The wind potential here is simply not conducive to a well performing and financially lucrative company (after all, they are a private LLC). Kewaunee county wind capacity/energy rates at BEST a 3 on a scale of 7 for wind potential. Depending on which scale you look at, Kewaunee county ranges from 2 to 3. We all know the plains states and offshore areas have wind potential on a far greater scale than the northern great lakes state of Wisconsin. Those regions considered for wind power development off the ocean coasts and in the plains states rate 6 to 7 on the same scale. I’d guess that population density of Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties has also played a role in their proposal. The population density of the plains states is 2-5 times lower than here in our location. Thus, the areas in the plains states where it makes sense to build wind power have 200-300% more output capability, and 200-500% fewer people per affected square mile.

Access to the electric power grid in this location is ideal due to the proximity of the nuclear power plants. This is the second reason they claim. I offer just the opposite, based on my utility engineering background, that the proximity to the concentrated generation here does not make it an ideal location. Considering both the nuclear plants (3 generators actually), the gas turbine plant in Kaukauna, coal units in Green Bay, and the coal units in Sheboygan, the lakeshore is actually a less than ideal location to support more generation. A connection to the electrical transmission system can indeed be “more ideal” in some locations than others, and can be accommodated anywhere, but at additional costs due to improvements and upgrades needed at neighboring power stations or adjacent transmission lines.

30% federal tax credit (amongst local state credits as well). This is the biggest reason, without a doubt. Who can argue with building something, even if it is not the best possible solution, if your total cost is just 70% of the actual? Would you have built a bit larger home, barn, school for our kids, church, etc if you could have received a 30% credit, even if you didn’t need it? Just because an ill-conceived (albeit well intended) political decry to increase renewable energy resources to an arbitrary percentage by an arbitrary date has opened the door to investments, it does not mean that these ‘investments’ were ever worth considering. Ask these investors, business owners, and renewable energies advocates – If the political and societal climate should change, and tax credits, subsidies, and incentives for wind energy construction were to be removed, would you still build here, in this location, at this time. I challenge that a true and honest answer would be anything other than, “NO!”. And I supply the recently cancelled Twin Creeks windfarm near Mishicot as an example where this just occurred. Local opposition prolonged the project schedule to the point that the ability to claim some credits and secure financial investments had expired and the project was no longer economically viable or profitable.

So, let us exercise some forward thinking and a bit of learning and adapting from our mistakes of the past. Let us not dismiss or ignore the numerous and resounding claims from residents concerning health, social, and economic impacts after wind turbines had been installed and impacted their lives. Is there some conspiracy which accounts for countless examples about how wind turbines have negatively impacted lives? Is there a reason that negative claims outweigh positive claims by over 1000:1 ratios? Type “wind turbine residents” into Google and see for yourself. See the all the negative stories, videos, lawsuits, studies, testimonial, medical studies, environmental studies, etc. Dispersed among the sea of negative results, you will find but a few technical details about turbines, and even fewer positive impact studies. Let’s place some value on what makes us a nation – the people of this nation! The people should matter. Dividing land to suit needs of business, changing or eliminating a family dream to live a quiet life in the country, driving a stake between former loving neighbors, physically and emotionally impacting any one human being, are all consequences documented as a result of wind turbines. Protecting the quality of life of the people of the nation should be our number one priority. Take a step beyond just protecting our people and protect our environment – lands, waters, plant life, animal life, etc. Do you all know we have numerous bald eagles and peregrine falcons in Kewaunee County? How many of you have wells that supply all your water needs for your families and livestock? How many of you have acres of beautiful soil in which you grow your livelihood, and have done so for generations? How many of you love the beautiful river valleys and forest areas for recreation, hunting, relaxing, etc?

The reasons and claims made by Element Power LLC for proposing this location are lacking sound and concrete reason why the lives of people and environment should be impacted in any negative manner whatsoever. The burden of proof should not be on the residents who have been impacted (or will be impacted). Burden of proof should be on the investors to prove the people and environment will not be impacted. As well, we should require proof that this project, this location, this timeframe is the best choice for everyone involved. Until then (and I wouldn’t wait around if I were you), listen to the people, listen to and heed the concerns, listen to your conscience, and do the right thing. Plainly stated – WE NEED BETTER REGULATIONS REGARDING WIND ENERGY. We need scientific evidence from independent parties to properly move forward with solutions that are safe for the people, the nation. Until then, and only after the rigorous and dedicated effort has completed meaningful and controlled studies, be cautious, be informed, be aware of how things may be changing (not for the better) right in your backyard.

Tim Kopacz

Kewaunee

Source:  Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com 18 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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