“Facts don’t cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
Connecticut may well be headed down the precarious road of ignoring unfavorable facts concerning industrial wind turbines that, without question, exist.
Fact: We need to address greenhouse gas emissions and a more sustainable energy source.
Fact: Wind energy, when wind is available, produces clean energy.
Fact: We need to find a balance between energy production and community acceptance. The residents in close proximity to these proposed wind turbines are NOT expendable. This small group should NOT be expected to carry the burden for the greater good.
Fact: Wind energy is NOT going to reduce our dependence on oil, stop wars in the Middle East, nor shut down fossil fuel energy plants. Wind energy is only produced when the wind is blowing; there is no technology available to store this energy for future use. Connecticut’s poor to marginal wind availability make it reasonable to believe that the proposed wind turbines will produce energy only 22% of the time. The rest of that time the turbines will actually be drawing energy from the grid. The substantial cost to minimal benefit ratio is simply not sensible. Overall, ninety-five percent of wind projects are rejected or abandoned.
Fact: The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
In effect, an approval of the Prospect and Colebrook petitions deprives those residing near the enjoyment of their property without just compensation.
Fact: Wind turbines produce flicker and both sound and pressure waves that make people who reside near them sick, known as Wind Turbine Syndrome. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, sleep deprivation, dizziness, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Animals suffer similar symptoms. Once moved away from the turbines, symptoms dissipate.
Fact: Property values near wind turbines decline anywhere from twenty to forty percent. Due to the immense size of industrial turbines there is no way to mitigate the visual impact. Fake evergreen limbs can be installed on cell towers to camouflage their visual impact, but what could possibly be done to mask a five hundred foot turbine? Feathers? No one will purchase property with a view of a five hundred foot machines. Unsalable homes near turbines are being abandoned.
Fact: Wind turbines emit electromagnetic waves which we already know make people ill. Power lines and cell towers have regulations in place to protect the public from these effects. Wind turbines have no such regulations.
Fact: Wind turbine noise is disruptive to sleep. The World Health Organization guidelines affirm noise levels over 30 decibels cause sleep disruption. There is no way to mitigate noise levels of turbines; turbines in neighboring states regularly operate at levels higher than this.
Fact: Wind turbine rotors travel at approximately 180 miles per hour. Their blades are capable of throwing two pound chunks of ice several hundred feet. Homes in close proximity are at risk from these ice throws.
Fact: Local fire departments do not have the capability to deal with emergencies like fire or collapse of industrial wind turbines. This is of particular concern when sited less than one thousand feet from homes.
Fact: The siting of industrial wind plants needs to follow the mantra: Location, location, location. Once wind turbines are constructed they are not moved. The World Health Organization recommends at least two to three mile setbacks from homes. Wind developers need to study the EXACT location of the proposed turbines to evaluate realistic estimates of viability. They need to establish a close working relationship with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the DEP to mitigate onsite environmental impacts.
Fact: Wind turbines kill thousands of birds and bats and disrupt the natural habitat of wildlife. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife have guidelines for wind development (www.fws.gov/windenergy) in order to try to mitigate damage. First and foremost, the FWS needs to be contacted so it can work with our DEP to properly assess the proposed site. The assessment ensures the proper location and design of the wind turbines and their infrastructure to mitigate potential impact during mating, breeding, and migrating seasons.
Permits from FWS need to be obtained for “take” of protected species of birds, like the Bald and Golden Eagle, as well as a variety of protected bat species.
Fact: Bats consume their weight in insects daily. This translates into billions of dollars of savings to the agricultural and disease control industries each year.
Fact: Wind turbines affect television, radio and cell phone reception that people rely on during emergencies. Wind turbines present communication safety hazards.
Fact: Wind turbines do not create jobs. The three projects proposed in Connecticut project fifteen jobs in Connecticut during construction. Once operational, those fifteen jobs fade away and Connecticut can count on one part-time job for Prospect and for Colebrook.
Fact: Wind turbines will not reduce local property taxes, in fact, taxes will increase. Property values within sight of the turbines will certainly decrease.
Renewable energy projects, like solar, are exempt from sales and property tax. Wind energy will certainly fall under those same tax exemptions.
Fact: Wind projects like those proposed in Connecticut are feasible ONLY because of federal and state subsidies. Countries like Sweden and Denmark are dropping wind subsidies due to recognition of high cost in relation to minimal benefit provided.
Fact: Connecticut has no regulations for the siting of wind turbines.
There are no requirements for the decommissioning of these units once they are deemed useless. Who is going to be responsible for the dismantling and disposal? It will cost millions to take these turbines down, who is going to bear the brunt of that cost?
Fact: BNE Energy, Inc. has no personal investment risk in these projects. Their venture is financed through the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and Connecticut Innovations, a.k.a. taxpayer and ratepayer funds.
Fact: BNE Energy, Inc. has no experience in the building, maintenance, or operation of industrial wind turbines.
Fact: BNE Energy, Inc. has no viable business plan. The purchase of energy produced by the wind turbines will not cover the basic costs associated with the project. BNE will be out of business and the wind turbines will remain, abandoned, looming over homes.
Fact: BNE Energy, Inc. did not utilize the U.S. Fish & Wildlife guidelines for proper assessment, planning, or environmental studies to minimize the inevitable negative impacts these wind energy plants will have on the towns where they will be sited.
Fact: G.E. announced in October, 2010 that the wind industry has collapsed. Recently they announced they are turning their focus to develop solar energy projects. Anyone want to guess why?
Connecticut, through its Siting Council, appears to be ignoring the facts in a rush to approve renewable energy projects, in an industry fraught with problems, in order to meet government subsidy deadlines set to expire this year.
Without acknowledging and giving credence to the FACTS, these legitimate problems will realize the emergence of a new service industry…one with a marketing campaign that will sound something like this:
“Are you suffering from headaches, the inability to sleep, dizziness, nausea, or other symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome? Have your property values plummeted? Are you considering abandoning your home for the sake of your family’s health and safety because you unable to sell it?”
“If you or someone you know are suffering with any of the consequences of living under the shadow of industrial wind turbines then call 1-800-TURBINE, our attorneys are standing by ready to help.”
The truth is, “Facts don’t cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Let your voice be heard, contact the Governor and your representatives and senators and tell them to support regulations BEFORE siting industrial wind turbines in Connecticut.
Michael and Jennifer Truss are residents of Colebrook, where a proposal to install wind turbines is pending with the Connecticut Siting Council.