For months Exelon Energy and their local partner, Great Lakes Wind (GLW), have claimed that the “IICC tells a scary story.” They have blasted this headline across our local papers in expensive full page ads. What is the IICC saying that is so scary? Let’s look at Exelon/GLW’s claims one at a time and allow the reader and Riga Township residents to decide whether they should be scared.
GLW claims that there is no “statistically significant” loss of property value associated with industrial wind turbines. They claim that nearly 500-foot-tall wind turbines will not diminish home values, but they refuse to guarantee it. Interestingly, the author of the property value study GLW cites has stated that wind developers who refuse to offer a property value guarantee “don’t have a leg to stand on.” Furthermore, Certified Real Estate Appraiser Michael S. McCann has documented a 25 to 40 percent decrease in residential property values within two miles of an industrial wind turbine complex. In fact, several homes located within an industrial wind turbine complex became unmarketable and have been abandoned. Is this just a scary story?
GLW claims that the project will generate significant tax revenue. Michigan Senate Bill 34 would eliminate the personal property tax, which means that the turbine developments would pay virtually no tax. In light of SB 34, Huron County (in Michigan’s Thumb), host to the largest industrial wind complex in the state, has proposed a moratorium on future wind development until the personal property tax issue is resolved. Is that just another scary story from the IICC?
GLW/Exelon claims that turbines limited to 45 dBA will be as quiet as a library. However, measurements taken at libraries in our area suggest that libraries are actually much quieter, less than 30 dBA. This is consistent with levels described by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Furthermore, the World Health Organization suggests that noise related sleep disturbance begins between 30 to 40dBA, and that “adverse health effects are observed” from sound levels between 40 to 55 dBA. The IICC recommends 35 dBA for safety. Exelon/GLW recommends 45 dBa. Scared yet?
GLW/Exelon states that wind turbines are the cheapest form of new energy. However, these statements about the cost of wind energy assume that “cap and trade” of CO2 emissions has actually been enacted, which it has not. Notably, natural gas fired electricity is subsidized at the rate of $0.15 per MwH, coal at $0.45 per MwH and wind at $23.47 per MwH. The real truth about the cost of wind energy comes from Exelon’s own CEO, John Rowe, who stated on March 9, 2011, “inexpensive natural gas produces cheaper, cleaner electricity than any or all of the alternatives that I know.” Mr. Rowe acknowledges that wind energy is not economically viable without government subsidies. Another scary story from the IICC?
Why aren’t the wind developers touting the alleged greenhouse gas reduction? Isn’t climate change the reason for all this “wind” in the first place? Could it be because even with over 150,000 turbines spinning worldwide, CO2 production has not diminished? Is it because wind is so inefficient and unreliable that coal plants have to remain online to cover the peak demand for electricity? In Colorado, where coal plants are used as “peaker plants,” pollutants have actually increased. Should our citizens incur significant impacts upon their lifestyle for no measurable environmental gains? Is this just another scare tactic?
This project will allegedly create six to eight permanent jobs. Tens of millions of dollars in “Stimulus Bill” tax credits and cash grants to create less than 10 permanent jobs? It would be cheaper to just give each of those people $1 million. How scary is that?
The IICC has exhaustively studied the issues surrounding industrial wind turbines, advocating for regulations that will protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Lenawee County. Wind developers have advocated for regulations that protect their profits and shareholders. Does the IICC tell a scary story? Yes it does, because sometimes the truth is scary.
Kevon Martis and Joshua J. Nolan are directors of Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition Inc. (www.iiccusa.org)
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