I am writing about my concerns on the possibility of a solar energy company coming to DeKalb County and the draft wind ordinance for DeKalb County. I hope our county commissioners and plan commissioners perform their due diligence before signing off on any venture that could have negative impacts on our citizens. How much do potential federal government subsidies, federal tax credits, guaranteed loans, state incentives, county tax abatements, etc., play in the renewable energy industry’s interest in development in DeKalb County?
Solar energy has received some bad reviews of late. Solyndra ($535 million), Evergreen Solar ($40 million), Spectra Watt Inc. ($500,000), Beacon Power ($43 million) and Solargen Energy are examples of solar companies who have declared bankruptcy in recent months. These companies were subsidized with our tax money.
Another subject to ponder about solar energy in our area – according to records, Fort Wayne has an average of 180 sunny, partly sunny days per year. Is solar energy even feasible in our climate? Also, it was stated that the project will provide energy to the local community. Can that be proved? Will it lower our electric bills?
I am hopeful the public is reviewing the DeKalb County draft wind ordinance. Two important aspects to address are noise and setbacks. In a presentation (June 16, 2011) sponsored by the Whitley County Concerned Citizens organization, professor Roger McEowen, director of the Center of Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT) of Iowa State University, stated that population density in Indiana (DeKalb County – 116 people per square mile) makes siting of wind turbines very troublesome. It is his opinion that setbacks should be at least half a mile from residences. He believes this would minimize conflicts with neighbors (possible tort claims) and address health issues.
Noise, including infrasound and low-frequency noise (which are phenomenons unique to wind turbines), needs to be addressed. Scientists are beginning to discover noise-related health problems attributed to wind turbines. Research in this area needs to be done before a wind ordinance is put into place.
Professor McEowan’s presentation covers many aspects of the implementation of wind energy systems in a community. This video can be found at www.wcccitizens.org
Much has been stated about the glories of wind energy. The industry states turbines can produce enough energy to power, potentially, thousands of homes. They fail to tell us this actually happens about 25 percent of the time. Wind speeds are not constant, which make wind energy inefficient. If the public believes renewable energy will lower our electric bills, they are sadly mistaken. State mandates force utilities to purchase renewable energy, which is more expensive to produce. Utilities will pass this expense on to consumers. Also, new transmission lines will be built, and electric consumers will be picking up the bill.
With our national debt approaching $15 trillion, let private corporations and individuals, for their own economic self-interest, invest their money in the quest for the next great technology. Leave our tax dollars out of it! Contact our county representatives with your questions and attend the public hearings.
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