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Educated community key to alternate power choices  

Credit:  Shelburne Falls & West County Independent, 13 January 2012 ~~

By local standards (whereby residency is measured in generations), I am a newcomer to Shelburne. I purchased my property on Little Mohawk Road in 2000. Since then I have built a home. I have come to know and enjoy my neighbors. I love the town; its rural authenticity; the authenticity of its people; the views; and the quiet retreat it offers. To compromise the characteristics of the town in some substantial way would certainly be a significant loss to me. I believe it would be a significant loss to many in the community.

A proposal has come before the town concerning an industrial wind turbine (IWT) project that has the potential to change the town in a substantial way. Despite the ZBA rejection of this project for insufficient supporting documentation, this project has not gone away. Make no mistake; it will be back in greater force.

I am an advocate of alternative energy sources. However, I firmly believe that such alternatives need to be developed without violating the nature of the setting in which they are placed; without imposing upon the esthetics of the setting; without causing injury to abutting and non-abutting neighbors; and without diminishing the property values of abutting and non-abutting neighbors. Unfortunately, the evidence indicates that IWT will have these adverse effects.

Wind turbines are seductive. Developers aggressively promote them as quiet, unobtrusive, and indeed scenic alternatives to traditional power sources – perhaps suggesting the windmills of Holland. However, there are detrimental side effects generated by IWT farms in rural settings. These side effects are never mentioned by the developers until it is too late – the IWT farms have been built and the developers are gone.

There have been many rural-based IWT farms constructed and in operation, in this country and in Europe. The residents of Shelburne can draw from the experiences of these installations. To help the discussion, I have donated 8 copies to the Shelburne libraries (4 to the Little Stone Library and 4 to the Main Library on Bridge Street) of a recent book by Nina Pierpont, MD and PhD summarizing some of the scientific findings regarding the adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines. Her book is entitled, Wind Turbine Syndrome, A Report on a Natural Experiment. Her research conclusions are supported by a variety of other recent scientific articles.

Before any decision is made about allowing the proposed Mount Massaemet industrial wind-turbine farm to go forward, prudent review of the adverse health problems caused by actual installations should be undertaken by all residents of Shelburne. Hopefully, this book will assist neighbors in understanding the health risks involved with IWT installations.

I am a mathematical economist (PhD and MA from MIT; BA from Princeton). I have been a member of the faculties of MIT and Boston University. I feel I can offer an informed opinion regarding IWT installations. Since receiving my PhD from MIT in 1977, I have worked extensively on consulting, research and litigation involving the electric power industry. While on the MIT faculty, I was part of a group that studied alternative energy sources, most notably solar photovoltaic sources.

Over the last 25 years, I have appeared as a testifying expert on the economics of electric power systems for a number of states across the country. I have appeared on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other New England states with regard to plans to deregulate the electric power industry in Massachusetts and New England as a whole. I have studied, taught and published peer-reviewed academic research on a variety of aspects of the electric power industry. As I have come to research the poor operational characteristics of IWT and, more importantly, their serious adverse health side-effects, I have become an opponent of IWT installations in populated or lightly populated rural settings. The adverse health effects are serious and can be catastrophic to particular families. I believe IWT installations should not be sited in such settings. The book by Dr. Nina Pierpont will clarify the reasons for my conclusions and opinions. I urge the residents of Shelburne to read the book and to read additional research cited in the book.

Raymond S. Hartman
Shelburne

Source:  Shelburne Falls & West County Independent, 13 January 2012

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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