This letter is in response to Larry Beahan’s Another Voice. It is certain we need an alternative to burning fossil fuels, but while the Sierra Club is against fracking and polluting our freshwater, it also needs to be aware that the New York Power Authority plan includes building wind turbines in the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie. This will not only disturb the 40-year-old cap over the lake floor containing all the contaminants from the steel mills, it will disrupt the fishing and recreational industry we have worked so long and hard to protect. Ultimately, we may be making a deal with the devil, trading one natural resource, electricity, for another, water. Which one can we survive without?
While Great Lakes Offshore Wind met its demise last year with its 52 proposed wind turbines in Lake Erie, Lake Erie Alternative Power is poised to place more than twice as many 500-foot wind turbines our lake.
Wind power for electricity generates much discussion. Everyone agrees on its potential for future use, however, location will be a major factor in the total cost of the electricity delivered to the power grid.
On June 25, 2010, at a New York State Power Authority meeting at Woodlawn Beach Conference Center, the authority clearly stated the cost for electricity with the wind turbines would be around 19 cents per KWH. This is neither efficient nor economical, as we now pay around 5 cents per KWH. This high price results from the experimental placement of turbines in a freshwater lake. The plan will also require huge government subsidies. These will end about 10 years after the project begins.
Careful calculations must be made to ensure that we, the retail customer and the voter, are not paying for the exorbitant hidden costs. If the system is not affordable, we cannot build offshore wind turbines at the current level of technology.
Lake Erie Coordinator
International Coastal Cleanup Great Lakes Beach Sweep
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