A funny thing happened when we called for information about Wind Energy Development LLC, the firm that the town of Westerly is working with to build two wind turbines to provide power for some municipal buildings. The firm has said it will invest $10 million in the project. When we called, we got a “hello?” in a young man’s voice.
We were sure we had the wrong number. When we apologized and indicated that we were calling Wind Energy Development LLC, we got: “Oh, yeah, that’s my dad’s company. Do you want his cell number?”
Well, sure. What reporter is going to say no to a cell number? We called that number. We got a message that anyone of us might leave on our personal cell phone. Nothing about Wind Energy Development LLC.
Now, we understand that this is 2012, and virtual is the way of the world. The physical presence of a multi-million dollar corporation can exist in a tiny office condo with one receptionist should anyone use old technology – a phone – to contact the company while executives are conferencing by satellite link in their bathrobes from homes around the globe. But, call us a stick in the mud, we still don’t think that’s how many big-time, well-capitalized firms actually do business. Anyway, we were calling to find out where the $10 million is coming from. Investors, as a representative of the company told the town, or from government grants?
Our intention was to write an editorial suggesting that this is not the time to experiment with small turbine projects. We’re not anti-wind power per se, or even anti-alternative energy. We just think that if you’re going to do it, do it big. And do it offshore, where many, many turbines can generate lots and lots of electricity, out of the view of homeowners and with little to no chance of having negative impact on people and their property.
The Wind Energy Development proposal may generate enough electricity to power Town Hall, the police station and the public works facility – at favorable rates, not free – but none of the schools. And this is going to cost $10 million? And let’s not forget this deal is assuming National Grid will buy any excess power, a scenario they have objected to in the past. If there’s $10 million of grant money available, we’re sure there’s a lot more that can be done to benefit more people than to build two wind turbines in Bradford.
The company’s website provides little information, no details, and no history of projects. Under Projects, is the following information:
• Wind Energy Development has successfully secured property throughout the state of Rhode Island for the development of Wind Turbines.
• Wind Studies are being undertaken and performed to determine the feasibility of selected site locations.
We think that just a little more information would be helpful before the town commits any further to this venture.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding