June 5, 2012
Opinions, West Virginia

Another look at wind energy

By Kolin Jan, The Highlands Voice | June 2012 wvhighlands.org

I applaud the Board’s effort in taking a closer view in refining its position on industrial wind. Like many West Virginians, initially I believed the hype and thought this approach would be our salvation in supplying a source of eco-friendly electricity. Much to my chagrin, after extensive research I have come to the opposite conclusion. Based purely on the science and engineering involved in this method of supplying electricity, I have come to the conclusion that this approach is folly. No number of wind turbines can satisfy demand – we will always require other sources to supply reliable, dispatchable electricity, and the amount of electricity supplied by turbines will always, from a practical application, supply only a very small fraction of our needs….at an inordinate expense. Those who argue that the turbines harm the viewshed have a valid point….but it’s subjective.

Those who argue that they negatively impact the environment and the wildlife have a valid point—but to some that doesn’t matter. They want their electricity no matter the environmental cost….and it is substantial. How can we conserve our environment and its occupants by clear-cutting thousands of acres, chasing away the wildlife and killing a significant percentage of the avian population? Especially when there are other, significantly less expensive ways to source electricity.

I encourage the Board to continue their deliberation, but dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers on the topic clearly show this industry to be fallacious. Over the past several years I have requested from a number of industrial wind proponents copies of peer-reviewed scientific papers in favor of industrial wind—-so far I have not been able to find a single one.

Moreover, the only green aspect of this endeavor is the cash going to developers and owners through Congress’ blindness to the facts, along with the majority of the population’s ignorance to the facts in how these turbines operate, and their true cost. Every taxpaying American is supporting this industry—without significant government support this industry would die immediately. Not next week or next year….immediately. The only way to make money in this business is through government grants and tax write-offs…..or charge an exorbitant rate that Americans would not tolerate.

Industrial sized wind turbines do not belong in West Virginia… or any other place, for that matter. They are a pox on the land, an unreliable source of electricity, and way too expensive.

Ask yourself one question…..would you pay 10X (or more) to hook up your house to a company that supplies electricity only from wind turbines, as your only source of electricity?

I could present a number of other arguments and rebuttals for those in favor of this industry, but I’m sure you understand my position. Again, I encourage the Board’s further discussion on the topic, but I also urge the members to set aside emotion and deal with facts instead of what we hear from the media (our tax dollars are paying for the ads, by the way), or what the developers would like you to believe. Listen to the facts provided by science, along with the facts that reveal the true expenses and how this industry is financed. Every statement, regardless who makes it needs to be supported by factual evidence…not by something gained through the media or hearsay.

Unfortunately, this argument is potentially tainted because there are people involved in the discussion who have a financial interest. A good question to ask a proponent involves the level of potential personal financial gain through land leases, construction contracts, or the false promise of permanent jobs. We’ve seen that first-hand around Keyser.

Finally (somewhat tongue-in-cheek), as with any contentious issue, remember there are people who live by “Don’t confuse me with facts….my mind’s already made up.”

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/06/05/another-look-at-wind-energy/