With respect to Stacey Stumpf’s article in the Perspective section (Oct. 28); at least it was correctly placed with the editorials as there was no verification of facts, just her opinion and the biased information provided by the wind developer.
First, the statement that the “project has brought 170 construction jobs to an area in need of employment.” Wrong. Those jobs already existed, this project just created some temporary work orders that required specialty construction workers, almost all brought in from outside the area and even outside our state, and only for a few months. At least the local restaurants and hotels were able to sell a few extra meals and rooms.
Second, the statement that “in this economy, it seems unwise to endanger an industry that’s bringing so many jobs to struggling communities” and this development specifically “will mean 10 to 12 permanent jobs.” But E.ON didn’t say “local” permanent jobs, did it? Most wind farm owners consolidate their operations in faraway states with other wind farm operation centers they already own, then add the jobs there since they can run it all by computer. The local Dairy Queen in town employs more people permanently and locally, and most likely has a larger payroll and pays more in property taxes than this entire wind farm.
Third, the statement that the 13-square-mile Wildcat Wind Farm “will produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes” is just pro-wind propaganda. This calculation (125 turbines at 1.6 megawatts each) assumes they operate at 35 percent of capacity – unheard of in this part of the country. Realistically, they will operate at less than half that rate; many times there will be no electricity produced at all – when the wind doesn’t blow.
To try to equate intermittent and unreliable wind-generated electricity to that needed on demand to run a typical American household makes no sense. Any power produced by wind turbines simply flows into the general electricity grid and not only to individual households but also to thousands of other consumers. Nobody, even if they live right next to the turbines, gets their current straight from the turbines; they get a simple electric current of which 98 percent comes from power plants other than wind.
Lastly, it is correct that “fossil fuel-based energy receives federal help,” but the U.S. taxpayer-subsidized Production Tax Credit provides private wind developers such as this German company E.ON at least 12 times more per unit of useable electricity generated than traditional power plants get (some sources say it is 50 times more). Ask the Wildcat Wind Farm Development Manager Andy Melka: “Would E.ON build this wind farm if there were no Production Tax Credit or 10-year tax abatement?” His answer would be “no.” Actually, you don’t have to ask him; just read the June 22, 2011 article in the Kokomo Tribune where he is quoted.
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