Before elaborating in his guest column (May 26), wind power lobbyist Jeremy Payne first attempts to defuse critics, beginning with the “hyperbolic” media.
Attacking the media is a tried and true tactic of special interests whose paid sorties against the press are integral to marketing budgets. Shoot the messenger is standard operating procedure.
The 2008 Wind Power Act that Payne defends was rushed through the Legislature. Few legislators read the bill, much less understood it. Public process? More like greased railroad tracks.
Affected citizens are attempting to advocate legislative fixes to the 2008 legislation. It is long past time for elected officials to redress its wrongs. Legislators simply are unwilling to confront the phalanxes of well-heeled lobbyists filling committee rooms.
Payne accuses critics of “name calling and subjective assessments about the aesthetics of wind turbines.” That hardly describes how the opposition movement has grown year by year in Maine to the usurping of mountain tops and ridge lines by industrial wind turbines, with all the ancillary clear-cutting and road building in wilderness areas.
But it is not just aesthetics that inflame critics; it is the poor economics of wind power. Payne glides past that point.
In Maine, wind turbines produce only 10 to 25 percent of rated capacity. There is no cure for wind’s intermittency. There is no timetable when Maine’s turbines will replace a single fossil fuel plant. You can’t turn off a utility plant, waiting for wind to blow a little harder.
The most serious complaint of critics is that land-based wind power will never account for more than a small percentage of overall energy production and demand. Wind can never play more than a minor role in the energy future.
So what accounts for its domination of public discourse and for pro-wind advocacy? Follow the money.
In attacking citizens who back efforts at reform of wind power in the Maine Legislature, Payne uses the argument of corporations who have nested in public subsidies: it is “unfair to single out one industrial activity” to impose “a costly and time consuming level of regulatory measures…” The tobacco industry said the same. So does the fracking industry and Monsanto.
Wind enthusiasts cry, “you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game.” Nonsense.
In the meantime, wind turbines are dividing communities, pitting neighbor against neighbor and, in the case of Vinalhaven where I own property, poorly regulated noise from turbines is ruining property values and the health of some who happen to live in wind turbine “sacrifice zones.”
The bottom line: If the day comes when the economy depends on energy from wind, we will all be in a world of hurt.
Alan Farago, Vinalhaven
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