I get around a lot – traveling for and looking for work in the last 18 months I have driven across the mid west (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana) near east (New York and Pennsylvania) and even the New England states.
Wind farms – installations that include hundreds (not a few) dot the landscape I have driven through.
By observation I have determined that cows, corn, wheat, etc are not affected by flicker or tip noise. Access for service seems to be as convenient as driving a truck up to the base of each turbine. Servicing includes inspections that require talented rope climbing skills to rappel down the face of the blades – ultimately descending to the ground (next to the pick-up truck they use).
Yep, everything I witnessed during my driving adventures looked like clean and efficient wind energy. Boating access was not required for any of these wind farms.
I don’t see any similarities with the Cape Wind project. As an avid boater and experienced sailor I can honestly say that I have never seen anything last on or near the water as well or as long as on land. So I think it is safe to say that ocean-based wind turbines won’t last long either – or be easy to maintain and service. Unless you put the pick-up on the boat – it won’t be next to the wind turbine during a service call.
And in fact – yes, the cost of Cape Wind electricity will be greater per kilowatt than any other generating source. This is an undisputed fact.
So why, why, why is the U.S. government subsidizing such an obviously over-priced electricity project? Maybe 20 years ago when wind turbine ideas first where considered – people never conceived of land-based behemoths – but today that cat seems to be out of the bag – so to speak.
I am a huge proponent of renewable energy. Solar and wind energy should be used to the upmost – but not at the expense of huge government subsidies and increased electricity bills for consumers. That just seems too much like another badly organized national program we are all suffering at present.
But let’s look at the business side of Cape Wind. It’s going to bring jobs – right? Lots of skilled work to build and construct these turbines and the towers they will need to sit on.
Oops! The turbines are coming from Europe, and the towers – basically round steel tubes – are also coming from Europe. All these pieces of equipment will be shipped to Northern Maine (to take advantage of another federal tax credit called a “hub zone”).
How about the money that is borrowed for this – who is offering the developer money? Foreign banks. Not only will the construction work and jobs be limited if not completely unavailable to Southern New Englanders – U.S. banks are not involved! An interesting side note here is that the European companies involved need this work because new offshore wind turbine projects in Europe are being postponed and canceled because they cost too much and are not returning on investment
So to recap – we are going to install wind turbines in a hostile environment that will be expensive to build and maintain. We are going to buy all the equipment from Europe with loans from foreign banks – these guys must be delighted as they can now hedge their own currency while making money off American energy consumers. Few local jobs. Huge increase in electrical costs. And what do we do in 15 to 20 years when the equipment needs to be replaced? Borrow more money from Europe?
Technology is generally supposed to decrease costs and improve the lives off those affected. I just don’t see that happening on Nantucket Sound.
Chris Collings lives in Marion
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