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The article in the Nov. 14 Telegram about the Jericho Rise wind project needs some clarification.
While the capacity may be 80 megawatts, the actual annual output would be less than 20 MW due to the area’s low-speed and erratic winds. Chateaugay has a five-year average capacity of 22 percent, meaning an 80 MW installation would average 17.6 MW actual output. Capacity is one way to measure efficiency.
The claim that enough electricity would be produced to power 25,000 homes is over 40 percent too high, based on Chateaugay’s five-year production average.
No Northern New York wind project will sell enough electricity to pay for itself in its 20-year life expectancy rating given by the manufacturers. This can be verified by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission data.
Due to low wind speeds and therefore low capacity factors, no Northern New York wind project will erase its own carbon footprint, to say nothing of making any inroads in atmospheric CO2. An in-depth study by the prestigious Pacific Research Institute found a wind turbine must have a capacity factor of at least 35 percent in order to help reduce CO2 emissions. No Northern New York project meets this criteria.
Numerous studies in the United kingdom, Canada, Australia, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont and even here in Northern New York at Cape Vincent found property to be devalued near industrial wind turbines. Homes lost 10 percent to 60 percent of pre-wind-construction value, depending on location and the number of turbines in the viewshed.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recommends locations with at least 15 mpg average wind speeds as viable locations for wind projects. Why then do they spend huge chunks of taxpayer cash subsidizing wind projects in submarginal areas with 12-14 mph average winds (for example, Chateaugay)?
Due to Northern New York’s weak resource, projects like Chateaugay often produce no electricity. The three-year average of downtime is just over 1,200 hours of nonproduction –– 50 24-hour days.
Total federal and state subsidies to Noble Chateaugay is $115 million. This is enough to pay all payments in lieu of taxes, leases and salaries for 20 years. Developers have few expenses.
Some other problems with wind farms include total destruction of rural ambiance, bat and bird kills –– including eagles –– and last but not least, some people are made very sick by infrasound.
In looking at the pros and cons of wind projects in submarginal areas, no wonder some leading physicists and energy experts think these wind farms should be spelled boondoggle.
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