West River should think twice before embracing wind farm near Newell.
As a concerned citizen whose family owns property within the boundaries of the proposed Wind Quarry, LLC wind farm development, I am writing to all affected property owners of the potential long term environmental damage, as well the possible adverse economic impact this project could create. Please understand, based upon my research, I am of the opinion that the claimed benefits of wind energy is, in most instances, an illusion that is portrayed and promoted by puppets of the renewable energy industry. Their sole intent and primary focus is to continue to secure the significant sums of federal taxpayer subsidies in the form of the wind energy production tax credit (PTC). As quoted by Warren Buffet in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “On wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credits.” Currently this illusion is now being presented and promoted by John and Patrick O’Meara of Wind Quarry, LLC. With respect to the benefits they pretend to deliver, please allow me to emphasize a few key concerns. Equally important, I invite all citizens to speak to informed land owners who have the first hand experience to discuss the potential negative impact wind farms can cause to our local environment with little or no economic return on investment.
As cited on numerous occasions by wind farm developer Rob Johnson, founder of Dakota Plains Energy Inc., I have read Mr. Johnson’s lofty and contentious revenue predictions proposed by Wind Quarry and the South Dakota Department of Revenue. It’s easy to convince state, county, and local communities stakeholders that the projected fiscal return on investment could be a windfall (no pun intended!) to our regional economy, but I question at what cost to all taxpayers? In a recent article published in Forbes Magazine, energy contributor James Taylor recently illustrated that a study put forth by the American Wind Energy Association, revealed electricity prices are, in fact, rising “more than four times the national average in nine out of 11 states with the most wind power consumption.” The article further cites “electricity prices rose much more rapidly than the national average after the states enacted their renewable power mandates.” Finally the article concludes, “these results came as no surprise considering that wind power is much more costly than conventional power”… Ultimately these findings are a “huge blow to the advocates of renewable power mandates and wind power subsidies.” My point… seems to me that after weighing the cost of this sizable project, and the proven increase in future electricity prices, when compared to the projected economic gains to our community, in my estimation this massive project will deliver a near zero return on investment.
The good news… many in Washington now seem to agree to finally expire the tax credits. In a July 2014 letter from Congress to Speaker John Boehner, though proponents of the wind tax credit (PTC) continue to call for an extension, there is growing evidence that “this subsidy has not only cost taxpayers billions but has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets.”
The letter further states “despite a flat demand for power, growth in wind energy is not being driven by market demand but instead by a combination of state mandates and a federal tax credit that is now more valuable than the actual market price of the electricity these plants generate.” Think about that for a second. The tax credits actually have now become more valuable than the economic output that wind energy could predictably ever deliver! Certainly seems to me the O’Meara brothers are the only real winners. Though the US Senate Finance Committee recently voted to extend the production tax credit (PTC) through 2016, promising developments now show some positive momentum among a number of US Congressmen to allow the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) to finally expire. As introduced by Rep Kenny Marchant, R Texas and Rep Mike Pompeo, R Kansas, Bill HR.1901 called the PTC Elimination Act was introduced to phase out and repeal the production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy sources. Every effort should now be made to contact your Congressmen to finally repeal these tax credits when they are scheduled to expire at the end of 2016.
Especially this time of year, Highway 212 affords some of the most unobstructed panoramic views of of some of the finest pasture and ranch lands our nation has to offer. Imagine then, the land and eye pollution that will be created as a direct result of constructing numerous massive concrete foundations to support wind structures that tower well above 200 feet, permanently scarring our beautiful landscape perhaps forever. We have not yet fully understood the formidable economic and environmental damage that could remain with us for decades.
In conclusion, as local hearings continue to progress, I again urge all of us to become more informed citizens to the issues currently being debated. More importantly, to then voice those concerns to our representatives that we trust and hope will make the right decisions. Long after the tax credits have finally vanished and the wind farm developers along with it, we should all be fearful of the economic and environmental mess we will be left with.
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