When intelligent, value-centered fellow citizens, including good and gifted friends, continue to publicly promote industrial wind as a viable, green alternative energy source, we are disheartened. If one is willing to examine mounting evidence and well-researched analysis, industrial wind turbines simply cannot be justified.
One example, the United Kingdom has announced spending billions of dollars on thousands of diesel generators critical to backing up their industrial wind debacle.
Further: New solar and wind are 100 percent backed up by NEW COAL. Not a single coal-fired plant has been dismantled and replaced by industrial wind. Most countries, including Germany, are building even more coal plants.
It is understandable, if one does not know the facts, to assume that wind, harnessed by industrial wind turbines, would be a benign source of energy. Unfortunately, the facts refute the continued positive support given industrial wind turbines. Hard working and well-meaning value-centered groups, such as “Greening Greenfield” continue this promulgation of false hope supported by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, an institution and its faculty that many turn to for intellectual integrity.
In summary: Industrial wind turbines contribute to our carbon footprint and destruction of the planet in the following (as well as many additional) ways;
Because wind is intermittent, industrial wind turbines must have a constant back-up source of energy.
The backup (either coal, oil, gas, diesel, nuclear or hydro) must be ramped up or down and run continuously, emitting even more CO2.
Thousands of tons of CO2 are released in the production of steel, concrete, etc., for each turbine even before including the pollution added by shipping, erection and removal of thousands of acres of carbon sequestering forest
The many tons of neodymium, a rare earth metal, needed per turbine leave radioactive tailings for thousands of years in the soil and aquifer below each mine.
The challenge, we believe, is to recognize and address the underlying assumptions that drive us toward solutions offered by the vested interests of the corporate world, rather than solutions arrived at by communities. Among these assumptions is that both growth and profit are intrinsically worthy goals. Another is that technology will give us a solution that will, at the very least, allow us to go on as we have been.
None of these assumptions will support or enhance the truly formidable task before us: to engage in a thorough examination of the policies and thinking that we have embraced along with the resulting and expanding worldwide harm and destruction.
The facts compel us to declare with certainty that industrial wind turbines are a Trojan horse.
The attribution of “green, clean, sustainable” is insidious – giving false hope at a time when many good people are seeking solutions. So many organizations, institutions, legislators, businesses, corporations, governments, environmental groups, foundations, universities, departments, agencies, have bought into or have been “bought out” to endorse what are assuredly outright lies. Collectively they have captured and disabled intelligent civil discourse and eliminated the role of evidence and fact. Any dissenter or disturbing facts are considered suspect and are dismissed.
There is a continually growing list of extremely negative impacts and devastation – large wind turbines are not green, clean, or sustainable and certainly are far from free. Our wishing or claiming otherwise will not make them green. There is also no such entity as a wind farm!
For a scant 1-2 percent of Massachusetts’ future energy needs, virtually every ridge line in western and central Massachusetts would be sacrificed to the larger megawatt 600 feet (80-meter hub height) turbines. This is the current plan. Consider the inevitable impacts if all of New England’s ridge lines (hundreds of miles) were actually sacrificed, as they would be, to meet their currently expressed goals for wind power.
Virtually every turbine in Massachusetts is impacting abutters with severe health consequences and diminished property value. Some of our Hoosac turbine neighbors have been forced to abandon their homes. Clear and compelling evidence (known to the industry since 1979) is that everyone within two miles of industrial turbines will be affected and many will suffer inhumanely. Turbines continue to be constructed a few hundred feet from homes.
Where is our empathy and our outrage?
One hundred percent backup with polluting energy sources is essential to every industrial wind turbine constructed along with substantial new transmission lines and related major grid upgrades. All paid for by our taxes and increasing electric rates.
As Preserve Grey Highlands Citizens Alliance wrote in protest to a turbine project in Canada, “Wind is more a nuisance than a source of power. … Wind power is expensive, unreliable and inefficient – worldwide, it contributes less than 1 percent to the reduction of greenhouse gases.”
While it is challenging to continue to publicly bring forward facts that clearly dispute and refute popularly held beliefs, understanding the consequences, we are unable to remain silent.
Understanding that a sense of urgency often results in hastily accepted responses, we urge the application of both the precautionary principle and the principle of do no harm.
We are confident and believe that with careful and thoughtful consideration of well researched alternatives, acceptable and helpful local and regional energy solutions can and will be developed.
Walt Cudnohufsky, a landscape architect, lives in Ashfield. Deborah Andrew lives in Shelburne Falls.
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