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Crab Orchard Wind Farm: clean energy for our children or taxpayer burden for our children?  

Credit:  By DONALD MORAN, For The Vista | June 16th, 2016 | vistanewspaper.com ~~

I retired three years ago to Fairfield Glade, Crossville, Tennessee. I heard about the Crab Orchard Wind Farm in April of 2016, although wind speed studies and lease agreements with landowners was started in 2014 by Apex Clean Energy LLC.

My original opinion of wind farms was positive, if the right location was chosen.

Apex Clean Energy LLC held several open house meetings to discuss their project with residents of Crab Orchard and Fairfield Glade. I attended one of these meeting in Crab Orchard and one in Fairfield Glade.

I asked the following questions:

Me: What type of wind turbine will you use? Manufacturer, model, and size.

Apex: We have not decided.

Me:: Will the size of the electrical cables on TVA’s power grid need to be upgraded?

Apex: No.

Me: Who are the land owners that you lease from?

Apex: We can not release that information.

Me: What is cost to remove a wind turbine after it’s useful life is over or the wind farm closes?

Apex: We do not have that information.

Me: Will money be put aside to remove the wind turbines after their useful life or the wind farm closes?

Apex: Yes, we will put aside a bond fifteen years after the project is completed.

Me: Where can I get verification that this bond will be set aside?

Apex: It is in the lease agreement with the land owners.

Me: Can I get a copy of this land owner agreement?

Apex: No. It is private and proprietary.

Me: Which Federal subsidy will you chose the Production Tax Credit or the Investment Tax Credit?

Apex: Investment Tax Credit.

Me: Will Apex sell this wind farm after completion?

Apex: We are not actively looking for a buyer. We might have the funds to own and operate, but most likely will only be the operator not the owner.

As you can see from Apex’s responses, there was nothing open about their open house.

Apex displayed before (no turbines) and after pictures (showing simulated pictures of turbines) from different locations in the area. Apex did a great job of making a 550’ to 650’ turbine look almost invisible in most of their after pictures. Apex also said property values of homes near wind farms will not be affected, and no health problems will be experienced. Based on these meetings I went to the internet to do my own research.

Apex’s president Mark Goodwin’s goal is to “sell projects as they come into operation”.

Does it really matter who owns Crab Orchard Wind Farm? Yes it does! Wind turbines have a useful life of 15: 25 years, and then must be removed. The cost to remove one turbine is about $100,000 dollars. This would be $2.3 million dollars for Apex’s

23 proposed turbines. Remember the bond put aside for turbine removal, that is in the lease agreement with the landowner, if Apex sells to someone else what will be in the new lease agreement? Who is responsible for this bond money to remove the turbines, Apex, new owner, landowner, or taxpayer? We are not allowed to read this lease agreement to determine if there really is a provision for bond money. The same problem exists if the wind farm closes.

Can wind farms survive without government subsidies? The U.S. Department of Energy offers two types of subsidies for wind farms to choose from. The first is the “Investment Tax Credit”, this is a one time payment equal to 30% value of the facility. The second choice is the “Production Tax Credit”, the government pays $0.023 per KWH produced for 10 years. Subsidies started in 1992, four times they were stopped and then restarted. The first time subsidies were stopped was 2000, and there was a 92% drop in installations, stopped again in 2002, and 76% drop in installations, stopped again in 2004, and 76% drop in installations, and finally in 2013 they stopped, and 92% drop in installations. President Obama has a 2016 energy proposal to make these subsidies permanent. WIND FARMS CAN NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT SUBSIDIES.

Warren Buffett” We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms, that’s the only reason to build them.”

Denmark and Germany governments are each pouring billions of dollars into expensive intermittent renewable technologies(wind & solar) that has devastated their utility companies whose profits have collapsed. Even with government subsidies Denmark’s residential rates are $0.40 per KWH, and Germany’s residential rates are $0.30 per KWH.

After decades of trying to reduce their carbon emissions, both countries have failed.

Crab Orchard residents and some Fairfield Glade residents should be concerned for their health when these turbines come online. Apex sites one study concerning health risks, A Wind Turbine Health Impact Study for Massachusetts University 2012, which states there are no health problems caused by wind turbines. I have found dozens upon dozens of reports/studies from around the world showing the following health problems for people living within 5-6 miles or less from wind turbines; headache, dizziness, stress, depression, vertigo, tinnitus, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, and sleep disturbance.

The following is a short list of some of my references; 1979-1981 physicist Neil Kelley Elma- Mornington Concerned Citizens, 2013 Nissenbaum et al., 2012 Pierpont N. 2009 Wind turbine syndrome; Salt A, Hullar T. 2010 Responses of the ear to low frequency sounds, infrasound; Berglund et al., 1995; Pedersen and Waye, 2004

If Apex is positive that there will be no health problems within six miles of the wind farm, then put money aside to buy the homes of anyone affected. A wind company did just that in Ripley, Ontario (Elma – Mornington Concerned Citizens, 2013).

Apex does have a history of legal problems with their projects. Here is a list of wind farms with legal troubles: Lighthouse Wind—Somerset, New York and Yater, New York; Kingfisher Wind Project—Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Chapman Ranch Wind Development—Corpus Christi, Texas; Clear Spring Wind Energy Project—LaGrange County,, Indiana; Greenwich Windpark—Greenwich, Ohio.

Apex is waiting for approvals from the following agencies; Federal Aviation Administration, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Apex expects to start construction the first part of 2017 and complete by the end of 2017.

As a taxpayer, I am against the Crab Orchard Wind Farm. Subsidizing a wind farm that can only supply power for 15 – 20% of the time, while utility companies must be ready at a moments notice to backup the wind farm to keep our power grid at 100% will increase our electric bills, and we also had to provide taxpayer money to help them get started.

We, the taxpayer, could also get the $2.3 million dollar bill to remove the turbines when they are at end of life or the wind farm closes. Health problems in Crab Orchard and Fairfield Glade will cause reduced property values as victims are forced to try and sell their homes -— which will reduce property values for the entire area. And if property values are reassessed by the state/county than property taxes thoughout the state/county could be increased for those homes not even near the wind farm to get our tax base back to where it was.

Apex has been very secretive about this project, and I do not trust them. Add to this the fact that several of their wind farms are having legal problems, and I do not believe this is the right company for this project.

The Tennessee Legislature should put a moratorium in place on wind farms until they can update their wind farm zoning plans. In particular the set back distances for homes near wind farms needs to be determined for residents safety.

Oh yeah, did I mention it will mess up the view.

Source:  By DONALD MORAN, For The Vista | June 16th, 2016 | vistanewspaper.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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