I have one question for the industrial wind developers: If this is such a good deal, why isn’t Apex buying the land for the wind turbines, rather than leasing it?
The answer is in the Apex business plan. It wants to build the facility, capture the subsidies from the federal and state governments, then sell the leases in five years. The typical lifespan of a wind turbine is 15 years. By the time the turbine needs to be decommissioned, Apex will be long gone. The only way the farmer who leased the land will know that Apex has sold the lease to another company is that the name will change on the check.
In 15 years, these turbines will have to be serviced, upgraded or taken down. The company that owns the lease can decide to spend the money it takes to do this, or walk away. So, 15 years from now, the farmer could have a 600-foot tower, supported by a huge buried block of reinforced concrete, with a dead turbine full of lubricants and rare earth magnets on top. Something has to be done about it, and it’s the farmer’s problem, because it’s on his land. The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t going to care about the terms of his lease; it will just want that hazard remediated. Any money set aside now in a “decommissioning bond” isn’t likely to be enough 15 years from now.
These are not wind farms, they are tax farms, designed to capture government subsidies, then leave the farmers holding the bag. If we need power, why isn’t Niagara Falls running at capacity? Why is the Somerset plant almost shut down? Convert Somerset to natural gas and make more power (and local jobs) than windmills can make on a good day.
We don’t “fear the wind.” We know a scam when we see one.
Douglas R. Pratt
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