I had to chuckle after reading your Dec. 28 editorial, “Complicated.” Over a year ago, some of us in Botetourt County referenced the very points your editorial mentioned in connection with the proposed Rocky Forge industrial wind facility on North Mountain.
At that time, the obvious – and very public – failures of Germany’s “energiewende” did not resonate strongly with a county planning commission and board of supervisors intent on a predetermined outcome. Yet here we are again.
We’ve returned to “energiewende” because it raises many of the uncomfortable questions about renewables – and particularly industrial-scale wind facilities – in one sitting: the built-in inefficiencies of power generation and the related high cost of electricity for consumers, the unsustainable yet never-ending need for taxpayer-funded subsidies, wild and capricious fluctuations in energy production despite consistent demand, the grossly underappreciated requirement for uncounted webs of new power lines, and the reality that renewables haven’t lessened in any way Germany’s “carbon footprint.”
“Windustry” apologists like the AWEA, the Wind Energy Foundation and the Sierra Club like to think they have sound arguments to counter these realities. However, all they have is faith in a curious combination of “progressive” politics, militant collectivism and an abiding intolerance of the sizeable community of technical experts citing strong evidence in opposition.
There’s something else that doesn’t get much press, but is also part of the renewable energy landscape worldwide, and that’s “pay to play.” The Rocky Forge project is illustrative of this as well, given the obvious connection between Apex CEO Sandy Reisky’s generous financial support of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political objectives and his appointment to McAuliffe’s Virginia Energy Council in 2014.
The insidious nature of this all-too-common practice should be at odds with those who routinely support “green” energy. Instead though, their response seems to be that “their” corrupt politicians and corporate elites are better “than those other guys.”
Germans have sacrificed much in their pursuit of sustainable green energy. Their failures provide numerous teachable moments. Topping the list is that technical realities and fiscal limitations impose limits that cannot be waved away with good intentions.
BILL VAN VELZER
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