I would like to commend Rick Kelley and the Valley Morning Star for the informative article “Dead Zone” that appeared on the front page of the Star on Sunday, Feb. 19.
The article deals with the economic hangover that will take place when the hundreds of wind turbines that mar the beautiful Rio Grande Valley landscape wear out.
As an agriculture pilot, or crop duster, who has worked valley fields for more than 40 years, I have had a front seat view of wind farm development.
Mr. Kelley’s article points out many of the serious economic and ecological consequences of deteriorating wind turbines, but there is more bad news.
These wind energy developments came about as the result of a national political impulse to embrace “green energy” resulting in massive subsidies to companies engaged in building the wind farms.
That coupled with landowner’s inclination to grasp at any method of squeezing more dollars out of their land and county politicians who have an insatiable appetite for revenue to feed their spending habits creates fertile ground for wind farm development.
If we really examine the bottom line when comparing wind energy to other alternatives, some unsettling conclusions become apparent.
The article only touched on the cost of decommissioning the part of the structures that you can see above ground.
There is no mention of the huge domes of concrete, over 200 cubic yards by my estimation that were poured in excavated holes in grounds to form the base of each turbine.
These concrete bases along with the underground power conduits, roads and associated infrastructure have changed the natural subterranean drainage characteristics of the land.
When we get another flood event such as Hurricane Dolly, the faces of Willacy and Eastern Cameron Counties are going to change, not for the better. Both the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency have had their heads in the sand on this one.
The consequential inefficiencies that these developments create for agricultural production have also never gained notice beyond the conversations between farmers.
An estimated 80 percent of the Rio Grande Valley farmers do not own the land they farm, and absentee landowners have cut the fields up and taken considerable acreage out of production with little or no consideration to the actual producers who are paying them rent for the land.
The carbon footprint of all this construction has never been discussed in anything I have seen or read concerning wind energy development.
The blades that Mr. Kelley pointed out as not being recyclable, along with most of the other components are almost exclusively manufactured overseas.
Anyone who has driven up the King Ranch Highway in the last few years have seen the convoys required to carry the blades and other components to their temporary resting place before they end up in the landfills.
At least 10 trucks for each turbine and plenty of ships to bring them from Europe and Asia.
Plans are in place to build natural gas electrical generation plants to back up the wind farms when they are not producing electricity. Where does it all end?
This isn’t green energy; it is green money – your money filling the pockets of foreign manufacturers, avaricious wind farm developers, lobbied politicians and blind bureaucrats.
As for the landowners who have turned over their land to these folks for a few extra bucks, please take note that you are supposed to be stewards of the land.
You don’t really own the land as it will still be here when you are gone. And look at the mess you have made.
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