I was alarmed by an announcement last week by Xcel Energy of plans for a huge industrial wind zone in east central SD near Watertown, Clark and Clear Lake. The announcement was crafted so as to make us believe it will be good for citizens in that area. In fact, a growing number of us believe that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It was interesting to learn today that the MN legislature this year is considering a law (HB2170) to increase the setback for industrial wind towers in that state to 10 times the height of the tower to address noise issues experienced at existing wind zones. It’s likely that Xcel Energy won’t be allowed exploit and endanger the citizens of its home state of MN anymore. The truth is that our neighboring state of Minnesota has learned a hard lesson. They have learned that industrial wind towers endanger people, animals and even the environment. The truth is that the technology used in industrial wind exploitation is NOT, and will never be, what we were led for decades to believe.
It makes sense now, the real motive for the timing and release of Xcel’s wind energy propaganda message goes like this:
1) There is a deadline to claim billions of dollars in federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) subsidy for building wind towers,
2) Current subsidies were narrowly enacted by the previous administration and called for phase-out of PTC over 5 years.
3) A new, more conservative congress and administration in Washington DC are likely to accelerate the phase out or even end wasteful PTC this year. Free money for wind developers is ending and they are scrambling to get every penny.
This SD citizen believes that Xcel Energy has decided to build industrial wind towers anywhere where it can, as fast as it can, as long as it can get away with it. And for them, they can do it right next door in SD (setback in SD can be as little as 2 times the height of a tower). Undoubtedly slick-talking lobbyists for Big Wind have told Xcel that local county governments in SD lack resources to study current research into the impact industrial wind. Unfortunately, it appears they may be right. Based on recent events, it appears many local SD government administrators lack the vision to learn from mistakes the rest of the world already made with industrial wind. They routinely fail to fully advise lawmakers on the issue. Sadly, it also looks like many local elected officials who are well informed may lack the courage to stand up to slick attorneys and lobbyists for Big Wind and fail to protect the citizens who elected them.
The sham of industrial wind energy is finally being debunked with science and fact. The resulting public opposition to the ineffective and dangerous technology used for industrial wind exploitation is growing stronger. Lawmakers and citizens throughout the country now correctly see industrial wind, as it currently exists, as dangerous and wasteful.
Other states are taking action to enact laws that protect communities from those threats. Industrial wind exploitation currently threatens every SD County. All levels of South Dakota lawmakers should also take action to ensure our future isn’t ruined because decades old SD laws have not been updated.
The world deserves truly renewable energy sources that are proven to be a positive impact on climate change. The people of America deserve to have affordable and reliable energy. And South Dakotans deserve protection from dangers and industrialization that Xcel has painted green, wrapped in the US flag and called a huge positive opportunity in wind energy.
South Dakotans should learn the facts about industrial wind. Then call their county commissioners –who make the local land use laws–to discuss it. Commissioners must clearly understand they are accountable for protecting their constituents from endless, ceaseless, dangerous industrial wind turbines that don’t make a contribution to anything but the lining of the pockets of big business.
Rural Lincoln County SD
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