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There’s nothing ‘green’ about industrial wind power

Let’s rid our environment of dangerous pollutants, lessen climate change, and protect public health. How do we do that? Certainly not with industrial wind turbines. Perhaps some may find this shocking, but not so when we consider the consequences of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s forcing industrial wind projects on upstate rural towns.

To those who do not know, industrial wind turbines rely on other sources of fuel to ensure steady electrical feed into the power grid, since wind is unreliable and intermittent. In 2017, winds in Germany could not produce enough power during a cloudy and windless stable high pressure system, forcing the use of duplicate power systems. The lignite coal burned in an effort to fill in the gap in their electrical grid led to a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Each industrial wind turbine needs about 80 gallons of oil, requiring regular changing. Oil leaks are not uncommon.

Key components of IWT magnets are the rare earth minerals neodymium and dysprosium mined in China, sickening residents and ecologically devastating these areas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended that no IWTs be constructed within three miles of the shores of any of the Great Lakes because of the devastation to avian life. To that end, the P.O.W.E.R. Coalition [Protecting (Lake) Ontario’s Waterfront, Environment and Resources] of 12 organizations, which include the American Bird Conservancy, Hawk Migration Association of North America, and the NYS Ornithological Society, has organized to renounce Lighthouse Wind based on its devastating environmental consequences if it is allowed to proceed.

Calling these “wind farms” doesn’t make these agricultural. IWTs in the 650-foot range (threatening to be the highest-ever-on-land), as Apex wants to build, are industrial – an ugly and permanent transformation of a rural landscape to a blighted one. Multiply this by 70 towers in a 12-mile stretch of blinking nighttime red strobes and permanent obliteration of night sky.

What happens when these are “decommissioned” in 15 years? Apex’s answer is to “remediate” only 36 to 48 inches of soil. The rest of a five-story excavation filled with concrete, rebar and wires stays in the ground for perpetuity.

Let’s look at renewables we already have like the Robert Moses Power Plant. Compare its 2,675 megawatts of hydropower produced on 3,098 acres to 201 megawatts of wind power that will need 47,720 acres. Even worse, since wind capacity is only 26 percent, Lighthouse Wind will produce only 52 megawatts on all that land.

New York state already receives more than 26 percent of power from renewables. NYISO (New York Independent System Operator) shows that on April 30, 2018, 3.32 percent came from wind, 1.8 percent from other renewables, and the rest, 24.27 percent, came from existing hydropower.

Does wind energy protect public health? According to the new guidelines by the World Health Organization, no. IWTs emit sickening infrasound, felt inside homes of residents living too close, and they can produce jet-engine-like audible sounds, depending on the wind direction and season. Shadow-flicker similar to a flickering light switch is also an undesirable (and maddening?) feature of IWTs that cast shadows on homes.

It seems that those who – because of where they live – will never have to contend with an industrial wind project across the road feel the need to “contract out” some misguided “green” agenda on those who live in rural areas. These proponents of industrial wind continue to insist naively that wind is some savior to preserving our resources. Spare us from those who have not done the research.

Christine Bronson, Somerset