As Villenova and Hanover decide whether to allow 600-foot wind turbines in the rustic scenic hills of Chautauqua County, the question is: Will they become the first to be the worst? So far, there are no 600-foot wind turbines on land in the U.S. RES, Invenergy, Apex, NextEra, etc. – are all fast at work trying to make it to 600 feet, and they have targeted Western New York.
The same ‘selling’ or ‘taking’ we see in Chautauqua County is going on in Cattaraugus County and Wyoming County, Allegany County, Niagara County, Steuben County.
We don’t know yet who will be the worst first, but what we do know is – Industrial wind energy is a net loser: economically, environmentally, technologically and civilly. Industrial wind factories will have a negative affect on the economy of Chautauqua County as tourism, agriculture and property values are negatively impacted.
Wind profit is guaranteed by the 75 percent subsidies and continued increases in utility rates – New York is already 53 percent above the national electricity cost average. Wind production tax credits have been extended seven times but are now being phased out – so it is likely the Big Wind LLCs will abandon projects. “When all of the subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees given to the companies on AWEA’s (American Wind Energy Association’s) board are counted, the grand total comes to a staggering $5.1 trillion,” reports Robert Bryce (https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/06/wind-energy-subsidies-billions). Wind receives 20 times more in subsidies than any other form of energy (Energy Information Administration).
Gas or coal-fired power plants must be cycled 24/7 to provide backup for intermittent, unreliable wind. Denmark and Germany are building scores of coal-fired power plants to back up the wind industry. The net result is increased emissions.
When Big Wind companies say, “this project provides electricity to 30,000 homes,” it is a lie. Turbines in Western New York operate at 20 to 24 percent nameplate capacity rate according to the Energy Information Administration (https://www.masterresource.org/false-claims/windpowers-homes-served-misdirection-media-beware/).
The real environmental costs of forging steel, creating concrete and rare earth metals for turbines are not calculated. Creation of one ton of cement creates one ton of CO2. It takes 400 tons of cement for a 495-foot turbine base.
There are approximately 1000 pounds of Rare Earths per MW used in the permanent magnets in turbines – “Vast toxic lakes are left when rare earth metals for turbine magnets are manufactured in China.”
The wind industry claims that the break-even cost of the turbines is 20 years, but reports have shown that the turbines are only lasting 10-13 years and are not providing enough power to pay for themselves over their short lifespans.
Wind turbines extract energy from the grid to start, and when stopped still require energy for the controls, lights, communications, sensors, metering, data collection, oil heating, pumps, coolers and gearbox filtering systems – all from fossil fuel. Wind turbines cannot be built, transported, operated, or maintained without using fossil fuels.
A single gas-fired power plant such as NRG can produce twice the reliable, storable power of the 600 wind turbines planned for this region, according to NYISO Power Trends 2017. $733,555,383 in U.S. subsidies and loan guarantees have gone to EDPR, according to Arkwright Wind operator (Subsidy Tracker). EDPR is nominally Portuguese, but 24 percent of its profits go to the Chinese government, a major investor, according to Reuters.
Turbines produce infrasound, low frequency sound below the human threshold of hearing, also used as a military weapon because inner ear pressure pulses are disorienting. Long-term exposure damages health. “Low-frequency noise from large wind turbines” by Henrik Moller and Christian Sejer Pedersen of Aalborg University, Denmark. The study includes this statement:
“The relative amount of low-frequency noise is higher for large turbines (2.3-3.6 MW) than for small turbines (2 MW), and the difference is statistically significant. The difference can also be expressed as a downward shift of the spectrum of approximately one-third of an octave” (https://docs.wind-watch.org/Moller-Pedersen-Low-frequence-noise-large-wind-turbines.pdf).
The 80 leaseholders of the Ball Hill Wind turbine project are counting their money while the rest of the residents – 7,000 in Hanover and 1,000 in Villenova face diminished property values, health risks, and loss of quality of life.
The state constitution requires local officials to “protect the health, safety and welfare of all citizens”
As one leaseholder said at the July 23 county Planning Board meeting, “If people don’t like it, they are free to move. This is our property.”
Does Chautauqua County want to be known as the first with the worst?
Karen Engstrom Harvey is a Mayville resident.