November 24, 2019
Letters, New York, Pennsylvania

The cost of wind energy

Williamsport Sun-Gazette | Nov 24, 2019 |

Wind energy is very heavily subsidized, at federal, state and local levels, through tax incentives, exemptions, and subsidies, all underwritten by the taxpayer. A large enough project can be built almost entirely with subsidies. This makes wind-generated electricity actually more expensive than conventional sources. If not for subsidies, the industry would not exist. Don’t let developers kid you, they are here for the money, not the environment. One large wind developer is also completing gas-fired power plants, as in Jessup, the output being sent to New York City. Decommissioning a wind installation is an area developers don’t want to talk about – it has to do with the cost.

Job creation is a myth: one local project constructing approximately 100 turbines will employ five to seven maintenance workers when complete.

When the wind stops blowing, a conventional source (nuclear or fossil fueled) must be ready to come on line immediately. These plants must always be standing by at idle, thus, for every watt of wind energy, there must be an equal of back up power available.

Clearing 10 to 20 acres of CO2-consuming, oxygen-generating trees to be replaced with steel and concrete structures does not improve the atmosphere, and don’t forget miles of access roads to hilltops to be cleared. Water runoff and drainage patterns altered; potential impact to water tables from blasting. Bats and birds, with kills in the thousands, including raptors, documented by reliable sources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves the “accidental taking” of up to 5,000 bald eagles a year by wind turbines.

Health and safety impacts are a vast area of concern including but not limited to blade flicker, low frequency noise, ice throw from blades, fire and collapse of entire structures, again well documented by professionals such as the World Health Organization. Property values decline, based on proximity of your property to a wind turbine. Would you buy a home near a 600-foot tall piece of rotating machinery with flashing red lights running 24 hrs a day? And your local Realtor? They will simply refuse to list your property.

As a participant, you may be liable for default of the developer, as well as tax and insurance implications. If you’re approached to sign up, get a copy of the lease agreement, take it to a competent contract law attorney of your choosing for review, and don’t be surprised if he is shocked at the rights you will be expected to forfeit. Don’t be surprised if the land agent balks at your request, though.

For an excellent account of one person’s experience, read “Paradise Destroyed: The Destruction of Rural Living by the Wind Energy Scam” by Gregg Hubner. The age-old adage still applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

James Koegel

Hornell, New York

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