One 450-foot, steel wind turbine requires anchoring in a platform of more than a thousand tons of concrete and steel rebar, 30 to 50 feet across and anywhere from 6 to 30 feet deep. Mountain tops must be blasted to create a level area of at least 3 acres for each turbine. Rocky Forge will build up to 22 wind turbines 680 feet high.
Bigger blades on a taller tower can capture more wind to run a bigger generator, but they require a correspondingly larger foundation and an area around them clear of trees and other turbines to maximize the effect of the wind and avoid interference.
In addition to mountain top removal that will occur from the installation of these turbines, the many mountain streams and wetlands and the life they support will be destroyed and the resulting erosion and sediment from stormwater will be deposited in the James River.
After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on earth. If cement were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world – 2.8 billion tons/year – surpassed only by China and the US. In production, it also sucks up almost one-tenth of the world’s industrial water use, all the while destroying the natural infrastructure and ecological function that humanity depends on for providing soil fertilization, flood control, water purification and habitat biodiversity.
Wind turbines can play an important part in our transition from gas and oil; however, Rocky Forge is not appropriate environmentally for North Mountain and is not cost effective from any other aspect of the project from construction, transportation, installation, production, decommissioning, to recovery. Mitigation for the problems this project faces is not an even trade and does not prevent the destruction of an irreplaceable healthy forest already sequestering carbon.
We need to be more practical and careful by using our dollars to support projects that will actually provide cost-effective, reliable energy use. Rocky Forge cannot meet that goal.
SANDRA W. STUART
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