The Rocky Forge wind project promises to be clean energy that is good for the environment. It reminds me of what we went through in Vermont, where the promise of wind energy resulted in four industrial wind projects built on mountain ridge lines.
The reality has turned out to be far different from the promises.
My parents lived in Lexington, Va., for 25 years, so I have been following Rocky Forge since it was announced. It is in an undeveloped area, far from customers who can use the power, too close to a bat hibernaclum, with way too high sound levels approved by the county supervisors, in karst geology which is very sensitive and disturbance can change groundwater flows. The site has abandoned iron mines, which means that the development of the wind project, which involves blasting, could result in leaching of toxic iron floc as we have seen happen on the Lowell wind site.
In Vermont, believers in industrial wind hiked up the Lowell mountain on the eastern slope to witness the forest clearing and blasting on the western side and the ridgeline. Many walked down totally opposed to industrial wind after witnessing the destruction of the formerly intact ecosystem. For evidence of the results four years later, see this
Now in Vermont, wind is pretty much a four letter word. No legislators want to talk about. Whenever anyone mentions wind energy, the response is “wind is dead in Vermont.”
To Virginia’s leadership and groups like Sierra Club and Audubon, I caution you, be careful what you wish for, because if Rocky Forge turns into the disaster for the environment that the Lowell and other wind projects have become in Vermont, you may be turning people against renewable energy. No matter how you try to put lipstick on this pig, the huge turbines, far taller than anything in New England, the noise, harm to wildlife, water quality and groundwater, the formula for this wind project is that the costs will far outweigh the promised benefits.
Annette Smith, Executive Director, Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Danby, Vt.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding