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Our energy planners can’t see the trees through their forest. No, that’s not scrambled. They are focused on the big picture of thousands of kilowatt hours’ output from armies of wind turbine forests touting reductions in greenhouse gas. They are captivated by the plan’s magnificence and blind to the dynamics of greenhouse gas by failing to take into account the environmental impact of wind turbines. Their bottom-line accounting to save the environment, by destroying the environment, will make us pay in more ways than one.
Energy must be utilized in order to extract energy from the wind. This includes energy and resources lost, destroyed or reduced in function to produce a carbon footprint. On this basis, the energy use of a wind turbine through its phases produces a carbon footprint and greenhouse gas plume during manufacture and materials acquisition, development, construction, installation, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, and environmental recovery.
Even just one activity from the installation phase (site clearance) serves to highlight the inefficiency of these winged-behemoth turbine trolls. The obvious burning of fossil fuels to clear land and the loss of vegetative cover, especially mature climax forest (consideration for photosynthetic plankton columns for ocean turbines should be stressed), represents a serious reduction of the natural system’s greenhouse gas reduction mechanism.
Disruption of the existing soil-photosynthetic connection increases carbon availability, creates greenhouse gas and destabilizes ecosystem energy flow. Dead and decaying organisms resulting from soil disturbance create greenhouse gas. House-sized piles of wood chips produced from every acre for kilns, incinerators and other burners add greenhouse. Tree canopy reduction, increased soil surface exposure, erosion, generation of air-borne dust and particulate contaminants, and heat generation add to the greenhouse effect.
The wind turbine lifecycle is estimated at a two-year build time, 20-year service life, and several years’ decommission and remediation. As such, wind turbine systems, along with the attached grid, in the process of decommissioning, rebuilding and expanding create more than a carbon footprint – they create a carbon stride. In the process the natural system capacity to offset and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is jeopardized.
Any greenhouse gas tally or equation is moot considering our open ocean will be cut out and swathed off, and therefore cease as an incomprehensibly large living mass of a freely engaging, magical place, accessible in many forms to the majority. Society will be tangibly and intangibly poorer for this swathing, this loss. Beneath the surface, slums of massive platforms will be dumped to support these behemoth-winged turbine trolls. This conglomeration allows species to exist out of step with the rules of ocean ecology evolved over eons, presenting a domino effect on man at the top of the food chain.
Likewise, armies of 700-foot winged-behemoth trolls are approved to castrate mountaintops across upstate New York and artificially inseminate pedestals for support. With one, 6,000-acre proposal, hemlock and spruce forests and numerous trout creeks will be decimated in a very pristine area. Loss of endangered and irreplaceable wildlife is on the menu from quick and dirty environmental assessments winked and nodded to big energy. These winged-behemoths are permitted to “harvest” golden and bald eagles, the symbol of our country. Or, is the behemoth troll the symbol of our country, where big money openly and wantonly controls our public trust and resources?
Wind turbine greenhouse gas generation and carbon footprinting projections need to be compared to proposed greenhouse gas offset from turbine generated electric. The value of environmental and natural resource destruction and degradation risk associated with the turbine strategy needs to be compared to turbine greenhouse gas offset. On this basis, a legitimate determination should establish that the public should not finance the wind turbine business.
The table is being set for us to suffer impacts nationwide from developing armies of turbine trolls throughout the U.S. Alas, they are moving us to destroy our environment even more, under the guise of saving every other country in the world from their own greenhouse gas mess.
Francis Donahue lives in Little Egg Harbor.
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