“Wind turbines show how costly ‘free’ energy can be.”

In commentary at Minnesota Public Radio Online, Ronald Reimer, an organic farmer in Ettrick, Wisconsin, writes today that “Most of what the public knows about wind turbines comes from the media.” That certainly seems the case here in the Alleghenies, as well.  He adds, “Without a grounding in the sciences of thermodynamics and economics, the average person, eager to be politically and environmentally correct, fixates on the concept of “free energy,” and closes his mind to further discussion of how expensive “free” can be.

Mr. Reimer, a self-described “Citizen watchdog,” notes that “The public believes, more than it really knows, about wind turbines, and well-meaning advocates of wind as the solution to our climate and energy woes are unknowingly on a crash course with reality.”  He says that curious citizens “who dig a little deeper to learn the whole story, come off in the media as deluded malcontents or NIMBYs, though we back up our warnings with statistics, case studies, laws of physics, comparative research and personal testimonies of real people who suffer from proximity to turbines.”  Geesh, looks’s like he’s been reading the Keyser, WV Mineral Daily editorials.

Mr. Reimer notes that “Rural dwellers are “asked” to host wind turbines and to pay for transmission lines to furnish city dwellers with green power from wind. Investors make huge profits while taxpayers and ratepayers get to pay 20 percent more for their power. So who is this technology benefiting? For exactly whom is it “free?”

“Financially, wind energy is a losing proposition for most everyone who does not directly profit from the manufacture, siting, servicing, removal, financing or taxing of turbines, or from the disbursal of the electricity produced by them.

Mr. Reimer says, “There are plenty of good health and safety reasons to zone huge commercial turbines away from residences, but the primary objections to wind turbines should be:

1) They don’t do what they’re supposed to do, i.e., replace energy generated by fossil fuels; in fact, they encourage more coal plants to be built. Because the power they produce can’t be stored, traditional sources of electricity must remain available to back up the turbines when the wind dies down.

2) Turbine manufacture, siting, operation and their transmission networks are environmental threats, not boons. We would be better off taking the land on which they are sited — plus the energy used and the lands mined to build them, the land used to transmit the energy they produce, and the money spent on investment incentives — and devoting all those resources to planting trees that would sequester carbon, and simply forgo the huge hidden carbon footprint associated with turbines.

3) Turbine technology looks suspiciously like a bailout of the heavy equipment manufacturing industry, and a transfer of taxpayer and ratepayer resources into the hands of investors.

4) In harnessing the wind we are destroying the beauty of local landscapes — worldwide — with mesmerizing icons of technology that distract our consciousness and ignore our need for a natural landscape.

Red flags should go up when we find the Sierra Club and General Electric Corp. coming down on the same side of an issue.

Read Mr. Reimer’s full commentary here.

This entry was posted in Friends and Citizens Groups, Wind energy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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