Seldom has a day gone by without an article about battle lines formed to debate the pros and cons of wind energy.
The argument against industrial wind is almost guaranteed to include view-shed, property value, health effects caused by low frequency sound waves, flicker (the shadows cast by the turbines), bat and bird kills and the fact that the LLCs receive massive taxpayer subsidies while generating little dependable power and, by the way, will not replace a single fossil fuel plant in order to reduce CO2 emissions.
The argument for industrial wind is almost guaranteed to include tax revenue to the community, jobs, clean and green energy from a renewable source and elimination of fossil fueled plants thus reducing CO2 emissions.
Here’s the latest, courtesy of WWMT, Battle continues over wind turbines:
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The fight continues over proposed wind turbines near Grand Haven.
The City of Grand Rapids wants to install two turbines to generate 80,000 megawatts to power the city’s water treatment plant. The city brought their plans to the residents of Grand Haven on Monday night, and they are not too happy about it.
The Lake Michigan shoreline has been described as beautiful and pristine, and for many people in Grand Haven, it’s also their backyard.
“I have concerns on the safety of these turbines and I have concerns about property values,” said Mary Sportel.
The turbines would be located on 79 acres at the water filtration plant which is used to pump 40 million gallons of water daily from Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids. 240 homes sit within a mile of where the turbines would be. The proposed turbines would stand 414 feet tall from the base of the tower to the tip of the blades. The township already has an ordinance in place that bans turbines taller than 150 feet.
The main concerns for residents are the effect that the turbines would have on tourism, property value, and health effects caused by low frequency sound waves, and the shadows cast by the turbines.
“There are all these questions out there, studies haven’t been done so people have big concerns and rightfully so, but a lot of people it’s like they don’t want it in their backyard,” said Jan O’Connell of the Michigan Sierra Club.
According to Grand Rapids, no existing houses are within 1,500 feet of where there turbines would be, but for some that’s not enough.
“We have a beautiful site there with a nature preserve and we have two bald eagles back there now,” said Sportel.
Representatives for Grand Rapids admit that many feasibility studies still have to be done, and say that Monday night’s meeting was just to get feedback. While most of the feedback on Monday night was overwhelmingly negative, those in favor of the turbines still have hope.
“No one was in support of coal-fired power plants,” said O’Connell, “but if we don’t make this change to wind turbines that’s exactly what we’ll have for the next 50 years.”
The comments from the Western Michigan Sierra Club are interesting.
- “There are all these questions out there, studies haven’t been done so people have big concerns and rightfully so, but a lot of people it’s like they don’t want it in their backyard,” said Jan O’Connell of the Michigan Sierra Club.
- “No one was in support of coal-fired power plants,” said O’Connell, “but if we don’t make this change to wind turbines that’s exactly what we’ll have for the next 50 years.”
I’m not sure if Jan O’Connell was speaking locally or nationally about the fact that “studies haven’t been done so people have big concerns and rightfully so,” but I think it applies to both. I was amused that O’Connell couldn’t resist playing the cursed “NIMBY” card.
But, recognizing there are still open issues and concerns, the Sierra club says full speed ahead – “but if we don’t make this change to wind turbines that’s exactly what we’ll have for the next 50 years .” In what wind promotion brochure did the Sierra Club find that little morsel?
It astounds me that organizations formed for the protection of the environment can justify support of industrial wind. Wouldn’t you think, before hundreds of thousands of land and air acres are consumed by these machines, a representative from Sierra would ask for proof of effectiveness? Maybe they have and I’ve just missed the listing of specific coal plant closings that have resulted from industrial wind installations? I would think those “study” results would be plastered all over the wind proponent’s literature.
But my understanding is industrial wind cannot account for the closing of one coal fired power plant … in the WORLD. Here’s the exact phrase: “With nearly 100,000 huge wind turbines now in operation throughout the world—35,000 in the USA—no coal plants have been closed anywhere because of wind technology. And there is no empirical evidence that there is less coal burned per unit of electricity produced as a specific consequence of wind.”
So, where is the disconnect? The Western Michigan Sierra Club is taking a position so they must know something I don’t know and I wish they would share their knowledge.
See, the only real protection the environment can expect must come from the powerful lobbies of the environment groups sworn to protect it. One can only hope these groups do not take their charge lightly, and are willing to study the facts and confront open issues. It should not be part of their agenda to push flawed remedies simply because the political consensus cites the manufacturer’s literature. Unfortunately some such groups have shown a willingness to sacrifice a “few” eagles in their support of an unreliable energy source that can achieve none of the stated goals.
Contrary to the suggestion that if we don’t make the change to wind turbines we’ll have coal fired plants for 50 years, wind plants will guarantee the existence of coal for another 50 years and beyond. In fact, it could be argued that diverting the vast sums of taxpayer funding to the unreliable, inefficient and costly energy product known as industrial wind will surely slow development of future energy sources that might actually have a positive impact on the environment. I would suggest those in the decision making process in Michigan, including the Sierra Club’s Jan O’Connell, read this article before choosing a 25 year commitment to alter their landscape and, perhaps lose two happy residents – Mr. and Mrs. Bald Eagle. “A Conversation with Jon Boone – Toward a Better Understanding of Industrial Wind Technology