West Virginia PSC rules in favor of wind developer. What’s next for citizen group?

When local citizens formed the Allegheny Front Alliance to fight the proposed industrial wind installation on Green Mountain above Keyser, WV, I suspect they knew it would be a difficult task.  After all, the primary source of information about wind energy provided to the community was, and remains the heavily funded wind industry lobby.  Promises of jobs and tax revenue certainly attracted interest among local folks.

Politicians, with little interest in the science of energy production, swallowed the hype and found themselves compelled to encourage and fund development while, in many cases, local press outlets simply replicated, without challenge, the wind industry’s boilerplate claims.  Some local politicians couldn’t seem to control their enthusiasm and felt it necessary to speak  out as private citizen and implying the power of the office they held was behind them.  Others simply gave up!

The decision to deny the AFA appeal reached … well, at least published yesterday by the WV PSC, effectively ending their role in this matter, comes as no surprise to this writer.  With the push coming from the legislature and Governor Manchin’s office to meet the artificial political goals they themselves set for renewables, these quickly assembled wind contraptions are an obvious choice.  They go up fast with a highly rated MW capacity providing the advocates with a “pat on the greenback” Kodak moment.

Unfortunately, the same crowd doesn’t gather later to question the actual output v nameplate capacity results which, by any measure, is dismal.  The US wind industry finds protection in the haze of a complicated grid reporting scheme and the proprietary claims made by the developers, supported by state and federal legislators, many of whom receive rather attractive campaign contributions from the wind lobby.  Plus, it’s much better to claim that “we installed 57.5 MW of capacity” than try to explain that “it was necessary to install 23 turbines to achieve the output of 6.”  Someone might ask you to explain why you needed to cover all that ground and air space to get so little.

And the Commissioners?  What I wrote about the original ruling seems to stand today: “the WV PSC decision was, in my view, merely a punch on the free ride ticket to approval wind developers might come to expect from the current political structure in the State of West Virginia.  Perhaps that is why I felt no surprise when the ruling was announced.  So, at least to me, to focus now on the WV PSC would be a waste of energy (no pun intended).  As with all good soldiers, the marching order is determined elsewhere.”  No need to dwell on these folks, there off to other work.  Sampling some of their commentary in the latest ruling is interesting, however.  So we may visit that later in another post.

The real focus must be on our legislators.  It seems of little significance to these folks that the renewable goals they established will be achieved only by stringing hundreds or thousands of the 747 size rotating beasts along the ridges of the Appalachians resulting is a devastatingly negative cumulative impact to the migratory flyway and the habitat for wildlife.  The impact resulting from this misguided effort will only be known once the carcasses are counted and the numbers are noticeably diminished.  Is it really possible we’ve elected a group to represent us that cannot comprehend this serious concept?

I suspect the goals of the AHA have not changed.  Having grown from small beginnings they now partner with a large and growing consortium of like minded citizens groups willing to insure the wind business is ended.  I’ve learned in my journey from advocate to opponent over the last year that wind is a foolish venture.  It is a high cost – little reward scam enriching investors and developers and providing little of value to the consumer.  As Jon Boone, a frequent contributor to AT so aptly states, “This wind business is simply an Enron legacy, posing as an energy source to mask its true function as a corporate tax shelter generator.”

And what will the Allegheny Front Alliance do from here?  I suspect, as this project develops, there will be much more to discuss.  There are still events to witness and questions to answer before the 23 Green Mountain eagle choppers are ready for the first erratic breeze.  And one thing I’ve learned growing up in this area, “getting to Pinnacle Knob is no easy climb!”

AT Note:  This blog does not speak for the Allegheny Front Alliance.  We do welcome their commentary as we encourage all readers to participate.  These are my thoughts and mine alone.  It’s always good to get that out of the way.

We do encourage the AFA and any interested group wishing to provide their thoughts on what I write here to do so in the comment section.  We’re happy to accommodate.

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One Response to West Virginia PSC rules in favor of wind developer. What’s next for citizen group?

  1. Allegheny Front Alliance says:

    Dear Community members, although the decision is disappointing, AFA remains committed to its mission “To protect the Allegheny Front’s cultural and natural environment”.

    Recognize that no state Public Service Commission has ever reversed itself. AFA is now considering its options.

    Recognize that US Wind Force has not taken any action to secure an Incidental Take Permit as recommended by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Reminder: Stay committed, this is your community, it deserves to hear your voice and speak against Big Industrial Wind.

    Attend the Community Advisory Panel Meeting Monday May 3, 2010 beginning at 6:00 at the Wind Lea Banquet and Conference Center, in Keyser, WV.

    US Wind Force will introduce proposed Project Entrance Gate, Insulting, yes because the real project entrance gates are the over 10,000 county households viewing this project “in their face” with a diminished property value. That does not include Maryland residents, that US Wind Force failed to consider in their application that WV PSC expressed concern.

    Finally, AFA shares Jon Boone remarks:

    “Industrial wind power in the eastern United States exemplifies American business at its worst. Spawned, then supported, by government welfare measures at considerable public expense, it produces no meaningful product yet provides enormous, virtually risk-free profit to a few wealthy investors. It is an environmental plunderer, with its hirelings and parasites using a few truths and the politics of wishful thinking to frame a house of lies. It will not reduce air pollution or the combustion of fossil fuels. Corporate wind is yet another extraction industry relying upon false promises and the gullibility of those seeking easy solutions to complex problems.”
    Jon Boone – 2004

    AFA recommends you explore Stop Ill Wind: http://www.stopillwind.org/index.php

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