A year ago, almost to the day, I led a post with one of my Dad’s favorite lines: “Write it down on a block of ice!” He’d say that to me when I’d suggest he’d be getting a bill for doing chores around the house.
Well, that post had to do with promises made to a community by a wind developer seeking permission to build a wind plant in their community. I cautioned them against taking the word of wind developers and suggested they have something a little more concrete to fall back on when the claims are later disputed. This post deals with how the wind developer’s promises are beginning to play out in our own little community, post-construction.
A recent article in our local paper notes that area residents are upset that the developer of the Pinnacle wind project in Mineral County West Virginia isn’t honoring promises. The wind developer responded to the criticism with this classic: “We don’t believe we mislead anyone.”
Seems the residents of the area near the construction zone understood that the roads damaged by the heavy equipment would not only be repaired, but improved. Some residents were even convinced that long stretches would actually be paved. Well, that’s obviously not going to happen!
According to the wind folks, it was all a little misunderstanding and they only committed to put the roads back in their original condition … or maybe a little better. In fact, they say they not only put the roads back to pre-construction status, they even made a few turns wider and resolved a culvert issue.
Don’t you have to wonder how residents who have had conversation after conversation in meeting after meeting with the wind developer for the past couple of years could be so confused on this issue? If I’m not mistaken, some of these confused folks actually served on the project’s advisory council. Block of ice, anyone?
Some might say I should be a bit more trusting of the wind folks. Sorry … my experience suggests to me that the reason roads were widened and curves “smoothed” had more to do with the ability to move the 175 +/- foot long tractor trailer along restrictive mountain lanes than to improve the roads for the convenience of area residents. And as far as correcting the issue with the large culvert, aka the “infamous five foot cattle crossing under the road,” … was that really to make life easier for residents or simply a requirement to facilitate moving the heavy equipment across the underground obstacle? My bet is on the culvert’s axle-weight restriction. I happen to believe that it was mandatory that the road “improvements” be made for purposes of transport with no thought whatsoever for the residents.
You see, I don’t trust wind developers further than I can throw them and I firmly believe the road issue is just the tip of the broken promise iceberg yet to surface.
The wind folks would like you to believe that everything they do is for the benefit of the community. Well, I don’t believe that! In fact, I happen to agree with Gabriel Alonso, chief executive of Horizon Wind Energy LLC, who often reminds his employees that their goal isn’t to stage a renewable-energy revolution. “This is about making money.”
Mineral County residents still haven’t awakened to the fact that the decommission study, which was prepared by a consultant agency recommended by the wind developer, resulted in our clueless county commissioners approving escrow funding of zero dollars, leaving the county residents, by my estimate, on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But then, maybe the county commissioners were not actually “mislead” by the developers, but simply confused … much like the residents riding the roads around the new wind plant. The promise of jobs and revenue can blind you to the facts!
And, by the way … why is US WindForce LLC still speaking for the project? They seem to be possibly the only company not included in the cobweb of affiliates connected to Edison Mission and Pinnacle. But then, a bigger question perhaps … why do people still listen to them?
The full article is available at this link. I recommend you read it.