Climate Anxiety

A recent article at Euronews titled: Climate anxiety as global study reveals three-in-four young people think ‘the future is frightening’ should be frightening to all, regardless of your position on the extent to which a warming planet will lead to destruction of the earth or not, and at what level should we should fight or adapt.

First, to the study:

Six universities and the Climate Psychiatry Alliance recently polled some 10,000 16 to 25-year-olds from the United Kingdom, Finland, Portugal, Brazil, France, Australia, the United States, India, Nigeria and the Philippines.

  • 58 per cent said their government was “betraying me and/or future generations”
  • 64 per cent said their government was not doing enough to avoid environmental disaster
  • 59 per cent said they were “very” or “extremely” worried about climate change
  • more than half of all participants reported feeling “anger”, “fear” and “shame”
  • 56 per cent agreed with the statement “humanity is doomed”
  • 55 per cent, felt they would have fewer opportunities than their parents
  • four out of 10 said the issue made them hesitant to have children

What I found interesting was the conclusion of one of the lead authors that “this study paints a horrific picture of widespread climate anxiety in our children and young people” and “it suggests for the first time that high levels of psychological distress in youth is linked to government inaction.”

First, I don’t fault these young folks for their concerns. I believe their fears are real to them. Most are sincere in their wish to have someone take whatever drastic action necessary to save us all from doom. On the one hand, they’ve been told it is already “too late” and on the other to just support politician’s efforts to throw trillions at this monster and we’ll be ok. I know, that sounds about as crazy as someone claiming imminent sea level rise and buying a multi-million dollar beach front property with the mansion sitting at like 3 feet above sea level. No serious person would do that, right? These youngsters are likely too afraid to take that leap even if they have a few million to spare.

But again, we have folks claiming that it’s already too late to save a planet with only 10-12 years left before we all die … unless, of course … we taxpayers hand politicians trillions to spend on projects which have no direct bearing on the issue and, by their own schedule, will not be in place until long after the planet death spiral destroys us. Typical of DC, their cost spread analysis even allows for spending beyond the end of times. Exactly how does that work?

Our youth deserve better!

There are plenty of opinions available to take you to whatever level of panic you wish. And you probably sense that I have little faith in politicians and the twitter mob as guides, and I don’t reach out to celebrities or ball players for scientific analysis of complicated issues. In recent years I’ve actually lost confidence in agencies, climate modelers and some scientists who claim that “the science is settled.” That some of these folks think anyone who won’t share their level of concern should be placed in jail is stunning. To me, the fact that others must be coerced rather than convinced suggests that your position is a tad weak.

But who cares what I think? You certainly shouldn’t, I’m not a scientist. But then you also might want to ignore other non scientists from both the extreme “doomsday” and the “everything is fine” fringes and instead look to, without bias, all the data driven information you can find from all technically competent science sources. I know that is an unpopular view but, I think, necessary. You will likely find the current warming planet phenomenon is pretty complicated and placing the responsibility for corrective actions in the hands of governments might not be the best solution.

It seems to me that if you really want an untarnished view of the science and possible solutions, you would first have to remove the profit and power motives, which quickly eliminates most of our “ruling class.”

Politicians, except mine of course, are interesting creatures with the ability to come out strongly against a problem of their own creation and provide a plan to remedy the crisis, for just a few additional tax-payer dollars and another term in office. They are supported by huge lobbies with ready cash for the campaign coffers and a bureaucracy often leading the latest political buzz in order to guide policy and cement their tenure.

One need only look to Europe, which we’ve displayed in previous posts, to see the results stemming from the misguided policies intended to send a “green” Freddy Kilowatt racing down the electric lines to citizens. These very citizens who have been driven to accept these policies and, insult to injury, pay for with their taxes, are now experiencing the predicted rash of brown outs and high electricity costs. Dangerous shortages of reliable fuels necessary to keep light and heat on in the upcoming winter have exposed the failure of renewables, which have proven inadequate.

Many scientists who disagree to the level of Climate Change forcasted find common ground with James Hansen’s push for nuclear energy. The man who is arguably the driving force behind “global warming” action for decades, was recently attacked by the acolytes of the very belief in rising temperatures he promoted. All it took was for Mr. Hansen to drift outside the bounds of the climate change lane he largely created by simply stating the obvious – the quickest and most effective counter to CO2 emissions was to properly fund research and development of safe “fast reactors” and new forms of nuclear power.

It’s possible this evolution might already be a reality had President Clinton not put the kibosh on development in the mid 1990s. Interesting that part of the reasoning was that fossil fuels were cheap and plentiful and the cost of then nuclear fuel Uranium was dropping so why go to a potential safer electricity generator. But I suspect that decision has been largely forgotten and now the same gang is helping to hype up the youngsters to call upon government again to save them. In 1988 Hansen, several years prior to the Clinton decision, testified before congress helping to introduce the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions to the American public.

Perhaps I’m being too cynical in seeing that the fear expressed by our youth is being hijacked by those increasing the power and wealth of government institutions and their rent seeking profiteers. Rather than a allowing our youth to realize that technology is available which, with removal of bureaucratic stumbling blocks and proper investment led by private investment rather than taxpayer $$$, solutions to their fears exist. I wonder how many have been provided this assessment of nuclear energy from the Department of Energy – 3 Reasons Why Nuclear is Clean and Sustainable?

Oh, and if you think the education system everywhere is still promoting the “question everything” manta of science to counter the current “science is settled,” I’ve got a bridge … but that’s for another post.

Politicians are justifiably critical of the negative influence social media has on our youngsters with all the bullying and tearing down of self esteem leading to anxiety among the young. Perhaps those who take to the fringe of climate action should consider looking in a mirror, for the die-in-10 years anxiety they create among the young sampled in this study, is equally bad emotionally and, perhaps even deadly.

Posted in Climate Change, Energy Crisis, Europe, Global Warming, Great Britain, Nuclear Energy | Leave a comment

India and China – Coal is King

Vijay Jayaraj: Coal’s future lies in Asia

It is well understood that India and China together constitute the biggest coal-consuming block and are also the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitters. As part of the Paris climate pact, both India and China were expected to progressively reduce their dependency on coal. However, recent investments and energy strategies laid out in these countries portray a different picture.

India for example explicitly stated this year that coal will play a significant role in its ambition to become a $5 trillion economy. That is according to India’s home minister, a powerful figure in the government’s decision-making process. To realize this vision, India has acted to increase production, improve coal technology, and modernize its coal plants.

Full article here:

Posted in China, Coal, India | Leave a comment

Europe Energy Crisis To Spread

Bloomberg: “This winter, the world will be fighting over something that’s invisible, yet rarely so vital—and in alarmingly shorter supply.

Nations are more reliant than ever on natural gas to heat homes and power industries amid efforts to quit coal and increase the use of cleaner energy sources. But there isn’t enough gas to fuel the post-pandemic recovery and refill depleted stocks before the cold months. Countries are trying to outbid one another for supplies as exporters such as Russia move to keep more natural gas home. The crunch will get a lot worse when temperatures drop.

Read on here: Europe’s Energy Crisis Is Coming for the Rest of the World, Too

Posted in Energy Crisis, Europe, natural gas | Leave a comment

China being China

First this from the David Rose in the UK’s Daily Mail:

Beijing’s dirtiest secret: With 1,000 coal-fired power stations (and climbing) China’s energy pollution mocks the world’s bid to combat climate change – as series of Mail exposes reveals.

(with a hat tip to

And then there’s this:

Infographic: China Beats U.S., Europe in Combined Greenhouse Gases

5-6 minutes

Climate change

The U.S. and Europe have steadily reduced harmful greenhouse gas emissions over the last two decades, as a boost in renewable energy and a decline in dirty fossil fuel production have contributed to a sustainable downward trend. However, another major world player, China, has trended in the opposite direction, increasing greenhouse gas emissions to a point that is now higher than both the U.S. and Europe’s greenhouse gas contributions combined.

In data collected by BP, China’s carbon dioxide emissions from burning fuel rose roughly 200 percent between 2000-2018 to roughly 9.4 billion tons. The country has now surpassed the combined emissions from the U.S. and Europe, which recorded nearly a 50-year low of 8.6 billion tons in 2018.

Bloomberg reports that China is considering a move to accelerate its emphasis on renewable energies in an effort to cut back as the current world’s largest polluter. China still leads the world in new coal plant production, but new proposals focused on clean energy would aim to slow down coal production over the next five years.

Renewable energy companies in China are taking the news well, with clean energy stocks soaring in recent days on speculation that Beijing’s National Energy Administration is serious about investing heavily in a renewable energy future.

Infographic: China Beats U.S., Europe in Combined Greenhouse Gases | Statista


This chart shows the amount of greenhouse gases produced by China and the U.S./Europe (in billion tons).

(Statista content ends)

Our leaders here in the US would do well to face the fact that China has no real interest in complying with any of the climate agreements as long as the free world economies are being damaged and they go unchallenged.

Original Source Links:

Posted in China, Great Britain | Leave a comment

Great Britain’s Winter Fears

Way back in 2011, we linked to an article by Bryan Preston titled “UK electricity CEO: Get used to not having any electricity, suckas!” Mr. Preston said at the time, “Steve Hollliday is the UK’s power czar, basically. He’s the CEO of National Grid. He is predicting that, because the UK is moving to more wind-generated electricity to meet government emissions targets, residents will end up with less access to electricity.” Mr. Preston’s article also noted that, “Holliday has for several years been predicting that blackouts could become a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines in order to meet greenhouse gas targets. Wind-based power systems are necessary to meet the government’s targets, he has explained, but they will require lifestyle changes.”

Wow! Who would have thought the required lifestyle changes predicted a decade ago would have included “rising prices (which) could mean another 500,000 households in the UK could fall into fuel poverty, Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action has said.”

A perfect storm for Great Britain for sure, with many small energy companies going belly up and supply from Russia has dried up recently, and demand is high in Asia, which is putting pressure on international markets. In the UK, several gas platforms in the North Sea have closed to perform maintenance that was paused during the pandemic. Cables that import electricity from France were also damaged last week, and September has not been a very windy month, meaning there has been less wind-power production, creating a need for more gas to produce electricity instead.

Matt Ridley notes in his must read Daily Mail commentary, “When David Cameron’s energy bill was being discussed in Parliament in 2013, the word on everybody’s lips was ‘trilemma’: how to ensure that energy was affordable, reliable and low-carbon. Everybody knew then that renewables were unreliable: that wind power fully works less than one-third of the time, and that solar power is unavailable at night (of course) and less efficient on cloudy winter days.

Yet whenever we troublemakers raised this issue, we were told not to worry – it would resolve itself, they said, either because wind is usually blowing somewhere, or through the development of electricity storage in giant battery farms.

This was plain wrong. The task of balancing the grid and maintaining electrical frequency has grown dangerously the more reliant on wind power we have become – as demonstrated by the widespread power cuts of August 2019. The cost of grid management has soared to nearly £2billion a year in the last two decades.”

Samantha Dravis writes in The Hill that, “It seems that no matter how many examples are pointed out about the dangers of over-reliance on renewables, policymakers continue to press on toward the same dangerous path of completely banning fossil fuels. The result won’t be lower emissions at the end of the day when natural gas and coal are needed to cover wind’s shortfalls — but there very well could be energy price increases like America has never seen before.” Her commentary is titled “Europe’s energy crisis is a warning for America” and you might want to give the full article a read.

CNBC notes that in addition to concerns about electricity, food and gasoline shortages have prompted warnings of “a really difficult winter” for the country. A significant lack of truck drivers has meant deliveries of fuel and goods have fallen short. The article provides and excellent summary of issues facing the UK and is well worth a read.

Source Links:

Posted in Great Britain, industrial wind failure, natural gas, Solar Energy, US energy policy | Leave a comment

Course Correction

Welcome Back!

In the past, many of the posts on this blog focused on the expansion of industrial wind in West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. We knew stopping IW’s destruction would be an uphill battle – literally – but we tried. The ever excellent and tireless SOAR (Save Our Allegheny Ridges) has been keeping that fight alive all along. Please support their efforts as you can.

After several years of grumbling, this blog took a pause during which we found we had to add a dash (-) to our web address due to a mix up. Luckily, the history rode along with the change and it seems you’ve found us anyway.

To begin, seeing replacement turbines going up on the Allegheny Front at Pinnacle and new ones being set at Black Rock to further fortify the migratory flyway blockade across the Alleghenies, it is tempting to rant as in the old days. But much of that discussion is included in the history here and specific topics can be searched as well, so no sense beating that dead bat.

Don’t get me wrong, I still firmly believe that grid-connected industrial wind is simply worthless as a reliable energy source. If you want one in your yard or at your farm, Excellent! I take exception when we pretend that connecting a string of turbines to the grid will magically eliminate or greatly reduce the consumption of natural gas, coal or even nuclear.

The problem with industrial wind remains that it cannot be depended on to meet demand. On the other hand, nuclear plants, natural gas combined-cycle plants and coal plants provide dispatchable baseload service.

Sadly, as a major component of the Renewable Energy Religion, industrial wind is a protected species, unlike the Eagles the FWS permits the turbines to slice. In fact, “Wind facility operators can obtain a permit from the Service for the “take” of eagles that may occur while operating their facility.” But I dare you to show up at the FWS office with an Eagle feather in your cap! And heck, if you think abut it, you’re producing about as much “dispatchable” electricity as the turbines!

It is my hope that once folks recognize that wind and solar are not now, or ever will be the primary source of energy, our vast resources will be directed to the development of true innovation.

I recognize that the life blood of solar and wind is Climate Change and replacing fossil fuels. Even James Hansen, clearly a leading voice for decades combating Global Warming, recognizes that renewables never make that transition happen and suggests nuclear energy is our best hope for lowering CO2.

But the purpose of future posts is not to fight the Climate Change pro/con battle, but to point out the unintended consequences brought on by many ill conceived political policies and legislation intended to deal with Climate Change around the world in hopes that we don’t repeat them.

If you must know, my position on Global Warming/Climate Change aligns closely to that of Bjorn Lomborg. I find him to be a rational thinker backing his policy recommendations and assessments with facts, and peeling away the warm and fuzzy promises made by politicians as they toss taxpayer money in any direction in an effort to convince us they are saving the world and will do so, for sure, if only taxpayers would be willing to cough up tens of trillions of cash. C’mon, chip in a little!

This is the direction I hope to take, recognizing that local “stuff” impacting our region will pop up now and then. There are many resources available and I hope to point you to a few that you might also find interesting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. I also ask that you advise of any corrections or omissions found in posts.

Posted in AT Policy, Nuclear Energy, Renewable energy debate, Unintended Consequences | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

WV Citizens Concerned About Black Rock Wind Farm

If you haven’t visited Stop Black Rock Wind Farm web site, do so. It seems a number of concerned local residents have formed a group with intent to hold a large corporation’s feet to the fire. They will be challenging State and Local Government Agencies to fairly evaluate the project, which is planned for Grant and Mineral counties WV, before giving permission to construct the huge turbines smack dab in the middle of homes and adding to the migratory flyway wind turbine gauntlet. It’s fair to say the task these folks have taken on is a formidable one, but I certainly wish them well.

You see, they are already being labeled “flat-earthers” and “tin foil hat” wearing whiners who can’t see the grand plan. As with other such past projects the political skids are greased. The taxes and jobs playbook is already dusted off and officials are salivating over the benefits. It will be an uphill battle for these folks and they must remember that the name calling usually comes from those with few answers.

A problem this group will face is getting to the bottom of facts, a problem I faced several years ago with the Pinnacle project, located just north of the proposed project in Mineral/Grant Counties, WV.

It can be very confusing and getting folks to answer for their claims is a real uphill battle. I remember back in 2011 after the Pinnacle project was complete, I admitted defeat and took the positive position of utilizing the actual performance of the Pinnacle project to determine if the claims made by the developer/owner/local representatives were achieved. I placed an open letter on this blog and even sent it as a letter to the Editor of the local newspaper. It must have been a lousy idea because no one responded. No one!

But I have high hopes that the assessments of the promises made for Pinnacle’s benefits were ongoing from the start, and tucked away on a thumb drive just waiting for the folks at Stop Black Rock Wind Farm to ask. After all, claims were made by David Friend and hired experts which the Public Service Commission was asked to accept without evidence to confirm. I suspect similar claims will be made regarding the Black Rock project and it would be good to have information to evaluate, now that there is actual local evidence accrued.

I wish these folks well and offer my old writings at this site for their use if found helpful. After stopping at their site and reading up on the Black Rock project, old memories of grand promises and issue sidestepping are coming back. Perhaps I’ll find a couple of other issues to write about. But, it has been a while.

Editor’s note: We try to be accurate and provide sources to back our commentary. If you find errors or omissions, please contact me via the comment section at the post.

Posted in West Virginia Wind | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dan’s Mountain – Be really careful!

About 15 miles down the road a “wind farm” Developer wants to place industrial size wind turbines on a beautiful little spot in Western Maryland named Dan’s Mountain. As you might expect, some of the local citizens are upset and getting pretty vocal about their concerns.  They even have a Facebook page called Save Dan’s Mountain.

The Dan’s Mountain project has been kicking around for a while and delayed a bit while, I suppose, the Developer is working out the rough spots  Not sure how many remain unresolved, but one that has the locals particularly agitated is the Developer’s request for variance to an ordinance passed by the Allegany County (Maryland) Commissioners a few years ago to actually protect its citizens from … well … the potential negative impact of industrial wind on the community.

But, not ones to let a silly thing like quality of life stand in the way of profit, the Developer evidently pushed the County Commissioners who then assigned the task of variance approval, or better disapproval, to the Zoning Board.  As I understand it, that’s all supposed to take place the week of October 27 … NOW!

I have to confess this whole issue is none of my business.  Even though we’re neighbors, I actually live in a different state.  But I live in a community which has a little experience with industrial wind and specifically with members of the Developer’s team pushing Dan’s Mountain.  Yep, they seem to be the same folks who “shepherded” the Pinnacle wind project in nearby Mineral County WV.  So, that being the case, I just thought I’d share a few, albeit unsolicited, thoughts for my neighbors to consider.

A couple of years ago I found that US WindForce LLC, the Developer for the Pinnacle project and our community’s BFF had evaporated, as often LLC’s do.  Imagine my surprise when I found the same officials of that LLC had opened a new LLC at the same address and were promoting the Dan’s Mountain project.  For this project, they appear to be operating under the banner of Laurel Renewable Partners, LLC, the parent company of Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC.

Anyway, this LLC shift, morph or whatever it’s called prompted me a couple of years ago to produce a little tongue in cheek post called Who was that masked man?  The post expanded on my earlier expression of confusion as it relates to the whole industrial wind business’ name game, or as I like to call it – LLC Roulette.

Like I said, Dan’s Mountain is none of my business … but I’ll nose in anyway just to share a few of my frustrations.  Do I still have frustrations, you ask … even after the Pinnacle project is up and running?  Hell Yes!

You see, I asked a few questions of the Mineral County and WV Officials who were so important to the approval process in an open letter and surprise, not a peep!  My letter respectfully asked the officials to speak to the actual performance of the project against what was promised and, even after all the promises, no one evidently wanted to discuss the results.  The letter is at this link, if you care to read it: Open letter: Pinnacle wind farm benefits

It’s been 4 years since I sent the letter about Pinnacle so maybe I should send it again, although many of the officials, along with the wind developer’s LLC, have moved on.

Anyway, the variance the Dan’s Mountain Developer is seeking has to do with County Code approved way back in 2009.  Recalling the promise v actual issues at Pinnacle, I was curious to read the comments offered by interested parties at the time of the original Allegany County Commissioner’s meeting held March 2009 on Code Home Rule Bill 2-09.  You can go to the link to get comments, but what I found interesting were some of the attendees who testified:

  • Tom Matthews, President of U. S. Windforce and VP of Dans Mountain Windforce
  • Chris Purvis, representing Edison Mission Windforce
  • Charles Weber, Construction Site Manager for Edison Mission
  • Doug Vance, O & M Project Manager for Edison Mission
  • Jim Cookman, VP of Project Development, US Windforce
  • David Friend, VP of US Windforce
  • Joe Trainor, (US Wind Force LLC address), President of Dans Mountain Windforce
  • David McAnally, CEO of US Windforce
  • James Walsh, legal representative of US Windforce

The reason these folks caught my eye is because in testimony before the WV Public Service Commission regarding the Pinnacle project in late October, 2009, David Friend, then of US WindForce LLC, had this exchange with Commissioner Albert:

COMMISSIONER ALBERT: Is there anything in the application that I’ve missed that describes Edison beyond sort of the general description you got here?

Friend:  No, I don’t think there’s actually much in the application, but their website is readily available.   I’m sure we can make that available to you quite easily.  Just as a point of reference, they own the Homer City plant, the coal fired station in Pennsylvania. It’s one of the largest coal fired generators in, I think, the whole PJM.  They have the Grantown facility near Morgantown, Fairmont, in that direction.

COMMISSIONER ALBERT: Do they own that — Edison Mission Group sounds like a division or an organization as opposed to a legal entity. Is each of those projects individually owned by, say, Edison Mission Grantown Project, Inc. for instance or something as opposed to — I take it Edison Mission Group is not the legal entity?

Friend:  I believe it is. I get confused sometimes. There’s an Edison Mission Group and Edison Mission Energy, and there’s a little bit of synonymous use of the two names.  Every once in a while I’m confused, but it’s the unregulated subsidiary that holds the generation assets.  Homer City, for instance, I suspect — I don’t know this for a fact, but I suspect that Homer City is an LLC that’s owned. It’s owned by Edison Mission Group.  Edison Mission Group is in turn owned by Edison International.

It’s always bugged me that Mr. Friend didn’t have a good handle on the Company who contracted his company to gather up the permits.  Maybe I’m a little too picky, but I always like to know who I’m working for and one would think that a meeting attended by three Edison representatives and six US WindForce personnel would have sparked a little conversation about business, especially when they were working together to develop multi-million dollar Pinnacle.

Look, I know layered company structure can get a little confusing, especially when you toss in several LLC’s which seem to come and go like the breeze on which the wind turbines rely.  Heck, even Mr. Friend’s US WindForce LLC, which was portrayed as the BFF of Mineral County WV, is defunct.  But I’m just not sure I would want to testify to the WV PSC that I’m confused about the hierarchy of the company that hired me to “shepherd” them to a $131 million project.

Hopefully my friends who oppose the Dan’s Mountain project and the County Officials are dealing directly with the Corporation which will design, build, operate and run the project, and not just the Developer seeking permits for someone else.

The reason I raise this is because I recall this comment in an article by RICHARD KERNS in the News-Tribune Wed Nov 04, 2009, 12:23 PM EST prior to Pinnacle construction – “If the West Virginia Public Service Commission approves the $131 million project, WindForce will essentially turn the keys over to Edison Mission Group, which will build and operate the wind farm.

In fact, at the WV PSC Hearing, Mr. Friend testified that “The challenge is we don’t know quite for sure when it will go to construction. In other words, Edison’s — the very high echelons of Edison have to make a final go/no-go decision for this project. And if for some reason something changed between us getting the permit and they’re making that final determination, some kind of a significant change in the economy, they may look at it and say, look, we don’t want to do this. And then if they don’t, then it’ll be my job to go find another suitor. And frankly they may have a different turbine. It may be very similar, but it might not be the Mitsubishi MWT 952.4.”

If I were an official of Allegany County asked to give a variance to a set of standards designed to protect citizens, I would want to be certain that the specifications of the project  were firm.  I would certainly be alarmed by Mr. Friend’s comment before the WV PSC that “if for some reason something changed between us getting the permit and they’re making that final determination … ” and further, “frankly they may have a different turbine. It may be very similar, but it might not be the Mitsubishi MWT 952.4.”

Again, I repeat, for emphasis, “between us getting the permit and they’re making that final determination.”  To what condition exactly does that apply?  Conditions beyond turbine selection, perhaps?

And if you happen to think the selection of turbine design is a small matter, think again. “We don’t believe we mislead anyone.” – Chapter Two (or Three or Four)

I’m probably a little too cautious.  But once these spinning monstrosities are plopped down in some of the most beautiful and fragile habitat in Western Maryland the deed is done.  The Commissioners and Zoning Board reviewing this variance request must see it for what it is … setting aside regulations put in place to protect citizens.  These protections were decided years ago and there was obviously much consideration given to the matter.

I’m not sure how this will all shake out, but for the Commissioners and Zoning Board to cast aside these public protections for the benefit of a for-profit company and perhaps set precedent for additional intrusion which will likely challenge zoning restrictions even further, they had better have a darned good reason.  Because once the destruction begins, there’s no turning back.

Editor’s note:  We make every effort to be accurate.  If find the need for corrections or additions, please contact me in the comment section.

Posted in Allegheny Mountains, Alternative Energy, Appalachian Mountains, Dan's Mountain Wind LLC, industrial wind agreements, Industrial Wind and Local Governments, US WindForce | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Botetourt County: so basically, just shut up!

Have fun following this:

APEX Clean Energy is interested in building an industrial wind project in Botetourt County, Virginia.

As a result, Botetourt County Supervisors were inspired to write an ordinance to protect all county citizens from the wind industry’s potential intrusion.  The ordinance was not specific to the APEX considered project which again, evidently inspired the ordinance activity.

Some of the (soon to be protected) folks didn’t think the proposed ordinance went far enough.  A reasonable concern, one would think, since it’s understood that wind projects are likely on the horizon but the who, what, where, when, how … etc. etc., are not defined!

County Supervisors evidently decided to kick alternate, likely more stringent, recommendations to the curb and passed the one they prepared.  The result is that some citizens and the wind developer were happy with the action … some other citizens, not so happy!

So, as a next step, the unhappy citizens sue.  They think the approved ordinance does not go far enough to protect them from dangers/developers associated with future undefined projects and, as we all have a right to do, want to have their day in Court.

The Attorney for the County Supervisors, apparently unwilling to fight the merits of the approved ordinance before a Judge, wants to dismiss the complaint due to non ordinance issues.  He says the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction because there’s no harm yet.  (Reminds me of when I called the power company about a tree limb laying across power lines and told to call back when the line comes down.)

Here’s how Botetourt County (Virginia) attorney Michael Lockaby is quoted in the Roanoke Times article: Because there is “no actual wind farm — or even an application to build one at this point — there is no potential harm for the court to consider.”

However the same article, two paragraphs later, states that “Action by the board of supervisors was prompted by interest from Apex Clean Energy, a Charlottesville company that is considering a project that would include up to 25 large turbines on North Mountain.”

Mr. Lockaby may be correct there is no formal application I suppose, but knowing of a project which a specific wind developer is considering with up to 25 large turbines on a specific mountain within your jurisdiction should give a trained lawyer a clue that there may, in fact, be potential harm to consider, don’t you think?

But, it seems the county would rather just put this to bed.  In other words:

  • unhappy citizens upset that an ordinance they feel inadequately protects them from projects, acknowledged as in “consideration” by the wind developer, are not supposed to sue because, according to the County Attorney, the projects don’t currently exist or are even planned? So basically, just shut up!
  • an alternative ordinance would be far too strict for potential projects of which county officials have no knowledge.  So basically, just shut up!
  • the county needs to go easy on these wind developers because we want them to come here.  So basically, just shut up!
  • the County Attorney says the “unhappy citizens” lawsuit’s statement regarding the assertion that the County prepared ordinance lacks teeth is “nothing more than a difference of opinion between a taxpayer and his government,” So basically, just shut up!

In other words … well folks, there are no words!

I continue to wonder why the success of the industrial wind business relies so heavily on limited debate.  Seems to me that, when you’re dealing with unknowns, asking your representatives to perhaps err on the side of protection of citizens is not a far fetched concept.  After all, it’s a lot easier to allow specific exceptions to a stringent ordinance as a project is being developed rather than utilize the Botetourt County Supervisors’ choice which is to “place rules on the books — with the option of tinkering with them later.”

Tinkering?????  Really?????

Oh, by the way, I’m not a resident of the Botetourt County … not even of Virginia.  But I’ve had experience with wind developers who were successful in placing 23 huge turbines along the ridge-line above my home town.  That developer is no longer … having disbanded the responsible LLC but, the same management team, located at the same address (not here, are you surprised?) is operating under an new name and trying to develop another project a few miles down the road.

And yes, there were lawsuits from the very health issues which rightfully concern the “unhappy citizens” of Botetourt.

Finally, to the county supervisors, I sympathize with you for not wanting to spend additional time considering alternatives to your ordinance, especially since there is “no actual wind farm — or even an application to build one at this point.”  Wait … what???

Please read all related articles at The Roanoke Times, which has provided what seems to be pretty thorough coverage of the ongoing issues.

We do make every effort to be accurate.  Please advise of any errors or omissions so appropriate corrections can be made.

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For industrial wind developers, silence is gold(en)!

Its common practice for companies to hire celebrities to promote their products – everything from razor blades to cars to pizza.  There’s a lot of competition out there and celebrities claiming a product is their favorite often persuades consumers to at least try their product.  As long at the celebrity actually uses the product they endorse, which is law in China but apparently not in the US, there’s nothing really wrong with the practice.

Anyway, if I buy a Gold Bond product because I like and trust their spokesman Shaquille O’Neal and the product doesn’t live up to expectations, I can always take it back to the store and get my money back.  I probably won’t write to Shaq and complain because maybe it worked for him.  Benefit of the doubt, you know … I think Shaq is an honest fellow!

But does the same concept hold as ethical if the “celebrity” is a public official.  What happens if the product proves a bust and yet it can’t be returned?  What if the officials see the error of their support for a failed product but must continue to actually promote the product anyway?  What if the money they were paid, in fact, bought their unflinching loyalty to the product and for the next 25 years they couldn’t tell their constituents they were bamboozled?  What if the product failed to deliver on its promises and actually became a health and/or environmental hazard and, by contract, they couldn’t speak out on behalf of the citizens they represent?

Sound far fetched?  Well, it seems little is when it comes to the industrial wind business.

As example, a contract under review for approval by the Board of Education representing the Mount Pulaski district in Illinois.  Seems the BOE just decided to turn down a $12.5 million offer submitted for their approval by wind farm developers Meridien LLC,  a subsidiary of Italy based ReLight US Corp.  All the wind company wanted in return was for the BOE to keep a zipped lip to any problems stemming from the wind plant under consideration for the area.

One citizen saw the potential money as salvation to a dwindling treasury noting that, among other school improvements, “the money could be used to add teacher’s aides to classrooms.”  Another saw it as a way for the wind developer to buy silence stating, “Ask yourself, ‘why are they offering this deal?’  The reason is because they know they have problems.  They know they are going to harm local residents.”

Sure, it would be a tough decision to refuse the cash.  Dangling money in front of a community in need can be pretty persuasive.  But after hearing from the public and, I would hope, realizing the ethical jeopardy they would put themselves in, the Board voted down the contract 4 to 2.

Just what were some of the “protections” the wind developer sought from the BOE in return for their $12.5 million which was to be paid out over the length of the project?  Have a look:

  • Present a resolution to the Logan County board in favor of the project
  • Supply representatives to speak in support of the project at public meetings
  • Issue company-approved news releases expressing their support for the wind farm
  • Ban all current and future board members from speaking against the project in an official capacity
  • Not make any claims or suits against the project or the company
  • Be prevented from passing any law or ordinance that would regulate, limit or detrimentally affect the project

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Exactly how bad must your product be that you have pay officials to ignore their sworn duty to protect their citizens?

Thanks to our friends at National Wind Watch for reporting on the story.  Read more here –School Board votes ‘no’ on wind farm agreement

By the way, don’t think it can happen here … “here” being wherever you are?  Only way to be sure it doesn’t is to insist your officials fully understand they are working for you and that any contracts, as it was in this case, be made available to the public prior to signing.

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