Opinions

Gov. Patrick’s embrace of wind power is ill-advised
Credit: North Adams Transcript | 12/07/2012 | http://www.thetranscript.com ~~

It is unfortunate for the citizens of Massachusetts generally, and likely devastating to many residents of Florida and Monroe specifically, to witness the ill-conceived commitment of Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration to industrial wind turbines.

Perhaps he and his administration have not done their homework. Perhaps they are naive enough to believe the public relations materials of Big Wind — the little girl chasing the butterfly with the large wind turbines in the background and the promise of large amounts of money flowing into the town. Perhaps the lobbyists are just that convincing and generous with their donations to the Patrick administration.

What the science and the more extensive experience of other countries have demonstrated is the following: Industrial wind turbines (IWTs) make no engineering or economic sense in inland New England.

Based upon available prevailing winds, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy, IWTs will produce little sustainable energy. Moreover, the energy they produce will be intermittent and available when the grid does not need it.

The U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory classifies wind assets in inland New England as “not good.” As a result, for every MW of capacity of IWT put in place, an equal amount of traditional fossil-fuel-based back-up generation capacity will need to be constructed and operated, so that that backup capacity can be quickly brought on line when the wind suddenly stops blowing.

Therefore, in inland New England, IWTs will not reduce our carbon footprint. They will not contribute in any way toward limiting global warming. They will however significantly increase the cost of every person’s and business’s electricity, precisely at a time when we cannot afford it. The reason is that the subsidies paid to keep this economically unsustainable technology operating will be spread over everyone’s monthly electric bill, in addition to the cost of the normal fossil-fuel-based capacity required to back up those IWTs.

Based upon many epidemiological studies, IWTs will have serious adverse health impacts upon residents within at least a 2-mile radius of the IWTs. Based upon reliable statistical and property appraisal studies, the values of properties of these residents will decrease by 25-40 percent. It is precisely these impacts that have led European countries (e.g., Holland, Germany and the UK, among others) to halt construction of IWTs.

It is precisely these impacts that have led Massachusetts towns to want to sell their IWTs (e.g., Princeton) or shut down the IWTs that are operating (e.g., Falmouth). The experience of Princeton is instructive.

Any payments estimated as flowing to the towns of Monroe and Florida from the operation of the IWTs which have not taken account of the poor wind resources and their poor operational performance will have been vastly overstated. If you do not believe this, ask the town government of Princeton about the profitability of local IWTs. The town has publicly stated that their IWTs were falsely promoted and are losing money.

Wake up, Massachusetts. The Patrick administration is telling the “Big Lie” to promote a pipedream energy technology (Big Wind) that will be revealed as the “Big Boondoggle” a decade from now. I wish Big Wind was the answer — it would be such a wonderful way to power our region. The inconvenient truth is that it fails upon almost all criteria.

I have a Ph.D. from MIT in mathematical economics and have served on the faculties of MIT, Boston University and the University of California, Berkeley. I am president and director of Greylock McKinnon Associates, an economic consulting firm specializing in analysis in support of litigation.

I critically reviewed “The Wind Turbine Health Impact Study” of Massachusetts and found it to be “junk science.”

Raymond S. Hartman
Shelburne Falls
Dec. 6

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Beware of modern-day wind-power carpetbaggersThree cheers for the spunk shown by informed members of Maine’s citizenry who seek to expose wind technology for the threat it represents.

Wind is not cutting edge, progressive and environmentally friendly. It’s antediluvian, uncivil and environmentally treacherous. Moreover, since it produces no modern power, it can’t be an alternative to conventional power, or even be functionally additive to the conventional power mix.

A thousand windscrapers could not “power” a dog pound with today’s expectations for reliable performance. Those who tout wind for the electricity sector should be asked to explain why they’re not cheering for gliders as a substantial part of the air transport sector.

Sacrificing the splendor of Maine’s landscape for hundreds of years to appease a weird combination of ignorance, greed and good intentions — orchestrated by such equity partners with wind as General Electric, BP, Shell and Goldman Sachs in order to secure income via tax avoidance — is nothing more than a ritual act of political madness.

Left to themselves, the good people of Maine would not submit to being fleeced by the modern-day carpetbaggers of wind, with their unaccountable promises and unconscionable swagger.

Here’s hoping they’ll have sufficient clout to save themselves and their state from the political tomfoolery of wind.

Jon Boone
Catonsville, Md.

http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/most-maine-hunters-hunt-responsibly_2012-09-28.html

Two Letters to the Editor from the 8/10/12 Bangor Daily News

The Maine media bias in favor of wind development has been obvious for some time. A recent BDN article served as a perfect example. The story of the truck losing its wind tower load in a ditch went the extra mile for the industry by devoting much of its space to promotional data for First Wind and the industry in general.

I don’t recall other stories reporting truck accidents including favorable factoids about the company or industry involved. When a logging truck loses its load, the related article doesn’t tell how many jobs were created by the logging job the truck was working. We don’t hear how many homes will be built by the company’s timber products.

But, with a wind tower in a ditch, we get a wind power sales pitch.

On top of that, the promotional data is misleading. The article said that First Wind’s projects in Maine could supply the “energy needs of 85,000 homes.” Hardly. Wind turbines supply electricity only. Maine homes use a variety of energy sources other than electricity, especially for things such as heating. Supplying all their energy needs with wind electricity would make the 85,000 figure much smaller.

The Maine media’s pro-wind bias might not change, but the objectivity and accuracy of the reporting should. A 2010 University of Maine poll showed that 79 percent of Mainers get their information on wind energy from newspapers.

With this type of reporting, it’s no wonder the Maine public’s wind energy IQ is so low.

Kay Michka

Lexington Township

Two hundred jobs and power for 85,000 homes has been cited over and over when reporting anything about First Wind’s industrial turbine projects. Are these 200 new jobs for Mainers? Or are they the same jobs that build all projects? The Reed and Reed employee who testified at the Land Use Regulation Commission public hearing in Ellsworth when the Bull Hill project was being permitted stated that if LURC gave the OK the crew would move right over to Bull Hill after Rollins Mountain.

Are the 185 megawatts that are quoted as being produced by First Wind’s projects the capacity on paper or the actual production? In Maine, wind projects typically produce approximately 14 percent of their total capacity. This would then actually provide energy for far fewer homes.

Where are these homes? In Maine?

What does it mean to state “enough energy for 85,000 homes”? All the electricity they’ll use in a week? A year? Ever? It’s too vague a statement to be printed without clarification. These “facts” are reprinted with almost each news item covering wind projects in our area. Please find the answers for us.

Mary Ann John

Eastbrook

 

Berkshire Eagle
Sunday July 29, 2012
http://www.berkshireeagle.com/columnists/ci_21183790/wind-power-numbers-just-dont-add-up
by David Baumann

Sugarland Wind has received local approval to construct a 200 million watt (megawatt) electrical generating wind farm in Florida’s Everglades. They state that, “the 113 turbines will produce clean domestic energy for up to 60,000 homes.” This is a nice neat quotable statement that has been picked up by every local media outlet in South Florida.

In east central Wyoming, near Casper, Duke Energy recently completed construction of the Top of the World farm, a 110-turbine 200-mega watt wind farm. This is exactly the number of turbines and total capacity of the Florida Everglades project. Copied right out of their own material, Duke’s promotion for this for this project states, “The 110 wind turbines that comprise the Top of the World project are capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 60,000 homes.”

Check any wind map of the United States and you’ll see that the Florida Everglades is one of the least windy sites in the country and the high plains of east central Wyoming is one of the most windy sites in the country. So is it possible that the same size wind farm can service the same number of homes no matter the wind conditions? If not, which is right, Sugarland’s claim of 60,000 homes or Duke’s claim of 60,000 homes?

The U.S. government publishes numbers for the average electricity consumption of American homes under the Energy Information Agency website (EIA). Using EIA data from their 2011 report, I checked Sugarland’s numbers. The average Florida home consumes about 1,194 kilowatt-hours per month. In order for Sugarland’s 200-megawatt wind farm to supply this much electricity for 60,000 Florida homes the turbines would have to turn 49 percent of the day. That means the wind would have to blow 49 percent of the day at just the right speed, not too slow, not too fast and ideally, unless we like doing laundry at 3 a.m., not blow half of that time in the middle of the night.

Duke operates another 4-year old wind farm not far from the newly completed Casper, Wyoming farm. The 4-year old farm they claim produces 37 percent of the time. I doubt the veracity of their 37 percent but let’s assume it is accurate. From my calculations above it takes 49 percent for a 200-megawatt wind farm to power 60,000 average Florida homes.

Therefore even a wind farm in the windy high plains of Wyoming producing 37 percent of the day cannot make Sugarland’s claim true. This is a far cry from the calm winds of Florida’s Everglades.

According to EIA numbers the average consumption of all U.S. homes is 958 kilowatt-hours per month. This would require the Everglades farm to operate 39 percent of the time. So what home are they using in their numbers?

We get the idea that the Sugarland engineers and the Duke engineers might not bother to pick up a calculator. They’re using boilerplate numbers to promote their wind farms and that’s good enough for us. That’s not only good enough for us we embrace their numbers, republish them and repeat them like they were passed down from Mt. Sinai.

Fact is the wind companies are getting by with murder. They are allowed by eager politicians and a handful of agenda-driven groups to flippantly throw out boilerplate numbers that have no basis in scientific fact. They don’t produce facts because they don’t have to. Wind is in vogue and the uninformed but trusting public is not getting the data to make informed decisions about wind’s appropriate use. A wind farm has no business being built in the Everglades nor in the vast majority of locations they are currently being built.

I’m not going too far out on a limb by predicting that in a few short years we’ll see that the Florida Everglades wind farm will struggle to attain 15 percent production. Thanks to large taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies these wind farms are losers for everyone but the wind companies. The financial and environmental damage that these projects will cause and have caused will take us decades to pay for and undo.

And oh, by the way, neither Sugarland’s Everglades farm nor Duke’s high plains farm is capable of supplying 60,000 homes with electricity.

David Baumann was a regular columnist for The Eagle and a research associate for the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) based in Great Barrington. He has written extensively about energy and environmental issues and his AIER articles on energy have been re-published in over 50 newspapers. He is also a board member of Green Berkshires a Great Barrington based environmental group that opposes wind turbines. David now summers in the Berkshires and resides in Florida.

Baldacci, not LePage, rushed important law
By Monique Aniel, Special to the BDN
Posted April 12, 2012, at 3:57 p.m.
David Farmer’s recent complaints (“Stress as Republicans play beat the clock,” April 4 column) that Gov. Paul LePage is rushing bills even if “some ideas are not ready for prime time” ring hollow when compared to Gov. John Baldacci’s record.

As a private citizen who has been fighting the “not-so-ready-for-prime-time” idea of industrial wind power for three years, I would like to refresh Mr. Farmer’s memory. Mr. Farmer, Gov. Baldacci’s spokesperson, surely remembers the timeline for the wind act, one of the most destructive pieces of environmental legislation in Maine’s history.

LD 2283 was introduced in the second session of the 123rd Legislature and two weeks later it was enacted by both houses. It was signed by the governor within a week. Here is the timeline from 2008:

March 27: The House and Senate accepted the bill and referred it to the Utilities Committee.

March 31: Forgoing the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires a two-weekend public notice before a hearing, the Utilities Committee had the public hearing on LD 2283. The day was Monday, so the public had one full business day (Friday, March 28) to become familiar with a bill that reversed five decades of protection for Maine’s mountains.

April 2: The committee scheduled a work session less than 48 hours after the public hearing closed. It reviewed the enormous bill in one afternoon and immediately voted unanimously “ought to pass.“

April 8: Four business days later, the bill was reported out of the committee for House and Senate action.

April 9: The Senate accepted the committee report, suspended the rules and did both first and second readings at the same time without a vote. It then sent it to the House, where in minutes the exact same “expedited” approval happened without a vote.

April 9: Both the House and Senate suspended the rules again, this time forgoing the customary day of waiting and sending the bill for its first passage to be “engrossed.” They adjourned that day’s session with the bill having been approved three times in each body, but without a vote. These preliminary votes often are not recorded votes, but the speed of these was sufficient — especially given the crush of late-session business — to move it through without notice.

April 11: The bill got its final enactment in the House and Senate without any dissent. House: 139-0, Senate: 34-0.

April 18: Gov. Baldacci signed Ch. 661 into law, and the wind power gold rush was unleashed on an unsuspecting populace.

Another example of Gov. Baldacci’s haste to steamroll his wind power agenda involved health impacts from wind turbine noise, an issue which continues to plague the industry. On Feb. 8, 2009, the Rumford Community Hospital staff sent a request for a moratorium on wind projects to Gov. Baldacci, based on emerging reports of health effects. The request also was addressed to Dora Mills, who was then head of the Maine Center for Disease Control.

On Feb. 10 of that year, Dr. Mills emailed: “I did some scanning overnight of some of the research on health effects due to wind turbines as well as existing Maine laws. Comparing their findings to existing Maine laws it appears that our own law (under Maine DEP statute) is quite comprehensive and inclusive of the issue related to wind turbine development.”

The moratorium was rejected less than a week after it was requested.

Dr. Mills’ opinion of the safe siting of wind turbines based on her overnight research never changed and helped reject the appeals of several projects both at the BEP and the law court during her term under the Baldacci administration.

Two years later, in September 2011, after more than a year of studies and eight hours of testimony and cross examination of medical experts in medicine and acoustics, the BEP voted to improve the noise regulations even though Dr. Mills opposed it again.

Both the expedited wind law passed by the Legislature and the “expedited opinion” of Dr. Mills on the subject of wind turbine noise have created a multitude of hardships for Maine residents forced to live too close to turbines, with inescapable noise and under gag orders if “noise easements” have been granted to the wind company (without disclosure by the wind company of the potential effects).

After another moratorium was requested in December 2010, Farmer said, “The wind power laws on the books are the result of a careful process that included a transparent task force and unanimous support in the Legislature.” No, just a legislative rush with painful consequences for too many residents, and the numbers are growing,

Monique Aniel, MD, co-chairs the Citizens Task Force on Wind Power. She lives in Oquossoc.

NEW YORK TIMES OPED

Steve E. Wright, Craftsbury, VT

(Sept 28, 2011) BULLDOZERS arrived a couple of weeks ago at the base of the nearby Lowell Mountains and began clawing their way through the forest to the ridgeline, where Green Mountain Power plans to erect 21 wind turbines, each rising to 459 feet from the ground to the tip of the blades.

This desecration, in the name of “green” energy, is taking place in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom on one of the largest tracts of private wild land in the state. Here and in other places — in Maine and off Cape Cod, for instance — the allure of wind power threatens to destroy environmentally sensitive landscapes.

Erecting those turbines along more than three miles of ridgeline requires building roads — with segments of the ridgeline road itself nearly half as wide as one of Vermont’s interstate highways — in places where the travel lanes are now made by bear, moose, bobcat and deer.

It requires changing the profile of the ridgeline to provide access to cranes and service vehicles. This is being accomplished with approximately 700,000 pounds of explosives that will reduce parts of the mountaintops to rubble that will be used to build the access roads.

It also requires the clear-cutting on steep slopes of 134 acres of healthy forest, now ablaze in autumn colors. Studies have shown that clear-cutting can lead to an increase in erosion to high-quality headwater streams, robbing them of life and fouling the water for downstream residents, wild and human.

The electricity generated by this project will not appreciably reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions. Only 4 percent of those emissions now result from electricity generation. (Nearly half come from cars and trucks, and another third from the burning of heating oil.)

Wind doesn’t blow all the time, or at an optimum speed, so the actual output of the turbines — the “capacity factor” — is closer to about one-third of the rated capacity of 63 megawatts. At best, this project will produce enough electricity to power about 24,000 homes per year, according to the utility.

Still, wind does blow across Vermont’s ridgelines. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group, for instance, has suggested that wind power could provide as much as 25 percent of the state’s electricity needs, which would require turbines on 29 miles of ridgeline. Other wind advocates, notably David Blittersdorf, the chief executive of a wind and solar power company in Williston, Vt., has urged that wind turbines be placed along 200 miles of ridgeline in the state.

But it is those same Green Mountain ridgelines that attracted nearly 14 million visitors to Vermont in 2009, generating $1.4 billion in tourism spending. The mountains are integral to our identity as the Green Mountain State, and provide us with clean air and water and healthy wildlife populations.

Vermont’s proud history of leadership in developing innovative, effective environmental protection is being tossed aside. This project will set an ominous precedent by ripping apart a healthy, intact ecosystem in the guise of doing something about climate change. In return, Green Mountain Power will receive $44 million in federal production tax credits over 10 years.

Ironically, most of the state’s environmental groups have not taken a stand on this ecologically disastrous project. Apparently, they are unwilling to stand in the way of “green” energy development, no matter how much destruction it wreaks upon Vermont’s core asset: the landscape that has made us who we are.

The pursuit of large-scale, ridgeline wind power in Vermont represents a terrible error of vision and planning and a misunderstanding of what a responsible society must do to slow the warming of our planet. It also represents a profound failure to understand the value of our landscape to our souls and our economic future in Vermont.

Steve E. Wright, an aquatic biologist, is a former commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Personal Perspectives


Wind power developers get profits; we carry risk

In an Aug. 26 article, Rob Gardiner says his and Angus King’s Roxbury wind project “is reducing electricity costs to the customer because it means a more expensive gas-generated plant is not running as heavily.”

In a November 2009 article in the Sun Journal, “Low energy prices force year delay in Roxbury wind farm,” however, King explained how low prices for natural gas fired electricity had stalled their project.

“It was just prudent business management” and “now is not a good time” to go forward with the wind project, King said. In other words, their wind electricity couldn’t compete with gas electricity on cost.

Natural gas prices are still low today and are expected to stay that way for a while. So why is it a “good time” to resume the Roxbury project? Well, King, Gardiner and their silent partner, the Yale Endowment, found a chump onto whose shoulders they could unload the risk of their investment.

Who’s the unlucky gull? Look in the mirror. It’s you and I, the American taxpayers.

It was widely reported recently that the trio had secured a $102 million loan guarantee for their project from the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s you and I.

We carry the risk; they get the profit — if any. It’s socialized risk and privatized profit. You may remember this from a few years ago when we were bailing out Wall Street investment banks. If their project tanks, the creditors come looking for you and me, not King, Gardiner or Yale.

Maybe this is why, despite low gas prices, King and Gardiner can press forward with their Roxbury wind project now. Who needs “prudent business management” when you have American taxpayers to cover your potential losses?

Alan Michka, Lexington Twp.

Maine Voices: Land-based wind won’t offer enough power to justify its downside

Maine is giving up a huge amount of its wilderness’ natural beauty for a very small return.

By STEVE THURSTON, AUGUST 24, 2011

OQUOSSOC — “They are doing an awful lot of damage to our quality of life, our mountains. I don’t think it’s going to lower the cost of energy. I think in 10 years we’re going to be like Sweden and Denmark and we’re going to be swearing at ourselves.”

As reported by Susan Cover, these words were spoken by Gov. LePage at a town hall meeting in Rockport earlier in the summer (“Governor takes town hall meeting to Rockport,” June 18).

Thank you, Gov. LePage, for having the courage to say what many informed citizens are saying about former Gov. John Baldacci‘s decision to embrace the wind industry.

In April 2008, the former governor’s “emergency” bill to remove all roadblocks to wind turbine projects was unanimously approved by the Legislature “under the hammer,” meaning with no debate on the floor and no roll call vote.

The “expedited wind law” was like a night train that barreled through Augusta virtually unnoticed by Maine’s elected representatives.

Three years later, every wind project approved under the new law has been appealed, and opposition to wind projects is growing rapidly. Responsible citizens realize that Maine’s wind turbine laws do not protect the environment or its citizens.

Many towns have declared moratoriums on wind projects, and are making changes to their bylaws to prevent wind turbines from blighting the landscape and creating annoying nighttime noise in quiet rural settings.

The cumulative effect of the state’s goal of 2,700 megawatts of land-based wind power was ignored by the wind law and by the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power that preceded that law.

Perhaps that was intentional, because to describe the effect of hundreds of miles of Maine’s ridges dominated by gigantic wind turbines, sending pulses of noise into the valleys and flashing red strobe lights into the night sky, would be to acknowledge the absurdity of the law itself.

It would be admitting regulatory malpractice for failing to protect Maine’s iconic mountains from intrusive industrial development.

The environmental benefits of Maine’s goal of 2,700 MW of wind power have not been proven. Because wind does not always blow wind turbines typically achieve only about 25 percent of their installed capacity. So 2,700 MW would only provide about 675 MW of actual generation.

The grid operates at an average daily demand of about 17,000 MW, so Maine’s wind power goal will only provide about 4 percent of this demand, but will require about 1,500 turbines spread over several hundred miles of Maine’s ridges throughout the mountain regions.

Wind power has other drawbacks that prevent it from being a valuable source of power. It is a grid operator’s worst nightmare due to its unpredictability from one minute to the next.

The primary responsibility of the grid is reliability. The grid must maintain a close tolerance between supply and demand so that a steady supply of electricity is constantly available. In order to accommodate the erratic nature of wind power, the grid pays other, controllable generators to provide “spinning reserves,” which can be placed on line within seconds to fill in when wind fluctuates.

Wind power therefore does not replace fossil fuel generation on a one-to-one basis as proponents claim. It is a symbolic gesture, not a real solution to our energy needs.

The only legitimate argument for wind power is that a handful of construction companies are benefiting from the massive taxpayer subsidies that enable wind projects to be constructed.

But for decades Maine has protected the environment. No other type of development would be permitted to destroy the landscape on such an enormous scale simply for the sake of the jobs that are created. Let the construction industry put their heavy equipment to work rebuilding Maine’s roads and bridges, not blasting highways across the tops of Maine’s priceless mountains.

All Mainers would benefit from improved transportation infrastructure. Very few Mainers will benefit from wind turbines, but all Mainers will lose if the wind industry continues to wreak havoc on Maine’s landscape .

Gov. LePage understands that wind power is an expensive, heavily subsidized source of undependable electricity that will not benefit Maine ratepayers. He also recognizes that Maine’s goal of 2,700 MW of land-based wind power by 2020, a legacy he inherited from his predecessor, will harm Maine’s quality of life.

If we will be swearing at ourselves in 10 years, wouldn’t a more sensible course of action be to abandon mountaintop wind power now, before it is too late?

November 12, 2010 – Portland Press Herald

Maine Voices – Things aren’t all rosy on Vinalhaven about wind turbines

A year ago Fox Islands Wind began operating the wind turbines on Vinalhaven. A community effort that began with eager anticipation is now tarnished. As a neighbor of the wind turbine farm this year has been a journey from hope to anger and disgust. Fox Islands Wind continues to misrepresent and mislead our community while using its authority to bully state regulators on the issue of violating noise standards. Our experience has forced me to look into the deeper issues of industrial wind – the technology, the economics, and the politics – and the investigation has been an uncomfortable journey that has brought my once honeyed-eyed vision of easy, green power to the conclusion that industrial wind energy is, at present, BAD science, BAD economics, and BAD politics.I add my voice to the growing numbers of Mainers that are demanding a moratorium on wind projects all over Maine. Jonathan Carter, once an advocate for wind power, travels statewide to expose the arrogant destruction of mountaintops. David P. Corrington, Registered Maine Master Guide whose new web-site, realwindinfoforme.org provides information about Grid Scale Industrial Wind Power Development in nationwide and Industrial Wind in Maine. And there are the many voices of the residents of Camden, Montville, Bucksfield, Thorndike, Jackson and Dixmont who have repelled the efforts to locate windmills in their towns.

These voices, and countless others, are shouting truth to the half-truths, misrepresentations and distortions of wind developers. As wind energy proponents continue to demand that we provide them with unprecedented resources and that we waive basic, traditional rights to discussion and debate; as wind developers undermine local autonomy, enjoyment of property, and health and safety; as they thumb their noses at environmental compliance and demand that citizens forego normal, time-honored mechanisms of due process, we must ask a simple question: How many more years will citizens be expected to pay, and what rights will we have to surrender to benefit an unproven technology and the smoke and mirror economics that seem to be the foundation of industrial wind?

George Baker, as Vice President of Community Wind at the Island Institute and as CEO of Fox Islands Wind must be held responsible for the damages inflicted on our community. His Island Institute Community Wind website says, “We will demonstrate how wind projects in the coastal area can be sited without adverse environmental and aesthetic impacts, and provide long-term economic benefits for local residents.” Their failure to demonstrate success has placed our quiet community on the front pages of the nation’s top newspapers, including the New York Times. How can the Institute’s formula of 70% acceptance be deemed a success? What happens to the other 30%? Dismissed? Excused? Collateral damage? Where do our neighbors find the money that has been stolen from them, stolen in lowered property values that they will never be able to recover? What happens with the increasing medical bills that families must shoulder from the stress of living with days filled with tortuous light flicker and sleepless nights of low frequency rumblings? How can the Island Institute justify Fox Islands Wind’s preposterous use of the ridiculous efforts of the National Renewable Energies Laboratories compiling data from summer residents with an experiment that started in October? How can anyone call this past year a success when Fox Islands Wind refuses to share financial information to show exactly where the purported savings is coming from and what the projections for the next several years might be?

I know that the Baker/Island Institute strategy is to wear the neighbors down. That is not going to happen. It gives us strength to know that, while Baker, the Island Institute and their cronies congratulate themselves in their boardrooms they should be aware the nation is watching them with a jaundiced eye.

After this long year I can only shake my head and say: Shame on the Island Institute, shame on Fox Islands Wind, shame on all the other wind projects that are changing the face of Maine for the profit of a few ex-governors, ex-Public Utility Chairmen and ex-Harvard Professors.

Cheryl Lindgren, Vinalhaven


October 3, 2010 – How Much Noise do windmills make? That’s a good question Karen Pease, Portland Press Herald

FIW has been in non-compliance with state regulations. The inhabitants living in the shadow of these turbines have been complaining about health and “quality of life” issues for months. They’ve been suffering — spending their own money, time and resources to try to find some relief and an advocate to address their concerns. But, vindicated by these findings, what response do they get?
http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2010/10/04/how-much-noise-do-windmills-make-thats-a-good-question/


Sept. 21, 2010 – Windfall in New York – Stanley Fish. New York Times Opininator Blog

… So the wind interests inflict a triple injury – on the landscape, on the quality of life, and on the social fabric of the community – and then, after a while, they depart, leaving behind what one resident of a turbine infested town called a “giant junkyard.” (Yes, I know about decommissioning promises and bonds, but if you think the developers won’t devise several escape hatches when the time comes, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.)…
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/windfall-in-new-york/?partner=rss&emc=rss


August 27, 2010 – The Free Press, State Must Provide Some Relief to Neighbors of Wind Turbines, Editorial by Alan Farago: My home is 3,000 feet from the turbines, and my experience is contrary to all the assertions that were made during the permitting process a few years ago.
http://www.freepressonline.com/main.asp?SectionID=74&SubSectionID=126&ArticleID=8493


Aug 23, 2010 – Letter by William Downes: Blinded by the Wind in response to an August 16th letter entitled “Maine needs wind farm development” by Al and Lois Howlett of Yarmouth. That original letter can be read at:

http://www.theforecaster.net/content/pnms-letterhowlett-081810

What is disturbing is that it appears Mr. Howlett is the Treasurer of the Friends of Baxter Park. See:

http://www.friendsofbaxter.org/Pages/Baxter_About/directors


August 6, 2010 – Letter by Alan Farago to the Honorable Chris Rector

Dear Senator Rector,

I am a Vinalhaven taxpayer and summer resident of more than 30 years. I am writing today about excessive wind turbine noise I experience at my property on Vinalhaven. Developing alternative energy for Maine is a high priority, but my experience is that the State imposes unreasonable burdens on taxpayers who happen, through no fault of their own, to live near wind turbines. This is the situation on our island, where year-round residents and summer residents are deeply affected.

Only a year ago, the Vinalhaven wind turbine farm was commissioned to great public fanfare. Since then, noise impacts that could have been anticipated have imposed costs on the natural quiet, health, and property values of neighbors. In response, neighbors have raised nearly $50,000 and undertaken a very burdensome process to ensure that the utility complies with state standards. We ask ourselves, daily, why should this process impose such severe costs on citizens? So far as I can tell, money raised from neighbors has had one material result: to help Maine DEP to clarify how the state responds to citizen noise complaints from wind turbines. We do not have our peace and quiet back. In fact our data shows that the utility continues to violate state noise standards.

I have a couple of recommendations to outline in due course. First, please consider sponsoring legislation to create a trust fund based on a state-wide utility fee. The purpose of this fund would be to allow wind turbine neighbors to hire qualified, independent experts. Neighbors cannot compete with utilities and it is unjust to require them to do so, simply to prove that utilities or turbine owners are violating state noise standards. It is not fair to force citizens to hire experts to deal with the process of conforming with Maine DEP and well-funded industry. As wind power projects proliferate across the state, it is easy to see that these projects will be imposed in places where citizens can least afford to pursue technical details. In that respect, the neighbors on Vinalhaven are more fortunate than most.

The money we raised and spent also proves current noise standards are inadequate and how little protection they afford. I am far from restoring the peace and quiet that Lisa and I expected when we bought 140 acres on Long Cove. Natural quiet was a primary purpose for building our home here: to what lengths will I now have to go, to prove that? There is no doubt that our property value has plummeted since the turbine farm was commissioned, less than haIfa mile away, though persuading the utility and state of this will no doubt require raising additional money and hiring additional experts. These burdens did not arise from nowhere.

You should be aware that the Town Ordinance of Vinalhaven in 2008 had provisions regulating wind turbine noise that our acoustics expert believes would have made it very difficult to site the wind turbine farm where it is now located. In 2008, unbeknownst to most residents, a weaker noise standard was adopted by the Town, promoted by the utility. When questioned at the annual meeting of the electric coop last week, a representative explained that the town changed the noise ordinance because it did not have the technical capacity to monitor and enforce the complexities of the earlier version.

Thus, Vinalhaven did shift the burden of noise analysis to neighbors of the wind turbine farm. Maybe a few enthusiasts really did believe that “ambient sounds mask the noise of turbines”. That is what I was told at the time, and what I have learned since is that the most irritating noise from the wind turbines is when it is perfectly still and quiet-with no wind at all-at ground level. Here it is exactly as a neighbor wrote to me: “Fog is a time when we cannot see the turbines at all, but the noise is loudest.” State regulators still do not believe that to be true and have raised one obstacle after another as we try to prove it is so.

Fox Island Wind is now misrepresenting our complaints. Its representatives, like George Baker­, a Harvard Business School professor and principal planner of the turbine farm on Vinalhaven, claim neighbors are preparing a lawsuit. The bright fact is: without an attorney we would not have been able to address the regulatory and statutory issues of the state. Without our own acoustics expert, we would not be able to investigate acoustics issues, data and regulations that are more complex that the state of Maine had even thought of.

Instead of all ratepayers and residents dealing with the costs of wind turbine noise, neighbors were in effect selected to “own” these costs and now we are being criticized for hiring an attorney.

The way to redress these imbalances is for the State of Maine to step in and legislate new standards to protect the health, welfare, and rights of individuals who live through no fault of their own near a wind turbine facility. First, create a trust fund paid by a state-wide utility fee, to provide a way for residents to fund activities related to acoustics issues, noise complaints, and the process required by Maine DEP. What stands for regulatory fairness now is intolerable. Second, ask an independent panel of acoustics experts-with no ties to wind power or lobbyists-to advise the legislature on the most up-to-date science and information on noise impacts from wind turbine farms. New legislation should replace inadequate state standards in favor of protective ones, and fully fund DEP to resolve very real problems that require extensive data collection over a long period of time. Lastly, the true cost of alternative energy must take into account loss of property value. The state should provide for property owners who live within 2 kilometers of wind turbine farms to be compensated for property loss.

None of us asked for these burdens, and it is extraordinarily difficult for some of our neighbors to say so. Thank you for your consideration,

Alan Farago

Cc: Governor John E. Baldacci


July 22, 2010 – Free Press, Letter to the Editor, by Paul Josephson: Wind Power Problems on Vinalhaven: Are FIW and FIEC Trying to Emulate BP? 
I am a historian of technology, who has spent the last 25 years studying what makes big technology less democratic than small technology. In spite of the fact that the electric wind mills have destroyed my Vinalhaven experience, I remain a supporter of wind power.
http://www.freepressonline.com/main.asp?SectionID=74&SubSectionID=126&ArticleID=7786


May 10, 2010 – Wind Power the most expensive

I work for wind power constructors all across America as a project controls consultant and have been in the power industry for the past 30 years. Let me offer some observations before this paper and others rush to support jamming wind towers on the mountains in Maine.


April 22, 2010 – Comments on the Renewable Energy World article

As you are head of the board for the co-op on Swan’s Island I find your comments a bit awkward…that you have some familiarity with the issues on Vinalhaven…


April 9, 2010 – An activist discovers that it takes a NIMBY to protect the village

When I entered the campaign to save Maine’s iconic mountains from development, I had a huge dread: the fear of being perceived as a NIMBY (Not in my backyard)….Several months have passed since I entered the fray. My education has been equivalent to the school of hard knocks. Trial by wind….


Objects in Mirror: Gotcha – Politicizing Community Wind to Sell Newspapers

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Never argue with a man who buys his ink by the barrel.” I assume that the Maine Sunday Telegram buys ink by the barrel, but I’ve got a serious bone to pick with them…


February 5, 2010 – Response to the Gotcha Article, which the Working Waterfront refused to publish.

Phil Conkling’s article…poses an interesting dilemma. …The critical question is how do we deal with minorities, whatever size they may be? Certainly the Island Institute has fashioned its entire mission around supporting the very small percentage of Maine residents that live on our islands…


January 7, 2010 – FIW and Common Sense/Cents

The wind turbines have been generating power for two months now and the news is: we have a lot of wind out here and three turbines are producing more power than was ever anticipated….


December 8, 2009 – Hard Lessons from the Fox Islands Wind Project

As neighbors of the wind turbines, we find ourselves in the midst of an unexpected, unwanted life crisis. When GE flipped the switch and the turbines began to turn, island life as we knew it evaporated….


October 15, 2009 – Wind turbines show how costly ‘free’ energy can be

We all like to think that Maine really is the way life should be; beautiful mountains, wild coastlines, and good old-fashioned people. The kind of people who would do anything for a neighbor, and who always strive to do what’s right, no matter what the cost.

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