Belle of Liberty

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Windfall for Turbine Producers

“For my sole aim has been to arouse men’s scorn for the false and absurd stories of knight-errantry, whose prestige has been shaken by this tale of my true Don Quixote, and which will, without any doubt, soon crumble in ruin.”  Don Quixote.

If you’re looking for alternative information about alternative fuel sources, you need to turn to alternative information sources.  As we all know by now, all the Media is spinning is a lot of hot air.  Al Gore and others have declared that “the debate is over.”

But the debate isn’t over.  Not if you watch the documentary Windfall, which is available on Netflix, or read the book, The Wind Farm Scam, by Dr. John Etherington, a former Ecology professor at the University of Wales.  The film Windfall is about two towns in New York State and their experiences with the installation of wind turbines in their rural communities.

Meredith, N.Y., is a dairy farming community northeast of the Delaware River that has fallen on hard economic times since the advent of factory dairy farms.  Wind turbine sales people came to town offering lucrative cash for the use of their farms to building wind turbines.  Lured by the promise of easy cash and the “opportunity to do their part for the environment,” half the town agreed to the deals.

The other half became skeptical when a local businesswoman gave them the real scoop on the dangers and the expenses of the giant turbines.  The resulting controversy, involving the local town council and the planning board, divided the town in half.

The plan called for 40 industrial wind turbines.  These are not the quaint windmills of Holland and of Don Quixote.  These wind mills are 400 feet high, not counting the height of the blades or the depth of the foundation.  To their tips, the wind turbines can reach up to 650 feet.

Size is not the only gigantic thing about the turbines.  Their enormous cost is subsidized by the federal and state government, and private investors such as General Electric and Goldman Sachs.  The companies grant the communities and the property owners a trifling amount – about $5,000 to the property owner and perhaps $20,000 to the municipality for something that gives very little return on investment and creates tremendous problems. 

·         Production.  You would think that the wind is always there.  But it’s not.  Wind power is touted as a renewable energy source.  But, in fact, not only is it not renewable, it’s not reliable.  Wind turbines, at best, produce only about 25 percent of their total maximum capacity.  In other words, if full capacity is 100 percent – the wind turbine would be spinning constantly at a high enough rate to generate enough electricity – wind turbines only produce one-quarter of the amount of energy necessary to make them productive and viable.  So in order to produce enough energy, a wind turbine producer has to erect a number of these gigantic towers.  According to Dr. Etherington, however, as the number of wind turbines increases, the amount of wind they can use decreases, and so does the amount of energy.  The turbines also don’t produce well at lower levels, where the air is warmer.  Thus, the manufacturers produce taller and taller turbines to take advantage of cooler air and higher winds.

·         Reliability.  Despite opinions to the contrary, the wind does not blow all the time.  Since energy cannot be stored in great volumes, it must be used immediately.  But the wind doesn’t blow all the time and therefore, the turbines cannot produce energy on demand the way a nuclear power plant can, for instance.  What’s more, the turbines can only operate between speeds of about 7 and 39 miles per hour.  Below that wind speed, they can’t produce enough energy.  Above gale force, the winds become too dangerous for the turbine’s rotors to operate.

·         Safety.  Numerous problems are cited in the documentary and Dr. Etherington’s book, including fires involving the rotor’s braking system, fires which local fire companies cannot put out because of the height of the towers.  On offshore wind turbines, helicopters must go out to sea to extinguish the fires, using more fossil fuel and creating more pollution (!).  Blades have flown off the towers in high winds and the towers themselves have been known to come toppling down, sometimes only mere feet from nearby homes.

·         Efficiency.  Because the power is not reliable and can’t be store, wind turbine communities most rely on additional fossil fuel plants to serve as back-up to the turbines in case of an outage.  This means the building of additional plants which run full time but are only used in emergencies.

·         Preservation.  For something that’s supposed to save the earth, the wind turbines are doing a pretty good job of wiping out our feathered friends, particularly the larger predators like the golden eagle, the hawk, and the owl, which fly at lower speeds and can’t get out of the way of the mammoth blades in time.  Another species which is falling victim to these monoliths is the bat.  They’re dying by the thousands as the production of wind turbines increases (39 percent in the United States).

·         Disruptions.  Wind turbines have a significant disruptive effect on all sorts of electronics, including radar, cellphones, satellite and television reception.  The wind turbine’s answer was that cable television would solve that problem, an expensive solution for poor families.

·         Health Hazards.  In addition to the obvious electricity hazards (like any power line), the wind turbines have a detrimental effect on the health of local residents.  The turbines produce a low-level vibration, a whumping similar to the sound of a teenager’s car stereo turned up loud, caused by the rotor passing the base of the tower.  This sound is continuous, monotonous, and makes people sick.  Residents have experienced heart palpitations, seizures, headaches, dizziness, and nausea from the constant vibration.  There are also the continuous mechanical sounds of the rotor.  And finally, there’s the strobing effect of the blades’ shadows, which cause more physiological and psychological damage to residents.  Home owners have had to abandon their properties, which is very convenient to Agenda 21’s plans for confiscating rural lands and driving residents into urban and suburban communes.  There are also icing problems with the wind turbines, whose blades throw tons of ice hundreds of feet onto property, houses, and passing vehicles.

Meanwhile, the turbine owners are reaping in millions in subsidies for these useless windmills that do nothing to save the earth, energy, or the economy.  Just constructing these monsters involves the repaving of rural roads to accommodate the heavy equipment need to bring in the towers and blades.

To promote these ugly monstrosities (which also ruin beautiful landscapes and vistas), is to ask us to tilt at windmills, like Don Quixote.  Indeed, these are windmills we must tilt at and defeat for the taxpayers are being scammed.


1 Comments:

Anonymous Solar Installer Monmouth said...

That book sounds great. I could see it now, the great debate and split, what did the mayor of the town or cityhall choose? I feel like that would be a climactic and important part. More then likely to install the wind turbines.

Back on topic; wind turbines just aren't as reliable for energy as solar installations are. We require trade winds and wind cycle systems every day and night if we want wind to be efficient, but unfortunately its just not a reliable source mainly because of its unpredictability in the environment. The best locations for wind energy would have to be the coasts.

-Sharone Tal

12:52 PM  

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