(The following is a letter to the editor written by our own Colin O’Sullivan)
It really is time to cut through the hype, wherever it comes from, and deal with the facts of wind turbine generators (WTG’s) in NK.
- WTG’s cannot reduce RI’s dependence on foreign oil for electricity generation. RI does not use oil for this purpose. According to the Energy Information Administration, last year RI generated 676 thousand MWh’s of electricity, of which 663 thousand MWh’s came from natural gas and the remainder from renewable sources. (see: http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=RI). So as soon as you see or hear someone talking in favor of wind vs oil, you know they have an agenda or simply do not know their facts. If we want to cut oil consumption, let’s insulate oil-heated homes properly and drive more efficient vehicles.
- WTG’s cannot be relied on to constantly produce electricity, so the existing natural gas fired generating equipment must still be available 24/7 and be maintained. There is no cost savings.
- Energy from WTG’s, when paid for at the retail rate per KWh, which is what the private developers rely on, must increase the normal consumers’ electricity bills. National Grid is obligated to buy the excess power from the WTG’s and pay them the same 16 or so cents per KWh that consumers already pay now. NG cannot conduct its business for no return and must therefore charge you and me more. The cash flow is out of your pocket and into the developers’.
- WTG’s DO make noise. The only question is how much will your town’s Noise Ordinance allow? (note: not all towns have a Noise Ordinance…..)
- WTG’s DO create light flicker onto peoples’ homes, the roads and surrounding countryside. You do not have to rely on YouTube videos to see this, although there certainly are many you can view by Googling “wind turbine flicker”. You can instead review the application paperwork which developers must submit to town Planning Offices. They will tell you the maximum hours of flicker that may happen at the proposed WTG site and the hours they “expect” to occur on average. It’s all there, this is factual and verifiable.
- WTG’s DO create low frequency sound. Again, go read developers’ own paperwork submissions to Planning Offices. Low frequency sounds are the 16Hz, 31.5Hz and 63Hz frequencies some studies claim can cause the negative health effects being reported from all around the world by people living near – and not so near – to WTG’s.
- WTG’s receive 40% – 50% Federal subsidies at the construction stage, so the consumer is paying for up to half the cost for a WTG at the outset, which will then continue to be supported by those same consumers who have to pay higher electricity bills. Where does the money go???
- The Wind Industry says property values are not negatively affected by the presence of WTG’s in the area. There are studies which support this view, but they do not contain much, if any, data on homes as close to WTG’s as NK will allow, because other towns, states and countries are more cautious and respect their residents circumstances more than NK. There are a couple of studies which have dealt with this issue independently and thoroughly and included close-in properties. Here is a link to one of them: http://www.scribd.com/doc/23858548/Ago-Wind-Turbine-Property-Value-Impact-Study
It is long (73 pages), but you can review the main points by just reading the first 5 pages, where you will see up to 39% house value loss.
- Utility sized WTG’s simply do not belong in residential areas – (this is the first “opinion” in this letter, all of the above is verifiable fact). They are 40 storey high structures virtually in our back yards. Just think about that…
It is time NK town officials looked for proper sites for wind turbines if they still want them after all this. They must find a way to include any WTG’s already in the application process AND any that have been permitted, before they realized the enormity of this issue and how strongly many NK residents feel against these structures in our residential neighborhoods. Anything else will just not be enough for those of us who do not want to live with these power generation plants next door to our probably devalued and maybe un-sellable homes. NK officials: You got us into this, now fix it!