I would like to make a few comments on the article in The Deerfield Valley News on March 15, about the town of Wilmington’s appeal of the US Forest Service’s approval of wind turbines on National Forest land. The spokesperson for the selectboard points out that environmental groups have remained silent; to those I would also add our politicians. We also have a governor who actively promotes wind turbines, even in state forests, and goes so far as to send out young VPIRG activists as missionaries for the cause, which I myself experienced last summer. Add to this the campaign to close Vermont Yankee, which is to be replaced by energy savings and “green” and “clean” electricity. This is also an election year and one can suspect that the Obama administration, after the Solyndra scandal, which cost us taxpayers over half a billion dollars, is eager to get “clean” energy projects going.
I believe it is time for Wilmington to add some new arguments to try to stop this project. Has it been subjected to a complete life cycle analysis yet?
This measures the total environmental impact, including the production and emission of greenhouse gases, from the mining of raw materials, manufacturing, installation and power generation, to final dismantling and site restoration. This is quantified in terms of greenhouse gases per kilowat hour of electricity generated. Since windpower is intermittent and thus quite inefficient, the result is quite the opposite of what the propaganda is telling us: it is neither green nor clean. Nuclear and hydro have by far better values and also serve as baseload generators. In this capacity they also function as “spinning reserve” for wind turbines hooked up to the grid. This fact is generally not mentioned by the wind power lobby. This means also that one cannot turn off other power sources because of wind power. That in turn leads to the question, what gain do we really have from unreliable wind power?
For years I have been able to observe wind turbines on a daily basis for long periods during different seasons on a windy coastal plain. I have been surprised at how often they stop because of inadequate winds. Although I am an old man, I am not blind and my observations are completely in line with what experts, not Vermont politicians, antinukers, and others likeminded tell us.
P.S. - A new documentary movie called “Windfall” details what is happening to some communities in upstate New York with the coming of wind turbines.