Jonathan Carter: First Wind willing to trash Maine

First Wind of Boston is proposing the largest industrial wind project to date for Maine's western mountains. It will stretch more than 25 miles, from Bingham to Parkman.

The 64 500-foot turbines First Wind plans for that remote stretch of the Maine Woods will be highly intrusive and visible to large sections of the Appalachian Trail, from the Bigelow Preserve to Katahdin, including the wildest section of the Appalachian Trail, known as the “100 mile wilderness.”

The Expedited Wind Energy Act, passed in 2008 by the heavily lobbied and “gifted” Legislature, sets an 8-mile visual impact zone, which this string of turbines is beyond. Yet, the red flashing lights, shadow flicker, and noise pollution from the bird- and bat-killing turbines will completely industrialize the region.

The project area is also designated as critical habitat needed for the Atlantic salmon restoration efforts. This project will destroy the vegetation along the banks of 34 perennial streams critical for salmon recovery.

Mainers are being taken to the cleaners by First Wind of Boston. It has no concerns about the ecological impacts or the fact that these industrial wind “pig farms” are ruining the “wild” brand that defines Maine and attracts tourists, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

First Wind’s application to the Maine DEP states that “the purpose of the project is to create a commercially viable low impact wind energy project.” I cannot agree.

It is common knowledge that mountaintop industrial wind is not commercially feasible. The subsidies from local (TIFs), state (Pine Tree zones), and federal (production tax credits) governments are the only reason industrial wind projects are economically viable. In addition, the cost of electricity has risen and will continue to rise as a direct result of mountaintop industrial wind.

When those subsidies stop, you can count on First Wind disappearing with the public's tax dollar-generated profits, leaving behind a severely impoverished industrialized landscape.

It is a scam being perpetrated on the people of Maine by well-funded industrial wind lobbyists, a few quasi-environmental groups who refuse to get their heads out of the sand and others who refuse to stop taking the bribe money the wind corporations enjoy passing out.

The application also claims that a “wind power project like Bingham Wind Project addresses ... greenhouse gases impact on the environment, climate and the health of Maine citizens.” I disagree.

Every scientific study I have been able to review comes to exactly the opposite conclusion. Because wind is intermittent, it is necessary to back it up with conventional power plants.

Since these fossil fuel plants need to be ramped up and down to accommodate the intermittency, they end up using more fuel and putting out more greenhouse gases. It is like driving a vehicle in stop and go traffic. Vehicles use more fuel and put out more pollution due to engines running inefficiently.

When the greenhouse gases generated by construction and the consumption of large amounts of power needed to run the turbines (power not from the turbines), the thousands of gallons of regularly changed lubricants, the destructive mining of rare earth metals in Mongolia, the shipment of turbines, the plastics used in the composites — that so called “clean energy” is pretty darn dirty.

Add to that the loss of forest carbon sequestration due to the clearcutting of forests for turbine pads, roads and power lines, and mountaintop industrial wind doesn’t look so green.

Finally, First Wind claims that the Bingham Wind project is in the best interest of the “health of Maine citizens.” What about the Mainers who have had to move out of their homes because of the noise pollution or pernicious impact of infrasound — a sound used often as a torture technique around the world?

Mainers are now being treated with anti-depressants, blood pressure and insomnia medications as a direct result of industrial wind turbines. Yet First Wind has the gall to state that mountaintop wind power is good for the “health of Maine citizens.” It is only good for its financial bottom line.

One thing that I have learned during the past five years, and it was a hard fact to face, is that just because something is renewable doesn’t make it de facto clean and green.

First Wind is leaching taxpayer money to build turbines that are dividing communities, blasting off mountaintops, clear-cutting forests, killing birds and bats, forcing people out of their homes, negatively impacting the health of Mainers, and destroying the visual beauty of wild Maine.

Those actions are antithetical to Maine values.

It is truly a sad day for Maine if First Wind’s rampage of trashing Maine is allowed to continue.

Jonathan Carter is the director of the Forest Ecology Network in Lexington Township.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

Mike DiCenso's picture

Right on Jon

Most of the legislature was asleep at the wheel when the wind law was rushed through. The 8 mile zone is capricious and arbitrary and was dreamed up when the accepted turbine height was 389 ft. With the 500 ft turbines the 8 mile zone should be kicked out to at least 32 miles. It only makes sense to revisit the wind law when developers push the limits to see how much they can get away with.
I was at the landing on Upper Pond with the wind blowing TOWARD the Rollins turbines. With whitecaps on the lake and the wind whipping in the branches overhead, I could still hear the turbines roaring non stop.more than a mile away!
Maine can do without wind power and I couldn't care less about the energy gluttons to the South, nor the bank accounts of the white collar criminals intent on depriving Mainers of their property rights and constitutional rights.

The inevitable extinction of species from these wind turbines

In my mind the people behind these turbines are no better than child molesters. I despise them for the destruction they bring to this planet while they wave their green flags and stuff their bank accounts.

I believe if the public were made aware of the inevitable extinction of species coming propeller style wind turbines and the mountain of bogus studies the industry has produced, they would want nothing to do with these turbines. I also believe the majority of people after hearing the truth would rather conserve energy and would be willing to pay more for other forms of electricity just to save species from these turbines.

Baldwin County, Goodhue County, Humboldt county CA, Marin County and other areas around the county are catching on to the character and fraud behind this very sinister industry. They want to save their eagles and other species and are running these guys out of town.

Unlike other forms of energy production, the mortality footprint from wind farms is unique in that it extends thousands of miles from each turbine. If nothing is done about these turbines many species will face extinction from the wind industry as they continue to transform wildlife habitats into death traps. The public has never heard a word about this from developers or the FWS.

Despite the two thumbs up from sell-out conservation groups, big or small this turbine style will always be a major killer. Smaller wind turbines under 50 kW have killed thousands of birds and bats at Altamont pass. The wind turbine that killed the extremely rare Needle-tailed Swift in Scotland was a small turbine. This bird had traveled thousands of miles only to be slaughtered by a "green energy" turbine. This tragic scenario plays out everyday, millions of times a year all over the world, but witnesses are rarely present. Fortunately it was witnessed by many or it would have gone unreported. Keep in mind that this terrible industry doesn't have to disclose any of this because they have FWS "Voluntary Regulations".

Every community that cares about their wildlife and the wind turbine related extinction that is coming to many species, should do whatever they can to stop the proliferation of these monsters. It is unfortunate, but the fight must take place at the community level because Washington and the FWS have been partners with this terrible industry all along.

Jason Theriault's picture

You are nuts

You are nuts, and so are the people who hit "agree"

Re-read his first sentence "In my mind the people behind these turbines are no better than child molesters."

I don't care if your for or against wind turbines, but comparing them to child molesters is just stupid. Ignorant. Hell, I would personally KILL EVERY BIRD in the world if it would prevent one child from being molested.

Get a grip.

A Wind industry Employee?

Hi Jason, The wind industry feels the way same as you do. They think they have the right to kill as many birds as they want of any species no matter how rare. But unlike you they prefer to keep it to themselves.

Jason Theriault's picture

Nope

Just a parent.

Listen, most people don't care that much about bird deaths, whereas alot of people would favor the death penalty for child molesters. They don't want to kill birds, but if you asked them to give a dollar to help save them, most would give you a polite "No".

So when you start comparing bird deaths to child molestation, you look like you have gone off the deep end.

Serious crimes deserve punishment

Killing rare and endangered species is a crime and this industry has been lying about it for over 28 years. I despise the wind industry for slaughtering off the world's bird species. Species extinction is a crime.

I believe if the public (except Jason) were made aware of the extinction of species coming propeller style wind turbines and the mountain of bogus studies the industry has produced, they would want nothing to do with these turbines. I also believe the majority of people (except Jason) after hearing the truth would rather conserve energy and would be willing to pay more for other forms of electricity just to save species from these turbines.

The saddest part (except to Jason) in all of this is that this turbine design would have never been put into production if the industry did not lie about the mortality from their turbines in the first place. These same lies still continue to this day. Then knowing how terrible these turbines are for vulnerable species, this deceitful industry still falsely promotes and installs their deadly turbines into their very important wildlife habitats.

If you read the news from around the world I am not along in my feelings towards this industry. These thugs are not winning any popularity contests and the anger is building.

Brad Blake's picture

Poor choice of Analogy

Jason, I agree that choosing an analogy to child molesters was a poor choice. People do get carried away with feelings. Having said that, I agree totally with the post.

Industrial wind power is a despicable scam. We are destroying our beautiful state for a folly that doesn't work and taxpayers are lining the pockets of the scamsters and this useless source of expensive electricity will drive electricity bills sky high if we are ever foolish enough to allow the various state arbitrary RPS to be realized. Seabrook is the largest single source of electricity generated within ISO New England, at 1400 MW. It will take roughly 2,000 wind turbines (3 MW each @ 25% capacity factor) to make up the MW that we get from Seabrook. I hope you get a turbine in your backyard and the noise drives you crazy and the LF sound waves make your home uninhabitable. Then maybe you will decide wind power is despicable.

Jason Theriault's picture

A few things

One - I live in Auburn. For the LF to bother me it would have to drown out the 5 am trains and cars driving by.

Two - Cost per kilowatt, wind is cheaper than nuclear.

Three - The reason we have high electricity rates is that we are still paying off a nuclear reactor.

Now, if you want to debate the pros and cons of wind power, I have no issue with it. WHere I'm coming from is that I think if someone wants to come to Maine, buy some land, and build a wind farm, they should be able to invest that money in the state. If you don't want them building in your backyard, buy the land.

Brad Blake's picture

Way Off Base, as Usual

Isn't it convenient for you to live in Auburn and support the destruction of our beautiful rural landscapes, permanent disfiguring of millenia old mountain ridges, and have no understanding of the effects of relentless noise and LF emanating from wind turbines, which have their own unique sound character much different than the noise you put up with in an urban setting.

Your ignorant support of wind power is shown by your completely unfounded statements #2 & 3. Get your facts correct and when making misleading statements, provide credible references.

Your last statement is the typical red herring thrown out by supporters of wind power. It is a well established principle that there is an over-riding public interest in regulating land use. Massive turbines built over sprawling sites are out of scale and out of place in undeveloped regions, degrade the environment, impact people's health and property values, diminish important segments of the $10 billion per year tourism, and will drive up electricity costs. Yes, Jason, there are numerous public interests in land use for the wind industry.

Alan Woods's picture

First Wind IS trashing Maine

Mr. Carter is correct on all points. First Wind's tactics include keeping their development plans a secret while they do everything necessary to get the local officials and landowners on board, complete their studies and prepare their applications. Then they spring it on the people who will be harmed.

Case in point: their newly disclosed Molunkus Project. This project will be in Medway and T1R6. That's on Rte 95 just one exit north of Lincoln. It will consist of 65 turbines. The Vestas V117 proposed is 570 feet tall.

This project will be visible from Salmon Stream Lake (one of Maine's "Scenic Resources of State or National Significance"). It boggles the mind why First Wind would select this site given that AAA reports that "Travelers are provided with a vista point that offers a view of Mt. Katahdin, the tallest peak in the state of Maine at 5,267 ft, along Interstate 95 near Salmon Stream Lake."

According to First Wind documents, the Molunkus project application is already being processed and enjoys "community support".

How about it people of Medway, has First Wind even informed you that they plan to desecrate your area with the tallest turbines in New England?

I didn't think so.

Brad Blake's picture

Only the beginning

The Molunkus proposal is only the beginning of the ravaging of ridges on the doorstep of Baxter State Park & highly visible terrain from Mt. Katahdin. The 57 mile long transmission line from Oakfield to Mattawamkeag will be the catalyst for projects developed around existing met towers in Stacyville, Island Falls and Sherman that we know of, and likely more. This follows the pattern of adding Stetson II, Rollins, and the twice denied Bowers Mt. projects to the transmission line running from Stetson Mt. to Mattawamkeag.

First Wind convinced Emera to rescue it from bankruptcy by promising the development of seemingly wind turbines on every ridge in northeastern Maine and now these thieves have moved into the upper Kennebec region, as noted by Jonathan Carter. Now, action by the Connecticut Legislature to start implementing the "Renewable Portfolio Stanrd" of forcing expensive renewable-derived electricity on CT ratepayers has opened the opportunity for First Wind and others to put in large outlandishly lucrative Purchase Power Agreements, which in turn open the floodgates for financing what is essentially a scam.

We must do everything we can to take action to defeat these projects before Maine is turned into a wind turbine plantation, ruining our vaunted quality of place and the tourism industry it attracts.

Penny Gray's picture

Great letter, Jonathan

Great letter, Jonathan Carter. Maine is truly being taken to the cleaners by these industrial wind developers. Very embarrassing for us Mainers and tragic for Maine's environment. Why hasn't this highly controversial subject been covered by any of Maine's newspapers? Maine residents deserve to know what's really going on. I miss the old Maine Times and their investigative journalism. Here's a question to ask the industrial wind operators here in Maine. How much energy is being consumed by these machines to operate their heating, cooling, lights, hydraulics and so forth (like turning the blades to keep them from warping from their own weight)when the wind isn't blowing in that "sweet spot" of 28 miles per hour? Oh, here's another question. Is this the first source of energy ever developed that requires 24/7 back-up power from a conventional power plant in addition to drawing electricity from the grid to keep it's systems functioning? Is this what we call "progress"? It certainly doesn't fall under the definition of "green", unless you factor in the color of our tax dollars that are supporting it.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...