The real promise of wind power

This is in response to Jonathan Carter's guest column, “The false promise of mountaintop industrial wind” (July 25).

Carter has distorted the facts to the Maine public through exaggeration. It is time for the conversation to become centered on reasonable discussion with supportive evidence.

The wind industry is required by law to go through extensive review and provide scientific studies on social and environmental impact with each proposed project.

Furthermore, there are a number of studies refuting Carter's arguments against wind. A recent report from the European Union shows that Europe’s significant development of wind energy has caused a decline in the use of coal and nuclear energy.

Berkley labs conducted a complete review of property values and concluded that wind development has not had a measurable impact on values in the U.S.

And, finally, wind development in Maine is not removing mountaintops.

The facts: Cleared area around a wind turbine is limited to between 1.5 and 2 acres. Projects use existing logging roads when possible. New road impact is limited to 6 acres per mile of road. Minimal tree-harvest impacts in all cases. Foundation size: 24 feet in diameter, 5 feet deep.

Unfortunately, 80 percent of Mainers use heating oil. As a potential solution, 80 percent of Mainers support wind energy as part of new energy solutions because it does hold real promise.

Maine has a chance to demonstrate leadership in helping the nation solve the daunting problem of our addiction to fossil fuels.

Paul Williamson, Portland, coordinator

Maine Wind Industry Initiative

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Comments

 's picture

wind power

Mr. Williamson says that Jonathan Carter in his article distorts the facts, and then Mr. Williamson gives his own completely “distorted” facts. He suggests at the end of his letter that 80% of Mainers use heating oil to heat their homes and therefore they all support wind power. What Mr. Williamson doesn’t tell you that only about 2% of Maine’s electricity is generated by oil. The majority of Maine’s electricity is already generated through renewable resources (hydro and biomass). The balance is generated through natural gas. It is a distortion of the greatest kind by suggesting (as Mr. Williamson does in his letter) that there is a connection between oil and the generation of electricity in this state. For every study that shows property values are not affected by industrial wind development, I’ll show you 2 that say they are. To say that wind developers use existing logging roads is outright deception. They may use the logging road foot print, but the roads have to be engineered and built to support 90 tons of weight. To do this on 30-40% slopes as are found on the sides of our mountains requires massive cuts and fills that destroy many acres of sensitive ecosystem. Unfortunately, the reason that every day wind developers are losing more and more credibility in Maine is exactly because of the kind of half truths and outright lies their representatives are spreading.

Melissa  Dunn's picture

kudos paul!!!

kudos paul!!!

 's picture

"The real promise of wind power"

What a joke you're repsonse was Mr. Williamson! Talk about distortion of the facts! You quote the Berkeley study on land depreciation. Mr. Williamson. for you to compare teh situtaion in that study to the ridgeline development of industrial scale wind power that's occuring in Maine makes me think you've never even set foot in Maine sir. The geography, placemtn of wind turbines on mountain tops and ridgelines; the proximity to the bookwoods homesteads in Maine compared to those in the sturdy, etc. etc. You people do a great job of commisioning "studies" (and I use that term loosely) that give you exactly what you want them to say. You quote that 80% of Mainers are pro windpower. That's because the survey targeted residents who live 100 miles or more away form these projects Mr. Williamson. All the "local" polls taken (even the one in teh Bangor Daily News) do not agree with what your espousing. You and your industry are a joke. People are starting to wise up to your industry's lies and deception.

 's picture

wind rates

Most experts have concluded that you need a constant wind of 8 MPH to be successful and have maximum efficiencies, not 5 MPH...

 's picture

pau"windbag" williamson

Jonathan Carter was more factual than Paul W. FirstWind didn't even bother to do complete enviro. studies. They "extrapolated" Rollins1 data. Rollins2 has more eagle nests. Other standards were lowered to make it easy for them to ram windsprawl thru before the public caught on. Fill in wetland? Easy! Just pay a mitigation fee and forget it. Any other business tried filling in wetlands lately? You don't have the corrupt "expedited process" allowing a minimum compliance. Another point Paul distorts is the European situation. Denmark had to build 2 new gas fired plants to make up for the 6000 turbines which were whimsically making power. Spain's economy is in trouble from propping up windsprawl. The property values which do not drop were the result of adding more sales and averaging until the drop was buried in a large pool. Paul W. is cheerleading for a wind industry that Mainers have caught onto and it is corrupt.

 's picture

Williamson

Williamson doesn’t cite his source because he knows any reasoned person will be skeptical of its credibility. The European Wind Energy Association produced such a report which drew the conclusion that wind is replacing nuclear and coal. What Williamson doesn’t say is in the report is that a total net reduction in nuclear and coal capacity in 2009 of 1,748 MW coincided with a net increase of 6,226 MW of natural gas capacity, or a net increase in fossil generation of 4,478 MW. The EWEA report stated that EU wind capacity increased by 10,000 MW for the year. So at an average capacity factor of 30%, the forecast generation of 3,000 MW is still exceeded by growth in fossil generation by 1,478 MW. Only deluded wind baggers think wind power makes economic and ecological sense.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Mr. Williamson's arguments

Mr. Williamson's arguments appear to be losing steam, based on the related wind power article in this edition of the newspaper.

 's picture

That's alot of turbines northwoods

And since your figures were calculated at 100% effeciency, (and we all know that 100% is impossible) that it would take several times that number of wind turbines in the real world.

 's picture

Wind Power?

I haven't seen any figures that suggest wind power is cost effective. What I have read is that it is very expensive to put up a turbine, and that it is less than 10% efficient.

Paul's letter suggests that wind power could replace the oil burning heating systems in the homes of the 80% of Mainers that use oil. How much do you think it would cost to replace all those oil systems with electric ones?

I'd say that the cost of the turbines, the inefficiency of the turbines, and the cost of replacing thousands of oil burning heating systems would make wind power impractical for the foreseeable future. People are having a hard enough time paying for what they already have without making huge expensive changes. Let's get the economy going first, and then, when wind power technology has developed to the point that it is practical and affordable, we can look at it again.

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