Re: NYTimes.com Article: Windmills Sow Dissent for Environmentalists
- I'll bet those whining cry-babys have never seen Pasadena Texas.
The people who live there have exploding refineries & chemical plants
in their backyards. [Literally "exploding" - twice in the last 2
weeks - typically only once a year] I would rather have the windmills
than a coal-fired power plant.
In fact, you guys should be praying for me to win the lottery - if
(when) I get my hands on all that dough I intend to buy a big piece
of land in WTex and cover it with solar panels.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, cceenn@y... wrote:
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> Windmills Sow Dissent for Environmentalists
> June 5, 2003
> By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
> THOMAS, W.Va. - Vincent Collins, a lawyer from nearby
> Morgantown, has been vacationing in this scenic area for 35
> years. A few years ago, he bought a 1.2-acre lot near here
> and planned to build a house on it. But once he saw the
> windmills, and learned of plans for more, he scrapped that
> Soaring above the treetops are 44 sleek white steel
> cylinders, 228 feet high. Churning on each tower are three
> glinting fiberglass blades, 115 feet long. Like quills on a
> porcupine, they spike the emerald spine of Backbone
> Mountain for six miles along the Allegheny Front.
> They have also generated huge turbulence within the
> environmental movement. Proponents of wind farms view those
> who oppose them as heretics, obstructing the promise of
> clean renewable energy, while opponents decry them as
> producing insufficient power to warrant their blight on the
> For now, the wind farm here is the largest east of the
> Mississippi, but the wind-energy industry, long a staple of
> the California landscape, is blowing eastward. Unobstructed
> winds, favorable economics and the absence of local zoning
> laws are attracting developers, and soon more than 400
> turbines could be sprouting across 40 square miles of West
> Virginia's most scenic mountaintops.
> "I can't believe how large and hideous they are," Mr.
> Collins said. "When you hear the word `windmill,' you think
> Holland and Don Quixote. That's wrong. They look like alien
> monsters coming out of the ground."
> The growing industry has caused a kind of identity crisis
> among people who think of themselves as pro-environment,
> forcing them to choose between the promise of clean,
> endlessly renewable energy and the perils of imposing giant
> man-made structures on nature.
> To some environmentalists, the opposition to wind power
> from within their ranks not only stifles the growth of a
> new source of energy but also calls into question the
> integrity of the environmental movement itself.
> Charles Komanoff, a longtime economic consultant to
> environmental groups, said the opposition by "well-heeled
> environmentalists," stoked the preconception that they were
> more concerned about their own backyards than about the
> common good.
> "They want to have it all and they won't brook any
> trade-off, especially a trade-off that sacrifices their own
> comfort," said Mr. Komanoff, who is based in New York.
> At the same time, the wind farm developers appear to have
> the environmental high ground.
> "We believe in clean energy," said Steve Stingel, a
> spokesman for Florida Power and Light, which bought the
> rights to the wind farm here and then built it. The company
> is the largest generator of wind power in the United
> States, with 30 wind farms in 10 states.
> Wind now accounts for less than 1 percent of all
> electricity produced in the United States. But the American
> Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade group,
> predicts it will grow to 6 percent by 2020.
> The case for wind has been fortified in recent years by
> advances in technology that make it more efficient and a
> federal tax credit that makes its financing more feasible.
> But the reality for people like Mr. Collins is something
> else. Windmill farms must be large to be financially
> viable. Critics worry that beyond the blemish on the
> natural landscape, these industrial-sized towers can chop
> up migratory birds. One farm in California was dubbed the
> "condor Cuisinart," and the ornithologist monitoring the
> wind farm here just reported that at least two dozen song
> birds winging their way north had been killed.
> Another complaint is that wind farms can do little to
> reduce overall dependence on fossil fuels, because of the
> unreliability of constant wind and the inability to store
> its power.
> "They put out such a minuscule amount of electricity," Mr.
> Collins said. "It's nuts."
> Similar complaints, coming from prominent environmentalists
> like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have stalled installation of
> the nation's first off-shore wind farm, proposed for the
> waters of Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod. And they have
> forced the Long Island Power Authority to scrap its plan
> for wind turbines off the eastern tip of Long Island. But
> the utility has now proposed putting up to 50 turbines,
> each 488 feet high, off Long Island's south shore between
> Fire Island and Jones Beach, two immensely popular summer
> resort areas.
> Mr. Kennedy, for one, said he found "zero" irony in the
> fact that he had devoted himself to environmental advocacy
> and yet opposed the wind project on Cape Cod, his Kennedy
> grandparents' summer home.
> "There are appropriate places for everything," he said in a
> telephone interview. "You would not want a wind farm in
> Yosemite, and you wouldn't want one in Central Park."
> Mr. Kennedy added: "I love wind energy, but let's develop
> some rules about how you divide up the commons. You're
> essentially giving the commons over to a profit-making
> It is not only homeowners with nice views who object to
> wind farms, but business owners as well. Indeed, it was
> Wayne Kurker, owner of the Hyannis Marina, who first
> notified Mr. Kennedy about the proposed project in
> Nantucket Sound.
> "I didn't like the idea that what we consider our Grand
> Canyon was all of a sudden going to be industrialized," Mr.
> Kurker said of the wind farm, which would consist of 130
> turbines over 24 square miles.
> Mr. Kurker founded the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound
> and has been joined by scores of local politicians,
> chambers of commerce worried about the effect on tourism,
> and celebrities like Walter Cronkite in opposition to the
> The main reason wind is taking off now is the huge
> financial incentive provided by government subsidies. While
> critics argue that these subsidies are only making
> developers rich, supporters say they are peanuts compared
> with subsidies for fossil fuels and they provide
> much-needed revenue to ailing rural economies while also
> delivering clean energy.
> The main subsidy is the federal tax credit, which is set to
> expire at the end of the year but is likely to be renewed
> by Congress. The credit allows windmill companies to deduct
> 1.8 cents from their tax liability for every kilowatt hour
> they produce for 10 years. The savings are huge.
> For example, Jerome Niessen, president of NedPower, which
> has received permission from the West Virginia Public
> Service Commission for a 200-turbine wind farm near here in
> Grant County, said he expected to generate 800 million
> kilowatt hours per year, for a tax savings of $16 million a
> year for 10 years, or $160 million - on a wind farm that
> will cost $300 million to build.
> NedPower is to pay $500,000 in local taxes, making it the
> fifth-largest taxpayer in the county. (That is far less,
> however, than the $3 million the company would have paid
> just two years ago, before wind energy lobbyists persuaded
> the government to tax towers and turbines at a lower rate.)
> The company has also developed a public-private partnership
> with two local schools, which will earn royalties from the
> wind farm of about $75,000 a year.
> The company will pay local landowners $2,000 to $4,000 an
> acre to lease the necessary 8,000 acres for the towers. And
> putting up the towers, which will rise 330 feet high and
> extend across 10 to 12 miles of mountain ridges, will
> provide 200 construction jobs for a year and 15 permanent
> technician jobs.
> "Fifteen jobs might not sound like much," Mr. Niessen said.
> "But if one coal mine after another has closed and if
> another chicken-processing plant has closed, 15 jobs is a
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