Category Archives: Turbines and Tourism

Big Wind- An Out of Date Solution

Turbines_J.-Marijs_Shutterstock

Rutland Herald| Letter to Editor|December 28th, 2017

A recent Rutland Herald editorial, entitled “Powering up,” concluded that we need to move with urgency toward the renewable power of the future. While that is correct, the editorial goes on to complain that “old ways” of thinking dominate the discussion in Vermont. At issue: the editorial then proceeds to propose “old ways” to move us forward.

When it comes to energy development in Vermont, the industrial wind industry leads the “old way” pack. Wind operators and developers have been living off federal subsidies since the early 1990s and have been wreaking havoc in Vermont for just as long. It’s time to boot them out of the state and employ creative Vermontsized energy solutions.

The editorial employs the “old way” strawman tactic when citing the arguments of industrial wind opponents. Legitimate concerns of Vermonters are minimized when the only argument acknowledged against ridgeline destruction is to mock “the exquisite timidity of those who grieve over birds killed by wind turbines.” It’s a cheap shot that does nothing to advance the conversation.

We should instead be talking about the entire range of problems industrial wind development brings to Vermont: mountaintop dynamiting, destruction of intact eco-systems, stormwater runoff, habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, noise and health impacts to neighbors and wildlife, safety risks, community division, aesthetic degradation, tourism, property devaluation, and, yes, impacts on birds, bats, and even bears.

We should also talk about what does and doesn’t work. As environmentalist Suzanna Jones recently told us, “Despite the platitudes of its corporate and government backers, industrial wind has not reduced Vermont’s carbon emissions. Its intermittent nature makes it dependent on gas-fired power plants that inefficiently ramp up and down with the vicissitudes of the wind. Worse, it has been exposed as a renewable energy credit shell game that disguises and enables the burning of fossil fuels elsewhere.”

The editorial expresses concern about mass extinction facing numerous species around the globe. Bravo! Then let’s protect the ecosystems that will enable those species to migrate, adapt and survive and abandon the “old way” of thinking that allows our ridgelines and forest habitat to be destroyed by energy developers and their energy sprawl. As wildlife biologist Sue Morse tells us: “New England’s ridgelines will play an increasing and integral role as global climate change forces countless species of plant and animals to seek new habitats in which to adapt and survive.”

The editorial call for an improved large-scale infrastructure capable of transmitting intermittent power from remote, industrial-scale wind plants is another “old way” solution; rural areas are sacrificed to enable our unsustainable wastefulness. Treasured areas like the former Champion Lands, once valued for their ecological significance, become collateral damage. Large-scale transmission from rural to urban areas is a misguided “old way” use of our resources.

There is both wind and sun in our urban areas (Lake Champlain Wind Park, www.champlainwindpark.com) anyone?). We should be supporting renewable development in already-developed areas while protecting undeveloped areas.

We should also be emphasizing community scale generation facilities sited in the communities that they serve. This would reduce energy loss over lengthy transmission lines, improve system reliability, and preserve our vital wildlife habitat. This is the Vermont-scale approach that is in tune with Vermont values.

Some view turbines on distant ridgelines as a visible sign of our commitment to climate action. They’re wrong. A closer look shows that those turbines are exacerbating the very climate impacts that we wish to avoid. Industrial wind plants are putting money in the pockets of investors, developers and a few landowners, but they’re not addressing the very real and pressing problem of climate change.

The industrial wind lobby is fond of saying say we need to make sacrifices. We do. But where those sacrifices come from, whether or not they’re effective and, most certainly, who profits and who loses from them should shape our solutions. We need to change the way we live, we need to stop being so wasteful, and we need to support solutions that actually work. We need to invest in unsexy work of weatherization, efficiency and demand reduction. We should support renewable development in already-developed areas and prevent new development in resource rich areas. We should be focusing on the least destructive renewable technologies and develop microgrids around community scale generation.

Yes, we need to sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our natural resources. It means changing the way we live and protecting the earth. All of it.

Noreen Hession is a retired engineer, community organizer and environmental activist who lives in the Northeast Kingdom.

Windlectric Fails to bully Council over Amherst Island Wind

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Loyalist Township Council Resists Bullying By Algonquin Power
Stella, May 30, 2017

The Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) applauds Loyalist Township Council’s decision to defer approval of Windlectric’s Operations Plan for the Amherst Island wind turbine project. Council resisted pressure from Algonquin Power to approve a Plan that in Windlectric’s own words, anticipates “Structural failure of lsland roads”.

On May 29, 2017, Mr. Jeff Norman, Chief Development Officer for Algonquin Power wrote:

“Due to the differences separating Windlectric and the Township, Windlectric can see no basis on which arbitration can be avoided on some of the issues identified in the Staff Report. Accordingly, Windlectric will have no choice but to commence arbitration proceedings under Part X of the RUA (Roads Use Agreement) if the OP (Operations Plan) is not approved by Council on May 29, 2017.”

APAI congratulates Council for choosing the public interest over Windlectric’s business interests by deferring at its May 29th meeting the Operations Plan pending receipt of:
a. legally supported definition of the extent of the Township’s road allowance, to the satisfaction of Loyalist Township;
b. the confirmation that the width and capacity of the Township’s road allowances will support the construction and related detours as outlined in the Operations Plan, to the satisfaction of Loyalist Township; and
c. that the issues noted by G.D. Jewell [Loyalist Township’s engineering consultant] be addressed to the satisfaction of Loyalist Township.

In its submissions to Council, APAI emphasized that:
• the fifth version of Operations Plan finally acknowledged that the lsland roads do not have the load bearing capacity to support the heavy equipment required for the wind turbine project and that structural failure of lsland roads is anticipated in section 2.6 titled “Potential Road Failure”. APAI asserted that it was inconceivable that Windlectric expected Council to approve a Plan that anticipates the total failure of roads on Amherst lsland, putting lives and the environment at risk.
• Windlectric’s Plan also fails to comply with commitments made to the Environmental Review Tribunal as Windlectric now plans to widen all haul routes to 6 m. This is totally contrary to the three minor and temporary widenings on which the ERT based its decision.
• the Operations Plan should be amended to place the onus on
Windlectric to comply with the Renewable Energy Approval Conditions of Approval, all federal, provincial, municipal laws, and commitments made before the Environmental Review Tribunal.
Windlectric’s Marine Logistics Plan fails to demonstrate how 24 barge trips per day crossing the ferry path can possibly be safe. According to the Operations Plan, two barges carrying fuel, hazardous materials, heavy equipment, turbine parts and personnel will cross the ferry path twenty four times per day from September to April.

APAI’s submission also addressed a long list of significant and very troubling matters including resolution of the important and complex issue of forced roads, the lack of baseline testing of residents’ wells for water quality and rate of flow, and Windlectric’s request for a blanket exemption to the Township Noise Bylaw.

The Amherst Island Wind Project has already caused a major power outage on the lsland, a fuel spill, and a water emergency in Prince Edward County. Consequently, it is reasonable that Council insist on absolute compliance without exception to protect the public and the environment.

APAI commends the expertise, tenacity and due diligence of Township staff and congratulates Council for standing firm in the face of bullying by Algonquin Power until the Operations Plan addresses all outstanding issues.

Contact: Michèle Le Lay
President, Association to Protect Amherst Island
protectai@kos.net

SOURCE (emphasis and links added)Association to Protect Amherst Island

“Windlectric’s proposed haul route on South Shore for heavy equipment, turbine parts and concrete trucks – 10,322 trucks! The scene by Peggie’s house this morning Monday May 29. Windlectric says roads will fail and has finally discovered what Islanders have known all along: Island roads do not have the load bearing capacity for an industrial turbine project.
Be careful out there: South Shore is closed by Bruce and Andrea’s. South Shore to the east is being pounded by waves and the eroded bank may collapse”  FaceBook, May 29, 2017   Caption on photos corrected:  Road damage shown due to high water levels 

“Absolute Corruption”

ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCHER: WIND INDUSTRY RIDDLED WITH ‘ABSOLUTE CORRUPTION’

Written by James Delingpole, breitbart.com

A Mexican ecologist has blown the whistle on the corruption, lies and incompetence of the wind industry – and on the massive environmental damage it causes in the name of saving the planet. wind turbines

Patricia Mora, a research professor in coastal ecology and fisheries science at the National Institute of Technology in Mexico, has been studying the impact of wind turbines in the Tehuantepec Isthmus in southern Mexico, an environmentally sensitive region which has the highest concentration of wind farms in Latin America.

When a project is installed, the first step is to “dismantle” the area, a process through which all surrounding vegetation is eliminated. This means the destruction of plants and sessilities – organisms that do not have stems or supporting mechanisms – and the slow displacement over time of reptiles, mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, arachnids, fungi, etc. Generally we perceive the macro scale only, that is to say, the large animals, without considering the small and even microscopic organisms…

….After the construction is finalized, the indirect impact continues in the sense that ecosystems are altered and fragmented. As a result, there is a larger probability of their disappearance, due to changes in the climate and the use of soil.

The turbines, she says in an interview with Truthout, have had a disastrous effect on local flora and fauna.          Read more.

Manitoulin needs turbine wakeup call

Be honest, would you go to the Manitoulin Island now??

Maintain the sacredness and sanctity of the Island

 

20140527-093614-gHey, Manitoulin Island, wake up! One of your greatest resources is eco-tourism, but those towering industrial-sized wind turbines are an unsightly welcome that are destroying the awesome experience of any visitor to the Island. More importantly, the turbine’s intrusive and horrific Gothic presence disregards a sacred obligation to protect one of the most beautiful bio-systems in the world. In addition, the Dark Sky Sanctuary that is an important global contribution is threatened by the towering night lights on the horizon.

Take the opportunity now to stop this intrusion that is defacing and devaluing the sanctuary of beautiful Manitoulin Island. Manitoulin could be a global leader if you can maintain the originality and sacredness of the Island that is a shining crystal for us all to behold. Like an invasive species, the influx of towers is turning visitors away and preventing them from enjoying the treasure they expect from an island gem, such as this.

Sincerely,

Nicole Pepper and Anne Pepper

Toronto (Visitors for over 20 years)

The Matoulin Expositor, Sept 3 2014