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Environment

The Clash over Wind

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJanuary 18, 2010 10:21 AM

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And some climate activists chided me for making hay out of the Mojave desert/renewable energy controversy. Looks like Romm is taking on Feinstein over this and in doing so, he's ignited a zesty debate among his loyalists, revealing a green schism that is sure to grow wider and nastier. Or has it already? Craig Goodrich, a new reader to this blog, decried the scourge of wind turbines in a recent comment:

The plague of industrial wind plants is utterly destroying countryside and wildlife habitat at an incredible "” and genuinely unprecidented "” rate, while producing no useful energy and reducing CO2 emissions nowhere in the world.

This struck me as a bit vague and exaggerated (the pillaging of habitat), so I asked him to provide specifics. He obliged, but all the links sent his response straight to my spam filter. So I've pasted his comment below for everyone to have a look-see. A disclaimer: I've only given these websites a cursory glance. Thus I have no way of knowing whether any of the groups mentioned below are astroturfers or legitimate grassroots organizations. If they're all legit, does this add up to a story the media is missing? Or does it pale in comparison to, say the mountaintop mining madness that has gone on for so long? I'm not sure, since I haven't yet looked into this issue with any rigor. But given the renewable energy boom underway, plus the biofuels craze, this quote from one policy expert is worth pondering:

If we are to prevent serious, damaging climate change, it will require one of the largest land-use changes in the history of the country.

So without further ado, here's Goodrich's descriptive compilation of wind power atrocities across the globe:

OK, you asked for it: Germany, nearly everywhere. http://wilfriedheck.de/ Denmark, ditto. Analysis at http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/mason-2005-10.rtf France, threatening the incredibly beautiful and historic Mont Saint-Michel. http://epaw.org/ England, all over -- from vandalizing the peaceful Lakes District to offshore installations overstressing mother seals at the Yorkshire breeding grounds. http://www.countryguardian.net/ Wales -- the devastation of Cefn Croes will break your heart. http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hills/cc/gallery/index.htm Scotland, disfiguring the Highlands -- http://www.viewsofscotland.org/ ... skipping for the sake of space numerous local atrocities in Eastern and Southern Europe, ignoring the mess in Spain, we cross the Atlantic to Mars Hill, Maine -- check out the video at http://www.wind-watch.org/video-marshill.php for a taste of what is going on around wild mountain ridges all across New England. Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- http://www.shol.com/agita/LookoutMountain/ -- several ridges are already disfigured, and the State of Virginia is fighting plans to place a huge phalanx of turbines within a mile of the best-preserved battlefield of the Civil War, Camp Allegheny. http://www.vawind.org/ or a Pennsylvania video at http://www.wind-watch.org/video-meyersdale.php Ontario's beautiful Thousand Islands region on the St. Lawrence, and upstate New York across the river, is disfigured by 86 turbines on Wolfe Island -- http://www.wolfeislandresidents.ca/ -- which has so horrified area residents that local groups on both sides are fighting desperately (with mixed success) against any more such installations, which the lunatic Ontario government wants to see all along the eastern Lake Ontario coast. Skipping across Michigan ( http://www.knowwind.org/ ) to my native Wisconsin, in Fond du Lac County, where I grew up, an 87-turbine plant has been installed directly adjacent to Horicon Marsh, the largest freshwater marsh in the world and a crucial stopover for migratory waterfowl. Duckburger, anyone? http://www.windcows.com/ And on and on and on. Only a recent decision by the Kansas Supreme Court saved the last remaining unspoiled tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills from being destroyed by turbine plants. In Wyoming, look for the Big Sky and you see turbine blades. In Nevada (even!), residents are fighting to save Virginia Peak ( http://aplusfirearms.com/saveourvalley.htm ). New Zealand -- http://www.tui-g.co.nz/ . Australia -- http://www.spacountryguardians.org.au/truth.php -- or video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_CZIfiFPwk&feature=related And all of this for nothing. Nothing. Even granting for the sake of argument that CO2 emissions should be reduced, industrial wind turbines can't do it, for all sorts of technical reasons which (again) I will spare you. Each of these wretched turbine towers -- picture the Statue of Liberty with a 747 pinned to her nose -- costs about $2 million to erect, and will cost about $1 million to decommission. Typical landowner contracts provide that the contract becomes void if the wind developer sells the plant to another company, which they typically do instantly once the project is completed. These turbines are there forever, disintegrating and dripping industrial lubricants onto our grandchildren's vandalized landscape. "Criminal lunacy" is far too kind a term for this.

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