at the Citizen Power Alliance 2010 Wind Conference
"FIRST, DO NO HARM"
Submitted to the Buffalo News in response to opinion piece there, yet to be published.
"First, Do No Harm"
Claims in Dr. Lockwood’s 4/12/15 opinion piece, "No evidence of health damage caused by wind turbines," deserve scrutiny to prevent further damages, and perpetration of a consumer fraud, upon all New York State (NYS) taxpayers and ratepayers.
Dismissing the lengthy list of well-documented problems being experienced world-wide by those now stuck living TOO CLOSE to industrial wind factories, without examining the volumes of information now available on the subject, is contrary to the doctor's moral code: "First, do no harm."
So many neighbors were complaining in Wisconsin, that Duke's Shirley wind factory was dubbed a “Human Health Hazard." Here in western New York, Orangeville citizens are now suing for $40 Million due to the negative effects they are experiencing from turbines sited too close to their homes. Though officials have known about the problems caused by wind turbine ‘infrasound’ for decades, tapping into taxpayers’ wallets is trumping the health and safety of rural citizens everywhere.
NYS officials admitted they knew 'infrasound' from wind turbines was a problem worldwide at NYSERDA’s June, 2009 meeting specific to wind.
Former NYS Public Service Commission Noise Control Engineer, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that 'infrasound' (sounds below 20 Hz) are sounds you can’t hear, but that the body can feel. Dr. Driscoll said that 'infrasound' is NOT blocked by walls of homes, and it can very negatively affect the human body - especially after prolonged, continuous exposure. He said symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, etc. (Sleeplessness can lead to numerous health issues.)
NYS Dept of Health official, Dr. Jan Storm, reported that they knew 'infrasound' associated with wind turbines is a problem worldwide, but that NYS hadn't done any studies on it yet, even though there was money available via the Stimulus. (NYS still has NOT conducted any independent health studies, while continuing to inflict these machines on top of residents.)
The NYSERDA meeting summary report is here.
Regarding Dr. Lockwood’s fears about "Global Warming" - There is no way that an average temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree over the past 50 years could have caused health impacts of any kind. Due to clean air rules already in place, emissions from coal-fired plants have been dramatically reduced over the past 40 years. The EPA even admits that power plants emit barely 3% of all mercury in U.S. air and water.
Since Industrial wind needs constant “shadow capacity” from fossil-fired generators (to cover for its inherent unreliability), wind actually locks us into dependence on fossil fuels. Despite $Trillions spent worldwide, wind generation has NOT significantly reduced CO2 emissions – anywhere.
1) is NOT significantly reducing CO2,
2) locks us into dependence on fossil fuels,
3.) harms those TOO CLOSE, and
4) inflicts exorbitant personal, economic, environmental, & civil costs –
WHY would anyone be pushing such a damaging, costly, non-solution?
Mary Kay Barton
Mary Kay Barton is a retired New York State-certified Health Educator, Cornell-certified Master Gardener, NYS small business owner, and a tireless advocate for scientifically-sound energy policies which provide reliable, affordable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”
ENVIRONMENTALISTS NEED TO RE-THINK WIND ENERGY
|Written back in 2008, and still right-on seven years later...|
By Margaret Collins
One of the most bizarre aspects of the debate over “wind farms” in West Virginia and surrounding states is the unquestioning acceptance by many environmentalists of wind energy as a credible and environmentally friendly energy source. I have read many articles and letters written by dedicated environmentalists touting the benefits, and discounting or completely ignoring the adverse consequences of wind energy. The prevailing belief of these individuals is that we must embrace wind energy as at least a partial solution to the increased burning of fossil fuels and global warming.
This belief, while undoubtedly sincere, represents a triumph of hope over reality. While wind energy appears at first glance to be a clean, renewable source of energy, it brings with it two fundamental and essentially insurmountable problems, particularly in the eastern U.S.
First, it does not and cannot be made to accomplish its sole intended purpose, that is, to reduce CO2 emissions from America’s electric utility industry. Second, even if it could be made to do so, the environmental consequences of wind in the eastern forested mountains would be so great in comparison to the benefits, that wind should not even be considered in a rational society.
Although most people believe that wind turbines can replace fossil-fuel generating facilities, this is a fallacy, relentlessly promoted by the wind industry and its very slick and effective ad campaigns, lobbyists and promoters. No scientifically valid study has ever shown that the tens of thousands of wind turbines already operating in the U.S. have displaced any CO2 emissions. In fact, a 2007 report of the National Academy of Sciences concludes (assuming extremely and improbably optimistic conditions) that at best, by the year 2020, CO2 savings from wind energy would amount to only 1.8% - a trivial quantity.
The ugly truth is that no matter how many thousands of wind turbines we build, they will have no meaningful effect in reducing the burning of fossil fuels or alleviating global warming. They have not and will not result in the decommissioning of any existing power plant or negate the need to build new conventional fossil-fuel plants.
How can this possibly be? How can America currently be on a course to spend over a TRILLION taxpayer dollars on an alternative energy source that doesn’t work? If wind energy is completely emission- free, how could building more wind turbines not result in reduced CO2 generation? The reasons are complex, but become obvious upon undertaking a little research.
BASIC WIND ENERGY FACTS – WHY WIND WON’T WORK
Let’s begin with the fact that wind turbines are very inefficient. A wind turbine nominally rated at 1.5 megawatts (MW) will actually produce only a small fraction of its rated capacity of 1.5 MW. “Rated capacity” or “nameplate capacity” has nothing to do with how much electricity a wind turbine actually produces. It simply reflects the amount of electricity a turbine could produce over a year’s time if it was working at full output, 24/7.
Turbines don’t begin generating electricity until wind speeds hit around 8 mph, and their output is very low until wind speeds reach 32-37 mph, at which point they achieve their rated capacity. At wind speeds over 55 mph, turbines must be shut down to avoid gearbox damage. Because of wind’s unpredictable intermittency (a 100 MW wind facility, for example, might generate at a rate of 80 MWs for a few minutes and a few minutes later generate at a rate of only 5 MWs) engineers use the term “capacity factor” to assess what percentage of its rated capacity a wind turbine is likely to deliver over the course of a year.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the average capacity factor for U.S. onshore wind turbines is a paltry 26%. No wind plants located in the United States—and few in the world—have achieved a capacity factor of more than 30%.
Consequently, a 100 MW wind plant (approximately 70, 1.5 MW turbines) will actually produce on average, less than 30 MWs annually, which is 30% of its rated capacity. Although no power plants work at their rated capacities all of the time, the intrinsic capacity factor for wind is far below other power sources (conventional coal and nuclear plants typically operate at capacity factors of 90% or better). And in summer months, when demand for electricity is highest, but average wind speeds are at their lowest, the capacity factor for wind is less than 10%.
But inefficiency is just the beginning of the problems with wind. A much more serious limitation is the random variability of wind and the fact that the electricity produced by industrial scale wind turbines cannot be stored. There are no batteries large enough to store the electricity produced by a large turbine, and no reasonable expectation that there ever will be. Other technologies for storage such as pumped hydro, giant flywheels, compressed air and supercapacitors are for various reasons, impractical in the eastern U.S. This has profound consequences for “The Grid.”
West Virginia is one of 13 states connected to the PJM Grid, the largest in the U.S. This grid, like all others, requires that electricity be produced as quickly as it is consumed. For grid operators, insuring that supply and demand remain roughly equal is akin to a high-wire balancing act. When customers on the grid increase their demand for electricity by turning up their air conditioners, some generating facility connected to the grid must begin to produce more electricity. When customers reduce their demand for electricity, the output from some generating facility must be reduced.
If too much or too little is produced, brownouts, surges and grid shutdowns occur. Nuclear, coal, gas and other fossil-fuel plants produce steady amounts of electricity more or less continuously. These sources of electricity are able to provide base load (the minimum amount of steady electrical power required 24/7), load following (small changes in output in response to moment-by-moment fluctuations in demand) and peak load (the maximum load during any period). Grid operators control and adjust output through a complex, computerized grid monitoring system which accurately predicts demand within plus or minus 1%, based upon historical usage data, temperature data and other factors.
Now imagine connecting to the grid a power source that is constantly fluctuating, with an unpredictable and uncontrollable output that varies greatly, minute by minute. Adding any significant amount of wind energy to the grid will substantially complicate the already difficult task of instantaneously balancing demand and supply. Because it is unpredictable, uncontrollable and variable, windgenerated electricity is fundamentally different from, and far less useful than electricity generated by other sources. Wind cannot provide base load, load following or peak load. Backup generation from fossil-fuel plants is essential.
As more wind turbines connect to the grid, more conventional generation will be necessary to ensure system adequacy and reliability during periods of peak demand or low wind, and more ramping up or down of fossil-fuel output will be required to compensate for the extreme variability of wind plant output.
The random unpredictability of output and resultant need for backup generation is the Achilles Heel of wind energy. Since base load generation cannot be rapidly varied to match the unpredictable fluctuations in wind plant output, more fossil fuel plants will need to be built and these plants will need to over-generate and maintain a higher level of spinning reserves (idling, but producing no power) to compensate for periods of low winds. This over-generation will be wasted when winds are high. This will in turn, cause more burning of fossil fuels and more emissions than would otherwise be the case. Thus, the more windmills we have, the more back-up generating capacity from conventional fossil-fuel plants we will need and the more over-generation from these plants is necessary. This will result in a near one-to-one duplication of generating facilities, all in a futile attempt to accommodate the transient nature of wind.
How will this reduce emissions and global warming? Of course, it won’t, and in accordance with the law of unintended consequences, erecting thousands of wind plants may, when all of the CO2 - increasing activities attendant to the construction and distribution of wind power are considered, actually cause an increase, rather than a decrease, in the burning of fossil fuels.
Our system of regional grids is based upon the assumption that output of our generating facilities can be controlled to produce “dispatchable supply.” Utilities are obligated to provide electricity instantaneously, when customers demand it. Wind does not, nor can it ever, do that, since it cannot provide base load, load following or peak load. In fact, even when the wind is blowing and the turbines are spinning, it is likely that their output is not being used, because the grid cannot accept the spikes and troughs inherent to wind generation.
Because of the unpredictability of wind and the distance of ridgetop wind plants from the energy-hungry east coast, it will require a near-complete rebuilding of our regional grids to accommodate wind energy of any significant amount. This will require many thousands of miles of new transmission lines, interconnects and substations, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, destroy even more of our fastdisappearing rural landscape, and take decades to accomplish. Electric rates will skyrocket. Add the clearcutting of thousands of acres of CO2-absorbing trees to make way for the wind turbines, access roads and additional transmission lines and interconnects and the thousands of square miles of valuable land that must be taken and you begin to appreciate the absolute insanity of this technology as a “solution” to global warming.
These basic facts make it clear that industrial wind energy is essentially useless, or worse. While it does produce electricity, it does not increase capacity, since it cannot be controlled to produce dispatchable supply. In other words, it has an “effective capacity” of zero. Contrast this to the effective capacities of coal, gas and nuclear plants which is above 99.9%!
Contrary to the claims of wind energy developers, electricity produced by wind turbines does not simply “go into the grid” where it can be used when needed. It will not “power” any homes without the backup generation available for dispatch when the winds are calm. It will not replace any fossil-fuel generating plants and it will not reduce C02, mercury or other emissions, but may actually increase them. Even if we windmilled every ridge in the East, the reduction in fossil fuel use and global warming would be essentially zero. All of this is disputed by the wind industry, but they have not and cannot show that it is false. They offer only self-serving trade association “research” as evidence (which does not survive even casual scrutiny) and promises for future technological solutions that never seem to materialize.
The inefficiency, cost and impracticality of wind should alone be sufficient reason to abandon it. But far more problematic is the environmental destruction about to be inflicted on the entire Appalachian Range, from Maine to Georgia.
In the West and Midwest, wind turbines are placed mostly in remote cornfields, prairies and desert lands that are easily accessible by roads, are not forested and are not wilderness. The environmental consequences, while significant, are not catastrophic. However, in the East, the only locations windy enough to justify installing wind turbines are ridgetops. Modern wind turbines are immense - over 450 feet tall, with blade diameters wider than a football field, and getting larger with each new generation. Would you be concerned if a drilling company proposed to erect thousands of drilling rigs on our mountain ridges? Well, they would only be about one-tenth the size of a wind turbine, and they don’t move.
The construction of an array of wind turbines on a forested mountain ridge is a case study in environmental mayhem. Access roads must be bulldozed and blasted out and heavy equipment must be moved into formerly pristine mountain ridges. Hundreds of acres of trees must be clearcut. Topsoil and large rocks must be blasted away and removed to level the ridgetop. The entire mountain ridge becomes a vast construction site up to 15 or 20 miles long. Large foundations (over 60 feet square) are dug and blasted out, and thousands of yards of concrete are trucked up the mountain and poured. Oversize trucks then begin delivering the column and blade sections and giant cranes are moved from site to site as the structures go up.
After construction, security fences are installed and patrolled. Massive erosion and sediment runoff from what is essentially a mountaintop removal job fills streams and creeks. What was once many miles of quiet forestland becomes a huge, constantly spinning industrial complex. The effect on wildlife is catastrophic. Eagles, hawks, songbirds and bats which migrate along ridgetops are chopped to pieces by the thousands. Forest fragmentation and the relentless noise cause habitat loss far beyond the actual acreage affected. Large mammals such as black bears are driven out.
Wind farms will virtually destroy the lives of families who live near them. The constant noise, strobe lights and slowly turning blades create an alien world that permeates all daily activities. Many will not be able to leave, since their property will be significantly devalued. Hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities in the mountains in a forest of giant spinning turbines will be a strange experience, to say the least. All of the mountain ranges in the East are at risk, even National Forest lands. The transformation of the last remaining wild and scenic areas into industrial wasteland will be accomplished in just a few years if wind developers have their way.
When wind developers target a community they typically employ three very effective strategies. First, they cleverly use their “green” facade to gain acceptance by local politicians, environmentalists and an uninformed public. Second, knowing that few people understand the complexity of wind power issues, they make unsupportable claims. Finally, if the first two don’t work, they garner support from locals by essentially buying them off – with taxpayers’ money! Other than a handful of property owners who will make a few thousand dollars a year leasing their land for wind turbines, the only people who will benefit are the outof- state wind developers and their wealthy investors who are hoping we are too foolish to realize that we are once again about to be exploited.
Unquestionably, mountaintop removal and strip mining have been harmful to our mountains, but building thousands of wind turbines will not result in any reduction in these activities. Why would we accept and even encourage another round of devastation from those seeking to exploit us? How can true “environmentalists” possibly condone the conversion of our signature ridges to the industrial wasteland they will become? How can anyone who truly loves mountains possibly support this absurdity? We need to think clearly here and do our homework, rather than just accepting without questioning the lies and distortions being pushed by big industrial wind interests.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
If wind turbines don’t work and are immensely damaging to the environment, why are we building them? As you no doubt have guessed by now, it’s all about the money. The only reason wind turbines are built is because they are fantastic tax shelters for wealthy investors. Federal tax subsidies for wind now exceed $7 billion, and at over $23.00 per megawatt hour, far exceed those for any other type of generation facilities. These billions are shrewdly applied by the wind industry to hire lobbyists and make political donations, thus keeping the subsidies flowing. Taking advantage of the fear of global warming, the industry has very skillfully lobbied and placed promoters in government positions so as to influence Congress, governors and legislators to enact “renewable energy mandates” and provide ever-increasing tax breaks favorable to wind development. Crafty entrepreneurs like T. Boone Pickens create $50 million saturation ad campaigns to curry public support for continuation of these massive taxpayer subsidies. He does not plan to lose money.
Gullible local officials are easily swayed by the promise of huge tax revenues that rarely materialize. Unions and workers support these projects, hoping to get a piece of the action, only to find out later that most construction work is performed by out-of-state workers, and permanent jobs relegated to one or two low-paying maintenance positions.
Sadly, the vast majority of people have successfully been brainwashed and are clueless as to the folly of wind turbines and the damage they will cause. Support for wind energy is based solely on politics, ignorance and smart lobbying, not on science.
At some point it will become apparent that wind simply does not and cannot be made to work, just as it is now becoming obvious that corn-based ethanol does more harm than good. Eventually, governmental and public support will wane and the increasingly expensive tax credits will be eliminated as we turn to clean energy sources that actually work, such as geothermal and nuclear energy. But before that occurs, many more billions will have been wasted and much damage will be done, irrevocably. Wind developers hope to get as many turbines up as quickly as possible before the subsidy spigot is turned off. When that happens, there will be wide-scale abandonment of existing wind turbines. Since removal costs will be prohibitive, they will become rotting hulks, littering hundreds of miles of ridgetops, a sad legacy to inflict upon our children.
So, I ask all environmentalists who “believe in wind” to please do some research and become informed of the realities of industrial wind energy in the eastern highlands. Be skeptical of the claims of those who have financial incentives to promote this scam. Go to www.wind-watch.org , www.windpowerfacts.info and www.windaction.org to learn more and view the destruction occurring under the guise of “green energy.” Consider intervening in PSC hearings and oppose the coming onslaught of “wind farm” applications. If nothing is done, in a few years our once-beautiful mountains will be littered with thousands of massive industrial wind turbines, strung along the ridgetops in every rural, mountainous county in the East, especially West Virginia. Their slowly turning blades, flashing lights and relentless noise will permeate the entire Appalachian Plateau. You will not recognize this place. It will become a vast and otherworldly industrial site. If we let this happen, we will forever regret it. Surely, we are smarter than this.
This article was written by Margaret Collins of the WV Highlands Conservancy
Governor Andrew Cuomo is CRIMINALLY-NEGLIGENT
Allowing Industrial Wind Factories to be Sited on Top of Rural-Residential New York State Citizens!
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he would NOT want his family living next to a fracking site, after a 6-year health study New York State just completed on 'fracking.'
It is quite sad that Governor Cuomo and his Administration do NOT think enough of their New York State constituents to call for independent health studies on the the "infrasound" generated by industrial wind factories, before plastering Upstate NY residents with these USELESS WIND LEMONS - even after New York State officials admitted they knew 'infrasound' from wind turbines was a problem worldwide at the NYSERDA meeting specific to wind back in 2009. Excerpts from that meeting:
Former Noise Control Engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that “infrasound” (sounds below 20 Hz) are the sounds you can’t hear, but that the body can feel. He said "infrasound" is NOT blocked by walls of residences, and it can very negatively affect the human body - especially after prolonged, continuous exposure. He said symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, etc.
NYS Dept of Health official, Dr. Jan Storm, reported that they know infrasound associated with wind turbines is a problem worldwide, but that they hadn't done any studies on it in NYS yet (even though they were/are continuing to plaster the state with them), and that there was money available via the Stimulus (that was in 2009, and they still haven't done any studies).
The link to summary report of the NYSERDA meeting can be found within this article:
For more information on the problems that are occurring world-wide from wind turbines, also see:
Wind Farms and Health
Residents speak out against industrial wind project along the shores of Lake Ontario
live in Wyoming County, where 308 industrial wind turbines now litter
the once-beautiful Wyoming County hills throughout five (5) entire Towns
on the west side of the Warsaw Valley, and negatively-impact others for
miles around. If it were not for many good citizens getting educated
and involved, Wyoming County was slated to have over 2,000 of these
useless, bird-chopping industrial machines littering the entire County.
Nobody is getting "Free" or reduced rate electricity here (New York
State electricity rates are some of the highest in the nation), and few,
if any, meaningful permanent jobs were created either. Yet, Wyoming
County taxes have increased EVERY YEAR for the past 12 years (another
9.68% this year), and the population of the County has decreased by 2.2%
since 2010. So much for all the claims that "Wind will save the
Because so many people across New York State were having success at warding off these ill-conceived industrial wind factories, Governor Cuomo spurred the passage of his "Power NY Act"/"Article X" - which has effectively usurped the Constitutional rights of New York State municipalities to decide for themselves what they wish their Towns to look like 20, 40, and 60+ years down the road. These decisions will now be made by an unelected board of bureaucrats in Albany - many of whom have ties to the wind industry. WE ARE NOT FREE to decide for ourselves in New York State.
While Governor Cuomo did a 6-year health study on "fracking" which led him to determine he "wouldn't want his family living near a fracking well," Cuomo has NEVER done any independent health studies on the proven negative impacts of the "infrasound" generated by industrial wind factories, before first inflicting these antiquated sprawling dumps of metal, rare earth elements mined in China, oil, cement (1,000+ tons per base), and 11-TON, non-recyclable, carbon-filament blades on top of New York State citizens across New York State. (Citizens in Orangeville, NY are now suing Invenergy for $40 Million in damages due to the negative impacts they are suffering.)
CUOMO HAS BEEN CRIMINALLY-NEGLIGENT in his duties to first and foremost, protect the health, safety and welfare of all of his constituents, and to prevent FRAUD from being perpetrated upon them. But alas, donations from Big Energy Corporations to his campaign coffers mean more than the people he is supposed to be serving & protecting.
It certainly would be refreshing if an "investigative news reporter" would actually have enough guts to ask Governor Cuomo if HE would buy and move HIS FAMILY into a home within the sprawling footprint of these sprawling industrial wind factories - with their giant 400-600 foot, infrasound-emitting machines, and their 11-TON bird-chopping blades spinning overhead - only hundreds of feet from those homes???
I have yet to meet a single person who can honestly say that they would.
Let's be real - We know the Governor would NEVER move into a home within the footprint of an industrial wind factory -- but Cuomo has NO PROBLEM inflicting this disaster onto rural New York State residents, and rendering their homes virtually worthless. To add insult to injury, these same citizens are being ASSAULTED with their own money, as all of us are paying for the scam of wind with our taxpayer & ratepayer dollars -- which is subsidizing the building of these wind factories to the tune of 80% of the total cost of these projects. It is shameful, criminal, and simply un-American.
Contrary to all the bogus claims being made by these multi-national wind snake-oil salesmen -- who have NO allegiance to anyone or anything, other than tapping into U.S. taxpayers & ratepayers pockets to pad their bottom lines -- there is plenty of information available that highlights what a SCAM industrial wind is.
Here in Wyoming County, wind salesmen were overheard to say in a local restaurant, "We're going to get rich off of these hicks." Sadly, because most people don't even know the difference between energy and power, their audacious prophecy continues to become reality in many places across the nation. See:
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