We thank Mr. J. Edward Gates for granting permission to post his recent Letter to the Cumberland (Maryland) Times-News Editor.
His letter is titled “You should know more about Roth Rock project” and the full text begins:
I read with interest the article in the Cumberland Times-News entitled, “By 2013, Western Md. could have more wind turbines” (Jan. 9, Page 1A), by Elaine Blaisdell.
It stated that, “The Roth Rock project on Backbone Mountain was started by Synergics, but is now owned by Gestamp Wind North America of Houston.”
That is true, but your readers should know that Gestamp Wind is a multinational company based in Spain. Furthermore, the 20 Nordex Wind N90 turbines were made by another multinational company based in Germany.
These power plants are often built by smaller limited liability companies (LLC) that sell them to larger, sometimes foreign, corporations for their generous tax breaks. Taxpayers and electric customers are forced to pick up the tab.
Another interesting tidbit of information is that 80 percent of Roth Rock’s power output is sold to Delmarva Power, under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), while the remaining 20 percent will be sold under two PPAs with dependent state entities, the University System of Maryland and the Maryland Department of General Services.
Wayne Rogers, the governor’s good friend, is president of Synergics. You can make what you want of this relationship and the governor’s support of wind energy.
What’s more, Frank Maisano, a wind salesman, described the Roth Rock project as well-done and said there has been minimum invasiveness to the land.
Mr. Maisano was quoted as saying, “It’s certainly not obtrusive-looking. Once people see the wind projects and get used to them, they will see there wasn’t anything to be afraid of.”
Well, I would urge you not to rely upon Mr. Maisano for accurate information. These projects are quite destructive of the land, requiring clearing miles of ridgeline for roads, turbine pads, etc.
Many acres of forestland that previously provided habitats for numerous wildlife species are often lost, and thousands of bats and birds are killed at these projects each year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 60 acres are likely needed per installed megawatt, or approximately 3,000 acres for a 20, 2.5-MW turbine, wind power plant.
Erosion, disruption of water flow, and destruction of wild habitat and plant life would continue with the presence of access roads, powerlines, transformers, and the tower sites themselves.
For a more honest appraisal, talk to folks living near these projects to see if people are getting used to them, as Mr. Maisano says.
You may get used to living near a pig farm, sewage treatment facility, junk yard, or dump; but, most folks would not intentionally move to one.
Gregan Crawford, a Garrett County commissioner, says that the Backbone project is noisy and that he can hear the turbines at his house 3/4 mile away. A major problem is that noise levels cannot be predicted before developing a site.
Unfortunately, there are still no controls in place to regulate wind turbines in Garrett County; hopefully, this situation will change.
J. Edward Gates
AT Note: We strongly encourage you to follow Mr. Gates’ suggestion to “talk to folks living near these projects to see if people are getting used to them.” Just a matter of a few miles (as the Bald Eagle flies) away from Maryland’s Roth Rock facility discussed in Mr. Gates’ letter, is the newly constructed Pinnacle wind project, situated along the Allegheny Front above Keyser, West Virginia.
Local news editors have recently published letters from concerned citizens living near the Pinnacle facility describing how it has so negatively impacted their quality of life. These citizens have pleaded with local officials to come to their homes to witness the noise coming from the turbines to no avail. The very same Mineral County WV officials who served as cheerleaders for the project now dismiss complaints brought to them by these citizens. The once mighty politicos who strutted about the county using their influence to roll out the red carpet for US WindForce LLC now claim they are powerless to assist in any remedy to the quality of life issues faced by these folks who, as Mr. Gates suggested, did “not intentionally move” to be near the turbines.
I felt it appropriate to emphasize Mr. Gates commentary by posting a letter from one of the Pinnacle sufferers so readers can begin to understand the “crawling” menace that is industrial wind in the Allegheny Mountains.
The noise from these windmills is so great that it is impossible to live near them. When the wind is from the east there is a constant loud whining that can be heard from inside your home and if it is from the west it sounds like a train running. The vibrations are so great from the windmills they rattle the windows in my and other neighbors home. The only time there is no noise is when they are shut down. The front picture window in my house frames 3 windmills perfectly. I can close the blinds to get away from seeing them, but I cannot get away from the noise. Anyone who would like to experience this high noise level is welcome to come into my driveway and listen to it. I know this noise is so great that it can never be eliminated.
Neighbors have told me that they have spoken to our county commissioners about this but they were told they could not do anything about this. I believe all of our county commissioners were for the wind farm. These windmills have ruined the lives of both my family and my neighbors. I want the public to know what these windmills will do to anyone’s life who lives close to them. I have never heard or read anywhere where the windmill advocates ever mentioned the noise level of the windmills. Most of the time I can hear the windmills from in every room of my house. I have called almost everyone associated with the windmills that I could find a phone number for, but they quit answering or calling me back. I even called Maria Litos in California who works for I believe Edison Mission Energy and she said they would shut them down at night until they found a solution to stop the noise, but this never happened. This constant drone from the windmills even makes your head hurt. Something has to be done about this noise because the people around here cannot live with this.
Another problem we have is with theTasker Road, which I live on, is the cap they put on our road. This was nothing but a layer of gravel over our original hard surfaced road. This made our road very dangerous as cars would slide almost like on ice. Most of the gravel has been thrown off of the road by the traffic within a few days. Even the resident on thePinnacle Roadtold me they were not happy with the repairing of their road. I can hear the windmills loud whining even as I write this letter.
Richard L Braithwaite
Finally, I’d like to take you back to August of 2010 and another letter to the editor Mr. Gates allowed us to post at the time, “We must deal with ‘growth,’ or energy crisis will never end“
I’m not normally big on “told you so’s,” but in this case, I’ll make an exception.
Proponents of wind are sold on the idea that wind power and other “renewables” will eventually power our economic engine to new heights of GDP, with benefits for all. We really do not have to change our life styles, as we will merely substitute renewables for non-renewables.
Throw in “green” jobs, payment of money to leasers, tax breaks and incentives for developers, taxes for local governments, etc., as well as constant PR propaganda, and you have a public generally convinced of the good behind this industry. Gas, coal, and nuclear are all lumped together as undesirable alternatives for producing electricity.
Furthermore, if you oppose wind because your health and happiness, as well as that of your loved ones, might be affected by nearby turbines, then you are labeled a NIMBY. If you complain of noise or light flicker affecting your health afterwards, then you are spreading falsehoods, are a hypochondriac, or are delusional.
The wind industry and their propagandists will tell you that there is no evidence of noise or light flicker affecting the health of anyone living near these machines, dismissing studies and complaints to the contrary.
Like a ticking clock, these devices could not possibly be keeping you awake at night! If they are correct, why are there no wind developers, politicians, or county commissioners living next to industrial wind turbines?
I have been told that a few residents on Backbone Mountain must suffer for the needs of the many who receive clean, renewable electricity, and what about all those “green” jobs!
In fact, I read that Constellation estimated that there would be two, full-time permanent jobs for their project on Backbone Mountain! According to County Administrator Pagenhardt, the county should get $1 million yearly in utility tax revenues, a whopping 1 percent of the county budget.
Proponents will also argue that even if wind replaces not a single coal-fired power plant, it does contribute something to the grid and helps with the increasing demand for electricity.
Little do they consider that if we try to maintain or increase our per capita consumption of energy, there will never be enough, as our population continues to grow exponentially drawing upon limited resources. Just a 1 percent growth rate means a doubling every 70 years!
Until we deal with the real issue of “growth,” we will never find a solution to the energy crisis, or any other crisis for that matter.
J. Edward Gates