Saturday, October 13, 2007

Searsburg wind output misstated by officials

To the Editor, Brattleoro (Vt.) Reformer [published Oct. 12, 2007]:

The article "Answers blowing in wind" (Oct. 11) states that the current annual output of the existing Searsburg wind turbines is 27 percent of their capacity. That is incorrect.

For the last four years for which data are available, 2002-2005, the annual output has ranged between 20.4 and 21.7 percent of capacity.

There is no reason to expect a new facility in the same area to perform any better. The new machines are just bigger; they do not rewrite the laws of physics.

Searsburg's output for 2007 is likely to be much lower, since one of the machines -- its blades destroyed by lightning some time ago -- has not been repaired.

Such abandonment after the tax benefits expire and manufacturers have moved on to bigger machines is typical. It should be noted that "decommissioning" is superficial: all such agreements leave the huge steel-reinforced concrete foundation behind, permanently altering the terrain.

The extensive destruction of otherwise protected habitat necessary to erect the giant new wind turbines would be done to produce an annual total of barely one percent of Vermont's needs. It would, however, be practically idle for a third of the time and produce at or above its average rate only another third of the time -- depending on the wind and not grid demand, making its actual value for providing power almost nil. (Its real product is tax avoidance and green tags.)

It's time to admit that wind energy on the grid is a failure, not to stubbornly expand the folly. The only result has been the destruction of rural and wild lands that we and the earth can ill afford.

Eric Rosenbloom
President, National Wind Watch

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont