Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wind Farms in our County

I always check out "Knowing Newport," a discussion group, every few days to see what the topics of interest are there. I came upon this posting & the author kindly granted permission to print it here. I thought it of especial interest since the same day the "Daily News" did an editorial entitled, "Wind Power Should be Free of Obstacles." I have to wonder why? What are the proponents afraid of? Here is the answer. Expect to read more on this topic as it gets ramroded through the CRMC. Thanks to the author for all the research.

My Fellow Newporters,

Sir Winston Churchill once said, "Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is." Governor Carcieri and the wind industry have been trying to sell us a bill ofgoods. It is our choice to become fully educated on the devastating impacts that face us in the near future to Newport and the surrounding area's economy before it is too late.

The fact of the matter is that wind energy is not as clean of an industry as the Governor, the General Assembly, the lobbyists, and the private developers would like you to think. There is a dark side to the industry that must be brought out into the light. Across Europe the vast effects have been devastating.
In the United Kingdom, a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that house prices are negatively affected by planning applications for wind farms. This could be absolutely devastating for Newport and the surrounding areas because the tremendous amount of properties located or being developed, near or on the ocean that will face the $1.9 billion colossal wind farm will go down in value, hurting the overall tax base of the cities they are located in.
In Germany damage arising from wind turbines alone has resulted in preliminary insurance payments in excess of 200 million euros. There are persistent reports of problems such as infrasound from these large moving wind turbine structures, which in most cases are each 400 feet tall, or almost the size of the Statue ofLiberty! At night wind turbines must be lit to avoid collisions from low flying airplanes and birds or being hit by boats in the area. The lights can have a devastating impact on the starlit natural beauty of the surrounding area even if they are miles off the coastline.
Lennart Damsbo-Andersen, the former mayor of Nysted, Denmark where a large wind farm of 72 wind turbines laid 15 miles away from his home, attested that the flashing lights were so bright that it used to light up his living room at night.
The Convention for the Protection ofthe Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) which was ratified in1998 by 15 European countries have also found many significantly devastating flaws in the wind industry which have vast impacts on the citizens living near where the ocean wind turbines are installed. The OSPAR report backs up Nysted, Denmark former mayor's claims stating, "that several wind turbines will most likely change the ocean landscape considerably, particularly in the dark because of lighting; this will affect both the local communities in the area and the people visiting the area."
There are many other issues that have not been fully addressed in the great Rhode Island Wind Farm debate that the government and the private developers don't want you to know about. The electric cables that connect the Wind Farm to the shore increase the temperature in the sediments during operation, and also emit electromagnetic fields. The turbines also have strong emissions of sound and vibration into the water. All three things cause a disturbance of the environment, damaging the environment of marine mammals, birds and fish. The multi million dollar fishing industry could be in huge jeopardy.
GovernorCarcieri essentially wants to destroy the ecosystem to save the ecosystem. It purely makes no sense at all. Energy analyst Glenn Schleede working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a study in 2002 exposing the problems with wind power being installed off the coast of Virginia. He stated that "feeding such a potentially large,highly variable and often unpredictable amount of electricity into an onshore transmission line and electric grid would be a significant burden on existing onshore transmission capacity and the stability of regional electric system that must be kept in balance," (balance - the voltage and frequency).
The Governor is putting the very livelihood of working Newport business owners and citizens at high risk of a doomsday scenario. With a $2 billion a year waterfront tourism economy, Newport is home to international yachting and tennis events along with countless amounts of festivals that bring people and money into the area. Not to mention home to some of the most breathtaking and spectacular scenery and history in America.
But this, my fellow citizens can all come to an end. It has happened before when a man in power by the name of President Nixon pulled the Navy out of Newport in 1974, causing decades of economic turmoil. Will Governor Carcieri's legacy be the Great Tourist pull-out of Newport in 2012? From Newport's world famous and historic Cliff Walk, to Easton's Point and from Sachuest Point to Little Compton, the Governor's proposed $1.9 billion dollar wind farm will be a reality and in full operation in less than 4 years time unless we make our voices heard!
I strongly urge you to contact the Governor and State and local officials and voice your outrage about this terribly flawed project. The choice is ours, and the consequences we will have to live with every day- not the politicians up in Providence. Will we wake up one day and see our pristine oceanfront littered with the visual and environmental pollution of hundreds of wind turbines- each hundreds of feet tall both seen during the day and at night (less than 1½ miles to 5 miles) off our shore as far as the eye can see or will we be able to look out at our absolutely gorgeous, delicate and untouched environment knowing full well that we stood up for it and won? Politicians come and go like storms blowing in the wind; some do more damage than others. This one however is a hurricane.

Anthony G. Spiratos Newport, RI
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