States are turning up the heat on BigWind

This article is being reblogged because we believe it is important to share. Pennsylvania and Oklahoma are both taking steps to review wind energy in their states.  In Oklahoma a real estate developer calls the expansion of wind “a time bomb just waiting to go off” despite the aggressive efforts of wind lobbyists to kill any legislative oversight or reform.  We are all the more grateful to Senator Seitz (SB 310) for seeing the problems on the horizon instead waiting until  1,700 turbines had been built such as in Oklahoma. 

Closer to home in Pennsylvania, calls for a review of wind have been answered by the establishment of a legislative review committee to study impacts to landscape, wildlife and the grid.  Everpower’s Michael Speerscheider states he is happy to participate but fears the study’s outcomes will be biased. He fears the way the study was legislated indicates a foregone conclusion unfriendly to wind. That is EXACTLY what he and other wind lobbyists said about the Ohio study.  We will probably hear the same thing soon from the Oklahoma wind lobby.

The UK’s Telegraph is reporting that a new study by scientists at the University of Munich which has been published in a science journal called Open Science indicating long term low frequency noise exposure may damage hearing.   The report is careful not to say this effect has been proven but it does give reason for further study and it does say the type of low frequency noise in question is like that emitted from industrial wind turbines. 

We also share a news from Huron County about the resolve of citizens to fight the proposed Greenwich Windpark.  The protests from this area along with the folks at Blackfork Wind, Hardin Wind, Scioto Ridge, Timber Road  and Buckeye/Champaign all reflect a protest against sloppy and ineffective regulation like that described in the Oklahoma news report. As the article says: “To ensure the opportunity didn’t slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks. But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation’s windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms. The tension could have broad implications for the expansion of wind power in other parts of the country.”    We hope so!…

A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects.

To ensure the opportunity didnt slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks.

But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nations windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms. The tension could have broad implications for the expansion of wind power in other parts of the country.

“What we’ve got in this state is a time bomb just waiting to go off,”  said Frank Robson, a real estate developer from Claremore in northeast Oklahoma. “And the fuse is burning, and nobody is paying any attention to it.”

Today, many of the same political leaders who initially welcomed the wind industry want to regulate it more tightly, even in red states like Oklahoma, where candidates regularly rail against government interference. The change of heart is happening as wind farms creep closer to more heavily populated areas.

Opposition is also mounting about the loss of scenic views, the noise from spinning blades, the flashing lights that dot the horizon at night and a lack of public notice about where the turbines will be erected.

Robson said the industry is turning the landscape into a “giant industrial complex,”  and the growing cost of the subsidies could decimate state funding for schools, highways and prisons.

Oklahoma went from three farms with 113 turbines a decade ago to more than 30 projects and 1,700 active turbines today.

With the rapid expansion came political clout. The industry now has nearly a dozen registered lobbyists working to stop new regulations and preserve generous subsidies that are expected to top $40 million this year .

Evidence of that influence can be seen at the Statehouse. A bill by the Senate president pro tem to ban any new wind farms in the eastern half of the state was quickly scuttled in the House. When state Rep. Earl Sears tried to amend the proposal to include some basic regulations for the industry, lobbyists killed that idea, too….

The biggest wind industry boom is taking place in Texas. Iowa and Oklahoma are close behind. Other states that have announced major projects include Kansas, North Dakota and New Mexico, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group….

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released a report last week urging an end to state subsidies for wind power, saying that tax credits and property tax limits helped grow the industry but today give it an unfair advantage.

“It’s time,” Combs said, “for wind to stand on its own two feet.”

via A decade after welcoming wind, states reconsider – Yahoo News.

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