27 January 2014

False Premises - Wind Turbines in Nebraska

In a recent online commentary, Richard Branson, a world-wide entrepreneur, wrote that there is a need for improved energy development and use. He wrote of these options : "from advanced renewable fuels, to electric cars that leave their petrol-powered rivals behind, to more efficient, lower-cost solar cells and intelligent ways of heating and cooling buildings need adequate financial backing."

Prominent for being excluded from this essay on challenges facing the planet, was any mention of energy developed from wind turbines. There was a greater focus on positive energy options that can reduce the impact of energy development and demand.

Two obvious example that do just the opposite are tar-sands and turbine farms and associated infrastructure.

Consider wind turbines, and especially a local drive to place them within the sand hills.
This is requiring the construction of an industrial powerline 220 miles in length through the south-central portion of the region. Costing hundreds of $millions, it will also degrade the route by destroying native prairie habitat, establish a corridor of powerlines dangerous to migratory birds, ruin landscape views among the hills, and allow for further degradation elsewhere by providing a method to connect to the larger electrical grid.

Industrial wind turbine energy is not green energy. In addition to the afore-mentioned three unwanted impacts mentioned with powerlines, there are other reasons turbines should not be placed within the sandhills:

1). Any turbine farms will further destroy unique resources, and require construction of additional powerlines to connect to the grid line;
2). Wind turbines are not a reliable source of energy, but only a secondary source;
3). Wind turbines are known hazards to birds and bats;
4). public land may be destroyed forever for a dubious project(s); and,
5). claims of the environmental benefits of energy from wind turbines is questionable, as shown in many instances.

Why should the so-unique sandhills have industrial sites to develop energy imposed among a place which is the last, great American prairie. Nebraska is already is a surplus power production state? Why should the region be further industrialized so other places can have lights on all night at sports stadiums, or run huge promotional televisions all night, or have led-advertisements signs going 24-hours every day?

The amount of energy developed by a turbine farm in the sandhills — with a known amount lost during distribution — could be readily offset by conservation initiatives, or preferably by local solar.
Nebraska is going straight ahead on this industry that is only surviving to a large-extent due to tax-subsidies. The industry economic model is flawed because it cannot survive with the public having to give their hard-earned dollars so others may personally profit.

There are many preferable options to wind, especially local solar. Instead, Nebraskans prefer to have a pro-wind energy meeting in North Platte.

This meeting is not necessary. It will present topics with information readily available elsewhere, especially on the internet, according to the meeting brochure. How many people will burn expensive gas, or have to pay for lodging and meals when they could spend a short time online and learn so much more.

Whomever devised this agenda, seemed to have an obvious bias associated with where not if, regarding the construction of industrial wind turbine facilities. Even the titles for some of presentations reflect this perspective.

Missing in the mix, are results of any new findings, especially prairie-chickens and turbines in Brown county. Will there be an indication of the subsidy amount necessary to make turbine development profitable for a few business people and land-owners? The showing of a few pretty pictures at lunch does not really express the unique character and nuance of the region? How is the ruination of the features appreciated by past generations of sand hill residents, reflect a continuation of their heritage?

It will simply be a great opportunity for developers and proponents to learn about and discuss where they should focus on building turbine farms … a time for for-profit companies and private land-owners with dollar signs in their eyes to get someone else to provide details generated with so many others. It’s another example of a subsidy. And if anyone questions whether suitable consideration was given to the local resources, the developers and others can say they held this meeting.

It is a "faux" event!