Published DateTo the editor,
There are a couple of points on the wind farm debate that the general public just isn't hearing enough of. First of all we need electricity 24/7 but the wind does not blow 24/7 at a rate that will produce electricity. There are currently some electricity providers offering discounts to their customers if they will elect to get 100-percent of their electricity from wind. This is an impossibility! Not only do the winds not blow in New Hampshire at the needed speed 24/7, the power produced at the existing wind farms goes into the grid and is not separated out so one can choose wind, coal, nuclear or whatever. Unless you're directly connected to the producing turbine, you can't be sure of the source of that power. Also, because of the unreliability of wind, our existing sources of electrical power generation must continue to exist so that whether or not the wind is blowing, when you flip a light switch the lights go on. When the wind is blowing at a viable rate to produce energy, these existing power plants must "turn down" the amount of power they're sending to the grid to avoid overloading it. There is nothing efficient about an unreliable power source forcing the reliable power sources to fluctuate their production rates.
The second point I'd like the public to be aware of is that while the proponents of wind energy like to call this a "green energy" source, here in New Hampshire it is anything but. The numbers the industry and wind proponents tout as the amount of CO2 that is offset by these turbines is highly inaccurate. Aside from the aforementioned fluctuating production at existing power plants, which makes them bigger carbon producers BECAUSE of the wind farms, folks don't seem to take into account the environmental impact of the building of the turbines themselves. Whether you believe God created our mountain ridges thousands of years ago or they are a result of glaciation millions of years ago I think we can all agree that clear cutting and then blasting large sections of our mountain ridges has to raise the carbon level. I have nothing against clear cutting as the trees do eventually grow back, but once the granite is blasted in order to have flat surfaces to pour tons and tons of concrete on for all of the pads and the staging area needed, the trees and other natural vegetation aren't coming back. Someone here in Grafton did the math on the number of vehicles that would be needed for construction of the proposed 37 turbine "Wild Meadows Wind Farm" and between cement trucks and construction vehicles it would be about 1500. This doesn't include the vehicles driven by the individuals working on the construction. We've all heard about how much pollution and carbon our everyday vehicles create, consider for a moment the impact from 1500 tractor trailers and cement trucks. Add to this the need for these vehicles to be on industrial strength roads much wider than the existing (often dirt or gravel) roads that are currently in the areas they propose for these wind farms and the CO2 impact from those construction vehicles as well as the asphalt that will be laid for these reconstructed (and possibly rerouted) roads as well as the loss of more trees in order to widen the roads and it becomes absurd that the wind farms could be considered "green." The turbines currently are said to have about a 20-25 year lifespan. The trees cut to make room for them can offset much more carbon for many more years.
While a wind farm in the dessert in New Mexico might make some sense to proponents of wind energy, defacing and scarring our majestic mountain ridge lines throughout this beautiful state should be a crime. Do we want to be known as the Granite State or the Turbine State? Our tax dollars fund large portions of these projects in several ways (through grants and loans, subsidies, and tax credits), so in essence WE THE PEOPLE are paying to destroy the natural beauty that not only we enjoy, but we're throwing away the income generated by the tourists who CHOOSE to come here because of our scenic lakes and mountains. Please, if you're truly concerned about "green energy" and the environment, consider these points and act accordingly. Our elected officials need to know that the voters, taxpayers and even tourists that enjoy ALL of the mountains, lakes and other natural wonders our state has to offer want them to see the truth on wind energy in New Hampshire.