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Developing wind farms won't create long-term community benefits

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Numerous studies have been conducted on the positive benefits of developing wind projects in the United States, which include creating jobs, supplying clean energy and economically stimulating local communities.

One need only look to Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts to note the many advantages of wind farms. Today, many other wind projects will be announced in rural communities like ours across New England and the Nation. Media announcements will be filled with wonderful words like: green energy, saving future generations, harnessing the power of free wind, etc.

If only it were ALL true. I have yet to hear of a community in New England searching for a developer to erect 500-ft. turbines in their community.

A few things will come true. First: developers will try and convince you that your community supports them; second: developers will conduct and release bogus studies done by outsourced 3rd parties; third: developers will deforest and blast their way through the mountain ridges; forth: developers will hire many temporary workers (many from out-of-state) for logging and road construction; fifth: developers will install 500-ft. turbines for all to see; sixth: developers will leave; and seven would be crazy to even suggest: developers may return to build more.

We witnessed the Groton Wind Farm installation and the challenges they had to overcome — both environmentally and legally. And it's apparent that the need for "Green Energy" is truly desired in Massachusetts, So why isn't Massachusetts developing its own state first?

Why hasn't one N.H. Ski Resort made room for turbines? Is Cannon Mountain, Loon Mountain, Waterville, Gunstock, (etc) not windy enough for turbines? Turbines promise to be profitable, right? So, why are N.H. Ski Resorts turned off to turbine development?

Addressing the challenges facing our local wind developers and our community begins with taking a look at the people behind these projects. A half a billion dollars is being spent in our community. My question is how much of this will stay in our community? Not much when you factor in their decommissioning strategy. Almost all of the money leaves our community, our state and our country.

Let me explain: many temporary out-of-state workers will flock here from three states for a 4-6 month time frame. None will stay, none will buy a house and none will send their children to our schools or invest in our community. Experienced and knowledgeable workers will be brought in because they are fully trained to complete the job in a certain time frame. Cheap labor will also be brought in. Simply put — local workers will not be considered for many of these jobs because it's all about deadlines and money.

Hats off to you — if you're a local company involved in the deforestation process, the road building process or the logging process, but you too know there's no room for training. It's truly a race to finish on-time and incentives are put in place to guarantee that. So it's fair to say that land owners will prosper and so will a hand full of logging and trucking companies in the state.

Developing wind farms will not create long-term benefits for our community. Are other turbine communities overflowing with jobs, wealth, and incremental business?. I think not. If it they were prospering — developers would not be fronting them money... developers know their development plan will harm you...that's why they come bearing gifts.

Wake up. Developers are here to take profits not give them away. They have a playbook that they've used on every community before us — and it's a playbook full of broken promises.

Ray Cunningham