Green energy goals unreasonable

Governor Cuomo’s idealistic and unrealistic 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 plan would only leave New York state in greater debt, with sky-high electric rates, and little, IF ANY, reduction in CO2 levels, due to faulty cap and trade policies and the intermittent nature of renewables, that require fossil fuel shadow capacity and ramping.

At present, wind and solar energy combined, produce only 5 percent of New York state’s energy. The main driver of CO2 reductions, thus far, has been switching from coal to cleaner gas.

NYISO (electric grid operators) reports, we are already bottle necked in WNY and need 1,000 more miles of transmission lines (costing approximately $1 million per mile) to integrate that level of renewables. NYISO states with increased industrial wind installation, we will need MORE regulation fuel sources (gas) with increasing ramping (gas).

NYISO recommends a pause on Cuomo’s plan — it is not even plausible at this time. Who is listening? Industrial-scale renewables, (with their huge, unsustainable subsidies and massive land grab-environmental footprint) due to intermittency, technological limits, lack of storage or dispatchability, will not replace but KEEP us fossil fuel dependent; especially since New York’s modest winds, yield a paltry 10 percent effective operative capacity and the sun often does not shine.

Smaller – homescale and off-grid energy with battery storage, such as roof top solar, geothermal and wind are more sensible options. We need better policies and incentives that promote energy conservation and efficiency.

So much degradation and fragmentation of our pristine natural environment (with loss of animal habitats), would be needed to carry out Cuomo’s vision (i.e. nightmare). Nevermind the civil discord, adverse health effects, loss of amenity, decreased property values, bird and bat kill, etc., that occur with New York state’s improper wind farm siting.

Will every green space and hillside be industrialized with wind factories and huge solar farms? You seriously have to wonder, will we destroy and contaminate all our fertile agricultural land — turbines leak oil and lubricants, catch on fire, spewing harmful chemicals/smoke for days, solar panels are made from very toxic chemicals, contain lead and cadmium, all can leach out into soil and groundwater — since that’s where these things are being sited?

What happens to our food supply, if farmers find more profit in wind and solar “farming” than dairy or crop production? Where will toxic solar panels be disposed of when defunct? Landfills?

The huge concrete turbine bases, rebar, and underground infrastructure will only be removed 3 to 4 feet during decommissioning (that’s if the turbines aren’t just abandoned and left rusting – which has happened out west), the rest will remain imbedded in our agricultural and recreational lands forever.

Interesting facts: Industrial scale wind turbine bases require approximately 90 tons of cement each. Each ton of cement releases 1.5 pounds of mercury during production. Sixty percent of CO2 emissions from industrial processes in the U.S. are attributable to cement manufacturing. China (Baotou) has a 5-mile-wide toxic lake poisoning farms and villages from the manufacturing of rare earth minerals required for the turbines’ huge magnets. Solar panel production produces emissions of NF3, a greenhouse gas 17,200 times more potent than CO2, which is on the rise, parallel to our increased solar use.

If anyone needs a good cry, Google the Youtube video “Giant asparagus spears are ruining our lives.” Witness Germany’s tragic destruction of bucolic landscapes and picturesque towns with wind “farms.” With their aggressive green Energiewende, Germany has been forced to build MORE dirty coal plants (cheapest) to back up unreliable wind/solar, has increased CO2 levels, and is left dealing with extremely high electric rates, causing energy poverty and businesses to look elsewhere.

So crazy! How is this green?

We need energy literate politicians, who will invest our hard-earned tax dollars to develop green energy that is efficient, affordable, protects our environment, health and is socially just. We have time to pause, research, to do this right, without so much collateral damage.

Rotarians four-way test is the ethical standard public officials and policy makers should try hard to follow:

1) Is it the truth?

2) Is it fair to all?

3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Sadly, with respect to the Arkwright Summit, Ball Hill, and Cassadaga wind farms, slated for Chautauqua County — the answer is a resounding “NO.”

Joni Riggle is a Sinclairville resident.