LOGIC hears about energy transition

Submitted Photo Pictured are Mark Twitchell, his wife Michelle Twitchell and Mike Wiltsey.

Energy Transition was one of the topics discussed at the annual LOGIC picnic held at Lakeside Park in Mayville. Over time, energy Transition has occurred natural sources of energy such as wind and water power to drive sailing ships and saw and grist mills, to 19th century reliance on coal, oil, and gas; to 21st century technology where concerted efforts are being made due to concern for climatic changes to focus once again on naturally occurring sources of energy such as wind.

Nonetheless, wind energy is not without its critics particularly when we consider fossil fuel powered electricity generation at NRG = 600 MW on approximately 100 acres of land which produces steady reliable 24/7 power. On the other hand, wind powered electricity for three proposed facilities in Chautauqua County requires 80,000 acres for 300 MW of power which is non-dependable. That’s half the MW capacity on 800 times the acreage.

With so much land required for production the wind industry has developed two distinct and unique means of relation to impacted neighborhoods: trespass zoning and the good neighbor agreement.

Trespass zoning occurs because the negative environmental impact o industrial wind turbines is measure at the neighbors home instead of the property line. This means that a significant part, if not all, of neighbor’s property is subject to turbine noise, shadow flicker, and visual blight. Trespass zoning also occurs when setback distances for turbines are insufficient to prevent flying debris from landing on neighbor’s property. Turbine manufacturers advise maintenance workers to avoid approaching within 1600 feet of a malfunctioning machine. With setbacks in Chautauqua County at 1000 feet there i clear concern for safety of homes. Even in your property line is 800 feet from a turbine you are paying taxes on a significant portion of your property which you cant develop.

The good neighbor agreement is an effort by the wind energy developer to compensate for the trespass zoning. the developer may offer non-participating landowners $1,000 to $2,000 a year for their troubles, annoyance, and lost income opportunities. In exchange the good neighbor agreement explains in part the often-cited positive view of nearby wind facilities expressed to pollsters and curious visitors. It also results in under-reporting of adverse health effects resulting from annoyance at wind turbine noise.

Consequently, where we speak of the effects of natural energy sources such as wind we need to examine the total picture to realize that if it wasn’t for huge governmental assistance wind wouldn’t be a feasible means reducing the electricity back on which we all depend.

A much better solution maybe your arrived at by a combination of wind and fossil derived fuels. Supplementing a natural less controversial wind energy development with the inclusion of natural gas at the NRG generating site to assure consistent lower electricity prices than those with which we now have to contend.