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The Peninsula

Wind turbines ahead? Proceed with caution!

Wind Energy Archive
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Peninsula Power is pushing hard to have three wind turbines (total elevation 770 feet) erected on Christy Hill in Sedgwick. They want a “feasibility study” to be carried out by Maine Coast Community Wind which managed the Fox Islands Wind project on Vinalhaven. Supposedly, this makes them “well qualified to evaluate possible sites and anticipate problems, particularly noise.”

Google “Voices of Vinalhaven” to hear residents describe the severe negative impact that the inescapable low frequency noise has had on their lives and property values. Information on noise levels provided by FIW and by GE was very far from true. Further details appear in a letter by Sally Wylie published in “Fishermen’s Voice,” www.fishermensvoice.com/0710LettersToTheEditor.html. According to Wylie, a member of the Fox Islands Wind Neighbors (www.fiwn.org), many of the 100 households within the 1.5 mile FIW noise umbrella feel “outrage.” “At times, the noise is so intrusive that it seems impossible that the state would ask individuals to live under such conditions.” FIW sited the turbines inappropriately, did not measure noise levels from property lines during the permitting process, initially refused to share their raw sound data with Maine DEP and then gave incomplete information. Maine’s noise regulations, crafted in the 1970s, are woefully outdated and do not address rural communities. Worse, the turbines frequently run out of compliance.

Peninsula Power plans to undertake an “education program.” The lesson of Vinalhaven is the danger of relying on just one group for “education.” Do your own research, visit existing wind turbine sites and invite in outside speakers, including those with opposing points of view.

The current fast-tracked efforts to saturate Maine’s coast and mountaintops with wind turbines will change the quality of life and the economy irrevocably. To learn why the claimed environmental and economic benefits are an illusion, read Jonathan Carter’s “The False Promise of Mountaintop Wind,” Ellsworth American, 8/5/10, Section III, p. 2.

In fact, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dr. Jack Steinberger has called for Europe to scrap its support for big wind (“not the future” and a “cul-de-sac”) as soon as possible, and focus on far more efficient forms of clean power generation, especially solar thermal power, where collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors and lenses to produce electric power and heat. Already economical, it could meet 80 percent of Europe’s energy needs by 2050; see www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3681.ece.

Jeff Cheeger
Deer Isle

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