LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The hidden costs of a wind facility

Published 12:25 am Sunday, March 31, 2013

To the Editor:
Invenergy Corp.’s inner circle must be having some interesting conversations about how easy it was to get those yahoos down in Beaufort County to back plans for its proposed wind project near Pantego.
It seemed easy for Invenergy to get our elected officials to support the project by hosting them on carefully planned trips to selected existing wind facilities and some slight of hand by Ms. Montgomery, the Invenergy front person.
Ms. Montgomery told the commissioners that based on boiler-plate capacities of the turbines, multiplied by the number of turbines planned (49 in phase 1), the county could expect to get a million dollars a year in tax income. Had our commissioners done due diligence on those figures the story might have been very different.
If they had, they would have found that the industry average for the efficiency of win turbines average only about 25 percent of what the boilerplate figures state. So, at 25 percent of boilerplate figures, those million dollars now become $250,000. And that 25 percent figure is based on placement of the turbines is an optimum wind potential area and according to the wind energies own wind charts, the Pantego site is rated poor to marginal in wind energy potential. This means the $250,000 is now down to near $100,000. That’s a long way from the $1 million that the commissioners were told they get.
It is very doubtful that even that $100,000 will begin to cover the hidden costs of such a large-scale wind facility, such as decreased property values in the area, loss of crop production from loss of land and the drying effect of the turbine-generated down-stream turbulence and the increase in insecticide costs associated with the heavy loss of insect-eating bats. Then there are associated health problems for humans, domesticated animals and wildlife due to low-frequency noise generated from large wind turbines.
Lastly, this area near Pantego is the same area the Navy abandoned plans for its practice landing field because its own studies showed that the number of birds present in the area were some of the highest ever seen. A more-recent study showed that such a facility in this area could kill up to 20 bald eagles a year. We taxpayers have paid millions of dollars to prevent the extinction of our national symbol, the bald eagle. Why would we let a multi-national company, like Invenergy, destroy our national symbol so wantonly?
Invenergy stands to get tens of millions of dollars from federal renewable energy subsidies if it produces any energy from this array.
If our commissioners were true leaders, they would have found out all this information, rejected Invenergy’s plans and would have had the guts to request funds for a new Beaufort County jail from the taxpayers of Beaufort County instead of looking for pie-in-the-sky schemes to pay for the needed new jail.
Pamlico Beach