Blowing hot and cold on wind

 

There are legitimate complaints about wind power, but grossly untrue statements by overzealous critics like Jonathan Carter (Maine Voices: “Wind power comes at great cost,” Feb. 28) do little to reveal them.

He says the 48-tower Highland Mountains project in western Maine proposed by former Gov. Angus King will create 1.6 million tons of blasted rock and debris in the “leveling” of the mountaintops. The figure is not even close.

Mountaintops are not leveled for wind turbines; that would defeat the purpose of putting them there – to maximize the wind potential. They are placed on concrete foundations cast in an excavation.

Assuming a circular excavation about 50 feet in diameter by 10 feet deep, the excavated material would be about 725 cubic yards per turbine, 35,000 cubic yards for all 48 units. Road construction and the like might bring the total to 60,000 cubic yards, tops. That’s an error factor of over 26 times!

He says that North Carolina put a moratorium on mountaintop wind because it recognizes the economic importance of mountains. He could be right, but not for the reason he might think.

The North Carolina Legislature defeated a proposal to ban coal mining by mountaintop removal, a true ecological disaster that levels entire mountains to get at the coal inside and places the spoil material in the adjacent valleys and waterways. If it banned mountaintop wind power, it was only because the coal interests had more political clout.

Arthur Cannon

Bath

I am a supporter of wind energy projects, but of beneficial ones, not those that are harmful and inefficient.

Serious examination of current wind technology on Maine mountaintops is not well-served by false arguments: one argument being that noise is not harmful.

Saying something is so does not make it so; strong, repeated denials made loudly do not establish truth. Truth can be determined by real measurements and observations, and by personal testimony from those actually there.

Here in Maine, there is abundant witnessing to the profoundly negative impact of noise from wind projects upon our fellow citizens. (I will not list those projects here. That’s been done elsewhere by both sides.)

Our neighbors there are disillusioned by broken promises, unfulfilled benefits and under-performance. But that disillusionment pales in comparison to the harm done by the unremitting low-frequency noise that disturbs the peace, chases away wildlife, causes health problems and hurts property values. It is an ultra-low noise like obnoxious music you cannot hear, but can feel, 24/7, day after day after day after day

I do not say that. Those actually there do. Ask them; but tie back your ears, for the replies will be strong and impassioned – and universally angry.

The noise is a low, throbbing constant that deadens the soul and depresses the strongest spirit. I’ve heard it, but only briefly, for I am fortunate enough to live free from that noise. But I was sad for days.

That is the actuality; this the truth: thrum, thrum (sadness), thrum, thrum

Richard M. Stovall

Phillips

 

My wife and I currently live in New Hampshire. We both were born in Skowhegan and have purchased property in Lakeville 10 years ago, where we would like to retire. We have come to a point in our plans where we have the permits and are ready to go.

Then, much to our amazement, came the proposal to allow First Wind the rights to litter Bowers Mountain in Carroll, 1.5 miles away and in clear view of our proposed home. Our plans are now on hold!

What are the current Maine leaders allowing? It is through their leadership that reasons why people come to Maine will no longer apply.

From western Maine to eastern Maine, all ridges and mountains are now susceptible to being the home of these 400-foot wind machines, 20 or maybe more to one location. Will that vision be the reason why many folks will been attracted to Maine in the future?

I hope not. I am and will be opposed to the ruination of Maine’s landscape.

If not for the subsidies, inside political posturing and wink-wink agreements from political/business interests, this wind machine business in Maine could not presently flourish and receive the fast track around the public outcry.

If politicians in Maine want to make a wind machine statement, don’t line the mountains and landscape with endless wind machines, mount them along the Maine Turnpike right up to Houlton.

I am disappointed in Maine.

Richard Washburn

Fremont, N.H.

Is merging two lotteries any better than new casino?

 

An article in the Feb. 24 Press Herald told about the state thinking of joining two new lotteries to help with the budget shortfall.

Is this any different than Oxford County or the Penobscot tribe wanting a casino to increase revenues for them?

Yet, the paper has more than once come out on the editorial page against casinos. Letters have been written to the editor against casinos. There are organizations against casinos.

I have yet to see any outcry against Maine joining two new lotteries. I haven’t even heard from the governor about this. Is there a difference between gambling on the lottery or gambling in casinos? Is gambling a way to help the budget shortfall?

Bruce Lind

Scarborough

 

If cars are complex, what about safety of airplanes?

 

Toyota’s troubles contain a lesson for us all, if we care to listen: Progress, with all of its attendant complexity, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Consider, for example, that many modern aircraft use a fly-by-wire system that is computer-assisted. To lose control of an automobile because of its flawed technology is bad, but if a commercial airliner develops electronic indigestion, the stakes are even higher. There are no helpful state troopers on patrol at 35,000 feet.

We tend to swallow progress whole, without chewing – an unwise practice. Should we not be a bit circumspect? After all, even a dog sniffs a bone carefully before gnawing at it.

Each to his own, but I for one would prefer to drive a ’66 Valiant and fly to Europe on a DC-6B.

You may have your progress – and welcome to it.

Henry Smith

Sorrento

 

Efficiency business grants available from PUC agency

 

Gary Guerette, an energy consultant in Scarborough, recently wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Press Herald on Feb. 28 about the importance of energy efficiency and all the cash and tax incentives currently being offered to help commercial building owners and tenants justify retrofits.

I write to share information about another applicable program.

Efficiency Maine, a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, also has a commercial grant program funded by $2 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Recently, following a competitive bidding process, a total of $635,000 was awarded to energy efficiency projects at 19 commercial, municipal and nonprofit facilities across Maine.

Winning proposals included boiler upgrades, solar thermal systems and heat recovery projects. Grant applications were scored on their technical viability, economic impact, energy savings and budget.

Applicants can apply for grants up to $50,000 and must demonstrate the ability to provide matching funds. The funding provided through the recent grant awards will leverage $1.28 million in additional private investment.

A second round of grant applications will be announced in the near future.

We look forward to recognizing even more projects that promise significant energy savings, carbon emission reductions and economic stimulus.

Richard Meinking

grant administrator, Efficiency Maine

Augusta