Facts don’t support siting of Lighthouse Wind
The opposition to the Lighthouse Wind project isn’t about being pro-wind or anti-wind. It’s about the siting of this industrial wind project. Everyone should be looking for facts specific to this project. That’s not what is happening in Somerset and Yates, according to the story in the Aug. 18 issue of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (“For the Wind: Supporters say Somerset is the perfect location for turbines”).
One person is quoted as saying what he learned from meetings held by Apex about the Lighthouse Wind proposal: “I favor clean energy because it contributes to decreasing global warming.”
But that’s not true for Western New York, according to the state’s grid operator. Last summer New York Independent Service Operation (NYISO) wrote to the Public Service Commission (PSC) — which must decide whether to approve Lighthouse Wind — stating that the concentration of wind farms in the region results in grounding out zero-emission hydropower from Niagara Falls, a more valuable source of electricity because it’s not variable.
NYISO also told the PSC that there is no need for more power in Western New York and there is no transmission capacity to get the electricity downstate where it is needed.
Finally, NYISO pointed out to the PSC that variable power generators like wind and solar require close to their full capacity to be maintained in backup power plants fueled by natural gas. These backup power sources generate more greenhouse gas emissions than they would otherwise because they need to be ramped up and down in response to the amount of wind and sunlight at any given time.
These facts should give the person who believes clean energy contributes to decreasing global warming pause.
The article quotes another person as saying, “I think windmills can be a symbiotic relationship between agriculture and wind energy production.” Well, of course it is, when the farmer gets $15,000 per year per turbine. But what about the low-frequency thumping noise on quiet nights that can disturb neighbors up to two miles away? In a study authored by Jerry Punch and Richard James, titled “Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health: A Four Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks,” the authors do not take a pro-wind or anti-wind position but, rather, advocate for a “pro-health” perspective. They describe this view in their conclusion:
“A pro-health view is that there is enough anecdotal and scientific evidence to indicate that ILFN [infrasound and low frequency noise] from IWTs [industrial wind turbines] causes annoyance, sleep disturbance, stress, and a variety of other AHEs [adverse health effects] to warrant siting the turbines at distances sufficient to avoid such harmful effects, which, without proper siting, occur in a substantial percentage of the population. … It is our belief that the bulk of the available evidence justifies a pro-health perspective. It is unacceptable to consider people living near wind turbines as collateral damage while this debate continues.”
People in the towns of Somerset and Yates do not want to become collateral damage.