"1) there is no consequential environmental benefit to industrial wind power, and 2) it is being promoted because it is an extremely lucrative business opportunity."The problem with wind energy is that without TAXPAYER/RATEPAYER subsidies, it would not be financially feasible -- and it has a HUGE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT.
One reason why electric rates are so high in NYS (contributing to our region's decline) is the state requirement that major suppliers must buy any renewable energy that is developed, and must buy it at a certain minimum charge which is in excess of the cost of other forms of energy. This means that you, the rate payer, are being forced to subsidize a method of energy production that is not cost effective. If so called "green" energy were cost effective, there would be no need for forced purchases at guaranteed minimum prices.
Wind farm purveyors often seek property tax breaks from their host communities. The tax breaks have been cited as necessary to make these projects financially viable. Again, that should tell you that wind farms are not cost effective, and that you, the taxpayer, are being forced to subsidize private business -- business that will create no jobs to speak of. To make matters worse, if any of the turbines were to catch on fire, or if there would be vandalism, the burden to resolve these problems would fall upon the local municipality -- the municipality that is not collecting a fair share of taxes from the business.
Coal is to the US what oil is to Saudia Arabia. There is plenty of it and it is more cost effective than wind power. Someone said they would rather have 20,000 wind turbines than 20,000 coal plants. How about 2 coal plants instead of 20,000 turbines? That is probably closer to the truth. Environmentally, thousands and thousands of acres will be affected by wind farms, while a few strategically placed coal fired plants would produce a more reliable stream of electricity, at lower costs, and affect only a fraction of the acreage. Technology has progressed to the point that these coal-plants do not have the impacts they once did. Nuclear, of course, is another option.
If the power from these wind farms were needed locally, it might be reasonable to tolerate them. But the fact -- often cited by NYRI -- is that Upstate NY has more than enough power for its own needs. Anyone who finds thousands of turbines strewn about our landscape acceptable must also accept miles and miles of power lines to get the power to the downstate market. And that is why politicians who push tax breaks by Herkimer and Oneida Counties for wind farms while opposing NYRI are not making sense. You cannot have one without the other.
The bottom line, echoing Mr. Droz, is that, at least for Upstate, wind farms are not about protecting the environment, and not about producing power efficiently. Rather, they are about producing "profit" for certain well-connected companies and people.
There is nothing wrong with "profit" as long as ALL those bearing the costs share in it -- but that will not happen. NYRI is not planning to reimburse homeowners along their power line for losses in property values, must less than give them a share of the profits.
People who are talking about going "green" are not looking at all the consequences and who they will fall upon.