Letter to the editor: benefits of wind turbine won’t help Prospect

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One wonders why we keep reading and hearing that 25% (and 85% on windy days) of Prospect’s residential energy consumption will be produced by the BNE Energy, Inc. wind turbine project proposal… I find this to be a very misleading statement as all the energy would be sold to CL&P through the grid and actually 0% stays in Prospect. This is not a direct benefit to Prospect…..Would you please check the facts before reporting a well-prepared marketing inference. So if I pay CL&P $100/mth now, I’ll still pay $100/mth if this proposal goes through, right?

By the way, my tax contribution to the town will likely appreciate over time (given no change in property values…but that’s another story) and not depreciate like this fixed asset, or equipment, tax valuation…So the $150k is the first year only and will decline steadily over the life of the equipment, say 10 years, right?

Respectfully,
Jeannine Lavallee
Prospect resident/taxpayer

9 COMMENTS

  1. My earlier comment generated many interesting and good replies. I seldom write on these type of comment pages, etc. But I would like to say that I have been involved in renewable energy research for over a decade now(in a research group over 3 decades old) and have performed the life cycle cost analyses and financial critiques of wind farms over the lifetime of the turbines. Personally I have been convinced that wind energy as a whole is a necessary factor at this time. This is not a political opinion, but more of an opinion based upon facts that I work with daily. Wind farms are not always financially viable and is dependent upon many factors including local cost of energy, wind power class which effects capacity factor, state, local, and federal incentives and economics. Some wind farms would proceed without the federal tax credit, say class 4 winds and up, and others would not. Many balk at the subsidy provided and use that as an anti-wind argument. I completely agree that subsidies are against my principles. Yet wind generation on a large scale has to compete with other large scale generation. I am not sure where we would be if we took away incentives and subsidies from all generation but that may be a good study.

    “Facts only”, although your tone was very critical of my comments, I agree with many aspects of yours. Hybrid systems or “co-gen” as you say have often been very good matches. This is something I have studied often. There is a lot of good research going on right now with wind-hydrogen, wind & compressed air, and wind with large capacitive banks to help alleviate the stochastic nature of wind power. This can give a wind project a “firm power” rating to the utility and make it much more attractive and predictable.
    Wind power is not and cannot at this point replace base power. However it can supplement, it can extend resources, and do it effectively. In talks I often compare it to adding breadcrumbs to meatloaf or adding rice to a soup. With breadcrumbs added the meatloaf may feed another person or last another day, but on its own its just breadcrumbs.
    Anyway, I digress. Charmarie-I completely agree that safety is the utmost concern. However, I am of the opinion that many safety factors are rather blown out of proportion. If I make a bulleted list of all possible hazards of a turbine(however remote), it would certainly concern the bravest of advocates. How about driving a car? Or living next to a highway? Turbines are highly sophisticated multi-million dollar industrial machines with redundant safety factors and fail-safe error checking built in. I’ve been in them, under and on top. I personally know happy healthy farmers living a stones throw away of a turbine in the center of a 80 MW wind farm. That wind farm has been there over ten years now without any incident in all 80 turbines and fields and cattle all around. I could site numerous examples such as that. I think there are over 100,000 large turbines in the world right now and only a handful of catastrophic failures usually caused by weather, occasionally human error.
    That being said, I’ll say my final point. Population increase and resource decrease is the elephant in the room. We have made great steps in efficiency in recent years. We have no perfect solution for power, yet. No one wants to go without. Wind isn’t perfect but can be part of the solution when designed and developed appropriately. It can, and has proven to be a financially stabilizing factor especially as a hedge against fluctuating natural gas prices. Maybe it is not right for Prospect. It is right for the local people to debate and discuss. If BNE makes claims that are false, call them on it and keep them honest. But also be honest, and try to carefully filter information on this subject-its so political there has been a lot of mis-information on both sides. If you just can’t stand the way it looks, thats beyond science, but valid too. Good luck to all involved.

  2. I want to start a petition to Mayor Bob to outlaw electricity, telephones, and television in Prospect. Of course we’ll lose our commercial and industrial tax payers, but who is with me?

  3. It seems that this letter to the editor is to simply correct the misleading statement that this power is going to specifically power Prospect. BNE tries to imply that this will be a benefit to the town’s power needs which is not. To conclude that somehow the writer does not believe BNE has the right to make money is a ridiculous leap and one that the writer does not imply. As far as wind energy being a “stabilizing force”, I highly disagree, wind energy is most unpredictable. Be that as it may, I am for green renewable energy, including wind energy. I am all for BNE making money on green energy, even if they are using my tax dollars to do it. However, BNE does not have the right to make money at the expense of public safety and quality of life of the surrounding residents. Pick a better location with a reasonable setback and I’ll support it.

  4. Oh bye the way something I forgot to post:The Deepwater project that was infact just talked about this week is also posting its price per killowatt ooooohhhhh what a savings! 18 cents makes ya just wanna go out and sign up eh!? Hey double the price you pay now is worth it right?! It all makes sence in a country where we have grown way to cofortable with the gov’t running away with our money!

  5. “tex” please have your technical information correct before you post something “just because”. This is NOT a green project. I’m not exactly a Nuke guy but even I have to admit facts that even the Seirra Club now admits. Nukes upstarts are thee most expensive but after that its as green as you can get and its cost is unaproachable to compete with in any other form of energy production.Fact is your going to see graphite pellet nukes coming like it or not in this country. If you’d like to challenge me go for it. I’m the guy at the meeting offering up the Co-gen option for Prospect and spoke at the meeting.The only thing that comes after that can be built within a year is a natural gas generation plant. Your “blowing and toting” of wind energy like it or not is not green. Fact is when the turbine winds up and down its generation is unknown for peak and wind down. The main generation plants can’t “count” on the output of the wind turbine so its contents are mostly “dumped” into the grid. The power companys will basicaly look at total overall wattage and “speculate and adjust accordingly”(this is severly broken down so readers get a “basic understanding” to what is done). Ct is not and has not been an “official wind generation state” I challenge you to post gov’t documents to support any claims you may make.I personaly see and work with a 5 meggawatt facility that doesn’t “wait” on a wind gust. Natural gas comes in we run a V-20 engine that runs cleaner than any car you can but at this time. Your wind turbine doesn’t use its thermal dynamic heat it waists it-FACT. Our engine heats up a building to the point that three boilers the size each of a barn shut down and on the coldest night one may fire up running at only 26% burn rate!All the while this generation plant is powering up the entire structure while we have 4 air handlers alone that take in over 100,000 cfm plus at least 9 others that take in (these 4 alone) total outside air! Look outside “tex” whats the temp in Ct right now? Well right this second that building is still taking in 100% outside air and heating it with the steam made by that natural gas generation plant. Your wind turbine can’t even run a third of my building. #1 its energy would be spuratic and unsustainable for a period of time that can’t be counted on. This is a fact that bussines people make not people who “feel” for something. Fact finding is most important when decissions must be made.Now onto that “feeling” you get for wind energy! I furious about this mostly because I see an “Obama” effect the administration is talking up wind energy and “fast tracking all over the country” just as they did with ethanol. You better pay attention “tex” because our gov’t is hosing all of us on this garbage. You aren’t as green thinking as I am you just think you are. I like facts and then I like them backed by mathmatical research. I have been with researchers and they were saddened because they couldn’t make solar work either. They figured out that because of the earths position with states like Ct that when you factor total yearly averaging and total output of a cell or battery of cells and the lenght of quality output from those cells over a twenty year lifetime it just doesn’t add up. Take into consideration of battery storage at night. Loss through inverters lenght of time for recharging (several cloudy days your done)it just doen’t work in Ct!. Every part of the nation will have a different issue to face. The only thing that is truly universal is natural gas generation for most of the continental USA. Using the grid ofcourse and it still should be a newer improved grid at that. “tex” what do you think will happen if EVERYONE went out and got an electric car? Great eh? Wrong if everyone went out and got one then went home at night and plugged in? Forget it the grid couldn’t handle the imense drain!This is my point not everything is the best thing since sliced bread. There are technical things that have to be taken into consideration.This wind turbine is being based on a two year or even a three year study which is rediculous! How about weather pattern changes that are different and in intravals? Look at the hurricanes this year did you notice the differance this year? Yeh big differance! Why are my tax dollars paying for something that doesn’t meet the gov’t findings for wind energy? Should I go grow crops for ethanol and demand money back from the gov’t because I feel its the way out? Wrong ethanol is a joke too!We subsidize it to death it couldn’t sell on its own the gov’t subsidizes the whole operation!And it takes a third more to generate the energy to do what gasoline does. If were going to do something do it smarter not with engineering and forthought thrown to the curb! We put a man on the moon lets research this out too. Without a state or fedral handout!

  6. It lacks integrity to make money at the expense of people’s lives and dreams. All should prosper and make money for their work, when it is honest and done with integrity. To endanger people’s health, safety and property values is not acting in integrity, nor is it honest. Anything that is not built on the foundation of integrity and honesty will ultimately fail.

    What I see is a big company trying to take advantage of good hearted people in a peaceful community by waving dollar signs in front of them with incomplete information. Many like myself, would hear the words “green energy” and be all for a project. However, if you take a ride and see where this will be, and how close it is to people and their lives, the safety, health and property concerns are very apparent.

    I live on the beach, but my heart is on that hill. We all should care about this because “green” energy is only green and clean when it honors EVERYONE.

  7. There are no tracking numbers nor bar codes on electrons and only three major grid divisions in the country. The power will be there electrically if not monetarily. You may not see a difference overnight in your bill. Generation comes from fuel. Fuel prices go up, energy prices go up. Fuel with unchanging price? Wind. This can be and has proven to be a stabilizing force. As for the other comment: BNE is a company proposing to install power generation facilities not yard art. Do you expect them not to make money? Any other generation facilities working non-profit? Has it not been the American way for companies/individuals to find new ways to make money providing needed services or goods? Make them dot their i’s cross their t’s and scrutizize them in every way to make sure their honest and not taking advantage. But its ridiculous to throw them on the fire for trying to make a profit as any successful business should.

  8. Jeannine hit the nail right on the head, this project is not about green energy for Propect but is more about profits for BNE Energy’s new cash cow……