Wind is no Energy Panacea

By Charles Battig, Roanoke.com

Battig, of Charlottesville, is a retired physician with an advanced degree in electrical engineering.

To those living in line-of-sight of rotating (not “oscillating,” as Richard Rusk states) turbine blades, the health issues are real enough.

“Wind-turbine Syndrome” was coined by Dr. Nina Pierpont in describing the medical impacts on captive neighbors. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus), headaches, insomnia and nausea are health complaints she documented. Citizens in Canada, Britain, Denmark and France have registered similar complaints to their authorities about nearby wind-turbine installations.

The low-frequency thump, thump, thump is relentless and inescapable, save by moving away. Imagine the negative tourist attraction of an array of rotating blades as they slice and dice the sunset into a headache-inducing light flicker. Their slice-and-dicing of wild birds has earned them the name “Cuisinarts of the air.”

The Federal Aviation Administration considered the impact of this wind turbine installation. I had hoped it would remember the tragic plane crash and death of my neighbor Peter Sheeran at Roanoke Airport last year. Adding the possibility of radar disruption and light flicker to local strong winds makes for less safe flying.

Peak oil? Over the past 30-plus years, we have consumed three times the reserves known in 1976; known reserves are now double the known starting amount. The U.S. has so much natural gas that it has been crowned the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

“The air we breathe is polluted with carbon dioxide,” said Rusk. Really? We exhale about 4 percent carbon dioxide with each breath; it is a necessary plant food; it puts the green in our green environment.

Wind and solar are the least efficient forms of energy compared to coal and oil. Wind power is not dispatchable; you cannot count on it 24/7. Where is the gas-fired, backup power plant to be located providing power when the wind doesn’t blow? Extensive experience in Spain has shown the loss of two jobs for each new green one.

Taxpayers are forced to subsidize these wind turbine projects, bringing financial gain to out-of-town developers. What they get in return is more expensive, less reliable energy and environmental despoilage — nothing to celebrate any day.

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