Wisdom From A Friend

John Droz, Jr., is a physicist who has spent a lot of time studying the impact of wind farms and wind energy. The following is the result of some of his research:

Wind Energy: Local Economics 101

What about the claim that industrial wind energy projects are a “financial boon” to hard-pressed rural communities? On the surface that sounds plausible, but to evaluate this assertion this we need to look a bit deeper. This is a two part answer…

First, we do not select our electrical energy sources based on the economic impact to host communities. Instead our electrical energy sources are chosen because of their reliability, true cost to ratepayers & taxpayers, proximity to demand centers, dispatchability, etc.

Wind energy fares poorly on ALL such metrics — which is why wind salespeople try the sleight-of-hand tactic to talk instead about local taxes, local lease payments, etc. We need to be careful about getting tricked by such marketing tactics.

Secondly, the only way that we can know if these projects are genuinely an economic asset, is if a proper NET financial analysis is done. In other words we need to do a comprehensive and objective investigation into the pros and cons of these projects.

We know the positives, as the developers and their proponents have done a fine job at spelling out the possible benefits: property tax income, lease payments to selected landowners, several construction jobs, a few permanent jobs, etc.

But what about the negatives? How do we come up with the numbers on the other side of the equation, so that we can do an accurate NET financial assessment? The answer is to carefully research studies done by independent experts — i.e scientists, academics, economists, physicians, etc. who generally have no dog-in-the-fight.

After carefully doing that research here are some reasons why a wind project can be an economic liability to a host community:

1 – Independent experts have concluded that local agricultural income can decrease as: a)bats being killed will reduce crop yields, b) turbines can affect local weather [up to 15 miles away!] which will also lower crop yields, and c) in some cases, farmers with turbine leases will reduce or terminate operations. For much more on this, see here.

2 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that there can be serious hydro-geological consequences from wind projects. Here is a sample study done in Vermont.

3 – Studies from independent experts have concluded tourism will drop in the region. For example, North Carolina State University (avid wind proponents) surveyed tourists. Although the majority of the visitors stated that they supported wind energy, 80%± said that they would not vacation in an area where wind turbines were visible. Some other studies that have concluded that tourism will be reduced are listed here.

4 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that property values will decrease for residences within 1± miles of a wind project. This was the conclusion of largest study in the world on this topic, done by the London School of Economics. Here is an extensive list of other studies and articles that came to the same conclusion.

5 – Studies from medical professionals have concluded that some nearby citizens will experience adverse health effects. The biggest concern is from infrasound (noise we can not hear). The World Health Organization has stated (p53) that infrasound is more problematic than audible sound. Infrasound can be so harmful that the US military is researching weaponizing it. Over a hundred studies have concluded that there will be health consequences (here is a representative sample, including cancer).

6 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can cause major eco-system damage. See this sample study (esp. pages 103-122).

7 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can harm wildlife and livestock animals. Sample reports: here, here, here, here and here.

8 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can adversely affect local hunting (and possibly fishing). Here is an explanation of that.

9 – Research by independent experts has shown that wind projects can cause serious interference with military facilities. Here is an overview of the topic.

10-Despite implications otherwise, leaseholders can suffer economic losses. See this explanation of 40+ possible legal and financial liabilities to signing turbine leases.

So what might the NET be after taking the positives and negatives into account? A sample analysis was done of the proposed NY Horse Creek wind project. The conclusion is that the NET economic impact would likely be a loss of $10± Million a year. For comparison, an analysis of the NC Timbermill wind project was also done. The conclusion is that there could be a NET economic loss of $12± Million a year.

So before any community can say that a “wind project is a financial windfall,” a comprehensive and objective financial analysis must be done. Right now, no one in any federal, state or local agency, is thoroughly investigating these wind energy liabilities.

Without such an analysis, all financial claims are simply one-side of the economic equation — and are not an accurate representation of the NET economic impact. The evidence to date indicates that wind energy is the “gift” that keeps on taking.

Let me know any questions (email: “aaprjohn at northnet dot org”). john droz, jr. physicist 5/31/19

PS — For additional information on all of these costs, please see WiseEnergy.org.

Wind energy is probably a good idea, but we are not there yet in terms of technology. If the free market were allowed to function in the energy industry, we might get there faster.

Note:  I have linked a few of the studies listed in this paper. To go to the original paper and get the complete list go here.

Former Governor Dalrymple’s Statement About the Dakota Access Pipeline

On Wednesday, The Grand Forks Herald posted former Governor Dalrymple’s statement regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. As usual, much of what you have read in the press is untrue.

This some of what the former Governor said:

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been marred by a steady stream of misinformation and rumor. As governor of North Dakota, I feel it’s important to share facts regarding the route, permitting and our North Dakota law enforcement’s exemplary management of protesters.

North Dakota’s connection to the pipeline began in 2014 when Energy Transfer Partners officially filed an application for corridor compatibility and a route permit through our Public Service Commission. It is the job of our three-person elected commission to handle all such matters according to state law. A 13-month review process included public-input meetings held across the state. As a result of these meetings, the route was modified 140 times to ensure environmental safety, including a shift to follow an existing gas pipeline corridor so an entirely new pathway didn’t have to be created. The final route was legally approved and permitted by the state of North Dakota. The location for the crossing of the Missouri River was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And the easement was forwarded to the assistant secretary for signature.

There are some essential facts in this unfolding situation.

  • First and foremost, not one person from the tribe attended any of the meetings and hearings publicly noticed by state regulators over the course of two years.Second, the pipeline’s permitted route never crosses tribal land.
  • Those opponents who cite the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie to dispute who owns the lands conveniently ignore the later treaty of 1868.
  • Finally, with respect to the pipeline’s proximity to the Standing Rock Reservation’s water supply, its existing intake already was scheduled to be shut down by the end of 2016 and replaced by an intake in South Dakota, some 70 miles away.

All of these facts were validated by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., who ruled against a request for an injunction.

While the right to disagree with projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline absolutely exists, and those who disagree are welcome to exercise their right to free speech to declare that, it never should be acceptable to ignore straightforward facts and trample on a legal process that was followed carefully. It is unacceptable that the facts of the permitting process not only were omitted in much of the discussion among those who disagreed with the pipeline but were twisted in order to paint the state of North Dakota and federal government as reckless and racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

…Who were these people who came from all over the country to Cannonball? Hundreds of them were peaceful protesters, drawn to the general cause of environmental protection by a flood of social media calls for “help.” But many were actually professional agitators recruited by large environmental activist organizations to intimidate people to drop their support for the project. This subgroup hurled rocks and debris at law enforcement and harassed their families. What started out as a tribe’s objections to a pipeline siting grew into something far different.

This particular pipe is state-of-the-art when it comes to safety. It will be buried 92 feet below the bottom of the Missouri River. It will be double the strength of the pipe buried on land. And it will have sophisticated flow-monitoring devices on both sides of the river with automatic shut-off valves.

To date, the 1,172-mile pipeline is virtually complete from North Dakota to Illinois — with the exception of this river crossing. When complete, the pipeline will deliver one-half of the petroleum production from the Bakken region to markets throughout the U.S. And it will be much, much safer from an environmental standpoint than the alternative modes of truck or rail transportation. Again, the pipeline does not cross reservation land.

Please follow the link to read the entire article and the entire statement. One thing to remember here is that there are people who will make a lot of money if this pipeline is not built. Those people own the rail cars the oil is currently being transported on. Pipelines have a much better safety record than rail cars and have a much lower carbon footprint, so the protest cannot really be about the environment. Also, many of the protesters are paid protesters. It would be interesting to know who is paying them and how much.

The statement concludes:

What ultimately has happened is that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s voice now largely has become overshadowed. Environmental activist organizations, which never before showed much interest in North Dakota, used a massive social-media machine to drive misinformation about the pipeline and protests and to accuse law enforcement and the National Guard of criminal mistreatment of protesters. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Now that winter, including several feet of snow and subfreezing temperatures, has settled into our state, law enforcement and several neighboring communities have gone above and beyond to help rescue and shelter people who came unprepared. Public schools have been opened as shelters, and law enforcement repeatedly has given warnings to safely leave camp ahead of major storms.

We are proud of the restraint and the professionalism of our law enforcement officers. Attacks on their conduct have been totally inaccurate, and I hope time will help reveal the facts surrounding this ongoing situation and that reason will prevail.

Like it or not, our economy is carbon-fuel dependent. Until the technology in green energy improves, that is not going to change. Oddly enough, the technology in green energy will not improve until the government removes itself from the green energy market–right now green energy depends on government subsidies and has no reason to become more efficient. The government’s support of companies like Solyndra did not advance the cause of green energy. The free market will advance green energy if it is allowed to function as it should.

Better Late Than Never

On August 22, 2010, CBN terrorist correspondent Erick Stakelbeck posted a story at CBN about a mega-mosque to be built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The town residents were concerned because they were not given proper notification of the building plans in the prescribed manner which would have allowed public debate.

The article reports:

“Within 17 days they had approval to build this mosque, when there are other large congregations here in the community who, some took as much as a year and a half to get the approval to build onto their facilities,” said local activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore, who is president of the pro-Israel group, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.

As someone who lives in a small town, I can’t image any local government ruling body getting anything done in 17 days–for a construction project that size, you need public hearings, zoning board meetings, and other legalistic-sounding things.

The CBN article also reports:

The County commission is now taking a second look at local residents’ concerns about the mosque project, including the environmental impact and traffic flow that would result.

There are also complaints about an unmarked grave that has appeared on the Islamic Center‘s new property.

“We don’t know anything about the body other than it was wrapped–it’s not in a casket, it’s not embalmed, it’s not in a vault,” said local activist Kevin Fisher.

Mosque officials told us they know who is buried there, but did not give us a name. Mayor Burgess said. “The burial was legal.

But others say it’s further proof that a massive Islamic center is not a good fit in their community.

Today CBN News posted a follow-up article on the mosque.

The article at CBN today states:

The judge threw out a county commission’s ruling approving the construction on the grounds that the public wasn’t properly notified of a planning meeting.

The article reports that construction on the mosque is well underway, and that the builders will have to seek another approval from the county commission.

It is unfortunate that construction on the mosque has already begun, but it also sounds as if there are some serious questions as to whether the builders followed the proper route in getting approval for their project. If Islam were simply another religion, I don’t think there would be a problem, but there is a political and legal aspect of Islam that is incompatible with the U. S. Constitution. Another problem here is the source of the money to finance this project. The majority of mosques in America are financed with money from Saudi Arabia, where the official state religion is radical Wahhabi Islam. Radical Islam is not something we want to import into middle America.

 

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