More info on turbines

In a letter to in the Sunday edition of The A-T, Loren Hintz spoke favorably of building wind turbines in Seneca County. I am writing today to add further information on some of his points.

Hintz made the comment that he took a trip and visited some wind turbines in Fulton and Wood counties and saw nothing objectionable. The usgs.gov website shows three turbines in Fulton area and four in Wood. They range from 300 to 390 feet tall. There are 150-200 turbines proposed in Seneca County and they will be in the 600-foot-high range. We will be living with them, not visiting, and many thousands of Seneca County residents will be living very close to them. Visibility maps filed in Columbus show that 136-180 turbines will be visible from the Tiffin Walmart location. Make no mistake, they will be a part of all of our daily lives for many decades.

Hintz appears to be making the point that the Trump administration supports wind turbines. Trump has spoken often and loudly against wind turbines and fought against them fiercely even before becoming president.

Hintz makes the point that Google has come up with software to help gas-fired generators backup intermittent wind energy. Yes, there is software to help gas back up wind, which is good because gas has to back up wind on a near-continuous basis and ends up producing 2/3 of the power that the wind turbines were suppose to produce. When the required backup of wind is factored in, then the concept of saving CO2 emissions with wind energy becomes invalid. The more wind turbines we build, the more natural gas (and the fracking that comes with it) we will need. Gas turbines run inefficiently when used as backup and actually use less gas if left operating full time instead of intermittently. And, there is no battery technology yet invented that can affordably and sufficiently replace gas as backup for wind.

Hintz says there are “simple procedures” that can be used to help prevent turbines from killing birds and bats. Yes there is. It is by turning the turbines off, which defeats the purpose for which they were supposedly built.

Hintz makes the point that nuclear is not a viable way to produce electricity mainly because of the waste problem associated with it. The new nuclear plants (Gen4) actually burn the nuclear waste we currently have sitting around, which is estimated to be enough to generate the power we need for over 200 years. No accidents have been recorded anywhere in the world on newer style plants. New nuclear plants in the United States would most likely be installed at same locations as existing plants and would have little, if any, further impact on the surrounding areas. Any serious effort to lower CO2 emissions will have to include a heavy reliance on nuclear power plants because they are the only kind of power plant that can produce massive amounts of stable electricity with zero CO2 emissions. Despite common belief, wind turbines make hardly a dent (if at all) in CO2 emissions because of the backup issue stated above. And, whenever you hear that “wind is now the cheapest form of electricity,” remember they are not including the cost of backing it up.

Hintz cites Costa Rica as an example of how renewables could provide nearly 100 percent of our electricity. Costa Rica does generate most of its electricity from renewables, but 78 percent of it is from hydroelectric dams, whose output does not depend on whether the wind blows. Costa Rica is a small country, but it is still 35 times larger than Seneca County. The total wind power installed in Costa Rica is less than what is proposed to be installed in Seneca County and is located in the mountains away from population.

Hintz says landowners who are facing financial problems can be helped by getting payments for hosting wind turbines. My family also owns land in Seneca County but if we were in need of money to survive, we would sell some or all of it before we would put 600-foot-tall wind turbines in our neighbors’ faces against their will. We could have turbines on our property but will not participate in the exploitation of Seneca County by huge outside corporations and its transformation into a sprawling industrial wind factory. This is our home. According to his Facebook page, Hintz lives in North Carolina.

Wind turbine promoters like to constantly mention the fact they will bring money to the county. But the income from the two combined projects in Seneca County to schools, government agencies, landowner payments and salaries for the permanent jobs all add up to less that 45 cents per day per person in the county. Seneca County is neither poor or desolate. There are many times more people here than the average place where wind projects are located around the country. Another 45 cents per day of income for each of us will not change our lives. The effects of living with 150 +/- wind turbines 600 feet tall spinning and blinking over our heads WILL change our lives and very much so for the thousands of Seneca County residents who will have to live near them. Solar would make a much better fit for Seneca County and could do everything that wind promises to do (including the income) with near zero negative effects to people living nearby. Despite everything promoters say, there is no good reason to build wind turbines in Seneca County.

Jim Feasel,