Notable quotes about the folly of wind energy

See http://www.wind-watch.org/quotes.php

Really, if it weren’t wind, the environmental groups would be out there screaming their heads off about the destruction that’s going on.

— Stephanie Kaplan, Vermont Public Radio, Nov. 15, 2010

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The wind farm business is an immense folly inflicted on a gullible public by big business, with the collusion of big government, at enormous expense to taxpayers and the environment, with shockingly little energy benefit.

— Christopher Barnes, West Marin Citizen (California), Nov. 2010

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Greenwashing at its best? Put a wind turbine in front of it, and no one will notice that the coal and nuclear plants are still there, working away as much as ever.

— “Rucio”

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Not being an alternative themselves, it is quite simply spurious to ask for an alternative to replace them.

— Dominic Mette, Secretary-General, European Platform Against Windfarms

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It sounds like we have an international airport next door to us. Our health is being threatened. We’re about ready to abandon our property.

— Scott Shillingstad, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma

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If we knew what would happen, never would we have signed a contract that puts our friends and neighbors through this.

— Hal Graham, Cohocton, New York

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To fulfill the charge of making Maine a leader in wind power development and to simultaneously protect Maine’s quality of place is impossible.

— Chris O’Neil, Maine

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The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.

— John 3:8

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My family and my self’s lives have been completely devastated and turned upside down by the erection of 27 giant wind monsters in every direction from our home by the Wind Capital Group and Tom Carnahan, as close as 1500 feet from our home. They surround us. They keep us from sleeping at night and drive us crazy by day, as I try to care for our World Class AQHA and APHA horses. They’ve ruined the equity in our farm that took us 15 hard years to create. They’ve ruined the marketability of our farm, not that we ever even considered selling, or moving. Now we have no choice. We just bought a house in town, and will be, regrettably, abandoning our precious home.

— Charlie Porter, King City, Missouri

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Wind energy will undoubtedly create noise, which increases stress, which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

— Julia Gohlke, Sharon Hrynkow, and Christopher Portier, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health

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Wind turbine noise is becoming a bigger issue in the U.S. It’s been a big issue in Europe for a while because their wind farms have been up longer and they are in more densely populated areas.

— Patrick Moriarty, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, The Free Press, August 12, 2010

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You can go 150 miles without losing sight of a wind turbine.

— Greg Wortham, Mayor, Sweetwater, Texas, and Director, Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse, MSNBC, Dec. 14, 2010

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The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.

— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1890

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With no accountability, transparency, or meaningful regulation, wind is basically drunken energy, staggering its way around the grid, making everything and everyone around it work much harder just to keep it from smashing up the works. It’s the dumbest modern power idea imaginable.

— Jon Boone, Maryland

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Mike, we are a green energy company, but the green stands for money.

— Jeffrey Skilling, President, Enron

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Looking at the ridge lines, you’re looking at the same thing Ethan Allen and those people looked at. We’ve worked hard to keep billboards off the side of the roads. You can’t put up a billboard but you can put up a 400-foot tower? It doesn’t make sense.

— Michael Klopchin, Select Board Chairman, Clarendon, Vt.

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We must not crucify Penobscot Bay on a cross of wind.

— Ron Huber, Rockland, Me.

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Wind’s unpredictability means it truly has no generating capacity value, and its construction will not displace building any new coal or natural gas generating capacity. Grid reserve margins require wind-back up, and the inefficiency of quickly firing up a natural gas unit to meet erratic wind generation output means any emissions displacement is minimal. Wind is simply an additional capital cost which proves to be more than twice as expensive for the ratepayer.

— Tom Hewson, “Calculating Wind Power’s Environmental Benefits”, Power Engineering, July 2009

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In spite of the establishment of significant volumes of additional wind power as a result of the energy agreement of 21 February 2008, fuel consumption remains almost constant in the forecast period.

— Energinet.dk, Environmental Report 2008

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As the wind installations multiply, companies have found themselves dumping energy late at night, adjusting the blades so they do not catch the wind, because there is no demand for the power. And grid operators, accustomed to meeting demand by adjusting supplies, are now struggling to maintain stability as supplies fluctuate.

— New York Times, July 27, 2010

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When I first saw the so-out-of-place wind turbines and their Vegas-style strobe lights on the once quiet and majestic ridges of my eastern Oregon childhood home, I cried.

— Lynne Stone, Oregon

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The negatives of wind power so greatly outweigh the small amount of energy they produce I’m surprised the European environmentalist don’t demand they be stopped.

— Jim Greenfield

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It’s like taking up smoking because you drink too much. And now you’re a smoker as well as a drinker.

— Frida Payle

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Chi vuole la salvezza delle bellezze storico-paesaggistiche della Sicilia e di tutta l’Italia, non può che avversare l’eolico. [If you want to save the historic and scenic beauties of Sicily and all of Italy, you must oppose wind energy.]

— Vittorio Sgarbi, mayor of Salemi, Sicily, Sicilia Informazioni, Dec. 9, 2008

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Delle pale eoliche è la piaga finale del paesaggio italiano. [Wind towers are the final plague of the Italian countryside.]

— Oreste Rutigliano, Sicilia Informazioni, Dec. 9, 2008

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Franchement, quand je survole certains pays européens [les éoliennes] ne donne pas envie. [Frankly, when I fly over a number of European countries, the turbines I see do not fill me with envy.]

— Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, Oct. 25, 2007

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European countries are far ahead of the United States in not only wind power, but in its unhappy consequences.

— Ed Hiserodt, “Green Fairy Tales”, The New American, June 22, 2009

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Why isn’t as much time and effort spent educating and encouraging people to conserve rather than defacing our landscape? … Long-term benefits like preserving the character of Vermont and energy conservation are more important than short-term solutions that create more problems than they solve.

— Jane FitzGerald, Milton, Vt., Burlington Free Press, May 15, 2009

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The current anger at the march of turbines and pylons across the hills of Britain is not from nimbys. Government money has lubricated most backyard owners to support wind power. It comes from those who appreciate the beauty of the countryside and who question the industrial spoliation of miles of open landscape for a pitiful net gain to climate change.

— Simon Jenkins, Guardian, July 16, 2009

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Hopelessly uneconomic on any substantial scale, since it requires a conventional power back-up for when the wind stops blowing, forests of wind turbines are rightly regarded in most countries as an environmental monstrosity.

— Nigel Lawson, Time, May 21, 2008

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The development of renewable energy resources will require a significant expansion of the grid, as well as a significant increase in needed operating reserves given the intermittent nature of wind and other resources.

— Terry Boston, president and CEO, PJM Interconnection

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Thirty gigawatts of wind maybe requires 25 GW of backup.

— Rupert Steele, regulation director, Scottish Power (Iberdrola), Reuters, Apr. 22, 2009

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[F]or every wind turbine brought online, a more stable backup power source must be found.

— Michael Milstein, Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 11, 2009

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If we compare the costs incurred in supporting the wind industry with the result in terms of emissions reduction, the picture is rather unconvincing. The choices made by the most advanced European countries in wind-power development have been costly and have not yet yielded significant emission reductions.

— Maïté Jaureguy-Naudin, “Wind Power: a Victim of Policy and Politics?” Institut français des relations internationales, Oct. 2010

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They’re just a symbol for politicians who want to be seen to be green.

— Ann West, Country Guardian, U.K.

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Green campaigners love wind turbines, but the permanent magnets [in] a 3-megawatt turbine contain some two tons of rare earth.

— Lindsey Hilsum, Independent Television News, PBS News Hour, Dec. 14, 2009

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Building giant wind turbines, however attention-getting or distracting, does not make the other problems go away.

— Rosa Goldman

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Wind salesmen mimic the memes of environmentalism to sell their industry, often in ways so deceptive or contrary as to mock the very movement they claim to promote. Current policy of unlimited consents for wind power stations is tragically flawed, will never be the answer to climate change issues, cannot fulfill the national energy supply requirements expected of it, and inflicts an extensive and unjustifiable environmental cost.

— Fergus Ferguson

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I am skeptical about the current craze for windmills. They produce very little useful energy and are an ungodly abomination on the landscape. How can groups that used to gag at clearing a path for a transmission line now accept adorning mountaintops all over the east coast with 45-story structures? As the Nature Conservancy says, it’s “Energy Sprawl”.

— William Tucker

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Given increased regulatory emphasis on wind and solar power generation, and potential greenhouse gas legislation that may limit construction of new coal-fired power plants, natural gas will be the fuel of choice for power generation. Additional gas-fired peaking resources will also be required to provide back-up supply for renewable technologies.

— Black Hills Corp., 2009 Annual Report

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Don’t get the idea that I’ve turned green. My business is making money, and I think this is going to make a lot of money.

— T. Boone Pickens, The Guardian (U.K.), Apr. 14, 2008

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Before declaring itself bankrupt on 15 September, US investment bank Lehman Brothers was one of several major firms that invested in wind projects in exchange for the tax credit, which they used to reduce their federal tax bill.

— Nature, October 1, 2008

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Cumulative impacts are a growing concern with more numerous documentation of wind impacts on birds, bats and their habitats.

— Albert Manville, Senior Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, April 3, 2008, e-mail

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The ecological footprint is large relative to the meager environmental benefits.

— R. Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma Chapter, The Wildlife Society, and others, letter to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Jan. 3, 2008

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Generally there needs to be quite a bit of blasting, bedrock blasting, and the width of the swath that needs to be cleared to create that road for the cranes that put the turbines in place is fairly wide, and what creates the largest amount of habitat fragmentation.

— Eric Sorenson, community ecologist, Vt. Fish and Wildlife Department, Vt. Public Radio, Nov. 24, 1010

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… a very expensive way to generate quite unreliable electricity.

— Tom Adams, Globe and Mail (Canada), December 27, 2007

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Malfunctions and accidents involving wind turbines have occurred repeatedly across the country, leading to suspended services and even the scrapping of one facility.

— Asahi Shinbun, (Japan), January 19, 2008

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One of the messages I presented to the coal industry was, “If you want to have major transmission built, start encouraging wind development.” That’s because the cultural value and acceptance of wind energy provides an opportunity to build transmission lines that are not as desirable with traditional forms of generation.

— Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Public Service Commissioner, North Dakota Public Radio, May 20, 2008

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They are ugly!

— T. Boone Pickens, The Guardian (U.K.), Apr. 14, 2008

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What is so menacing is the regularity and the scope of the noise, which feels like a giant heartbeat shaking the earth.

— Harry Mount, Daily Mail (U.K.), March 10, 2007

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Given the mounting evidence indicating adverse effects that wind turbines can have on human health, it is critical that more research be conducted into adequate setback distances.

— Stephen Boles, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: Are wind farms hazardous to human health?” Red, Green and Blue, June 7, 2009

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Vermont-based wind company Northern Power Systems said that to expect a wind turbine’s gearbox to last for 20 years of continuous operation is like expecting a car’s system to endure four million miles.

— Ecoseed, Oct. 29, 2010

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Commercial wind power development is an environmental and economic folly, but the true danger lies in the fact that it will divert our attention and resources away from finding real solutions to our very real and urgent problems.

— Sue Sliwinski, N.Y.

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It’s well past time to stop considering what wind might do and to examine what it has done. It has not reduced fossil fuel use or emissions. It has only ruined a lot of landscapes and communities, fragmented habitat, and killed birds and bats.

— Eric Rosenbloom, Vt.

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Tous nos paysages français (campagnes, montagnes, bords de mers) sont menacés pour quelques % d’électricité, une diminution ridicule de 0,6% des émissions françaises de CO2, et surtout l’outrageux enrichissement de quelques promoteurs éoliens. [All of our French landscapes (fields, mountains, shores) are targeted for a certain percent of electricity, a ridiculous 0.6% reduction of French CO2 emissions, and especially the outrageous enrichment of several wind energy promoters.]

— Collectif 6 Octobre

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Faith in the redemptive power of wind energy is not a substitute for analysis of its actual record.

— Eric Rosenbloom, Vt.

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Until you see this up close, you don’t understand the impact these turbines are having.

— John Eichelberger, Pa. Senator, Oct. 12, 2007

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The irreparable ecological damage, loss of amenity and distressing divisions within communities caused by industrial wind turbines far outweigh any benefit of their insignificant and unreliable contribution to our energy needs. Their tiny, intermittent output of electricity and negligible CO2 savings cannot possibly justify the sacrifice of our most potent national symbol and finite resource – the magnificent landscapes of Wales.

— Angela Kelly, Country Guardian, U.K.

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Bat problems are turning out to be a serious issue. Fifty or sixty kills per turbine are significant numbers and are causing concern.

— panelist at Strategic Wind Developers’ Perspective on Wind Development session, Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit, San Diego, Feb. 7, 2008

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The tiny, intermittent output of electricity and the negligible CO2 savings cannot possibly justify the huge sacrifice of that most finite resource — our unspoilt and irreplaceable countryside. It is our duty to protect our rural heritage for present and future generations from such gross and unnecessary industrialization.

— Angela Kelly, Country Guardian, U.K.

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The wind farm folks are here because city residents won’t allow turbines in their back yards, and farmers are pressed for money and easy prey for slick dealers.

— Peg Britton, Kan.

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I got turbines and the money doesn’t pay off in the end. I’ve gotta spend more on cutting around those things and all them cables. It has destroyed my farmland.

— Allen Haas, Malone, Wis.

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People who say ‘You can’t tell me what to do with my property’ are in actuality signing away the control of their property to wind companies in signing these leases.

— Barbara Boone, Md.

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[The developers] put up a front like they’re really trying to do something for you, but in the long run they’re going to stick you in the back, it seems, and they want to turn neighbor against neighbor so that they can fight among themselves and then they can sit back and come out the winners.

— Kevin Mittlestadt, Fond du Lac County, Wis., “Wisconsin Wind” (video)

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Up to two-thirds of the value of a wind project may derive from federal programs and tax subsidies, as the revenues from the sale of power may not be sufficient to pay for the project development and operating costs. These tax subsidies include combinations of accelerated depreciation, production tax credits (PTCs), investment tax credits (ITCs), federal cash grants and federal loan guarantees.

— North American Windpower, June 2009

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It would be cheaper for the electric customers to pay the landowners to not allow wind turbines to be built on their land!

— Glenn Schleede, Va.

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Industrial wind energy is a symptom of, not a solution to, our energy problems.

— Eric Rosenbloom, Vt.

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What the wind giveth, line loss taketh away.

— Carol A. Overland, Minn.

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Because wind turbines cannot be counted on to produce when electricity demand reaches its highest levels, they have virtually no “capacity value” to grid managers. Therefore, areas experiencing significant electricity demand growth will have to add reliable, dispatchable generating units whether or not they add wind turbines.

— Glenn Schleede, Va.

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On an annual basis, we can be confident about how much wind energy will be produced, but on an hour-by-hour basis we haven’t a clue.

— Gareth Brett, CEO, Highview Power Storage, The Sunday Times, Oct. 31, 2010

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[You] are going to still have to have coal-fired plants and everything else because people still want to have electricity even when the wind is not blowing.

— Coy Harris, executive director, American Wind Power Center and Museum, Lubbock, Texas, Voice of America, Mar. 10, 2009

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The wind, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear. Before the era of steam-engines, windmills were tried for draining mines; but though they were powerful machines, they were very irregular, so that in a long tract of calm weather the mines were drowned, and all the workmen thrown idle.

— William Stanley Jevons, 1865

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Anyone who thinks that wind factories are environmentally friendly should Google ‘Cefn Croes Photo Gallery’, to see 100 chilling pictures showing how many miles of unspoiled Welsh countryside were disfigured to create the largest industrial site in Britain: all to ‘save’ annually less than a quarter of the CO2 emissions from a single jumbo jet.

— Christopher Booker, Telegraph, U.K.

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A wind farm is an industrial installation of vast proportions, and, if erected on the loftiest ridges, its industrial flavor becomes the new focal point for all view-sheds within a 15-mile radius.

— Dave Buhrman, W.Va.

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They’ll present all the reasons why they think that denuding 60 acres of high elevation forest land is not going to cause erosion and degradation of the streams. And we are going to be opposing that, and trying to show the court that indeed it’s impossible to do a project like this in such an environment without degrading the water quality.

— Stephanie Kaplan, Vt., Vermont Public Radio, Oct. 8, 2009

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What is ‘proper siting’ for something that doesn’t work?

— John Droz, N.Y.

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Wind power does not reduce global warming, is not commercially viable, and is environmentally destructive.

— John Droz, N.Y.

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En conclusion il faut refuser les éoliennes situées à moins de 5 km de toute habitation, à cause des risques produits par les infrasons. [In conclusion, wind turbines less than 5 km (3.1 miles) from any residence, must be refused, because of the risks produced by infrasound.]

— Marjolaine Villey, France, “Éoliennes, sons et infrasons: effet de l’éolien industriel sur la santé des hommes” [Wind turbines, noise, and infrasound: effect of industrial wind power on human health]

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Wind farms make people sick who live up to a mile away.

— Telegraph (U.K.), 25 June 2004

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Even if wind turbines were built in Hawaii, excess capacity would have to be built to handle peak loads in the event that the winds weren’t blowing or the islands would experience brownouts or blackouts. The fact that the periods of highest demands would coincide with a drop-off in wind speed means wind turbines cannot be counted on the meet peak load demands in Hawaii. So electrical generating capacity would have to be built twice, first as wind turbines and second as backup peak capacity protection.

— Don Newman, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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The distinction between wind and wind energy is critical. The wind itself is free, but wind energy is anything but.

— Drew Thornley, “Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future”

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Because wind energy is intermittent, there always must be conventional generation, primarily natural gas or coal, ready to supplement electricity when the wind either dies down or blows so hard wind generators cannot operate. Electric generation is also needed to provide what are called “ancillary” transmission services, such as maintaining proper voltage throughout the transmission grid.

— Texas Co-op Power, August 2008

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We now have so much windpower generation that we need to fall back on reliable sources of power.

— Peter Hunt, spokesman, Enmax, Alberta, Financial Post, April 20, 2007

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It is not just that wind farms are producing significantly less power than predicted, but that other power stations are required to run in an inefficient manner to support them … this inefficient practice results in them producing higher levels of CO2.

— Andrew Chapman, Inverloch, Aust.

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The output is far from smooth, and the impact on dispatchable plant required to deal with residual demand is highly significant. Our view is that plant operating under these conditions in the support role for wind will suffer: 1) reduced availability, 2) significantly reduced efficiency, and thus 3) higher emissions per MWh generated..

— John Constable, Renewable Energy Foundation, U.K.

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It’s not like riding a bike and leaving the car in the driveway …. Wind energy on the grid is more like riding a bike and having someone follow you in the car in case you get tired.

— Eric Rosenbloom, Vt.

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The landscape is being raped with governmental collusion and fraudulent claims.

— John Etherington, U.K.

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… it was an awful sight on Sunday, a Golgotha-like parade … a shocking, endlessly repeated crucifixion scene along the skyline.

— Patricia Veltkamp-Smith, Southland (N.Z.) Times, Feb. 8, 2007

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Apparently, this place that has never had much use to the larger world beyond that of hosting a new prison or a solid-waste dump turns out to be an ideal location for an industrial “wind farm,” ideal mostly because the people are too few and too poor to offer much in the way of resistance. So far only one of the towns affected has “volunteered” — in much the same way and for most of the same reasons as our children volunteer for service in Iraq — to be the site of what might be described as a vast environmentalist grotto of 400-foot-high spinning “crosses” before which the state’s green progressives will be able to genuflect and receive absolution before zooming back to their prodigiously wired lives.

— Garret Keizer, Harper’s Magazine, June 2007

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Industrial wind parks might be relatively new, but the international context in which they proliferate is a familiar one of “first” and “third” world hierarchies and persistent inequalities.

— Suzanne Simon

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… a landscape reminiscent of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds, where mechanical monsters bestride the countryside destroying all that stands in their way.

— Angus Ballantine, John O’Groat Journal, May 18, 2007

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And all over the countryside, he knew, on every crest and hill, where once the hedges had interlaced, and cottages, churches, inns, and farmhouses had nestled among their trees, wind wheels similar to those he saw and bearing like vast advertisements, gaunt and distinctive symbols of the new age, cast their whirling shadows and stored incessantly the energy that flowed away incessantly through all the arteries of the city. … [T]he great circular shapes of complaining wind-wheels blotted out the heavens …

— H.G. Wells, “A Story of the Days To Come” (1897)

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Wildlife impacts resulting from the construction and operation of wind farms are one of the more significant and complex obstacles for the wind industry.

— Tim Clapp & Jonathan Ryan, “Wildlife Incident Reporting: How to Avoid Liabilities”, North American Windpower, May 2011

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If I were an investor and wanted to keep my green image intact, I would be deeply concerned about building turbines on forested ridgetops.

— Merlin Tuttle, Director, Bat Conservation International

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The cumulative impacts on bat populations from proposed and/or constructed wind farm developments, especially in the eastern United States, may lead to further population declines, placing multiple bat populations at serious risk of extinction.

— Thomas Kunz, Director, Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, Boston University

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In the end, we remain convinced, the entire state [Va.] will see clearly that wind power … is wrong for our mountains and that those who pursue it are driven not by concern for the environment, but by the opportunity to pocket huge profits offered by huge taxpayer subsidies. When the smoke clears, there can be no other conclusion. Whether reason will triumph over the leverage of powerful special interests remains to be seen.

— Editorial Staff, Roanoke Times

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The people who build wind farms are not environmentalists.

— Paul Gipe, Wind Energy Comes of Age

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Wind power does not respond to demand. It may or may not be there when needed. … We will therefore need as much other electricity sources with wind as we would without. … It is not just unnecessary but offensive to entertain industrial-scale development of the ridgelines, with strobe lights and noise and ecological degradation that far surpasses anything now on the mountains, for such obvious nonsense.

— Eric Rosenbloom, Vt.

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Wind power is an idea that is appealing to the imagination. It sounds like a ‘free’ source of energy that would be non-polluting and stable in cost. I am an optimist, and I love technology. If I thought for one moment that windmills would be a source of low cost energy, I would be building them. The reality is quite the contrary — wind power is wasteful of human and natural resources.

— Fergus Smith, Vt.

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Increased development of wind turbines does not reduce Danish carbon dioxide emissions.

— Flemming Nissen, Head of Development, Elsam, Denmark

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I don’t believe it is in the state’s interest to industrialize our ridge lines.

— Jim Douglas, Governor, Vt.

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I wouldn’t be against them [large wind turbines] if they actually worked.

— James Lovelock, U.K.

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Comparing 425 ft. tall wind turbines to power line poles demonstrates the utter stupidity and arrogance of the speaker. I have never seen a power pole move. They just stand there. The turbines have blades that look like knives slashing at the sky (and at whatever hapless creature that may be in the air space). A video with several in motion in the same scene gives the impression of violent chaos. They are not like serene, graceful ballerinas. At the very least, your eye is naturally drawn to them by their motion that resembles something waving its arms to get your attention. We don’t want to see them. We don’t want to look at them; but it is impossible to ignore them.

— Joan Kalso, Mich.

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Wind turbines don’t make good neighbors.

— John Zimmerman (Northeast U.S. Representative, Enxco)

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These are big structures and they do make sound.

— Paul Gaynor, UPC Wind

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Throughout my experience, I could not substantiate a single claim developers made for industrial wind energy, including the one justifying its existence: that massive wind installations would meaningfully reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

— Jon Boone, Md.

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One can certainly concur with concerns about how our culture’s fossil fuel combustion practices help accelerate the process of global warming without uncritically agreeing that the intrusive nature of windpower technology is even a partial solution to the problem.

— Jon Boone, Md.

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Federal tax benefits pay as much as 65% of the capital cost of wind power projects in the United States.

— Keith Martin, Chadbourne and Parke, LLP, Financing Wind Power conference, Dec. 3-5, 2003, New York, N.Y.

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It doesn’t take a genius to figure out there are more cons than pros in this debate.

— Kristin Calkins Rowe, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, Nov. 7, 2005

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The closer you get to the facts about wind energy, the worse wind power appears.

— Scott Darling, wildlife biologist, Vt. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Oct. 4, 2007, Middlebury, Vt. (comments after talk)

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A single 555-megawatt gas-fired power plant in California generates more electricity in a year than do all 13,000 of the state’s wind turbines. The gas-fired plant sits atop a mere 15 acres. The 300-foot-tall windmills impact over a hundred thousand acres to provide expensive, intermittent, insufficient energy.

— L. M. Schwartz

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Consider this: We could be looking at 1,000 or more wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty on the high ridges of the Flint Hills, and they would contribute only about one-tenth of one percent of our current electricity use. That simply isn’t worth the destruction of our unique Tallgrass Prairie land resource.

— Larry Patton, Kan.

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The subsidies for wind are a misuse of public money. The ‘benefits’ from industrial wind are a fantasy and an escape from our energy problems. For me, believing that industrial wind will solve our energy problems is a little like believing the Tooth Fairy will pay my heating bills this winter.

— Linda Bly, Vt.

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Any time citizen participation or regulatory review is called too onerous, rest assured that the process is working as it should.

— Editorial, Baltimore (Md.) Sun, March 9, 2007

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Symbolism aside, Mt. Equinox [Vt.] may not be as impressive as Yosemite’s El Capitan or the Grand Tetons, but something very real would be sacrificed on the questionable altar of Renewable Energy For Profit. Mt. Equinox and all of our mountains are not just a ‘back yard.’ They are a heritage and a legacy. And they are as good a place as any to make a stand.

— Mark Walsh, Manchester (Vt.) Journal, Dec. 30, 2005

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Promoters of the wind energy craze, absentee landowners, and a few locals hoping for a windfall are about to destroy the soul of the Flint Hills.

— Michael Stubbs, Kan.

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Wind energy has again been shown up for what it is, an expensive way of saving a derisory amount of CO2. It is, frankly, a disgrace, that the wind turbine farce continues in the name of saving the planet. The [U.K.] government should intervene immediately and stop these projects — they are a waste of our resources.

— Nina Thorpe

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Wind farms don’t live up to the hype that they are an environmental saviour and a serious alternate energy source, and the effects they can have on their neighbours are so serious it means they should not be allowed to get away with the exaggerated claims. Their claims are fraudulent.

— Peter McGauran, Aust. Senate

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Good winds coincide with neither the heating nor the air-conditioning season. Wind is a willy-nilly source of electricity, and as such is not very useful.

— Richard C. Hill, Bangor (Me.) Daily News, Dec. 24, 2005

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Wind is one of the most difficult things to forecast … If you’re expecting the wind to blow 25 mph all day and generate 1,000 MW, and that wind drops off or doesn’t occur, you have to make up for that with another plant, and that is expensive to throttle up those other, more traditional generation sources.

— Bill Mahoney, National Center for Atmospheric Research

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Big Coal and Big Oil are some of the biggest developers of wind energy. Wind is a tax-sheltering adjunct to their business, not a replacement.

— “Huckle”

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This industry has always wrapped itself in the mantle of green power and has sought to use the environmental benefits of wind power as an excuse for not doing anything about the environmental harms it causes.

— Rick Wiebe, Calif.

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If you lease, chances are one or more of your neighbors is going to have to deal with eminent domain. Now these are private, wind development companies; however, once they sell that power to a power purchaser, they can go to the energy commission and as in Butler County [Kan.]: in two weeks and a little bit of paperwork … they had the power of eminent domain to go across adjacent landowners’ property with power lines, with trenches, with no public hearing.

— Rose Bacon

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People thought they’d get their electric bill reduced, but ours went up and we’re getting nothing. I can’t understand what anybody thought they’d get out of this. This company [FPL] came in, destroyed the top of the mountain, and left us with it.

— Rose Marie Derk, Waymart, Pa.

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For any energy source to be viable, it must be able to be produced on demand. The storage of electricity as a technology is still in its infancy. One of the major drawbacks to wind is its unpredictability as a power source and that it cannot be stored.

— Russell Broadbent, Aust. House of Representatives

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… [I]t will be the equivalent of a water company only supplying tap water when it’s raining.

— Saiful Islam, U.K.

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The idea of windmills conjures up pleasant images — of Holland and tulips, of rural America with windmill blades slowly turning, pumping water at the farm well … But the windmills we are talking about today are not your grandmother’s windmills. Each one is typically 100 yards tall, two stories taller than the Stature of Liberty, taller than a football field is long.

— Lamar Alexander, U.S. Senate

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These people are not as much [wind] developers as they are salesmen. Their product sounds good — and green — in theory, but it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

— Shirley Nelson, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, Dec. 12, 2005

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The [U.K.] government’s thesis that the countryside of upland and coastal Britain is ‘worth sacrificing to save the planet’ is an insult to science, economics and politics. But the greatest insult is to aesthetics. The trouble is that aesthetics has no way of answering back.

— Simon Jenkins, London Times, Oct. 24, 2003

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These are not farms, one doesn’t farm wind any more than one farms water in a hydroelectric dam or farms neutrons in an atomic plant.

— Nina Pierpont, Malone, N.Y.

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The first glimpse of the [Weymart, Pa., Wind Farm] turbines from State Route 6 presents a surreal image like something from a Road Warrior movie.

— Tom Vanesky

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It is a waste of money because it is ineffective. And because it is ineffective its negative impacts are unacceptable.

— Eric Rosenbloom

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There should be a presumption against wind farms in the countryside where their scale, siting or cumulative effect would have a significant adverse impact on landscape quality and recreational enjoyment thereof.

— Countryside Commission, U.K.

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We finally urge the environmentally conscious public and especially these who share our concern for the need to produce energy responsibly by non-polluting means, to recognise that wind turbines are industrial machines for which there should be no place in our finest landscapes.

— Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

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We refuse to accept that our coasts and uplands should be sacrificed in this way, either as a penance for past failure to safeguard the environment or as a token contribution towards reducing atmospheric pollution or addressing possible shortages of fossil fuels. We believe that the costs of such a policy to a civilised society far exceed the perceived benefits.

— Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

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The main success of Danish involvement in wind power would appear to be the foundation of an industry producing wind mills.

— Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Association

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With the exploitation of wind energy, a technology is being promoted that is completely insignificant for the power supply, the preservation of natural resources, and the protection of the climate.

— Lothar Hoischen, Germany

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The negative effects of wind energy use are as much underestimated as its contribution to the statistics is overestimated.

— Darmstadt (Germany) Manifesto

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I don’t believe that wind power would have a very big future, because, relative to the energy produced, it is far too cumbersome, on land as on the sea.

— Marcel Boiteux, Presdient Emeritus, Electricité de France

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Certainly, wind energy is not green energy if it requires that we negatively impact special natural resources, including rare and endangered species and their habitats.

— John Pagels

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Soon we “celebrate” the 20,000th wind plant, without replacing even one single small plant of conventional energy.

— Ferdinand Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Bartenstein, Chairman, Bundesverband Landschaftsschutz (Federal Association for Landscape Protection), Germany

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The larger the share of wind power in a particular grid, the more standby power will have to be available in that grid.

— World Wind Energy Association

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You really don’t count on wind energy as capacity. It is different from other technologies because it can’t be dispatched.

— Christine Real de Azua, Assistant Director of Communications, American Wind Energy Association

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My rule of thumb is 60 acres per megawatt for wind farms on land.

— Tom Gray, Director of Communications and Outreach, American Wind Energy Assocation

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What we have all thought of as an industry of benefit, may not be of much benefit. They don’t provide any jobs and now they may not provide much revenue either!

— Judge Laura Pryor, Gilliam County, Ore.

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One thing is clear: The environmental community must view wind power projects as they would any other type of industrial development.

— Martha Frey, Executive Director, Otsego (N.Y.) 2000

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These aren’t like logging roads to get those blades in there. They’re greater than 40 feet in width, almost like a superhighway.

— Jim Michaels, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Olympia, Wash., Columbian, May 2, 2009
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People have to realize that a 25 percent renewable energy standard by the year 2025 in Illinois amounts to thousands of wind turbines.

— Joel Link, Invenergy

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I recently traveled through the Carbondale section of Pennsylvania. Wind turbines have been allowed to flourish there. They are not simply part of the landscape. They are the landscape. Pure and simple, the wind turbines clearly, eerily dominate everything in that area.

— Editorial, Catskill Mountain News, Oct. 25, 2006

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Turbines are getting so big and overpowering as to be outrageous in any rural context. Their impacts on the landscapes and lives of people is totally disproportionate to the minuscule contribution they make in providing renewable energy and the pitiful savings they offer in CO2 reductions.

— Peter Ogden, Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales, Western Mail, 5 Dec., 2006

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The solution to our energy needs must go through a show of respect for nature, not, once again, a policy that does violence to our hills.

— George Lorimer, St. Andrews, Scotland

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Because of the potential to kill millions of birds from global warming emissions, we’re going to kill millions of birds with wind turbines.

— Bob DeGroot, Md.

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They come from the mindset of outside interests seeing opportunity and acting on it only in their own interest, not especially in the interest of the community – except in the typical hollow words of developers. In the 1930s, Governor George Aiken warned Vermonters of the exploitation occurring by outside interests who were the companies who built and owned our hydropower plants. He was right; today we are at the mercy of the successors to those interests.

— Lyman Orton, Vermont Business, Aug. 20, 2009

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Once these units are up and running … the citizens of Bruce County will be left to look at a wind park of industrial proportions for the rest of their lives.

— Robert Emerson, Bruce County Federation of Agriculture, Ontario

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The Sheffield [Vt.] voters, when they approved the project for an entirely illusory tax benefit, sold the Northeast Kingdom’s birthright for a mess of pottage.

— Caledonian-Record editorial, Aug. 10, 2007

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This will divide the town for 25 years.

— Jack Simons, planning commissioner, Sheffield, Vt.

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[W]ith serious adverse impacts and very low potential benefits, wind … only adds to the industrial depredation of our remaining rural and wild places.

— “Rucio”

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