Letter: Be factual, not emotional, about wind energy

Posted 5/19/23

To the editor:

Our gang of wind turbine protestors claim that wind turbines are killing sea creatures (“A rally cry against offshore wind,” The Portsmouth Times, May 18). Let’s …

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Letter: Be factual, not emotional, about wind energy

Posted

To the editor:

Our gang of wind turbine protestors claim that wind turbines are killing sea creatures (“A rally cry against offshore wind,” The Portsmouth Times, May 18). Let’s look at the facts.

According to NOAA, there are no attributable ocean mammal deaths that can be pinned on wind turbines. Of the 181 whale deaths that have occurred off the U.S. North Atlantic coast in the last six years, half are attributable to ocean going vessels, with the rest as yet to be determined. 

Some of our protestors blamed the site survey sonar for confusing and beaching the whales. Possible, but such radars are on a much different frequency. This claim, without proof, would be akin to saying a “dog whistle caused a train wreck.”

Then there was the suggestion that the magnetic fields produced by the wind energy transmission cables placed in the sea bed would kill organisms. Possible, but again not likely a significant influence. The magnetic field generated by the turbine wattage pales in comparison to that of the existing power plant cables feeding Aquidneck island, Block Island, Long Island, Rhode Island and any other island for that matter. Statistically, adding wind turbine cables to the mix wouldn’t be a blip on the landscape.

My point: If you are going to protest wind energy, be factual and not emotional. Salient talking points include:

• It takes more energy to make a wind turbine than the turbine will ever produce.

• Or, the components of a wind turbine are composed of 30 percent fossil fuel. Eliminating fossil fuels kills the wind turbine.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for alternative sustainable energies. Oil industry experts estimate that the planet will run out of fossil fuels in about 50 years, so the need for an alternative energy source is real. But let’s be smart about it. Wind power is not a viable long-term solution. 

Why? Energy demand is such that wind and solar only supply 3 percent of the total need. You would literally have to cover the planet with turbine and solar panels to meet the current demand. If you did that, then you would have to run the transmission cables, all of them, to a grid. Logistically not possible. 

There is a solution however: hydrogen! (It’s) viable in both all existing combustion processes, including fuel cells (cars), with the byproduct being water. Hydrogen is plentiful and most importantly, the energy produced would be infrastructure-compatible.  

In summary, being concerned about the environment is terrific, but be informed. Say things that are factual and not just a popular sound bite. While I’m not a fan of wind as a long-term solution, I’m less a fan of some of the falsehoods put out in this article to stop this or any other energy project.

Rick Russo

186 Ferry Land Circle

Portsmouth

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