This is in reply to the article, VALLEY GROUP WORKING for CLEANER ENERGY, Wednesday February 17. The article should have been titled, Misleading and Biased information in the Valley Group Working for Clean Energy.
Ann Hedges, director of Policy and Legislative affairs at the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) raised a lot of questions in her presentation on green energy. So here are just a few. She claims that the effort to transition from fossil fuel sources to “renewable” energy sources like solar, wind, and water is needed and important. Ok, if so, then answer the following:
Solar? Solar means “sun” and often that is missing in the Bitterroot especially in the winter. Consider the last week of snow every day for about five days. Like in Texas, No sun – no power!
Water? From where is Hedges going to get the water here in the Bitterroot which doesn’t have enough water now to meet all the demand? Just ask the citizens of Stevensville about water costs, why don’t you? Or ask the water court if they will adjudicate water for energy rather than for human or animal consumption or farming and agriculture? Or what happens if we don’t get enough snow or rain and have dry years ? Hmmm? Then what Ann?
Wind? Ahh yes, those magnificent dangerous wind turbines that are made of STEEL from fossil fuels and need steel in their bases to keep them upright when strong winds blow and, in their parts, to keep them running. And the blades being made from fiberglass that shatter in high winds or turbines that don’t run when it is too cold or windy for them to operate, or the noise that they generate? OR the birds they kill? Talk about them Ann and do a complete presentation not just a one sided one.
Fire, Explosions and Placement of Turbines? OOPS! Ann didn’t mention these negative aspects of wind turbines. A southern Washington ground wildfire last July started when caused by melting sections of a wind turbine that fell to the ground after the turbine’s generator caught fire. 242 acres of ground were burned to a crisp before firefighters using fire trucks and planes made from fossil fuels and fueled by fossil fuels carrying water were able to put the fire out. There are many fires that have happened with turbines. They all seem to start in the METAL generator parts of a turbine. She also forgot to mention a highway that had to be closed for quite a while as one turbine spun out of control that was too close to the highway and the owners had to wait until the wind stopped blowing to repair it. When the blades break or shatter into pieces, the pieces FLY through the air if the wind is strong. What do they hit? Where do they land?
Blades – What happens when those fiberglass wind blades crack or start to break apart? Where are they buried? Montana and other states! Yes, Ann forgot to mention that additional negative aspect of the wind turbines. According to PrincipaScientific.com fifty thousand TONS of useless wind turbine blades were dumped in Montana landfills. Another huge graveyard is in Wyoming.
Batteries – What happens when batteries used for storage get old and stop working? The same landfills are used or shipping if required of these to be recycled. Again, costs not mentioned.
Solar Panels – What happens to the environment when toxic minerals from the solar panels as they deteriorate and are dumped in landfills, leak into the ground and contaminate the water Hedges wants to use for energy? Hedges forgot to mention that negative aspect of “clean energy.” By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new toxic solar e-waste annually. Let’s ask Hedges about this “small” problem, shall we?
See Letters, page 5
Cost? Hedges had a chart showing that green energy will be less costly than using fossil fuels. Just like the subjects above, her chart is misleading. She doesn’t factor in the cost of “making” green energy or explain what would be used when green energy stops working. Hedges cited the cost of solar panels being high. Yes, she is right. Now think of what happens when demand rises for those panels. Will the cost drop? Look at the demand for silver and other precious metals and chemicals that are in the panels – think those prices will drop if demand is high? From where do we get the silver needed? MINES! Hmmm, back to the environment again. You must have big heavy STEEL equipment which runs on petroleum to bring it out and to process it. Coal is still king for power generation and Wyoming has lots of it. 3-4 cents per kilowatt compared to green energy costs that range much higher if you factor in the cost of manufacturing “green energy.” Clean coal is a manageable power source, all we have to do is use it.
Cronyism and Corruption? Northwest energy is trying to force Montana to “transition” to green energy. And the question I ask is why? Who will benefit from the “construction of green energy?” No, it won’t be the consumer who will be hit with high prices and taxes, but the companies that will demand TAX BREAKS to install this green energy and then go bankrupt or have to raise prices when their utopian dream doesn’t pan out or the sun doesn’t shine, or the wind doesn’t blow or blows too much. Just look at the companies Obama funded with taxpayer money. Obama gave them millions and billions of taxpayer dollars: Where did that money go? Laundered?
I have lots of questions on Hedge’s presentation. What questions do readers of the Bitterroot Star have?