Ten Ways to Kill Big Wind

How a Little Island Stopped a Huge Industrial Wind Project

Simulated View of Wind Turbines on Molokai

Simulated View of Wind Turbines on Molokai

Despite many victories, communities around the world are still facing a plague of industrial wind projects that like hideous War of the Worlds steel monsters are destroying communities, mountains, and wildlands, slaughtering birds and bats, sickening people and driving them from their homes.

Even though these wind projects do not reduce greenhouse gases or fossil fuel use, they have dreadful environmental, social and economic impacts on whole regions. But they are a tool for energy companies and investment banks to make billions in taxpayer subsidies that get added to our national debt.

The good news is that communities worldwide are learning how to defeat these dreadful projects. More and more laws and moratoriums are being passed against them, while other projects are defeated on legal grounds or by overwhelming public opposition.

In Hawaii, an industrial wind project that would have constructed ninety 42-story turbine towers across seventeen square miles of Molokai has been defeated by a determined two-year effort of the island’s residents. In the process we learned many tactics, which I’ve tried to summarize below and are further described in Saving Paradise:

  1. Show wind projects for what they are: industrial. Not environmental, not green, not renewable, and cause no reductions in greenhouse gases or fossil fuel use, no long-term jobs and few short-term ones.
  2. Don’t be nice. These wind developers are your enemies: they want to destroy where you live, steal your money (property values), and are quite happy to literally drive you from your homes. They will lie, cheat, bribe, buy politicians, and do whatever else they can to win. They won’t be fair and you can’t trust them.
  3. Create a group and get your community behind you. Point out property value loss, human health issues, environmental destruction, tourism impacts, and all the other dreadful results of industrial wind. If you have a homeowners’ associations, make them aware of the danger so they can join the fight.
  4. Publicize your case. In the newspapers, TV and radio, on blogs and in nationwide petitions. Use videos and  good graphics. Go viral, worldwide. Develop a good professional website with lots of information and ways for viewers to participate. Community members should write op-eds and letters to the editor. A very powerful tool is frequent press releases that pass on news reports from National Wind WatchIndustrial Wind Action Group and other organizations about the devastating impacts of industrial wind. These press releases should be sent to all relevant media outlets and local, state and national legislators.
  5. Do mailings to everyone. In Molokai we sent two mailings to all the island’s 2,700 addresses. The first mailer described the dangers of the project and included a survey with a stamped return envelope. We had a massive response, with 97% of responses against the project, and our group gained hundreds of new members. A year later we sent a second mailer with photo mockups showing how the turbines would tower over homes and landscapes. This mailer also included a bumper sticker which many residents then put on their cars.
  6. Be visible. Put up lots of signs, both homemade and professionally done. Put up billboards if you can. Professional signs show you mean business, and are taken more seriously.
  7. Find legislators who will help you. On the state level, Republicans are often more responsive and more concerned about the environment than traditionalist Democrats who have bought the idea that wind is environmental (or who are receiving contributions from wind companies).
  8. Litigate. Find every avenue to impair or slow the wind developers. Once the Washington industrial welfare subsidies are removed, industrial wind companies will vanish overnight.
  9. Get property value loss appraisals. Average losses of 40% or more are being reported; in Molokai, one of the reasons the landowner planning the project cancelled it was they estimated a 75% property value loss on their lands near the project. Publicize the loss of assessed value at county level, and how that will reduce tax revenues. In most cases, property value loss far exceeds any revenue the county might receive from the project.
  10. Civil disobedience. Politicians and energy companies are terrified of this. Don’t be afraid to go to jail to protect the land and homes you love. On Molokai we planned if necessary to start a hunger strike on the island, and there were people ready to starve to death to protect our island. The level of your commitment is equal to the level of your success.

14 thoughts on “Ten Ways to Kill Big Wind

  1. Below are my article, which may be of interest to you.
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46142/impact-pv-solar-feed-tariffs-germany
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46252/thermal-solar-california-desert
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46652/reducing-energy-use-houses
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46824/impact-csp-and-pv-solar-feed-tariffs-spain
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46977/impacts-variable-intermittent-power-grids
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/47519/base-power-alternatives-replace-base-loaded-coal-plants
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/50167/impact-pv-solar-peak-electric-demands
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/50925/electric-vehicle-hoopla
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/51642/dutch-renewables-about-face-towards-nuclear
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/52228/impact-closing-vermont-yankee-nuclear-plant
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/53258/examples-wind-power-learn
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/53939/radiation-exposure
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/57905/wind-power-and-co2-emissions
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/59747/ge-flexefficiency-50-ccgt-facilities-and-wind-turbine-facilities
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61774/wind-energy-expensive
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/64492/wind-energy-reduces-co2-emissions-few-percent
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/67528/german-nuclear-decommissioning-and-renewables-build-out
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/69710/will-germany-make-global-warming-difference
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/71771/energy-efficiency-first-renewables-later
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/74311/german-eeg-program
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/74847/pv-solar-energy-still-success-story-germany
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/77343/vermont-leaders-back-away-renewable-energy-goals
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/83704/reduce-co2-and-slow-global-warming
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/98061/irelands-wind-energy-export-plan
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/107316/global-warming-coal-combustion-and-sea-level-rise
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/151031/global-warming-targets-and-capital-costs-germany-s-energiewende
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-energy-capacity-less-estimated
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/171561/co2-emissions-and-chevy-volt-vs-honda-civic-ex-l
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/184756/plug-hybrid-mileage-overstated-epa
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/191326/deaths-nuclear-energy-compared-other-causes

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  5. Excellent. A big hurdle is to get reporters and editors to understand they are being conned by the green message of wind promoters. Few understand the basic difference between rated capacity of turbines and true production, which is about 25% of capacity. We hope to encourage accurate and honest journalism in our new book, “Journalese — A Dictionary for Deciphering the News.”

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  7. Pingback: Greenie Weenies | WAINFLEET WIND ACTION GROUPWAINFLEET WIND ACTION GROUP

  8. The Town of Cape Vincent, NY has a story of industrial wind that must be told by a good author.
    Big, nasty British Petroleum has targeted a St. Lawrence-Thousands Islands Town with 124-five hundred foot turbines. And, they are mean. Their local leaseholders who are under the advisement of a Bp community organizer sued the local bloggers telling the story.

    It appears we Bloggers telling the story were sued to scare us and shut us up.

    Public officials held wind leases including the planning board chairman who was the lead agent in development while at the same time holding British Petroleum wind leases. An Attorney General investigation just faded away while at the same time the New York State Agriculture commissioner was a wind ease holder.

    Now, the anti-wind town officials are battling British Petroleum and the New York State Public service commission who says they can use New York State Article 10 legislation to override Cape Vincent’s local land use laws.

    The events of the last decade of this wind fight are well documented by two Cape Vincent bloggers. All that is needed is a good Author or Documentary film artist to tell what would perhaps the most sordid story of wind development ever told.

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  9. Pingback: Recent Energy and Environmental News – March 2013 | PA Pundits - International

  10. There should be a documentary on wind power along the lines of An Inconvenient Truth. In other words, all that is labeled “green” is not automatically good. People tend to flock to newer technologies without questioning them until they’ve done too much damage. Wind turblight still hasn’t registered as a serious problem among mainstream environmentalists. They tend to assume anyone against wind power is an AGW denier and/or a drilling & mining proponent.

    America needs to take a cue from Europe and other nations with smaller land areas that have already reached visual turbine-saturation, even far short of the full renewable energy mandates. A John Muir Trust study showing that wind turbines are visible from 60% of Scotland is a serious wake-up call. The roughly 250,000 wind turbines already installed around the world are creating too much wind-sprawl already. Rooftop solar would reduce the physical human footprint along with the carbon footprint, but wind power fails on those fronts.

    Still, there may never be a true substitute for fossil fuels with economies as bloated as they are, especially something that could match oil’s energy density and portability. Scaling back the human experiment may be the best answer, but that’s a tough sell to growthist ideologues.

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