AmericanFarm.com

Wind energy the new air apparent (Editorial)

(April 14, 2015) There’s something about Maryland that appears to be attracting wind farms.
It’s certainly not the wind and that troubles us.
In recent years, proposals have emerged for miles of wind turbine towers to be erected in farmland first in Somerset County and more recently in Kent County.
Needless to say the proposals were met by storms of citizen protest.
The proposed wind farm in Somerset reportedly has been abandoned in favor of a solar project.
The Kent County wind farm is feeling all sorts of heat but at this point, as far as we can tell, it survives.
It’s important to recognize that leasing farmland for wind power development is not a way for a farmer to “make a little bit of extra money.”
If the 26-page lease being offered to farmers in Kent County is anywhere near “standard operating procedure,” the signed document, in specific circumstances, removes control of the farm from the farmers and releases the wind power developer from normal rental responsibilities.
What attracts wind (and solar) power development firms are the enormous federal subsidies which are available in the current search for “clean power.”
In effect, what’s happening here is that federal money — yours and mine — is being used to encourage the buy-up of prime farmland in the name of alternative energy.
What villages of wind towers could do to the appearance of the area’s rural landsape and the resulting depression in real estate values cannot be ignored either.
Recall that sometime ago, a wind farm was proposed in the waters of the Atlantic (no valuable farmland there) off the coast of Cape Cod.
It never got built after environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr., — whom we assume would favor “clean power” —said the towers on the horizon, as seen from the family compound at Hyannis Port, “violated the viewscape.”
Many farmers and ag busnesses in these parts have turned to solar to meet their power needs and with all of this going against them, we are not surprised that Pioneer Green, the Somerset County developer, reportedly has turned to solar and that Apex Energy in Kent County could possibly do the same in the future.
Wind power generation in these parts, where average wind speeds are in the minimum range for turbine efficiency, are far from a sure bet.
The Statute of Liberty stands 305 feet tall from the ground to the tip of the flame.
Both wind power proposals estimated their towers would have to be at least 500 feet if they are to capture the maximum, sustained Delmarva winds.
Put one of those babies in your backyard.