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Winds proposals don't hold water

"Everybody thinks it's green. It's not. Wind isn't 2 4/7 , it's not dependable," said Tom Marks of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council.

New York Power Authority officials and spokespersons have made formal, elaborate presentations on the prospects of erecting wind turbines in the open waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Earlier this year, counties in the eastern basin of Lake Ontario (Jefferson, Oswego, and Wayne) all voted to oppose windmill projects. Later, Chautauqua County officials rejected these proposals for waters off that county's Lake Erie shoreline.

NYPA presenters cited a list of 2,000 petitioners from Erie County who support the windmills, but Marks pointed out that about 10,000 county residents represented by affiliate members of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs voted to oppose the Lake Erie wind turbine proposals.

Marks and others familiar with wind energy note that this power source, because of inconsistencies in wind volume, needs alternative energy sources. "Wind turbines must be backed with coal-plant energy, which generates more carbon dioxide than if the system ran continuously," he said.

While a coal or nuclear power production source can run steadily at a 100 per cent capacity value, wind-source energy has a capacity value of about 20 percent, experts tell Marks.

The physical planting of 40 to 160 (167 has been a popular capacity number lately) wind turbines in Lake Erie comes down to a matter of production output and profits. The 40-turbines figure represents probably the lowest number needed to begin returning a profit.

The maximum number of 167 may or may not represent the holding capacity of lake areas suitable for turbine building sites.

Well before the structures arrive at a building stage, investor companies will be using taxpayer monies attained through tax credits and incentives, Marks noted, that will eventually result in building windmills that will generate electricity costing three to four times that of power from conventional sources.

Marks sees similarities in the windmill proposals Richard Kissel, NYPA president, attempted to have accepted while he headed Long Island Power and Light. Long Island land owners there totally rejected it.

Arguments relating the offshore Gulf of Mexico oil spill and prospects for Great Lakes wind turbine have virtually no relevance here. Marks takes many of his cues from John Droz Jr., an Adirondacks area activist who has developed many sound arguments against construction of wind-turbine energy sources. To review these points, go to


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