Green Alliance believes wind energy is good for all

April 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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April 5 — To the Editor:

In most cases, properly cited wind projects are a win-win for the clean energy movement and for local towns. We at the Green Alliance love to see folks actively engaging in a dialogue about renewable energy. When it comes to wind power, we need to be wary of what is fact and what is fiction because saying “no” to large-scale solutions to climate change will have a negative impact on not only ourselves but on future generations. A letter by Ray Cunningham (“We have a right to protect our N.H.,” March 29), makes a variety of inaccurate claims about wind power.

First, New Hampshire is not required by a federal mandate to purchase wind power. Rather, our nation’s energy policy is a patchwork of many different state-based renewable standards combined with federal tax incentives. Massachusetts’ and New Hampshire’s energy policy choices are largely determined by their state legislatures and implemented by their state public utility commissions. Every New England state has enacted a strong policy in favor of advancing new renewable energy sources.

Second, wind farms are financially beneficial for rural communities. Ninety-eight percent of wind farms are built on private land and help landowners earn extra income through land lease payments. Also, comprehensive property value studies have found no evidence of persistent negative effects on surrounding properties as the result of wind power development. In New Hampshire, every utility-scale wind project must be approved by a state siting commission, known as the site evaluation committee. That process, while it could be improved, considers local impacts and includes substantial public and community input.

Third, since electricity is transmitted through a regional grid, wind energy generated in New Hampshire and other wind-rich states benefits all of New England. Wind power is already saving New Hampshire consumers money, because electricity generated from wind energy displaces the output of the most expensive, least efficient power plants — usually fossil fuel sources that pollute our air and contribute to climate change. And because wind power has no fuel cost and long-term, fixed-rate pricing, it protects consumers from volatility in the price of other fuels like natural gas, coal and oil, much like a fixed-rate mortgage protects homeowners from fluctuations in interest rates.

In short, wind power is a proven technology that is helping consumers save money and build a cost-effective clean energy future for New Hampshire. New wind projects that are carefully vetted in the states’ siting process will build on this progress in the years to come. We could all be better and more active supporters of these large-scale solutions to climate change. What’s stopping us?

Becky Holt

Assistant Director

Green Alliance

Portsmouth

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