Consider the Consequences….
Responses to juwi’s claims
Home buyers and businesses are increasingly reluctant to invest in properties within sight of wind turbines. Many homes are abandoned. The studies that Juwi uses to claim no impact on property values have been commissioned and executed by pro-wind factions. They attempt to draw conclusions about the impact of wind turbines on properties in close proximity by using a pool of home sales up to 10 miles away from the nearest turbine. Case studies and other investigations focusing on homes in close proximity to the turbines show 10 – 40% value loss, many fewer potential buyers, and much longer periods of time that homes are on the market than similar homes in the area, not located in close proximity to turbines. In the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm, a total of approximately 700+ residences will be located within 1 mile of at least one turbine.Will my health suffer?
Residents near wind turbines describe humming, thumping, droning and shadow flicker that infiltrate their homes, schools and businesses. Health effects from these sounds and vibrations documented around the world include headaches, nausea, anxiety, disrupted sleep and learning and memory difficulties. Children are particularly susceptible to these symptoms.
Will my local economy really benefit?
Construction jobs at wind-energy installations are temporary and maintenance jobs number about one worker for every 10 to 20 turbines. Specialized, non-local technicians travel the country to perform high-end upkeep and repairs. Wind-energy installations would be impossible without taxpayer subsidies, and the tax benefits to local communities are vague and difficult to determine. While the county has done analysis, they have refused to release the findings to the public for review.
Will the installation of the turbines cause me to lose the rights to build on my property?
The placement of the wind turbines, combined with the stipulations in the county policy, will take away the rights (from both lease holders and non-participating homeowner in proximity to the turbine) to erect structures within the specified setback from the turbine. So if you thought you had the right to use your own property as you see fit (to build a shed, put an addition on your home, etc.,), think again. Construction of the wind turbines is an industrial use in a rural residential/ag area and contrary to Tipton County’s current Comprehensive Plan.
Will the energy that is generated by these turbines actually power Tipton County homes?
At best, a very small percentage will. Juwi has not released what entity is buying their electricity. Indiana electricity costs are relatively low and the state has not issued any requirement that Indiana utilities buy the more expensive wind generated electricity. Juwi is funded by tax subsidies and equity investors and the project is in no way owned by area government entities or cooperatives. Juwi is primarily a project developer and has sold projects to other entities after completion.
Is what Juwi is claiming about the benefits of the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm accurate?
The claims are presented in the best possible interpretation and ignore many established concerns. Let’s take them one by one:
Juwi claims: The wind turbines will be located on over 16,000 acres of leased private farmland, due west of Sharpsville, on both sides of Route 31, in Prairie Township and Liberty Township, Tipton County. 94 wind turbines would have a nameplate capacity of approximately 150 megawatts.
Our response: While the maximum capacity of the turbines proposed by the project is 150MW, the reality is that the turbines will rarely generate power at peak capacity. As an intermittent, uncontrollable and largely unpredictable (except in the very short term) generating source, wind is inherently unreliable. When the wind does blow within required parameters, wind turbines do generate energy. However, because wind is often ‘off-peak and off-season’, its ‘effective capacity’, and thus its capacity value for meeting peak demand, is limited. During the 2006 California energy crunch, the 2500MW total wind available capacity in California produced, on average, at 4% of their rated capacity.
Juwi Claims: Over the 25-year expected life of the project the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm will contribute over $14.1 million to the Tri-Central School District, according to an independent report prepared for Tipton County. Approximately $11 million of these contributions will directly offset taxes paid by Tipton County residents to support the school, thus significantly reducing the school’s tax burden on County’s residences. In addition to reducing the tax burden on local residents, approximately $3.1 million will be contributed to Tri-Central Capital Funds. During the tax abatement period, the project will contribute $743,645 over the 10-year period. Beyond the tax abatement period, the project will contribute $163,080 annually to the Fund, which represents a 33% increase over the 2012 Fund.
Our response: The funds contributed to the Tri-Central Capital Fund can only be used for capital improvements. They cannot be used to pay for teacher salaries, etc.;they can only be used for capital improvements, construction, etc., What good are new buildings, if there are no students to utilize them (because people don’t want to live in a county covered in wind turbines)? The $3.1M is the cumulative total that will have been received by end of the 25 year period (an average of $124K per year). That equates to just a little more than $2M in 2013 dollars (adjusting for an assumed 3% inflation rate per year)
Juwi claims: During construction, the project will create 200 to 300 construction job opportunities in various construction trades. Upon completion, approximately eight full-time staff members will operate and maintain the wind farm.
Our response: The construction opportunities are specialized jobs that will not be able to be staffed locally. Very few, if any, will come from local manpower. A review of the Juwi website shows job openings for heavy equipment operators, engineers, electricians, supervisors, sales and distribution workers, truck drivers, sheet metal workers, clerical staff. Almost all of those jobs would be from other areas. So, while there may be opportunities, it is likely that very few will employ Tipton county residents.
Juwi claims: The project will positively effect the environment through the generation of clean energy that eliminates carbon emissions produced from other traditional sources of energy.
Our response: The clean energy that is generated is only financially viable because of the tax incentives provided to it. The energy that is generated will be sold to power grid for the eastern United States, and the vast majority of the power generated will not be used to the benefit of the residents of Tipton County, or even of the state of Indiana. Yet, we are being asked to bear the risk to health, property value and environment.
Juwi claims: Wind power’s overall impact on birds, bats, other wildlife and natural habitats is extremely low, compared with other human (and feline)-related activities.
Our response: Birds can and are killed by turbine blades. Bats are killed when their lungs explode because of the localized pressure changes caused by the passing of turbine blades. That these things happen is not debatable, but the number of such events is not well documented. However, the attitude of wind companies to these is that they are just a price of doing business, i.e., that they build into the cost of operation the fines that they must pay to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) when endangered animals are killed by the turbines.