Renewable energy v. renewable energy


Setbacks are an ongoing theme for NGOs and renewable energy companies that are promoting the use of sustainable resources. Now wind farms are hearing about another setback – a physical one, that is, and for justifiable reasons. The funny thing is, they’re hearing it from other renewable energy advocates.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that an off-the-grid community is resisting the development of a wind farm just west of Taos, NM. Residents are concerned about health risks from low-frequency vibrations, flashing strobe lights, annoying shadows, turbines killing birds and bats, and landscape blight. However, a larger issue is at hand.

Keely Meagan’s opinion article in a December issue of The New Mexican is headlined, “Regulation must precede wind-power building.” She’s referring to the state and federal regulations that need to be created in order to facilitate our nation’s switch from nonrenewable to renewable energy sources. Meagan notes that county regulations have no influence on wind farms proposed on state-leased land.

Many residents in the Cielito Lindo subdivision of Taos, where homes rely primarily on solar energy, have vocalized their objections online at and also at a Taos County Planning Commission meeting. The group of 18 solar-powered homes lies adjacent to the proposed site. In December, the Commission approved variances for the towering turbines, a move that many feel violate county land-use regulations.

The county limit for structure height is 27 feet, but anyone can apply for exemptions. And though the bulk of the citizens at the meeting were against the wind farm, according to The New Mexican, the commission granted a 425-foot limit for the proposed turbines – a height almost 16 times the county limit.

David Carpenter, president of the Cielito Lindo subdivision, says, “An industrial anything is not appropriate out here.”

A similar situation in Wisconsin led concerned citizens to draw up wind ordinances. And now a couple of wind energy companies have signed the New York Wind Power Code of Ethics.

Taos Wind Power, the wind energy company whose 27 wind turbines are in development, has thousands of acres of land in New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana slated for future wind development. But proposed wind farms may see new hurdles in the near future.

A meeting last week in Santa Fe brought residents, clean energy advocates, state officials, and two wind industry representatives together for a conversation. Regarding the meeting, Meagan, who represents the New Mexico Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy and Sustainability, said in an email, "Big wind is no longer quite so clean, green and easy as portrayed by the corporations profiting from wind." She stressed that community needs must be considered for alternative energy development.

Bill Lockwood, president and CEO of Taos Wind Power, says he was unaware about last week's meeting. "I live here, I have a wife here, I have a son here. I've lived out there on the mesa with solar panels. I'm walking the talk."

A book by medical practitioner Nina Pierpont about the health impacts of wind turbine noise is due later this year. Her clinical name for it is Wind Turbine Syndrome. Lockwood maintains that Pierpont's research has no scientific evidence.

Energy Independence
Jan 14, 2009 09:13 PM
We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources.OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2X faster than new oil is being discovered. We need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail ourselves out of our dependence on foreign oil. Jeff Wilson has a really good new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. He explores our uses of oil besides gasoline, our depletion, out reserves and stores as well as viable options to replace oil.Oil is finite, it will run out in the not too distant future. WE need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. The historic high price of gas this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. WE should never allow others to have that much power over our economy again. I wish every member of congress would read this book too.

Wind Farms
Gabriel Daffron
Gabriel Daffron
Jan 18, 2009 12:34 PM
 I am an educator and Abbeyite who lives in the small sustainable community of Cielito Lindo. I do use wind a small wind turbine as a backup to the solar system. Wind power is very ineffective in Taos. Solar is the dominant renewable energy form.
 The gentleman behind this project are a corrupt elderly lawyer/banker and two professional actors/bartenders that he hired to run this company. Bill Lockwood mentioned in the article has been in several movies but lacks any expertise except in the area of greed. He also states he is "walking the walk." That would actually entail using wind power not solar to power his home.