Editor’s note: The following open letter was addressed to the citizens of Sussex County and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.
I am writing to you to ask that you consider the benefits of wind power and support it as our alternative energy source. Southern Sussex County residents have had too many years of polluted air due to the burning of coal. Many have become ill and died early deaths due to the toxic emissions from the Indian River power plant. We do not need more.
Although a coal-gasification plant will not burn coal, it will still add toxins to the air we are trying to clean up. And even worse, the process will produce CO2 which, at this time, has no way of being captured and controlled, adding greatly to the greenhouse gases and global warming. Coal will still need to be extracted from the mountains of West Virginia and surrounding states, adding to the destruction of our natural environment.
Wind, on the other hand, has none of these negative effects. Wind is always present and does not have to be mined. Wind is as clean and clear as the air it swirls. Wind is in abundance 6-8 miles offshore. Wind is safe for children, asthmatics, the elderly and all citizens. The project can be completed faster than a coal-gasification plant and it will supply jobs opportunities for at least an equal number of workers.
Now, let me respond to the commonly addressed “down” sides of wind power:
(1) The turbines are an eyesore.
These turbines will be 6-8 miles out to sea and will, at most, be a bleep on the horizon of your vision. How about the vision of the polluting Indian River plant?
(2) The blades will kill birds.
Birds do not fly directly into things. Occasionally, they will hit a car. You can expect the same with the windmills. One study showed that only four birds were killed in one year — a far cry from the 93 premature deaths from our pollutants.
(3) The turbines make noise.
They will be 6-8 miles offshore. Do you hear 200 car horns 8 miles from your house?
(4) There is no way to store the excess energy generated.
This is the only real challenge, but given modern technological advances, a process will be developed to harvest it for further use, and probably at a lesser cost than CO2 sequestration.
Lastly, every time the wind blows, you will have the peace of mind knowing that it is working for you. The decision is clear to me — as I hope I have made it clear for you.