An open letter to Anti-Wind Activist and NIMBY Americans

Thursday, November 28, 2013 | |

This letter was prompted by something the fish and wildlife has been asking about recently but it addresses a lot of the issues that I have had on my mind for awhile with respect to wind industry in the US and how we are missing the point.


I am currently employed in the wind industry. I believe that it is a good thing, but I also have a bias in that regard, so please take this into consideration with what I am about to say.

I would like to point out the blaring discrepancy that people like forget about when talking about wildlife and wind turbines.


The American Bird Conservancy estimates 500 million birds are killed by cats each year. Contrary to any notion of killing for food, cats are know to kill birds for the sheer pleasure of it, disregarding the carcass once the bird has perished.

This New York Times piece talks about it in it's opening paragraph. "While public attention has focused on wind turbines as a menace to birds, a new study shows that a far greater threat may be posed by a more familiar antagonist: the pet house cat. "

If we as Americans are going to be serious about wildlife, and we care about wildlife, then we need to address the problem where is the most significant. If we want to save birds we need to, get rid of cats.

The polar bear is the poster child for climate change. The best estimates say that global climate change is responsible for about 1 dead bear a year, yet we in the US and Canada alone shoot more than 500 polar bears a year. If we are so concerned about climate change why are we killing our own mascot?

On conservation, the numbers don't lie. We as a country are continuing to use energy, and all trends say we are actually increasing usage. NERC's (The National Electric Reliability Council) latest long term reliability assessment of the national electric grid estimates 1.57 % growth rate per year for the next 10 years. We need the power to come from somewhere.

Germany has chosen to go green. Why?
It doesn't like getting it's natural gas from Russia, and now it is seeing the fruits of the effort.

Now when I go into a wind turbine, I am greeted with German language instructions and warnings above the English ones. We claim to be high tech here in the United States, and think that we are on the cutting edge, is this really the case anymore? Are we letting other countries to start to do our design work? These turbines seem to suggest as much.

Remember that country over in the east that we ask to make all of our stuff, China? They have been building the turbines for the last few years, but now they are starting to design them too. In 2005 the United States had roughly 9 times the installed nameplate capacity of wind over China. In 2010 China surpassed the USA 41.8 gigawatts to 40.2 gigawatts. Pretty soon you will start to seen designed, and made in China. I don't think that is what the United States was after, or expecting.

My company is installing General Electric's latest wind turbines in the United States, the one that Google is buying part of. GE the American company, founded in part by Thomas Edison, one of the longest surviving companies in the world, sent our team over to Germany to learn how this turbine gets put together. Why?
Because GE has already installed them in Germany.

Aside from the industry, and the jobs, energy independence, starting to wean off of coal, why should the United States care?

Because The United States needs to make a decision, a really big decision. Do we want to import our energy or produce it here. Do we want to pretend that we are some how not responsible for the things that we buy from other countries or do we wake up and operate as a global citizen.

If we import energy we can point and laugh all day at our neighbors and say how ugly their energy sector is an how clean ours is.

But, the reality is, if we import it is almost guaranteed that it will come at a greater cost to the environment. Remember the BP oil spill in the gulf, it's massive and a huge problem right? Ever hear of what is happening in Nigeria?

If we as Americans are going to consume energy we need to make sacrifices, these sacrifices come in many forms, very much analogous to benefits that energy gives us.

We need to look at how we are going to attack this problem, we are consuming the earth, which way is better, the first world way with regulations, built in safety precautions, democratic changes, the chance to actually study, and perhaps introduce changes to wind farms the might reduce things like not killing migratory bats, or the third world way where people are expendable and profits are the only concern.

Further boiling it down.

Are the birds of North America more important than the people of Nigeria?

I ask the anti-wind activists and the not in my backyard proponents to be honest when answering that.