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Questions, Answers And Opinions About Residential Wind Power

Dear Editor,

Residential wind power generation has come to the Estes Valley. Most everyone supports the use of wind energy.  It is a great idea and we should exploit this renewable resource as much as possible.
April 30th the town held a meeting on the subject. Let’s look at what we were told then and what we’ve now learned.

What We Were Told –

The primary proponent of personal wind turbines (who by no small coincidence was also the fellow selling the things) assured us that the turbines would be brown and green and hardly distinguishable from a pine tree.

What We Have Learned –

With the installation last week of the personal wind turbine on Highway 7 at Country Club Drive, we’ve learned that the structures actually consist of a battleship grey pole topped by what looks like the guts of a Waring blender on steroids. If you haven’t seen it, be prepared. It’s visible from over half a mile down the highway and looks like a giant upside-down egg beater. And watch for brake lights – the beast has already resulted in people stopping on the highway to stare.

What We Were Told –

We were told at the meeting by town planning director Bob Joseph that the carbon investment in manufacturing, transporting and installing a personal wind turbine would never be recovered during the entire life of the device. Translation: the device does not make a positive contribution to the effort to reduce global warming.

What We Have Learned –

That even though every home that receives electric power from the Town of Estes Park can immediately sign up for wind power generated at a wind farm in Wyoming, some of our neighbors would rather erect an unsightly and noise-producing personal wind turbine in their back yard.

What We Were Told –

We were told that the current thirty foot height limitation on structures in the Estes Valley and the gusty winds we experience mean a personal wind turbine would never be very effective.

What We Have Learned –

We have learned that a lack of effectiveness and the ability to immediately obtain wind energy for your home from the town does not dissuade some of our neighbors from erecting a visual monstrosity without any regard for the impact on surrounding residents or the community.

The town planning department is in the midst of a process intended to result in a policy on personal wind turbines. As is the nature of government, that process is moving gradually. We need that process to be rapidly completed and all come to a point of community consensus on were personal wind turbines fit in our community. What we cannot afford is more installations before that policy is determined and adopted. It is not fair to the members of our community to have this temporary loophole exploited with the installation of more personal wind turbines in the interim.

I encourage you to implore the members of the planning commission and Town Council to enact an immediate and temporary moratorium on any more personal wind turbines until the community can come to consensus on this issue. The alternative is to have more residents thoughtlessly impose their preferences on their neighbors.

In the meantime, enjoy your view and quite while it lasts. Your next door neighbor may be the next to erect a churning eyesore.

Respectfully,
Jim McCormick
Estes Park

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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