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Opinion: Wind farm professional responds to “anti-wind” sentiments with experience

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By Francis Taracido

I would like to respond to the op-ed letter regarding the damaging effects of wind turbine generators speaking as a field technician who works daily on some of the largest farms in the nation. The author makes a number of statements that are either patently false or demonstrate a gross misunderstanding.

To the matter of infrasound and its debilitating effects on their body I must question how it is that they use modern infrastructure, given how sensitive to changing air currents they are. A typical multi-lane highway is generating far more decibels of air pressure changes as is air and train travel than a wind turbine. In fact the wind alone is generating more “noise” than a wind turbine in winds beyond 20m/sec. How brave this writer must be to face their daily horrors of debilitating body cramps from a indeterminate and likely psychosomatic source, how brave indeed.

To the matter of the plastics, oils and lubricants, rare earths and other refined metals that are used to construct a wind turbine, does the writer truly believe that the description of a wind turbine as green & renewable somehow imply that they would not contain the same industrial components as other electrical generation equipment? Does this same writer also scoff at horses as not green because they consume energy even in standby, produce waste and emit gaseous emissions known to the state of California to promote climate change? Do they direct this same ire at every Prius or Tesla they see? What about the conflict mineral issues related to solar panel manufacturing or bituminous coal extraction?

Finally I would like to address the issue of wind turbine blade recyclability. A common hew and cry among those with too much time to keep themselves occupied (but also too little time to educate themselves) is that because the blades are constructed of fiberglass and thus will not biodegrade and are not directly recyclable, we should not construct wind turbines. Using this same logic, we should then also summarily ban the further production of pleasure boats, motor yachts, bass boats, ski boats, carnival rides and amusement parks, hot tubs, jacuzzis, all vehicles with fiber reinforced plastic body panels, window glass, fiberglass insulation as well as all polyvinyl building products such as but not limited to siding, gutters, windows, decking, fencing and both interior and exterior trimming.

The general recyclability of plastics is poor with only a limited number of type and colors able to be reused effectively with the balance being turned into decidedly unimpressive postconsumer products as monolithic furniture for use in corrections facilities and the like. Likewise global glass recycling is so economically unattractive that most jurisdictions that still accept glass do so only as a courtesy and landfill it as a matter of course, the cost of making new glass from silica sand being cheaper by far and less energy intensive than sorting, melting and homogenizing large quantities of beer bottles. Very few products or materials are truly “cradle to cradle” renewable and thus it is nearly impossible for anything to ever be truly carbon free however that should not stop us from striving to do better by doing less harm and less damage within the time we have left until, if unchecked, permanent damage is done to our world. If faced with the question of business as usual versus try to do less damage I would opt to at least try to do better.

In closing, regarding the 30k market correction on the sale of property, had it ever occurred to the writer that the property was overvalued in light of current market conditions? It seems almost a fundamental law of the universe that the valuation for taxation, the price you wish paid and the cost the buyer find acceptable will never coincide. The core question of what is it worth is driven by what can you get someone to pay for it and while I sympathize with them on failing to earn 30k, was this value a loss against valuation or a recession from the price they paid to acquire? There are losses and then there are losses.

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