Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking the Wind Out of Alternative Energy

The attempt to cripple wind power in the North Carolina mountains continues apace in the N.C. General Assembly, led principally by two mountain Democrats, Martin Nesbitt of Buncombe and Joe Sam Queen of Haywood counties.

What's worse (we won't quite say "nefarious" yet) is that the attempt to ban the wind generators that might actually produce some serious alternative energy is being wrapped up in a seemingly high-minded environmentalist doctrine ("the mountain views, O my brethren!") while in reality it serves the interests of the worst polluters on the planet, Big Oil and Big Coal, industries which are openly hostile to wind power.

The big "tell" in this proposed legislation is that the bill, as introduced by Steve Goss in March, was originally designed specifically to exempt wind turbines from provisions of the "ridge law." But other senators got their hands on it and completely reversed its thrust, first to ban effectively wind power in the mountains ... now merely to cripple it decisively. For example, the bill currently would severely limit how much wind-generated power the Big Boys like Duke Energy would have to buy for their monopolized grids. That's a sweet deal for Duke.

If there is a justifiable concern about huge wind farms invading our mountain ridges, give counties the (ahem) zoning power to control their location (as Watauga has already done).

It's transparent what political ideology is leading the fight against wind energy. Just take a look at any of the jillion John Locke Foundation websites and blogs in the state (like this and this). Their "free market" fundamentalism includes an impulse to squeeze the life out of anything that might free us from fossil fuels.

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