Humdinger wind turbines for fence posts, roof tops, your PC, or your bike!

Amelia has been reviewing the Wind Ordinance that is up for second reading next month in Frelinghuysenfolly. There are three main problems in this ordinance; problems that butt up against utopian dreaming and progressive policy-making. For the most part, this ordinance is ok, but in other ways it continues in the vein of fear and panic policy making. Limiting something, from lack of knowledge and/or fear of the unknown, is when terrible mistakes get made.

The first is that it limits wind power installation to lots that are larger than 10 acres. So we have just written an ordinance that limits wind power remarkably, and not based on research. There is no research that suggests that 10 acres are needed to install wind. If our township has 1517 total lots, but only 297 that are over 10 acres, then wind power is only acceptable on 19% of the township lots, and only the 19% of the wealthiest citizens.  Let’s ask ourselves a question about how many of the town’s elected officials would benefit from that ordinance- oh- well- no time to study the tax map but I am sure a majority own 10 acres or more.

The wind ordinance also says “no roof mount” but there are a huge number of turbine models, like the drum turbines, that are smaller than a TV antenna, and can be even less intrusive or visible on a roofline than solar panels. What gives here? Finally, the ordinance also states that wind turbines can not be placed within 1000 feet of schools. But why? Many schools are using wind and solar as teaching tools, with consoles located in the school so that students can study the electric generation on a computer as well as view the turbine spinning out the window. The presence of wind and solar in “view” of student learning is a real opportunity to teach about power, renewable energy, and sustainability. Why are we limiting wind power in these ways?  Perhaps everyone thinks that wind is about big tall turbines, but let me assure you there are a huge range of designs that are small, tubular, use cloth rather than metal, and can be mounted on a roof and appear not really any different than a big soup can. Amelia feels so strongly that this ordinance is not seeing wind power generation as an “inherently beneficial land use.”  This ordinance is about limiting the development of wind power.  Stop thinking gigantic wind turbines and search google images for “small, compact wind turbines” and see what you get; this could help eliminate the fear of wind power.