NewEnergyNews: TENNESSEE SENATOR DISSES WIND

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    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    TENNESSEE SENATOR DISSES WIND

    NewEnergyNews would be disinclined to mention the regrettable Senator from Tennessee were it not for his uninformed opposition to a vital American resource. Insiders report he is in fact a fine man and great outdoorsman. Just misguided about renewables, apparently. Has he talked to anybody from Texas? Could somebody get him together with Boone Pickens?

    Wind power gains popularity but senator isn’t sold; Alexander calls it iffy, ugly and expensive
    Anne Paine, July 23, 2007 (The Tennessean)

    WHO
    Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander versus Tennesseans

    WHAT
    Although Tennesseans favor wind energy by a 12 to 1 margin and the state has one of the most productive wind farms in the southeast, Senator Alexander opposes development of the renewable resource.
    Wind producers work hard with environmental groups to choose sites properly. This Buffalo Mountain Tennessee site would probably be a shock to Davy Crockett but does not intrude on real wilderness or drastically disrupt the panorama.

    WHEN
    2006:
    - Alexander: Buffalo Mountain produced energy 7% of last August, 19-24% for the year, a disappointment.
    - Frank Pizzileo, asset manager, Invenergy LLC (owner of 15 of the 18 turbines, including those pictured): "a success…In general, you have a couple of months with lower production…You certainly make up for that during the balance of the year."
    - Alexander interview July 19.


    WHERE
    - Wind turbine parts maker Aerisyn LLC set up shop in Chattanooga in 2005.
    - Tennessee has the 18-turbine Buffalo Mountain windfarm. The state’s wind energy is on East Tennessee mountaintops and ridges.

    WHY
    - Wind energy is a $7 billion industry in the US.
    - The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in Tennessee opposes Alexander.
    Alexander fought a renewable mandate in the Senate Energy Bill last month and announced his disdain of wind energy.
    - Alexander also owns a $1.25 million property on Nantucket and is part of the opposition to the Cape Wind project there.
    - Alexander receives political donations from Southern Co.'s Employees Political Action Committee, associated with a major coal-committed utility. He also receives donations from transportation sector industries.
    - The Senator says the donations and the property have no influence on his wind energy oppositon (whereas politicians generally admit to being bought and paid for by special interests).
    Tennessee has a lot of potential if senators and congressman "...please heed the call, don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall, for he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled..." (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Alexander: "It's a puny amount of unreliable power at a very high cost…We have 10 million people a year come to the Great Smoky Mountains…They don't come down to see white towers as big as football fields with flashing lights. They come to see the Smokies… I think [giant wind turbines] absolutely destroy the landscape…I'm trying to challenge the environmental and conservation community and ask why they've forgotten about the American landscape."
    - Gil Melear-Hough, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: “[The 18-turbine Buffalo Mountain windfarm in East Tennessee is] on an abandoned strip mine…You're making lemonade out of lemons. There's not much that will grow there. They have coal mining going on the next ridge over and are tapping natural gas in the same mountain…I don't think Tennessee will ever be 100 percent wind power… but can we get 5, 10, 15 percent from wind? Absolutely…"

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