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Value of farm products clear, not so for RICL

Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:00 a.m. CST

To the Editor: Mr. Royer (Winergy CEO / April 29 letter, “In Support of RICL”) states wind industry is at a critical crossroads. Any industry that depends on taxpayer subsidies on yearly renewal will always be in crisis.

In 2013, Mr. Royer was one of the 14 wind energy leaders who met with President Obama to request extending Productive Tax Credit (PTC). A stable industry doesn’t need to beg for taxpayers’ money.

Over 8 billion given the past 21 years amounts to only 3 percent of our nation’s electricity. Now wind is seeking public support and more tax money for interstate transmission projects under the pretense this will improve productivity.

Mr. Royer said Rock Island “Clean Line” (RICL), a 500-mile HVDC line across Iowa and Illinois, is essential to supply the East Coast and Chicago with wind energy. An American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) map shows the best source of wind energy is the Great Lakes and the ocean coasts. There is no need to transmit electricity over half-way across the nation.

It is interesting that the four corners western states have not only a supply of wind, but a rich source of coal and natural gas. “Clean Line” has stated a certain percentage would come from wind.

Mr. Royer mentions, if not built, the wind industry would lose a lot of high-trained and well-paid people. Who are these people? Can’t they be trained in other energy jobs? Well paid? Do you start with Mr. Royer?

Mr. Royer claims RICL “will provide energy security, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.” Wind is only reliable if these hig- trained people can make it blow at a steady rate for 24 hours daily. Economic prosperity means the already wealthy investor gets richer on the backs of taxpayers and consumers.

Environmental sustainability is counting the dead birds and bats under the turbine. RICL claims the increased number of childhood leukemia and adult brain tumors can not be traced to high DC voltage wires and substations. European studies show elsewise.

Mr. Royer, a supplier of turbine gearboxes, promotes RICL. As a farmer, I promote Delmonte vegetables and the products from our locally grown corn and beans. The difference is my products have a clear value, while the RICL project is debatable and fuzzy.

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