A blustery response
To the editor:
The average reader of the Hillsboro Star-Journal of Sept. 11 would look at the headline, “County wind powers state fair” and might think, “wow, that’s great. Boy, these wind turbines are really worthwhile.” However, although the article may be mostly straight forward information, the headline is at the least misleading, and at the worst, flat-out deceptive.
The average reader may read the headline and a line or two before turning the page. But a careful reading makes the reader go, “wait-----what?” What it centers around is the concept of “Renewable Energy Credits”, or RECs. After conversations with both the reporter and a rep from Diamond Vista and further information online, it appears that what happens is this: The Diamond Vista wind farm does NOT directly send electrical power to the State Fair.
What happens is that the wind farm generates power that is added to the power pool “grid” which involves power companies such as Westar. The electricity generated by the wind farm may or may not wind up at the State Fair, but there is no way to prove that. However, there is a slick little way for a wind company to claim credit. What they do is, make an agreement with a party such as the State Fair, to sign a piece of paper called a “Renewable Energy Credit.” In some states, the party may pay a fee to the energy company. Then the party such as the State Fair can “claim” that the wind farm powers them. To say, “this will be the first state fair 100% powered by renewable energy” may or may not be true, but is completely unprovable, and thus deceptive.
It’s like saying that I pay my taxes, but if I have the government give me a certificate, I can claim that 100% of my taxes can go to pay the salary of the President, or to the National Park Service, or National Endowment of the Arts, or whatever place my imagination takes me to. Of course that’s not true. The tax money is added to a pool, and we can’t prove where my dollars go.
The disturbing trend shows that the multi-billion dollar companies are once again pulling the wool over the eyes of average citizens in the name of a positive image. Don’t be so gullible, Marion County. Read the fine print.
Brian D. Stucky
Editor’s note: The story in question did, in fact, state that this was done with credits, and that the literal electrons were not necessarily supplying power to the fair.
Last modified Sept. 18, 2019