U.S. cannot afford to be parochial about wind energy

You can’t help but see it on TV: Product commercials that have nothing to do with energy, but the company wants to be associated with green, eco-friendly electricity.

Clean energy has infiltrated our life. Why not? No pollutants, no foreign resources to fight over, no spills to contaminate our waters.

But it seems clean energy is only a good idea if you make it invisible. NIMBYism at its best.

I believe in clean energyand American manufacturing, and I find wind turbines to be a majestic symbol of intelligent use of precious resources. Some people do not agree. At public hearings I listen to folks attack proposed wind farm projects with extreme venom.

Arguments range from common misnomers (“They are very noisy, kill thousands of birds and cause health problems”) to complete foolishness (“dangerous flicker while driving”). They’re called ugly, a blight on the landscape.

At the Bourne Bridge, I find the Mass. Maritime turbine soothing and uplifting because the school is offsetting fossil fuels. At the Sagamore Bridge, I find the canal power plant very offensive. Why would anyone prefer that visual blight and filth to clean energy?

Not all opponents rally around factless allegations. Some have legitimate concerns about the size of proposed wind turbines. Some wind power developers propose large “utility scale” wind turbines for use in local wind farm projects. These machines do not “fit” in residential communities, but there are alternatives: “Mid-scale” machines, specifically designed for “distributed generation,” are readily available. These smaller machines are used to offset onsite electric loads, like schools or industrial facilities, and are much more in scale with “community wind” applications.

Wind is an excellent, inexhaustible resource. One step at a time, we can make a difference, and yes, it will be in someone’s backyard. Majestic or ugly, the benefits far outweigh the continued use of polluting and foreign alternatives. We cannot let NIMBYism sway us from the intelligent choice of clean renewable energy.

Timothy Stearns is an investor in Aeronautica Windpower, a Plymouth-based wind turbines manufacturer. www.patriotledger.com