AWEO.org was established by Eric Rosenbloom in 2005. It remains funded entirely by him and a very few small donations from other individuals. Mr. Rosenbloom and AWEO.org are not affiliated with any aspect of the energy industry or any particular political group. A statement by Mr. Rosenbloom about his involvement in the issue of industrial wind power follows:
"Like most people, I had no reason a few years ago to doubt the promise of large-scale wind power. And then, as with most people who find themselves questioning that promise, I heard about a plan to erect a few wind turbines nearby -- in this case, about a half-mile from the house and just over the property line on the ridge behind us. That was in 2003. I was not delusional about the aesthetic effect they would have on this wild and otherwise protected mountaintop forest -- my first letter to the local paper on the issue challenged the gushing about their beauty, since I had seen industrial wind turbines in Spain and their undeniably intrusive presence on the landscape -- but I was reconciled to living with them in light of the good they would be doing.
"But I did want to know exactly what it would mean to construct such large machines on a roadless undeveloped ridgeline. As I researched them, I learned that the pristine forest -- where bear and moose are regularly seen -- would be destroyed to the extent of several acres around each turbine, that they would require a wide heavy-duty road up the mountain, with blasting and cut-and-fill to keep it as straight and level as possible, that blasting into the bedrock would likely be required to anchor the towers, each weighing 71 tons to hold aloft the 92-ton assembly of gearbox, generator, and blades. I learned about the unnatural noise they make which many people testified as being intrusive at best but also affecting sleep and even health. As someone who was driven to distraction by the noise of a generator at a weekend cabin about three-quarters of a mile away, I could readily understand this. Not only for humans, such noise and vibration would have a detrimental effect on wildlife as well, in addition to the project's diminishing and fragmenting of habitat. I was beginning to see that what I already knew could not be called anything but an industrial installation did not belong in quiet (especially at night) rural areas or undeveloped wilderness.
"That would have been enough to oppose this and many other projects (most of which are indeed proposed in relatively quiet rural areas and undeveloped wilderness). But in addition, as I read about wind energy I started to notice that there were never any actual data about how much less fossil fuel was burned because of wind power. The language of wind's benefits was always 'could', 'will', or 'the equivalent of' -- no actual data, no statements of recorded fact, even from Denmark, with its long experience of substantial amounts of wind power. Thus, the assumption of potential benefit also collapsed.
"After learning about how the grid works, it is clear that an intermittent, highly variable, and nondispatchable source such as wind is problematic. First, it can not replace other sources -- either shutting them down or preventing the building of new plants -- because the wind doesn't always blow. Second, it forces those other sources to operate less efficiently, or simply by switching between standby and active generation, burning fuel all the same. It became clear that wind was not alleviating our energy problems. It was adding to the system and not changing anything. In short, it was a sham.
"At this point, one had to ask why wind power is so popular. Besides the obvious symbolism for politicians and NGO fundraisers, one learns about the tax avoidance provided by wind ... and the fact that it is almost entirely publicly funded -- the money flowing right into the bank accounts of private investors. It is then not surprising to learn that Governor George Bush of Texas helped his friend Kenneth Lay of Enron to set this system up.
"Even so, why have I given thousands of hours of my life over the last several years on this cause? Because there is still much to be done to help people learn more about industrial wind. It is also an interesting issue in that it spans the political spectrum and a host of issues.
"The evidence is clear that giant wind energy facilities in rural and wild areas have serious negative impacts -- on people, wildlife, birds and bats, the landscape itself -- and the lack of significant benefit is also glaring. And so it is appalling that so many environmentalists and progressives deny these facts or their importance. I began my research simply to learn what a wind project would entail. I was not opposed to it or doubtful of its benefits in any way. I quickly saw that wind power was not all that it was presented to be. Faced with such a finding, most environmentalists and progressives who support wind instead lash out and beat the drums of denial, much to the delight of the developers eating up our last open spaces and wild lands."
Later in 2005, Rosenbloom was asked to join a few dozen other individuals from ten different states for a conference at which National Wind Watch was founded. In 2006, he was invited to join the board and then elected president of NWW. His contributions remain unpaid and spare-time, which is exactly as he wants it. A paid advocate has a conflict of interest that would call into question his or her objectivity. He or she might even rather aggravate an issue than see it resolved. Rosenbloom endeavors to avoid that and would like nothing more than to be done with this issue. Until that day, however, a little help to pay for the web site is welcome.