Monday, October 10, 2005

"Suitable" sites for industrial wind turbines

The Rutland Herald dismisses concern about the blight of industrial wind turbines on the Vermont's ridgeline, repeating the line that "only a half-dozen or so" sites are "suitable," i.e., strictly in terms of the developers' desires.

In fact, there are currently seven proposed new locations, and at least two others have been mentioned. There is no indication that it would stop there, either. With VPIRG calling for 20% of our electricity to be from wind, development would have to march onward, especially as power demand continues to grow. And success in taking "a half-dozen or so" mountaintops would hardly suggest to the developers that they should stop. After all, concerned citizens will have already made it clear that they consider sprawling power plants on the ridgelines to be a good thing, a wise and sustainable choice. And so their misplaced energy will destroy Vermont.

In addition to the existing 6-MW facility in Searsburg, here are the currently active projects in Vermont:
  • Searsburg, Readsboro (two possible directions, 30-45 MW each)
  • East Mountain in East Haven (4 MW currently awaiting permit, 46 MW planned)
  • East Haven, Ferdinand, Brighton
  • Sheffield, Sutton (52-70 MB, applying for permit Dec. 2005)
  • Mt. Equinox in Manchester (9 MB, applying for permit Oct. 17, 2005)
  • Glebe Mountain in Londonderry (49 MW)
  • Lowell (18-39 MW)
  • Kirby
  • Umpire Mountain in Victory
All of these projects together would at best produce electricity equivalent to less than one-eighth of Vermont's use. And because "spinning standby" has to be kept on line ready for the wind's frequent dropping out, it would displace no other sources. It is not only destructive, it is practically worthless.

The companies involved are Enxco (aka Deerfield Wind in Readsboro) and its reps John Zimmerman and Martha Staskus of Vermont Environmental Research, Green Mountain Power, Vermont Public Power Supply Authority, EMDC (i.e., Mathew Rubin and Dave Rapaport), UPC Wind Partners (Timothy Caffyn, Brian Caffyn, and Peter Gish), Endless Energy (Harley Lee), and Catamount Energy (Rob Charlebois). They are supported by the efforts of trade group Renewable Energy Vermont and its head Andrew Perchlik, Vermonter and communications director for national trade group AWEA Tom Gray, as well as local utilities, self-important architects, and numerous public interest and environmental groups, such as Vermont Public Interest Research Group and the Conservation Law Foundation.

If this juggernaut is not stopped at the gate, it certainly will not stop after "only a half-dozen or so" projects.

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