September 22, 2004

Just imagine the trees

Leaf peeping season is gearing up in Vermont. Here is a picture of a recent outing in Searsburg. The guide is trying to assuage the group's disappointment by describing as eloquently as he can the trees and their color that used to characterize the site. But as they say in "environmental" circles, they would'a died eventually anyway, so mowing them down prematurely actually saved them from that fate.

Searsburg outing

Actually, this article is interesting for a couple reasons. First:
"Winds were so light Tuesday morning that the facility was not generating power during the visit, although the turbines' blades continued their counter-clockwise rotation."
How is that possible? They appear to be using the turbine as a motor so the facility looks like the "kinetic sculpture" it's praised as. So not only are they not generating electricity, they're using it, lots of it.

Second, the senior vice president of Green Mountain Power (GMP), Stephen C. Terry, downplays the importance of wind's contribution to Vermont's electricity, saying it would be "remarkable" if 10% could come from wind. And John Zimmerman, Enxco's representative in New England, says a recent survey found good development sites for only 150 MW of wind-generating capacity, or about 35 MW of actual output, 3.5% of Vermont's need according to GMP's Stephen Terry. He looks hungrily at the Green Mountain National Forest for more power-plant sites.