June 10, 2006

Incomplete wind energy info at Vt. Guardian

To the editor, Vermont Guardian:

The sidebar accompanying the article "Wind developer pulls up stakes, state issues new regs" contains some inaccuracies and is incomplete in its list of proposals.

First, the current Searsburg facility generates only around 11,000 MWh per year, not the 14,000 claimed. This information is readily available in GMP's annual reports. The difference should also call into question the projections claimed for the many proposed projects around the state. [For more information, see "The Poor Record of the Searsburg, Vermont, Wind Plant."]

In February, Enxco (a subsidiary of Électricité de France) sold the development rights to expand the Searsburg facility into Readsboro to PPM Energy, a subsidiary of Scottish Power. This apparently includes the expansion within Searsburg.

The Glebe Mountain project from Catamount Energy (which is owned by Diamond Castle Holdings and Marubeni Energy International of Japan) was to entail not 27 turbines but 19, each of them with a rated capacity of 2.5 MW and a total height of 420 feet.

The proposal from UPC (a subsidiary of UPC Group, Italy) in Sheffield and Sutton would have a maximum capacity of not 45 but 52 MW, with 2-MW 399-ft machines.

Other projects not listed, besides the 6 MW starter facility in East Haven which was mentioned in the article, include further development (possibly around 50 MW) along the ridges from East Haven to Brighton (EMDC), around 50 MW on a ridge in Windham (UPC), and around 20 MW on Georgia Mountain in Milton (which Enxco may be behind). Through Vermont Environmental Research Associates, Enxco has been advertising for yet more "high-elevation woodland" on which to construct power plants. [For more details of regional projects, see "Large wind projects in Vermont and vicinity."]

The negative impact of these projects would be significant. The energy benefit, on the other hand, because of their variability and intermittency, would be nil.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, Vermont