July 21, 2006

Who's misguided about wind power?

To the editor, Brattleboro (Vt.) Reformer:

The editorial of July 21 ("What's the fuss over wind?") asks, "What is more of a danger? A spinning turbine blade, or nuclear waste by the Connecticut River? What is more damaging to Vermont? A wind farm on a ridgeline, or the trees on that ridgeline dying off from acid rain and pollution generated by coal-fired power plants?"

At this stage in the debate, the irresponsibility of those questions is inexcusable.

Even the promoters of wind power on the grid can no longer get away with pretending it will displace energy from coal or nuclear power plants. (Vermont doesn't even use electricity from coal plants!) Those plants provide base load power. As a highly variable and intermittent source of energy, wind turbines would only provide occasional peak load power, occasionally when actually needed.

If we erected all 350 megawatts of giant turbines that have already been proposed in Vermont, or twice that amount, which many advocates would like to see (without, as classic NIMBYs, actually having to see or hear them near their own homes), we'd still suffer from the same amount of nuclear waste and acid rain.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont