May 3, 2009

It's time to reject wind

To the Editor, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press:

If wind energy had not been prominent in the news for several years, the Free Press might not be faulted in asserting that a balance can be found between impacts and benefits from industrial wind facilities on Vermont ridgelines (editorial, Apr. 26).

But while they appear to be open to discussing impacts and presumably how best to minimize them, they ignore the fact that the benefit from -- and thus the need for -- industrial-scale wind energy remains debatable.

The Free Press pleads for energy self-sufficiency, as if Vermont were not a part of the New England grid and does not also have connectors to New York and Quebec (with the latter providing a third of our electricity). Self-sufficiency may be a laudable goal, but large-scale wind energy would make Vermont more dependent, not less, on outside sources to fill in for the intermittent, highly variable, nondispatchable, and significantly unpredictable production from wind.

Rather than face the facts about wind energy (besides its utter lack of documented benefit, its substantial environmental and health impacts are also by now well known), the Free Press resorts to name-calling.

To imply that those who have actually researched this technology "say 'no' merely because of nimbyism" or are engaged in "resistance for the sake of resistance" is not only insulting and projects an attitude that does not encourage working together. The attempt to shut out dissenting voices also reveals the emptiness of the editors' reasoning.

Vermont would no longer be a "green" state if it flouted its own protection of the ridgelines only because wind energy salesmen have convinced so many that their product is above questioning. If one or two or five arrays of giant wind turbines are allowed, when will it stop? Why? The right thing to do is to ask those questions before, not after, the damage is done.

It is hardly a sign of leadership to jump onto a juggernaut. Vermonters can lead by thinking for themselves and finally rejecting the false idol of industrial wind energy.

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