What is needed is a new process that works toward our goal of a fossil fuel free future; determines the best way to achieve that goal taking into consideration human health, the environment, and other factors; and respects the right of local Vermonters to control their future in their own homes.
The simple truth is that the Liberals' foolish pursuit of wind power has resulted in the creation of a massive Potemkin Village in Ontario, an outwardly impressive but ultimately useless facade.
In the real world, it would have been smarter, cheaper and greener for the Liberals simply to have replaced coal-fired electricity with gas-fired electricity, while completely avoiding the boondoggle of wind.
Landowners in northwestern DeKalb County already had profited in another way - by selling tracts to nonfarmers who wanted to build homes. That strategy took advantage of their land's best asset - its scenic hills and woodlands. But by inviting so many people to move into the rural area, landowners made it unsuitable for a wind farm, which needs wide-open spaces.
Around lunchtime last Monday National Grid was showing that all our 4,300 wind turbines put together were providing barely a thousandth of the power we were using, a paltry 31MW ...successive governments have fallen for the delusion that we can depend for nearly a third of our future power on those useless and unreliable windmills.
I spoke with the expert juwi had at the open house, Dr. Mark Thayer of San Diego State University. He admitted that the studies do not look at the number of turbines in proximity to the houses. It seems most houses have just a few within a 1-2 mile radius.
According to the filed plans, there will be six or seven within a half-mile of us, 17 within 1 mile, and 35-37 within 2 miles! And we are not unique; many other homes around here are in the same boat.
These problems were predicted before their construction, but wind developers persuaded future neighbors that there would not be any problems. Now, as more turbines are built near residential areas, post-installation problems are emerging, causing precisely the problems that wind turbine opponents said would happen.
In this piece by Steve Ryack and Bill Lattrell, two members of the Heath (Massachusetts) Renewable Energy Committee, explain the research and analysis conducted by the committee in recommending turbines be limited to 100 feet in height.
You'd think Sierra Club would know all too well that sustainable means more than just non-fossil fuels; it means workable, realistic and supporting local community over big global corporations. Apparently Sierra Club forgot about that part of the concept of renewable energy development; that sustainable means community supported and community supporting.
There is one reason that the Energize Vermont plan does not rely on ridgeline wind: uncertainty.
We are uncertain about the impacts of industrial ridgeline wind on health, wildlife and wildlife habitat. We are uncertain about its impacts on the economy, tourism and property values. We are uncertain about the amount of electricity that industrial wind produces, its cost, and its effect on grid stability. Finally, we are uncertain that industrial wind turbines produce a meaningful reduction in Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions.
Several longtime residents complain of headaches and dramatic reductions in quality of life.
"My quiet, peaceful, serene world and home has been turned into a reality of grief, unending noise, annoyance and constant dealing with those in charge to help us," said Michael Fairneny of Florida.
A moratorium on Big Wind Farms in New Hampshire, makes absolute sense. I applaud Representative Harold "Skip" Reilly (R-Grafton) for his forward thinking on this matter. Reilly has proposed legislation calling for a moratorium on all wind power construction until the state updates its energy plan. (HB-580 and HB-484).
Get back to basics and start asking important questions.
McKibben does seem to have a problem with the neighbors who express concerns about these wind turbines and apparently hasn't been shy in expressing his views about these folks. This thinking doesn't sound much like an environmentalist to me.
What's next for Mckibben, chiding Vermont farmers to get rid of their tractors and go back to using mules for plowing?
But what is most concerning to me is that Bernie's comment on this issue has shown me a different side of Bernie. That is, his total disregard for well-documented facts; his digging his heels in and using his influence to blindly push this agenda forward; and his inability to consider the benefits of taking a reasonable pause to allow time to learn the truth. This leads me to ask: Is this the way Bernie approaches all the decisions he makes in Washington?
With Spain in the grips of recession, the government wants to lower consumers' light bills. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel faces an election in September and hopes to win points with voters by putting a stop to rising electricity bills. The independent steps have been slammed by businesses as German and Spanish politicians move to finance cuts for consumers by passing on the costs to companies.
"Wind energy has so much potential, and the completion of this project will be a big step forward in reducing our reliance on volatile, foreign fossil fuels," boasted Gov. Patrick this past December upon the completion of the Hoosac turbines. If wind energy does indeed have such potential, it should not be reliant upon the government for its business. Until wind energy, or any new source of energy, can exist without government intervention, it is obviously not suitable for popular consumption.
Ontario is still paying green energy producers more to generate clean power than customers are charged for it. That maybe made sense to get the infant industry going, but it's hardly defensible now. Instead, the government is papering over the difference, spending $1 billion a year to discount the higher cost on consumers' bills.
Backers of offshore development point out that the winds off Maryland's coast are strong, a nearby energy resource that the state should exploit. But if the most efficient way to meet the mandate is to build offshore wind farms, then offshore wind farms will prosper under existing policy. If it's not, then they should not be built.
Unfortunately, both Sen. Sanders and climate activist Bill McKibben have greatly exaggerated the national policy and global environmental harm that a three-year Vermont ridgeline wind moratorium could have. Additionally, in attacking the moratorium they have unwittingly embraced a decade of failed Vermont renewable energy policy.
Sustainability is not, or should not be, a political issue. Real conservatives recognize the need to husband resources and live within their means. Real progressives understand the cannibalizing of nature can only lead to "death by a thousand cuts."
These truths are relevant to the current gold rush by energy corporations to cover New Hampshire's landscape with long-distance, high-voltage power lines and wind farms.
Wind and solar power are too expensive to compete with natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydropower without government help. The wind lobby already won an extension of its $12 billion production tax credit as part of the recent tax increase. More than half the states also have renewable energy standards forcing residents to purchase wind power. And now the greens want another subsidy for transmission lines.