Rhode Island or Vermont
Rep. Klein is perhaps the most dogmatic supporter of large renewable energy projects in the Vermont Legislature. Being such a strong proponent, one would reasonably believe that he would have established a well-articulated rationale for his support. But a look at his record on big renewable energy reveals a pattern characterized by an absence of any objective rationale in support for his positions. In other words, he seems to be for large renewable energy projects simply because he thinks they're a good idea.
It would be too bad if a project had local support but a moratorium quashed it. It would also be too bad if a project were universally despised in its host communities but a town's lack of standing in the process did not allow the PSB to take into account local views. ...Even boosters such as Shumlin say they don't want to cram any projects down townspeople's throats. The Legislature ought to be looking for ways that towns can be empowered to prevent that from happening.
Essentially, anyone with a farm will be entitled to install wind turbines, with virtually no setback, and this will pre-empt any local zoning. So beautiful vistas in places like Portsmouth and Jamestown will be up for grabs, and there will be no consideration of the effect on the historic beauty of the area or impact on people’s real estate use or resale values.
The deeper, difficult questions to the voters are whether the project's initial community wide benefit has been realized. Whether, after turbine operation curtailment, noise tests, health testimonials, the Wind Turbine Option Process and countless town meetings, if any residual community wide benefit exists? Unfortunately, there is none. The question is no longer whether Wind I and Wind II inflict unacceptable levels of harm upon Blacksmith Shop Road or Craggy Ridge neighbors.
Wind Spin leapt up a notch with news out of two new studies showing that people who say wind turbines are making them sick are making it up because they have been influenced by anti-wind campaigns. In other words, the wind industry says if you are sick it is because you are so stupid that you will believe anything someone tells you. And in Vermont, anti-winders were informed that they are part of a conspiracy to undermine the wind industry, in concert with the oil industry and the Koch Brothers.
Vermont utility companies may both sell their renewable energy credits (REC) and count them toward their state-required renewable energy quotas.
According to some authorities, Vermont's renewable energy projects aren't renewable. "If a marketer generates renewable electricity but sells renewable energy certificates for all of that electricity, it would be deceptive for the marketer to represent, directly or by implication, that it uses renewable energy," said the Federal Trade Commission in a report cited by Vermont's Public Service Board.
Instead of acknowledging that renewable energy development (in particular big wind, but also biomass and large solar) has issues that should be discussed, the efforts of the opponents of S.30 are to shut down the conversation before it has barely started. The fear-mongering and outright lies about the content of the legislation coming from opponents of S.30 is consistent with the behavior of renewable energy developers in our communities.
S.30 being considered by the Vermont Senate is a wise and moderate approach and also supports the work of the Siting Commission. ...it is prudent to pass S.30 now - it reflects many years of the positive interaction of development with appropriate review.
We haven't seen yet a convincing case that large-scale wind energy can play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions in Vermont, which would be the only rational basis for sacrificing a landscape that plays such an important role in the state's economy and self-identity. And the ability of towns to exert some control over their destiny when it comes to development is not something that should be lightly overridden.
The pro-wind side professes that "we need to destroy our environment, to save our environment!" On the surface, this may seem the more responsible alternative. But I think the next question that needs to be posed is, what are we hoping to accomplish in strip-mining our mountains?
You cannot be at the same time a wind energy town and a location for retirees, second homes and the odd couple resettling. One of the area's most respected real estate agents has already made it clear that no one is interested in looking at land adjacent to the wind proposal property.
"Citizens investigating this technology's impact on their communities are deciding wind projects don't make for good neighbors. With four projects operating in Vermont and accumulating noise complaints, and another three communities with active developments, Vermonters are examining this technology ...We predict support will continue to erode as developers continue to push this technology on our communities," continued Snelling.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Why should we spend millions of dollars to destroy wildlife habitat, kill bats and eagles, pollute our headwaters, fill valuable wetlands, polarize our communities, make people sick, mine rare earth metals - just to ensure that we can consume as much or more next year than we did this year?
The costs of industrial wind far outweigh the benefits ... unless you are a wind developer.
The "view" is what attracts people to Vermont as tourists, as transplant Vermonters, and it is what keeps many of us here even when we could be more financially well-off elsewhere. ...Before we destroy our views of our mountains, perhaps we should try to calculate the tremendous value of our views.
The more large-scale wind development I see on our mountaintops, the less I like it. Not the sight of the towers and turbines themselves, but the clearing, blasting, filling, leveling, grading and overall destruction that can be required to build high-elevation wind-tower pads, service roads and transmission lines.
God help our ridges if what happened to the Lowell Mountain Range is the first step in Vermont's path to energy independence.