But the thought of trucks rolling out of Bennington, west into New York state to pick up the wood chips to heat the schoolchildren of Bennington, and back to Bennington — while the Green Mountain National Forest sits off-limits to logging in the school’s own backyard — does not pass the common sense test.
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.
Since the PSB alone cannot change the system, I hope that it will work with the legislature to change the law, to develop a process for independent review of all the evidence. Conflicting claims should not be adjudicated in an adversarial forum.
Friends and neighbors, I write as a Clarendon resident, and not in my role as Select Board chairman. The people of Clarendon and the towns surrounding it are trying to understand what the Vermont Community Wind Farm project is all about. What will it mean for us? What impacts will it have on us? Why here and now?
What has brought trouble to our town's doorstep is "easy" money.
The Forest Service has compromised the integrity of the National Environmental Protection Act by selecting a person to draft its environmental impact statement (EIS) who was also working for the project developer, Iberdrola. Those who read the project's applications will find six relatively lengthy instances of plagiarism where the words of the developer's agent were used again verbatim for the EIS. This is a disturbing conflict of interest.
Renewable energy's enormous physical footprint often competes with food production and impacts our environment in a number of ways, some of which are subtle and poorly understood. Renewables have a value where energy (usually electricity) is essential and getting it there prohibitively expensive, that is, worth all its costs, costs we must understand as we select our energy generation technologies.
I walked on my normal walk in the woods one day and looked up to the top of the mountain. Just several months before it had been a picturesque view of wilderness beauty ... the kind that attracts tourists and creates much of the state's income. Now, it was lined with these tall mechanical monsters, towering over the trees of an old forest. I am not talking about the quaint and charming windmills of Holland here, we are talking about metal and flashing lights and a size that miniaturizes the grand forest beneath it.
A green energy future beyond 2012 that includes both nuclear energy and large hydro.
Renewables (i.e., small-scale wind and hydro), efficiency, and demand side management programs should be our first choice for new energy supplies, but cannot realistically fill the enormous gap that would be created if Vermont Yankee's and Hydro-Quebec's licenses are not renewed.
These two sources make up about 70 percent of Vermont's energy supply. Vermonters don't want their energy future stockings filled with lumps of smog-producing coal.
February 23, 2006
in The Caledonian-Record (VT)
In that survey, twice as many people said they would find them unacceptable or ugly. That's 2 to 1 against among those who actually had an opinion.
In short, ridgeline wind is extremely destructive relative to the energy it provides, it is not cost effective and likely will never be, it does not have good overall resource potential in this region, and there are much better alternatives that do have a good cost and resource outlook.
On the other side of that tape there is no quarter for Mother Nature. She's in the way, and so being reformed to suit the needs of the trucks that will climb the mountain with the bits of the machines that will be put together to, in their turn, put together the 21 turbines.
Recently I hiked up to the top of Lowell Ridge to see where 21, 400-foot wind towers will be placed. As I crested the mountain I came face to face with an energy policy that is at war with itself. The environmental destruction taking place there pits those seeking to reverse climate change against those who wish to preserve Vermont's pristine natural resources.
Could it be that the confused senator's judgment is clouded by his personal relationship with certain landowners in Lowell who stand to make huge profits at our expense?
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?
In a cynical manipulation of the well-meaning public, which is desperate for progress with renewable energy, gov. Peter Shumlin and GMP are justifying the destruction of the Lowell Mountains as "green" and "local." Shumlin argues that he is diversifying Vermont's energy portfolio, and that this mountain range must be sacrificed because Vermont Yankee is closing. He is giving Vermonters a false choice.
If it does come down to making a choice, bats or humans, obviously we are going to choose humans. But in choosing humans, we also are counting on human ingenuity to preserve and protect our fellow tenants on the earth. True enough, it's a fine line, a razor's edge. But if we don't walk this particular path, then we all will end up walking on a paved sidewalk in a concrete jungle, instead of in a world where - in some places - things grow green.
And now we don’t have to go to Disneyland. Because, child, Disneyland is the whole state covered with wind towers.
A Good Move
December 15, 2005
in The Caledonian-Record (VT)
The recent vote in Sheffield in favor of wind towers proves the point. While the majority of opinion across the NEK opposes the denigration of our ridge lines, individual towns, sensing a rescue from rising taxes, can be inveigled to accept wind farms that industrialize our ridge lines to the detriment of surrounding towns and citizens. It is highly unlikely, though, that the general population, given a chance to vote yes or no on dozens of the monster towers and fans, would approve of them.
Wind power projects of the magnitude proposed on our ridge lines would drastically affect the character of our state and do little or nothing to alleviate the problems of acid rain and greenhouse warming.
Maybe Vince should listen to his colleagues. Some of them might know as much or more than he does.