With Northern Pass, PSNH has proposed a project where the negative impacts are instantly and universally obvious. PSNH wants to permanently disfigure the North Country's most valuable economic and natural asset - its unspoiled beauty - to deliver power not produced in the U.S. and not needed in New Hampshire. At seven recent North Country hearings on the project, more than 2,300 people testified eloquently in opposition.
This power line proposal is, in the best word I can sum up, horrendous. We should not suffer the loss of our last asset, our beauty and scenery and place of self and place, because of the accident of geography as to where we live.
We should not suffer because we happen to exist in an apex, where Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Lower Canada meet, because we are "in the way."
This isn't a not-in-my-backyard issue. It is far beyond that.
I was very disappointed to hear that CVPS has purchased 30 percent of the actual output from the 99-megawatt (installed capacity) industrial wind facility in Coos County, N.H. By doing that you supported the construction of 33 miles of new roads in high alpine areas that are presently roadless.
Now I am reading press reports that CVPS is buying output from the Iberdrola project that will be blasted right in the middle of Vermont's most critical black bear habitat.
The federal Energy Department last week reported that wind power could take the place of coal and natural gas for as much as 30 percent of the electricity generation in the eastern two-thirds of the country. There is just one problem: the cost would be huge and the supposed environmental benefit (reduced carbon emissions) small.
There has been much discussion lately about industrial wind power on Vermont's mountains. The Lempster, N.H., turbine site is often used as an example of a typical wind tower site, especially after Green Mountain Power's Dec. 5 bus trip for Lowell residents.
I am a Vermont resident, but I have an insider's perspective of the Lempster site. I own two pieces of land on Lempster Mountain, one of which has been in my family for over 70 years.
I fear greatly the rush to turn its high ground into an electrical generator for out-of-state interests. I think Gov. John Baldacci is way off base in his unbridled support of this frantic race for government handouts that will enrich a greedy few at the expense of many ... including wildlife that can't speak for itself.
Mr. Carter's clear and thoughtful commentary against industrial-grade wind developments should speak loudly to citizens of Maine.
There is a tendency in the environmental community to see renewable fuels - solar, wind, tidal energy, small hydro - as a panacea for our climate-change problem. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent, it will be necessary to generate a substantial portion of our energy from solar and wind sources.
But renewables are not without their problems. ...If forest land in New Hampshire was converted to wind power, there is such a large release of carbon in the land-use change that the benefit from substituting wind power for fossil fuels is lost.
One would not think it difficult to reconcile support of renewable energy with the love of the environment, yet this summer we found ourselves in exactly this situation. After years of living with conservation as a mantra, we could never imagine being opposed to a "green" energy project, but ironically that's what has happened. ...After months of research, we've learned that wind power is just not the "green" energy source we've all been told it is. If applied on a small residential scale, it can be very effective; however on an industrial level, there are enormous problems.
In his letter to the editor on Nov. 6, Jeff Wennberg painted a ridiculously benign picture of the impact on the mountains of Ira if construction of about 40 wind turbines takes place there. For instance, Jeff states, "Anyone who has seen a completed wind farm on forested land knows that these projects follow the contours of the terrain." He cites the Lempster wind turbine site as an example. ...The blasting and construction of wide service roads and tower base areas there have changed the contours of the land so drastically that, when I now stand in the area of this project, I have a hard time imagining what the terrain looked like before.
Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in "farms," that's an average of 238 per state, or more than one for each town in Connecticut. The cost would be $221 billion that the states don't have, though they might get a bulk-purchase discount of a billion or two.
Utilities get credits for "green" power they produce, or they can buy the credits from companies that create power from "renewable" sources. If they do neither, they have to pay a fine to the state. Proceeds from the fines subsidize energy conservation projects.
Sounds great. But like "cash for clunkers," there are problems. For example, the program already raised electric utility rates by $10.7 million earlier this year. Green power is more expensive. And then there are the windmills.
As for green jobs, since the scores of construction workers left in early winter ...Lempster Wind has just three.
There's a plant manager; a local man training to become a wind technician; and a representative from Gamesa, the Spanish company that made the turbines for Iberdrola, the company that built and owns Lempster Wind. He's on-site to tweak performance during this first year of operation, which is common for wind farms.
It now appears likely that the state's Site Evaluation Committee will grant a permit for the construction of 33 410-foot tall, blinking-light-topped wind turbines across seven or so miles of horizon, and the huge road system needed to construct and maintain them. ...we have become a state willing to sell its scenery and its very skyline for profits and power going elsewhere.
As you can see most green schemes collapse pretty quickly when you apply numbers to them. The problem, of course, is that the media is so politically biased, professionally incurious, and scientifically illiterate that they accept this sort of spurious pabulum without ever engaging their critical faculties.
The reason I strongly oppose the wind-power project is that it will despoil miles of wild and beautiful high-country scenery and skyline for power and profits that will go far to the south and leave us with little in the way of local jobs or economic gain. It is simply a bad trade-off. Conservationists and stewards of the land have been trying to buy the Phillips Brook tract and preserve it ...This massive wind project and the ridge-scarring road system to build and maintain it would nail such hopes in a coffin.
When thinking of alternative energy sources, windmills sound so appealing. The reality is different from the romance, however. Wind turbines are an inefficient and periodic source of electric power that are most useful only in limited locations. Atop a mountain ridge in Coos County is not one of those places.
We live in a place of few cash crops. One is the scenery that drives our tourism. The other thing we have is a few wild places where you can plant a foot, pivot like a hoop-star, and gaze at a landscape uncluttered by anything but the Milky Way. The value on that? Incalculable. Again, tourism, and the stuff of the soul. A whole bunch of far-seeing people walked both sides of the aisle to preserve the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Tract for your grandchildren and mine, for all time, for jobs, recreational access, and the sheer value of the landscape itself. Good thing we did - just look all around at everything else.
One of the great pitfalls of a generation caught up in a cause of the moment is to make mistakes that will mark our hearts, our souls, our future generations and the landscape for years to come. We may be approaching such a pitfall with the proposed development of a huge wind-tower project in the still wild, still remote and still beautiful Phillips Brook tract.
Fighting a massive wind-power project at a time when anything touted as "green" is perceived as patriotism is to swim against an almost insurmountable tide.
For anyone who hasn't been tuned in, the proposal involves 33 wind-turbine towers 410 feet high with blinking lights on top, strung out over 6.5 miles of ridge-line smack in the middle of the North Country, aided and abetted by nearly 40 miles of construction and service roads and a new 5.8-mile transmission line. The ballyhooed "enough power for 33,000 homes" will go as a drop in the bucket into the massive New England Power Pool -- and this from a state that already generates twice as much power as it consumes. In the end, it will support only seven jobs.
Last week came news that Fish and Game and the Appalachian Mountain Club had agreed not to contest the mitigation package proposed to make up for the wetlands and 58 acres of high country that will be affected by the roads and towers.
This was a sorry day for New Hampshire's conservation community and is probably another good reason for circumventing the state's permitting procedure and instead moving to the federal level, the Army Corps of Engineers.