Articles from Vermont
At the first public hearing for Vermont’s updated energy plan, audience members criticized the siting of wind and solar projects, and the plan’s policy expert told Vermont Watchdog going completely green will have no impact on global warming.
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
Christina Lang,of Swanton, said her home would be 2,000 feet from the turbine blades which she said "would make noise constantly." "We're sad, and we're hurt, and yes, we are upset that this has been going on so long," added Sally Collopy, of Fairfield. "Nobody listens, and nobody cares and we're fed up with it. We're fed up."
Sally Collopy and Penny Dubie, the wife of former Lt Gov Brian Dubie, were among the protesters in front of the conference center holding signs opposing wind turbine construction on ridgelines. In Swanton, there is a proposal for a project with seven 499-foot tall turbines. “It just makes no sense at all,” said Collopy, holding a sign that said “We are victims of industrial wind.”
"We don't see how this project fits in," said Mary Powell, chief executive officer of the state's largest electric company, Green Mountain Power. "We are in really good shape for our customers with wind." Ditto Vermont Electric Cooperative, the state's second-largest utility. According to director of government affairs Andrea Cohen, VEC has no plans to buy new wind-generated energy. Nor does the Burlington Electric Department.
On Thursday night hundreds of people packed into the Irasburg Town Hall to tell renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf they don't want his industrial wind towers in their town. Out of 285 voters, 274 said "NO" to wind development in town.
In a stinging rebuke of Vermont’s most prominent wind developer, Irasburg residents packed Town Hall Thursday night and voted 274-9 against hosting giant wind turbines on a nearby ridgeline in sight of local neighborhoods. ...Additional time was taken in hopes of locating the project’s developer, David Blittersdorf, who was widely expected to make a presentation defending his project. Once it became apparent he was a no-show the Selectboard proceeded with a vote.
“The Northeast Kingdom has become the dumping ground for every ill-conceived, poorly sited renewable energy project the developers can dream up,” Rodgers said in a news release. “Environmental and energy issues are real, but we know that there are far more effective ways to address them without ruining the quality of life that defines us as Vermonters.”
The small, red 130-year-old building at 205 Main St. has served as the town post office, a real estate office and as a home for the Grafton Historical Society. Sitting inside the front room on Tuesday, Liisa Kissel declared, “Now, it has a new purpose.”
Turbine infrasound can be detected inside homes as far away as six miles. We know also that very low levels of infrasound and LFN are registered by the nervous system and affect the body even though they cannot be heard. Researchers have implicated these infrasonic pulsations as the cause of some of the most commonly reported “sensations” experienced by many people living close to wind turbines. These sensations include chronic sleep disturbance, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, vibrations and pressure sensations in the head and chest etc. There is medical research which demonstrates that pulsating infrasound can be a direct cause of sleep disturbance. In clinical medicine, chronic sleep interruption and deprivation is acknowledged as a trigger of serious health problems.
Developers who want to build a commercial wind project in Windham and Grafton say environmental surveys will start soon which will give them a clearer picture of where the turbines might go. For the past two-and-a-half years Iberdrola Renewables has been collecting wind data from three meteorological towers located on a high plateau that straddles the Grafton-Windham town line.
Some leery residents believe Blittersdorf's ridgeline land purchases mean he also wants to bring wind to the small Northeast Kingdom town. "If you move it away from the lake and out of sight, I don't have a problem with it, but if you bring turbines, we'll have a major fight," said Bob Kern of Morgan. ...At the end of the meeting, locals voted 62-7 to have the select board try to intervene to stop the project.
Thomas Melone, CEO of New York-based Allco Renewable Energy, opposed Cape Wind over concerns it would hurt the view from his home in Martha’s Vineyard. Melone’s company has been critical of so-called NIMBY concerns in Vermont.
For decades, organizations including Vermont Natural Resources Council, Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Preservation Trust and others could be counted on to show up at the merest hint of potential development anywhere in Vermont. Lobbying in Montpellier and using Act 250 and local regulations, those groups helped preserve the landscape that we love.
The floor of Lake Champlain is quickly becoming a highway for transmission lines to bring renewable energy to metropolitan areas of the Northeast. A new project to bring wind power from New York to New England through the lake was announced this week.
Renewable energy, for the most part, is a good thing. I support net metering for home-scaled wind and solar, fish-friendly small scale hydro, and mining landfills and bio digesters for methane. But at some point the rush into large scale (and subsidized) renewable energy becomes too costly, and too destructive of human and environmental values, to merit continued support. We have reached that point with Big Wind, and it’s time to slow this rush to “renewable energy of all kinds at whatever cost.”
The extension was approved despite objections from the town of Windham, where officials argued that the revised town plan “specifically prohibits both meteorological towers and commercial wind-energy systems.” Iberdrola’s requested extension represented a “substantial change” to the company’s plans, the town argued, so the new town plan should apply. But the Public Service Board, in an order dated Sept. 3, disagreed.
But an insidious new form of visual pollution is overtaking the state. Solar sprawl tied to Act 56 could wipe out thousands of acres of undisturbed land and transform Vermont from The Green Mountain State to The Solar Panel State. With Vermont set to become the nation’s first all green-energy economy, solar projects popping up from Bennington to Barton dwarf the billboard blight of the 1960s, and could erase tourism’s marketing message.
A proposal to erect two commercial wind turbines in Irasburg is drawing local opposition. But the developer, David Blittersdorf, says the project would benefit the entire state.
HYDRO REC SCAM?: Under Vermont’s new renewable portfolio standard, utility companies can meet state goals using cheap hydro-electric renewable energy credits that neighboring states won’t buy and don’t recognize as renewable.