Library filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
Back in the 1960s, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram conducted a research experiment whose results shocked the nation. Participants were told that they were taking on the role of “teacher” in a study of methods to improve learning. An authority figure told the “teacher” to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks to a “learner” in the next room whenever a question was answered incorrectly. There actually were no shocks and the learner was part of the research team, but the “teacher” heard increasing cries of pain with each “shock” administered. Even as the intensity of the shocks approached the maximum of 450 volts, the authority insisted that the shocks should continue – that the anguished screams, the banging on the wall, the pleas about heart conditions, and ultimately the ominous silence from the other room should all be ignored.
The Public Service Board has issued its draft rules on wind turbine sound that, if adopted, would put much stronger restrictions on wind development in the state.
“Vermont cannot afford to have its rates skyrocket in the name of renewable energy,” Ethan Allen Institute President Rob Roper told Vermont Watchdog. ...In a commentary posted on EAI’s website, Roper calls S.51 the “Let’s Destroy the Economy Bill” and raises an important question:
The siting of industrial wind projects could be a key issue during the 2017 legislative session, because Gov.-elect Phil Scott wants lawmakers to enact a two-year moratorium on all large, ridgeline wind proposals.
The Northeastern Vermont Development Association is under the gun to adapt its regional energy plan to meet new standards so towns have a say over siting energy projects.
Green energy projects are often said to be cost-effective, but one of the financial aids that makes them viable has lost significant value, and appears to be on the verge of collapsing.
As Vermont races to become the nation’s first all-green-energy state, reports that municipalities are reaching the goal may be overblown.
“This is David Blittersdorf and company, VERA (Vermont Environmental Research Associates), attempting to market wind power to Connecticut for no benefit to Vermont,” said Smith. “Why Blittersdorf is just fanning the flames of opposition and just infuriating people more, I don’t understand it.”
New standards on large scale wind projects in Vermont will give towns a voice in where they are built, but opting out entirely won't be an option.
Facing the possibility that voters here may reject the proposal, putting a damper on large-scale wind development in Vermont, Iberdrola last week put cash on the table for individual voters. Many residents called the offer an attempt at undue influence, if not an outright bribe.
The Department of Public Service wants Vermonters to make sacrifices to meet the state’s ambitious alternative energy goals. Giving up some rural landscapes for solar arrays, sharing cars and driving less, and generally using less cheap oil and gas are all in order if the state has any hope of achieving 90 percent renewable energy usage by 2050.
Of course, the backlash against Big Wind in Vermont and elsewhere isn’t the story the American Wind Energy Association and its myriad minions in the left-wing media are pushing. Annette Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, a small nonprofit group that has been active in the state’s energy-project-siting battles for 17 years, told me “The pro-wind lobby is mad that wind energy has become a high-profile issue,” in the gubernatorial race. “They want to keep this all hidden.”
Just days before the Vermont primary on Aug. 9, controversy is swirling around a statement Dunne made last week that some observers interpreted as a new and stronger endorsement of local control over wind siting. The kerfuffle has cost Dunne the endorsement of author and climate change activist Bill McKibben, and has drawn attacks from his rivals for the Democratic nomination, Sue Minter and Peter Galbraith.
Marshall Hollander, a former town supervisor for Columbia, in Herkimer County, was among those who challenged wind farms proposed in several communities near his. ..."The developers here have been like wolves who target rural townships so they can make some money before they disappear," he said.
Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law Monday that proponents say will impose tougher sound standards on wind turbines and give towns a greater say over where renewable projects are built.
Don Chioffi, a former selectboard member in Rutland Town, and the original author of the Rutland Resolution that attracted over 160 towns to join the “Vermont Energy Rebellion,” also wasn’t happy with Thursday’s session. “That’s such a disingenuous, deceitful charade that they pull on the Vermont public. It’s just unbelievable,” Chioffi said.
House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, top left, surveys the scene late Thursday during the veto session of the Legislature. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger
House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, attributed Shumlin’s veto to pressure from the renewable energy industry and said the governor’s objections could have been addressed in next year’s legislative session rather than after adjournment.
The Senate will take up the bill first on Thursday. Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, a longtime critic of the renewable-energy siting process, says he’s doesn’t think the problems with the bill were severe enough to warrant a veto.
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin on Monday vetoed a bill designed to give local communities more say in the siting of wind and solar power projects, saying he objected to strict limits it placed on sound emanating from wind turbines, among other issues.