Library from Vermont
While Vermonters are reasonably familiar with the benefits of industrial wind turbines, we have not done our homework on the impact of their construction on our environment, economy and quality-of-life.
This letter replies to Putney resident John Berkowitz's letter entitled "Vermont can benefit from wind power," which appeared in the Manchester Journal on March 12 [click here]. Mr. Berkowitz argues against a three-year moratorium on wind power in Vermont and in favor of wind power because it will (1) help Vermont and America stop and reduce global warming, (2) help our economy by providing construction and permanent jobs, (3) help secure our energy future, and (4) help our wildlife. Finally, Mr. Berkowitz urges us "to learn more about the issue."
The threat to Vermont posed by industrial wind power is real. Our cause is just. We will prevail. After all, it is simply common sense.
At first gust, wind power sounds like an environmentalist's dream. An endless supply of clean, renewable energy that will help reduce pollution and lower dependence on greenhouse- gas belching power plants and radioactive-waste generating nuclear facilities.
This presentation indicates that for New England the increasing demand for summer-time electricity is greater and increasing faster than winter-time demand. The fast-rising need for power in summer will likely result in construction of new power plants to keep ahead of demand - although inland industrial wind plants will not be able to contribute much to this demand period due to their very low capacity factor during summer months.
"The biggest blackout in history on August 14, 2003 brought all economic activity in the northeastern United States to a halt. At 4:11pm EST, the sudden plunge into darkness was a reminder of just how much we depend on energy for much of our activities. Thirty years earlier, another energy shock – the 1973 OPEC oil embargo – provided a more protracted lesson in the importance of energy to our overall well-being. The recommendations in this Plan all stem from the fundamental importance of energy to the State’s economy and the well-being of its citizens. Because energy – especially electricity – remains a fundamental driver of the VT economy, competitively priced energy continues to be vital, since differentials in energy costs can be a determinant in relative competitiveness of one region over another. The disparity between the average electric rates Vermont’s residential and business customers pay, and the average rates paid by customers in the U.S. as a whole, has steadily increased. In 1990, Vermont’s residential electric rates were about 15 percent higher than the U.S. average, commercial rates were about 20 percent higher, and industrial rates were some 35 percent higher than the U.S. average. Today, that disparity has grown to about 50 percent for all three classes"....
Eric Rosenbloom's comments on a report written by Eleanor Tillinghast on the poor performance of Vermont's Searsburg wind project. An environmental advocate in southwest Massachusetts, Ms. Tillinghast's report was published in The Caledonian-Record of St. Johnsbury (Vt) on December 17, 2003 but, unfortunately, is not available on line.
"I realize that our ridge tops are not a legally constituted commons in whose future we all have an interest. But wouldn't it be a benefit to the community if they were? After all, they represent a natural legacy left to us by our predecessors in this area, whether by intention or default."
Under Vermont's two-part Quechee test, a determination must first be made as to whether a proposed project will have an adverse impact on aesthetics and the scenic and natural beauty of an area because it would not be in harmony with its surroundings. If the answer is in the affirmative, the inquiry then advances to the second prong to determine if the adverse impact would be undue.
Comments to FERC by the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissions and the Vermont Department of Public Service
A summary of the outcomes reached at four wookshops during February, March, April and May in 2002 that were held in an effort to build consensus on various criteria for siting wind energy projects in Vermont. This paper is available by clicking on the download link.
Jean Vissering's more extensive summary than "Wind Turbine Siting Issues in Vermont" of the workshops held in 2002 at Woodbury College to build a consensus on criteria for siting wind energy projects in Vermont.
This paper by landscape architect Jean Vissering addresses siting guidelines for both utility scale wind plants and smaller scale wind turbines.
Operating reports on the 11 turbine Searsburg, Vermont Wind plant. The development report (Dec 1997) and the third year operating report (Dec 2000) are available at as downloads. The first year operating report (Dec 1998) is available at the web link.
The proposed Deerfield Wind project in Readsboro and Searsburg is continuing to move forward with the Public Service Board approving a plan for a bear study and the public comment period set by the Green Mountain National Forest ended.