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Because wind is variable and unreliable and no more than a marginal and supplemental source of energy, it will make no more than a token difference in the fight to halt climate change.
What Vermont is lacking, however, is leadership on the controversial matter of wind turbines on mountain tops. The state's ridgelines are the wrong place to put 330-foot-tall wind towers.
In community after community where industrial-scale "wind farms" have been proposed, mundane and sparsely-attended board meetings have been transformed into standing-room-only affairs. Residents and property owners are anxious to know whether rumored plans to construct twenty, fifty or even a hundred of the 400-foot tall wind turbines are "a done deal." Most significantly, the electorate wants to know the extent to which their town has the power to decide whether or not wind farms will dominate their rural landscape. /p
Robert Samuelson writes in the Washington Post: "Almost a decade ago I suggested that global warming would become a "gushing" source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming Group of Eight summit of world economic leaders. But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism -- politicians pretending they're saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they can't (and won't) do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that, though this seems unlikely."
These mountains, the rare northern quiet and spectacular natural beauty that are so integral to Vermont need protection.
Londonderry (VT) resident, Hugh Kemper, wrote this paper to alert fellow residents to the probable impact on Londonderry's character and the quality of residents' lives of a proposed 27 turbine wind plant along 3.5 miles of Glebe Mountain's ridgeline. The paper argues that industrial wind energy is, at best, a symbolic gesture to halting climate change and a financial windfall for developers while the costs to Londonderry's environment, economy and quality-of-life are significant.
Where is the governor? He ought to lay his cards on the table for all of Vermont to see.
Q. Even considering all of those factors or weaknesses, what is your conclusion regarding the impact on residential property values from the proposed project? A. Under certain circumstances as described in my report, the negative impact may be similar. Also, in significant view loss situations, as described in my report, I would conclude that, within a reasonable degree of professional certainty, land values may be negatively impacted 17% - 20%. Editor's Note: Mr. Zarem argues that the appropriate methodology for estimating the 'view' impact of industrial wind turbines on property values is 'paired data analysis'- defined in the The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal as: “A quantitative technique used to identify and measure adjustments to the sale prices or rents of comparable properties; to apply this technique, sales or rental data on nearly identical properties are analyzed to isolate a single characteristic’s effect on value or rent.” In the absence of relevant view/turbine data, he derived an alternative paired data analysis for determining view impacts on property values due to wind turbines from Transmission Line view impacts on the prices of single-family residential lots in subdivisions...as...sufficient paired data isolating the effects of view loss due to Transmission Lines exist in the marketplace to reach reasonable conclusions as to market tendencies. This data isolates impacts due to view loss associated with Transmission Lines.
BBC Research & Consulting's 2005 report for the National Wind Coordinating Committee that studies 9 wind plant sitings in an effort to identify circumstances that distinguish welcomed projects from projects that were not accepted by communities.
This working paper is made available by the Resource and Environmental economics and Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group at the University of Victoria. REPA working papers have not been peer reviewed and contain preliminary research findings. They shall not be cited without the expressed written consent of the author(s). Editor's Note: The authors’ conclusion regarding ‘effective capacity’, i.e. the measure of a generator’s contribution to system reliability that is tied to meeting peak loads, is that it “is difficult to generalize, as it is a highly site-specific quantity determined by the correlation between wind resource and load” and that ‘values range from 26 % to 0% of rated capacity.” This conclusion is based, in part, on a 2003 study by the California Energy Commission that estimated that three wind farm aggregates- Altamont, San Gorgonio and Tehachpi, which collectively represent 75% of California’s deployed wind capacity- had relative capacity credits of 26.0%, 23.9% and 22.0% respectively. It is noteworthy that during California’s Summer ’06 energy crunch, as has been widely publicized in the press, wind power produced at 254.6 MW (10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW) at the time of peak demand (on July 24th) and over the preceding seven days (July 17-23) produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
Billions of dollars are being spent to stop so-called manmade global warming. Already we have been told "it is a bigger threat to manking than international terrorism", with runaway warming, rises in sea levels and increases in the number of floods, hurricanes, droughts and tropical diseases predicted. Faced with this, a pragmatic technological society might decide it would get best value for money by modernising existing inefficient coal-fired stations, building nuclear power stations and efficient transport. But instead, we have poured sources into renewables.
..as a Vermonter, I’m for preserving our ridgelines (as Act 250 was designed to do) and our natural landscapes. The integrity of our environment is not only a source of our strength and pride it is also critical to our economic wellbeing. It makes no sense to sacrifice who and what we are and what we have for no useful purpose.
Letter to the Editor
A surge in wind power supply has raised concerns among regional utilities that a greater dependence on natural forces may destabilize their power grids.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- I am here today to introduce - along with the senior senator from Virginia, Senator John Warner - the Environmentally Responsible Wind Power Act of 2005.
The head of a famous clan and his supermodel sister have joined a campaign to prevent electricity pylons from damaging a tiny wood that is home to four of Britain's most endangered birds of prey.
Local power generation could be achieved by installing tidal turbines in Auckland's regional harbours. Two harbours are superbly suited for this purpose, and tidal-current power generation is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
What is unique to this state are the wild mountain tops for which Vermonters old and new have worked for a hundred years to restore and preserve. The desire to violate them not with manured hay fields but with collections of 330-foot-high steel and composite wind turbines -- for insignificant benefit other than profits for a few -- reveals a set of values that some people do not find attractive, wherever they come from.
Opposition to industrial wind power, however, is about more than just the view.
Eric Rosenbloom's list of the current industrial-scale wind projects targeted for Vermont. Note the huge leap in size from the existing Searsburg facility that we are all urged to go see and love and consequently love as well the new very much larger facilities being planned.