Bravo. Finally, a declarative statement on wind energy after months of murky confusion. Finally, a break in the clouds that have shrouded an issue that is critical to all Vermonters but has been driven largely by wind developers and advocates. Taken at face value, Gov. Jim Douglas is saying "No" to big wind.
Similar grassroots activism is taking root in Sheffield and neighboring villages, where residents call themselves the Ridge Protectors and are circulating petitions against the project and erecting "Save our ridgeline" signs along the roadsides.
Workers at the Hopkins Ridge Wind Farm, near Dayton in Columbia County, assemble turbines in October 2005. Hopkins Ridge, owned by Puget Sound Energy, has been generating electricity for customers since November 2005.
Telephoto view from Carrigaholt (County Clare) of wind turbines near Beal Point (County Kerry) in western Ireland.
Eric Rosenbloom writes: "Driving the desire for industrial wind power is the conviction that its development is necessary to reduce the effects of fossil and/or nuclear fuel use. Thus the local impacts of large industrial wind turbine installations are justified by a greater good of healthier air and water, reduction of global warming, and moving away from harmful mining and fuel wars. These are all without question important goals. While the wind power industry tends to downplay its negative effects, many conservation groups call for careful siting and ongoing study to minimize them. There is debate, therefore, about the actual impacts, but there is none about the actual benefits. Even the most cautious of advocates do not doubt, for example, that "every kilowatt-hour generated by wind is a kilowatt-hour not generated by a dirty fuel." That may be true for a small home with substantial battery storage, but such a formula is, at best, overly simplistic for large turbines meant to supply the grid. The evidence from countries that already have a large proportion of wind power suggests that is has no effect on the use of other sources. This is not surprising when one learns how the grid works: A rise in wind power simply causes a thermal plant to switch from generation to standby, in which mode it continues to burn fuel." Author Rosenbloom goes on to take a look at the experience with industrial wind of Ireland, Denmark and Germany and concludes that wind energy's benefits are largely illusory and do not warrant the degradation of rural and wild areas.
The West Danish model clearly shows that the installation of large numbers of wind turbines can lead to severe and expensive problems with power transmission, and seriously degrade wildlife habitats and the aesthetic value of land- and seascapes for little or no reduction in carbon emissions. It is therefore imperative that energy conservation schemes and alternative sources of renewable energy are more thoroughly explored before large swathes of unique UK countryside and coastal scenery are lost to industrial wind stations. Conservation measures alone could reduce UK carbon emissions by 30% (Coppinger, 2003).
view (approx. 5 miles) across the mouth of Shannon River from Carrigaholt (County Clare) towards Beal Point (County Kerry)in western Ireland
It suggests a welcoming atmosphere for the industrial wind developers who are gauging the state's appetite for wind towers on our ridgelines. That's not the intent of the proclamation, according to Jason Gibbs, the governor's spokesman. It's about promoting renewable energy in general, and small wind power projects specifically -- on "a Vermont scale."
In a paper recently published on line on September 28,2005 in "Contemporary Aesthetics", Jon Boone responds to Yuriko Saito's "Machines in the Ocean: The Aesthetics of Wind Farms" by arguing that Saito's search for the right aesthetic justification for windplants sited in the ocean (as well as on shore) is predicated on a false assumption, i.e. that industrial wind power is both benign and effective.
Sue Sliwinski took a 9 day, 3000 mile trip visiting 7 wind farms across several states. Here's her report.
..because the turbines produce power in response to the wind rather than actual demand, much of it -- 84% of western Denmark's wind production in 2003, by one analysis -- has to be exported (i.e., dumped) because it is not needed. Despite a landscape already saturated with turbines, it appears therefore that they produce only about 3% of the electricity Denmark uses.
Bulpitt said preliminary results at the research platforms off the Georgia coast are showing average wind speeds of 16 miles an hour.
But initial results from the first two months of the study are showing the area has slow wind speeds of 6 to 10 mph.
Uncertainty rules in windfarm politics. What is clear is that opponents come from the left and from the right -- and that neither side knows the true effects of 400-foot turbines built on 4,000-foot Appalachian ridges.
What are we in Highland to make of these statements and actions? Clearly, these men have a stake in seeing turbines on Highland’s ridges. Rather than responsibly considering the bird and bat impacts in any sort of serious way, they go to great lengths to stifle or belittle credible research recommending that wind turbines be put on hold until bat mortality can be understood and mitigated and until bird impacts can be studied.
No matter how much tax revenue the utility might add to county coffers, money cannot replace the hard-to-quantify scenic landscapes and cumulative effects of such projects in the Appalachian highlands.
Eric Rosenbloom, a resident of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, addresses why wind power does not live up to advocates' claims, why its impact on the environment and people's lives is far from benign and how money invested in wind energy could be better spent.
When considering local bylaws regulating wind turbine development, towns need to consider whether and to what degree they should be encouraged. The question of how much revenue they might generate for the town will be among the first issues raised. To determine this, there are many things a town with land suitable for commercial wind development needs to consider. Particular attention needs to be paid to long-term trends as well. This paper explores some of these factors and their implications.
Some of the turbines of the 200- megawatt project could be within two miles of the border of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge that was named by the National Wildlife Refuge Association as one of the nation's six most threatened refuges.
This paper examines the damages of all six operating wind turbines on Miyakojima Island by Typhoon Maemi on September 11, 2003.