Library filed under Energy Policy
"It's important that people realize the scope of them, the number and the size," (Gov.) Douglas said. "We need to slow down. This is a very important decision."
Gov. Jim Douglas has rightly said that the push for industrial wind power should slow down. Vermonters need to think about where these enormous wind towers are being proposed: on top of our mountains in some of the most beautiful corners of the state. Industrial wind turbines don't belong on Vermont's ridgelines.
A Massachusetts wind developer has met his match in the Northeast Kingdom, where people are rallying against his plan to industrialize their ridgeline with massive turbines.
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.
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).
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.
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."
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.
The goal of the Technology Acceptance activity is that "By 2010, at least 100 MW will be installed in 30 states." Further, the Technology Acceptance effort is striving to ensure that, by 2005, at least 20 MW will be installed in 32 states.Editor's Note: This is tantamount to a 'full court press' without any consideration of the critical 'impact' issues related to wind energy, i.e. wind energy's (1) negligible value as a source of base load capacity, (2) ineffectiveness in reducing emissions, (3) cost implications for electrical transmission, (4) cost to tax and rate payers, (5) affect upon the quality of our lives, our environment, on wildlife and on tourist/second home based economies, etc .
Is it all worth it? We need to bridle our inherent optimism for emerging technology with lessons learned from the past.
This map is also available in NWW's photo gallery.
It's not easy to strike a balance, and that's where the friction arises. In Vermont, it is playing out as the U.S. Forest Service is faced with delivering a new management plan for the Green Mountain National Forest, a 400,000-acre parcel of public land in central and southern Vermont.
Speak out for your ridge lines and public land now before the opportunity passes and the Green Mountains become industrial wind parks.
Jon Boone addresses wind power for the Mid-Atlantic region.
Wind power is an idea that is appealing to the imagination. It sounds like a "free" source of energy that would be non-polluting and stable in cost. I am an optimist, and I love technology. If I thought for one moment that windmills would be a source of low cost energy, I would be building them. The reality is quite the contrary--wind power is wasteful of human and natural resources.
Do we now want to see pristine ridge lines turned into pincushions with enormous white turbines whirring along the skyline? Most people support clean energy sources, but at what price? Is this the vision Americans had of its national forests when these wild places were set aside for our children and their children to enjoy?
Built in 2003, North Hoyle is the UK's first major offshore wind plant.....