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Industrial Wind Energy--for what purpose? at what cost?

The current craze for wind towers is just that--a craze. Understandably, we are concerned about carbon emissions and energy security. Wind towers are a visible symbol that we are attempting to do something. Unfortunately, they are a hollow symbol. Like Don Quixote, we are obsessed by windmills, except that instead of attacking them, we are building them. Fifty miles of wind towers crowning Vermont's ridgelines will cost residents and taxpayers a fortune, but they will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions or secure energy supplies. We should put our money and our effort into less damaging and more productive solutions, such as conservation and the development of clean coal technology.

A bill currently before the Vermont General Assembly would require the Public Service Board to use incentives and other tools to ensure that by 2012 the state will generate no less than 100 megawatts of electricity from in-state wind turbines. H.104, sponsored by 19 state representatives from Montpelier, Brattleboro, Middlebury, Burlington and other towns and cities, would impose, irrespective of cost, industrial wind turbines on Vermont for the sake of highly questionable benefits. What effect will this bill have on Vermonters' lives if it is passed?

First, let us be clear what H.104 does not do:

1) It does not require that the net effect of the resulting wind towers be to reduce CO2 emissions, a principal
cause of "global warming," nor does it set targets for reducing these emissions.

2) It does not require that these wind towers produce electricity in a cost-effective manner; in fact, it specifically
exempts developers from having to demonstrate that the power they produce cannot be provided in a more
cost-effective manner.

What will enactment of H.104 actually do?

1) It will mandate the installation of approximately two hundred 40-story tall industrial wind turbines on at least 40,
and possibly as many as 57 miles of Vermont's ridgelines.

2) It will ensure windfall profits for the developers of these towers, who are being offered a guaranteed... [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A bill currently before the Vermont General Assembly would require the Public Service Board to use incentives and other tools to ensure that by 2012 the state will generate no less than 100 megawatts of electricity from in-state wind turbines. H.104, sponsored by 19 state representatives from Montpelier, Brattleboro, Middlebury, Burlington and other towns and cities, would impose, irrespective of cost, industrial wind turbines on Vermont for the sake of highly questionable benefits. What effect will this bill have on Vermonters' lives if it is passed?
 
First, let us be clear what H.104 does not do:
 
     1) It does not require that the net effect of the resulting wind towers be to reduce CO2 emissions, a principal
         cause of "global warming," nor does it set targets for reducing these emissions.
 
     2) It does not require that these wind towers produce electricity in a cost-effective manner; in fact, it specifically 
         exempts developers from having to demonstrate that the power they produce cannot be provided in a more
         cost-effective manner.
 
What will enactment of H.104 actually do?
 
     1) It will mandate the installation of approximately two hundred 40-story tall industrial wind turbines on at least 40,
         and possibly as many as 57 miles of Vermont's ridgelines.
 
     2) It will ensure windfall profits for the developers of these towers, who are being offered a guaranteed market for
         their product regardless of cost.
 
It is obvious that this is a bad deal for Vermont residents and taxpayers, who will see their historic and valuable ridgelines encumbered with gigantic industrial machines for highly questionable benefits at uncontrollable costs. For what purpose?
    
Fact: Less than one percent (1%) of Vermont's CO2 emissions are caused by the generation of electricity. Fifty-six percent (56%) are caused by transportation ( i.e. cars and trucks), and twenty-five percent (25%) by residential emissions. If state legislators are seriously interested in reducing carbon emissions, they should enact gasoline mileage standards, and encourage conservation in the home.
 
Fact: Wind towers are an ineffective means of reducing carbon emissions. This is due to the well-known fact that the wind does not blow all the time; hence wind towers cannot provide electricity all the time. But the need for electricity continues, whether the wind is blowing or not; hence alternative, more reliable sources of energy must be built to back up the wind towers. What this means is that for every wind tower that is built, another more reliable source, whether of coal, water power or nuclear fusion must be built to match it. Where is the saving?
 
The current craze for wind towers is just that--a craze. Understandably, we are concerned about carbon emissions and energy security. Wind towers are a visible symbol that we are attempting to do something. Unfortunately, they are a hollow symbol. Like Don Quixote, we are obsessed by windmills, except that instead of attacking them, we are building them. Fifty miles of wind towers crowning Vermont's ridgelines will cost residents and taxpayers a fortune, but they will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions or secure energy supplies. We should put our money and our effort into less damaging and more productive solutions, such as conservation and the development of clean coal technology.


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FEB 21 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/7430-industrial-wind-energy-for-what-purpose-at-what-cost
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