Library filed under Impact on People from Vermont
The low price of electricity and abundance of it right now are hurting renewables, and there is essentially no market for new generation. He also said he doesn't expect that to change for several years. So why are we willing to obliterate our mountains and fill our night sky with flashing red lights for something we may not even need?
One hundred people crammed into Ira town hall Tuesday night to meet with the developers of the Vermont Community Wind Farm. Some in the crowd already had their mind made up, and would not support the project no matter what. A majority of residents are relatively supportive of the concept of wind power, but have issues with the location and magnitude of the proposed project.
Officials from Vermont Community Wind have organized a bus trip to a wind farm in New Hampshire to try and build support for a large scale wind farm they're proposing in and around the Rutland County town of Ira. Company officials say about 35 residents from the area will travel to Lempster, New Hampshire, on Saturday where a 24-megawatt wind farm has recently been built.
More than 150 people gathered tonight in Georgia to debate a proposed five-turbine wind farm on Georgia Mountain. Some 30 speakers and the broader audience seemed split on the project as they participated in a hearing before the state Public Service Board, which would have to approve the development for it to proceed.
The neighbors gathered in Dan and Tina FitzGerald's kitchen had a list of grievances about five wind turbines proposed for the mountain in his backyard. The list began with this: A fear their voices will not be listened to. "We feel there is a tremendous amount of money stacked up against us," said Darlene Ross, who would have a view of the turbines from her home on Arrowhead Lake.
Opposition is organizing against a proposed wind project in Ira, a small hilly town southwest of Rutland, with a handful of residents from Ira and surrounding towns meeting last week to discuss their concerns. A company called Vermont Community Wind Farm has proposed putting as many as 60 wind turbines in and around the town of 460 people.
Plans for a wind farm atop Georgia Mountain are coming together rapidly and the project-which would establish three to five turbines along the ridge-could be operational as soon as 2011, said consultants for the Georgia Mountain Community Wind LLC. The consultants testified before the Milton Planning Commission on March 17, as part of the project's permitting process.
Wind energy advocates want the Douglas administration to lift its ban on large-scale wind projects on state-owned land. The advocates say Vermont needs to explore all options as it looks for new energy resources. But Governor Jim Douglas remains opposed to the idea VPR's John Dillon reports:
In 1972, at the 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Edward Lorenz, the founder of modern chaos theory, gave a talk titled "Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?" His work with chaos theory had shown convincingly that weather is a chaotic system, i.e., one in which very small modifications in conditions at one point in time can lead to enormous (and unpredictable) changes at a later point. Hence, he observed, an effect as tiny as the energy generated by a butterfly's wings can create dramatic changes later on.
The Planning Commission made a recommendation Monday night that the Select Board review a petition by Endless Energy Corporation (EEC), NRG Systems and Earth Turbines to allow for construction of an 80-foot high, 2.5 kilowatt, wind turbine on top of Little Equinox Mountain. ...But this may not be the last wind turbine activity on the top of Little Equinox in the near future. In an affidavit in support of the petition, Harley Lee, President of Endless Energy Corporation - a wind development company out of Yarmouth, Maine - stated that EEC was still hoping to install wind turbines on Little Equinox Mountain under a proposed innovative community wind structure that would provide local residents, businesses, and other utility customers with cost effective power. An earlier proposal to install five, 410-foot high turbines at the top of Little Equinox stirred enormous local controversy in 2005-06.
In Vermont the parties are still waiting for a decision on the Sheffield project, which was argued before the high court in May. A clerk at the Supreme Court said Tuesday she has no idea when a decision might be announced. Meanwhile, the opponents of big wind in western New York believe they are finally getting the recognition they deserve with this month's announcement by the AG's office in Albany.
This installation will require high-intensity aircraft beacons to be located on top of each of the towers. The turbines would each be twice as tall as the existing turbines, 110 feet taller than the Bennington Monument, and be visible from the Woodford State Park all the way through Searsburg, Wilmington and into Marlboro. A large number of people who choose to live in these towns because of the remoteness will have their enjoyment of the area spoiled by having this industrial generating station placed along the ridgeline. Over 60 properties nearest to the turbines will be subject to noise levels exceeding that recommended as fit for human habitation by the World Health Organization. Is this how we want to preserve that National Forest for future generations - by making it unfit for humans to be in it? ...For the sake of the affected people and the future of the forest, let's hope the permit is not granted.
Blades have begun to turn on 121 wind turbines here and in neighboring Ellenburg, a 35-minute drive northwest of Plattsburgh. Saturday, they turned with a soft whush, whush, whush. "Whush, whush, whush, all day long, all night long - I moved here because it was so peaceful and quiet," groused Allen Barcombe as he pointed to the nearest tower, jutting up 400 feet into the sky behind his house. ...The New York turbines, in two projects developed by Noble Environmental Power, are the first of nearly 400 expected to go up in five towns on a windy plateau just south of the Canadian border. When completed, the development about 90 minutes from Burlington will represent the largest concentration of wind turbines in the eastern United States.
About "getting used to the turbines," I live under the existing eyesores. I have not, nor will I, get used to them. They are noisy, with constant whirring and intermittent clunks that I first mistook for gunshots. I can hear this inside my house with the windows shut. The proposed expansion will, by the developers' estimates, put the average noise level at my house at 44.9 dBA. The World Health Organization defines 45 dBA as unfit for human habitation. Several acres of my property, and that of dozens of neighbors, will be above this limit. I doubt that I would get used to that. Would you? ...There are better alternatives for electricity production. One is located right in Somerset. Vermont leads the nation (by a large margin) in percent of energy consumption from renewable sources. Adding more wind turbines would not alter that ratio, for reasons stated above. The turbines will not help our energy needs and don't belong in the National Forest. Let's keep it a forest.
The war over wind raged on this week, as the Barton area's Ladies Improvement Society pressed the Barton Select Board for any means to stop commercial wind development in town. Though no commercial wind projects are being proposed for the Orleans County town, the 10 or so women who attended a Monday night select board meeting want to ensure that stopgaps are in place in case a project should be proposed. The group doesn't even want wind developers to drive heavy trucks through Barton for other projects. ...Selectmen, however, told the group that a community-wide discussion will have to happen on the issue, because there are many in town who support renewable energy.
Concerned citizens of the Deerfield Valley, and as far away as the Berkshires, have come together to form "Save Vermont Ridgelines." The current proposal before the public service board, to allow or deny construction of an industrial wind power plant on 80 acres of highly visible United States Forest Service- controlled ridgelines, has brought us together to consider the scope and consequences of these 17 410-feet tall machines, with flashing lights stretched across one of the area's most prominent ridgelines. ...The goal of our group is to inform the public of the full intent and consequences of this proposed wind experiment.
In the town of Searsburg the private citizens own about 20% of the land and the rest belongs to the power companies,the state, and the National Forest. That extremely limits our growth as a town, yet they continue to destroy more forest land in the name of public good. ...This project is expected to cost over $60 million to build and destroy 80 acres of prime pristine forest land. How can you justify the cost with the return? Is there a price on our National Forests? Is there a price on the people's lives that live nearby that will surely be changed by the noise and lights? Is there a price on the many others who will see the nine to 12 red flashing lights from a distance in the night sky? They paint a rosy picture, but is it? I ask you all, Is this in the public good?
Residents upset about recent state approval for a wind power project in a neighboring town have launched a petition drive to change the town plan to prohibit commercial wind power development. “This petition basically reinforces that we don’t want to look at the ones at the end of Crystal Lake, and we don’t want the construction coming through,” said Liz Butterfield, owner of the Barton Village Corner Store. “And in the future, we don’t want wind development in the town of Barton.” ...“I think a 420-food wind tower at the end of a state park is a travesty,” Butterfield said.
This is far from the simple story that proponents of wind power might have you believe. I do not wish to knock the hope of wind power. But equally I do wish people to be fully informed and understand the serious shortfall of its promise, the choices they make, and their potentially harsh consequences.
And now we don’t have to go to Disneyland. Because, child, Disneyland is the whole state covered with wind towers.