Articles filed under Energy Policy from Vermont

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.
21 Feb 2007

Developers and Industrial Wind Turbines

Industrial wind turbines capture the imagination because they are a visible symbol that we are doing something about the environment. But in fact they are a boondoggle. They have a negligible effect on the environment, while wasting money that might be better spent elsewhere, damaging Vermont's rural landscape (itself a significant economic asset) and transferring a ton of money from the pockets of Vermont taxpayers to the bank accounts of the developers.
21 Feb 2007

Northeast, Canada moving toward more-efficient energy

On his way back from a meeting of Canadian and New England officials in Quebec City, Gov. James Douglas said by telephone Monday the group agreed to pursue increased use of renewable, more-efficient energy and cleaner transportation. But Douglas also said that Vermont should move cautiously on several of the proposals outlined in the group’s recommendations. For instance, although the New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers recommended unifying renewable portfolio standards laws across the region, Douglas said it may be premature for Vermont to enact such a law itself. Vermont passed a law in the last Legislative session pushing utilities to meet increases in power use through new renewable power projects. However, unlike a renewable portfolio standard, Vermont’s statute does not require the purchase of “green credits” from such renewable projects unless those goals are not met. Several other states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts, have laws setting up markets for selling green credits, and some lawmakers would like Vermont to follow suit. “We have done well and will continue to do well to develop our renewable portfolio without a specific Legislative mandate,” Douglas said. “I think it may be premature,” to pass such a law in Vermont, he added............Douglas said that he remains opposed personally to the development of most large-scale wind projects along the state’s ridgelines. But regulators will enforce the criteria and statutes that exist independently of his feelings about the projects, Douglas said. “I don’t believe the pain is worth the gain in many of these proposed projects,” he said. “I respect that process, regardless of my personal view.” “I think it would make a dramatic difference in our pristine ridgelines,” Douglas added. “I am not persuaded it should be a large-scale strategy for our energy future.”
15 Feb 2007

We must not strip our mountains for the pitiful amount of electricity the wind turbines would provide

As a writer, I am deeply indebted to the Northeast Kingdom, from which I’ve drawn inspiration for almost 50 years: its woods, fields, ponds, hills, its people, its other creatures. Like most of my neighbors, I favor conservation and renewable energy. The fear of climate change has been with me for many years, ever since I felt the early, subtle signs of it. But I do not support the proposed UPC industrial wind facility.
7 Feb 2007

Shumlin Favors Shutting Down Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Shumlin suggested replacing Vermont Yankee, which supplies about one-third of the state's energy supply, with enJon Day of Newark was adamantly opposed to Shumlin's views. "What I disagree with and don't support is scare tactics to further a political agenda," Day said. "I'm not saying I think climate change is a hoax. I'm saying it is being used to promote things that are not solutions." He is vehemently opposed to the proposed wind turbine projects in the Northeast Kingdom. "I strongly support Sutton as well as the many Sheffield residents who are like-minded, and the NEK, against venture capitalists masquerading as environmentalists," Day said. "There is only one reason these projects are planned in Vermont and that is financial gain. I might add at our pain." ergy from wind turbines, solar power and hydro power. .....
31 Jan 2007

Sanders, Leahy push pollution reduction bill

BRATTLEBORO -- There is no place for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Sen. Bernard Sanders' plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Monday, Sanders announced he was reintroducing an ambitious bill to reduce pollution associated with global warming. The bill was first introduced by his predecessor, Jim Jeffords. Sanders is co-sponsoring the bill with fellow Vermonter, Sen. Patrick Leahy. When asked how nuclear power fits into the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, Sanders replied, "it doesn't." "Our bill focuses on energy efficiency and it focuses on sustainability. It doesn't deal with nuclear power," said Sanders, in a telephone interview Monday night. Sanders said there was one major reason why nuclear power doesn't belong in the act. "We are dealing with highly toxic radioactive substances and we don't know of a way to dispose of them safely," he said.
16 Jan 2007

Lawmakers consider weighty surcharge on large homes; money would go into state ‘clean energy’ fund

Those who build large houses in Vermont could face hefty state fees if some lawmakers succeed in their efforts. Under the Senate version of the proposed law, those who put up new houses larger than 4,000 square feet would be charged unless their buildings were energy efficient. A similar bill likely to be introduced soon in the House is even tougher. Fees assessed under it on such large houses will go directly to a fund promoting renewable energy production in the state.
9 Jan 2007

Board upends deal to remove dam seen as bad for fish

Now, the state Public Service Board is refusing to approve the money that would have gone to the utility for removing the dam in Milton, a few miles upstream from where the Lamoille River flows into the lake. The board said it had to weigh the benefits to fish against the environmental benefits of generating enough power for 3,000 typical Vermont homes without discharging greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, citing a 2005 law that calls on the state to get an increasing share of its power from renewable sources. Recent cases involving wind power projects "have illustrated the difficulty in siting renewable energy projects in Vermont," the board said. "Although Peterson Dam does not constitute a new renewable generation source" like those envisioned in Act 61, "it is a stably priced, existing renewable energy source that state policy declares should be 'retained and supported'."
27 Dec 2006

Back and forth on wind power

What the department’s new approach fails to recognize is that UPC’s wind towers — at 420 feet tall on top of ridgelines in Sheffield — will be the most prominent feature on the ridgelines for miles around for residents and visitors of numerous locations, not just Sheffield and Sutton. The compromise might show respect for the decision-making process, but it fails to respect the real impact of these industrial giants on Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. We need leadership and clarity on this divisive issue. Before we’re at the stage where wind companies are seeking approval from the Public Service Board to build their individual projects, the state needs an overall energy plan, a vision. The state should follow up on its promise of a public engagement process on energy to educate and inform Vermonters about energy choices and tradeoffs.
19 Dec 2006

Wind is not reliable source

In the midst of next summer, when the demand for electricity is nearly off the scale, the residents of Vermont will expect reliable reserves of power. Given that demand, are our wind power advocates willing to wager on next summer's average wind speed?
15 Dec 2006

Town commits funds to combat global warming

MANCHESTER — According to town officials, when it’s 12 days until Christmas and temperatures are in the 50s, it’s time to do something about global warming and Manchester is taking an unprecedented step. On Wednesday, the Select Board voted to approve a budget for 2007 that includes two new budget items, both for $6,145. The first will be a ballot item asking voters to contribute money to offset the carbon dioxide emissions created by the town’s energy use. The second would pay for the town to study and implement ways to reduce energy.
15 Dec 2006

Senate leader wants to focus on climate

Shumlin, the new president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate and a lifelong resident of Windham County, says one thing Vermont can do to fight global warming is to generate more of its own electricity — and clean energy. Windham County has long hosted the state's largest power generator — Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, he noted. Vermont Yankee, which is owned by the Louisiana power conglomerate Entergy, has provided about one-third of all the electricity consumed in the state. But Shumlin says it's time that Vermont started generating more electricity from wind power, the debate about aesthetics aside. Southern Vermont has hosted the state's only operating wind facility, he noted, in Searsburg in neighboring Bennington County. While the scale of the current generation of wind facilities is substantially bigger than the 198-foot tall Searsburg towers, aesthetics will have to take a back seat, he said. "I think it's a moral imperative to use them," he said of the wind turbines.
11 Dec 2006

Keep coordinated on regional energy

Although the approach is too late for projects that have already begun a federal review process, a dozen New England congressmen and senators have asked for help from the Department of Energy in coordinating a regional approach to siting liquefied natural gas facilities. Reps. Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have both signed on to this request, which makes sense for future energy projects.
8 Dec 2006

ISO New England warns $3.4B in plant investments needed

New England will need to add power plants capable of generating 4,300 megawatts, and $3.4 billion of additional transmission investment, by 2015 to avoid blackouts, the region’s grid operator says. The area will need 170 megawatts of new power before the summer of 2009 to assure adequate supplies, according to ISO New England Inc., the power grid and wholesale market operator that serves the region’s 14 million people........ If a 1,000 megawatt coal or nuclear power plant had been installed in 2005, buyers in the wholesale market would have saved $600 million in power costs, the report said.
28 Oct 2006

Consider energy future

Hydro Quebec (HQ) and Entergy/Vermont Yankee (VY) combine to provide Vermont with over 60 percent of its base load power, 24 hours per day 7 days per week, 365 days a year. Together, they represent safe, reliable and very clean sources of electric power. Renewables (i.e., small hydro, small wind, methane), efficiency and demand side management programs should be our first choice for new energy sources but, cannot realistically be relied upon to fill the enormous gap that would be created if VY’s license is not renewed beyond 2012 and the HQ contract is not renewed by 2016.
20 Oct 2006

Douglas, Parker Take Center Stage at Energy Conference

Wind Turbines drew a big contrast. Parker supports large scale wind projects. "The other thing we need is a governor who isn't opposed to large scale wind development. The state of Vermont is losing tax revenue, it's losing the opportunity of having a part of its portfolio from wind energy." Douglas does not support large wind projects. "This is a very controversial topic, lets face it, I think its very important as we move forward we respect everyone's point of view and have a civil discussion about the role of wind in our energy future."
20 Oct 2006

Where they stand: On energy issues

The Free Press Editorial Board is asking candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and governor five questions about issues in their campaigns. Their answers will appear on the Opinion and Forum pages through this month. The series continues today with candidates for governor of Vermont. You can also follow the series online at Go to the Opinion page and click on "Where they stand."
7 Oct 2006
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