Articles filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
Douglas said that while he opposes large-scale wind projects in Vermont, he supports small-scale wind generation.
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
MONTPELIER — The Democratic candidate for governor is stepping up his criticism of Gov. Jim Douglas for failing to support large wind-power projects.
Opposition to industrial wind energy is more than about aesthetics and threats to wildlife as well as to tourist/second home-based economies. It is also about wind energy's fundamental flaw — its inability to provide electricity on demand (i.e. it is not dispatchable) — and, consequently, its negligible impact on emissions. In other words, it is about whether industrial wind energy makes any sense.
If we were to put an industrial turbine on every (suitable) location it doesn't add up to enough energy to justify impairment of our ridgelines," Gov. James Douglas said. "We need to maintain our tourist economy and our quality of life."
Wind energy's Achilles' heel — its intermittency — limits its capacity value and its impact on emissions. Because of this, current federal and state programs promoting wind energy are bad public policy ("Energetic turn to wind power," Metropolitan, Thursday).
Unlike wind power, where foot-dragging over building windmills is retarding the industry in the state, Vermont could become a hub for biomass generation. It's an idea whose time has come. Editor's Note: A letter submitted in reponse follows the editorial below.
Douglas readily admits that he is not a fan of large wind turbines on Vermont's mountaintops. He said that if Vermonters were more aware of the relatively low power output wind has to offer, they would likely agree with him....... "I see letters to the editors sometimes from people who apparently believe that (wind power) could replace Vermont Yankee, well that isn't even close to the amount of power that we get. So, I think if you weigh the relatively small amount of power versus the impact on the natural beauty of Vermont ... I come out on the side of saying it's not worth it.
WORCESTER— Absent interest in lower-priced fuels, New Englanders should brace for continued high electricity prices, the byproduct of a regional system heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, the head of the region’s power grid said yesterday.
Good public policy promotes desirable social and economic change cost-effectively. Government programs, however well-intentioned, tied to bad ideas are bad policy. Such is the case with federal and state programs promoting industrial wind energy.
Energy efficiency is by no means a permanent solution, but it should be a permanent part of the solution. Sensible energy use, combined with new power resources, is the only workable answer for New England.
I respect Mr. Watts’ desire to address emissions. Unfortunately, at least with respect to electricity generation, there is no 'silver bullet'. The only practical solutions, in addition to conservation, are 'safe nuclear' and 'clean coal'. Wind energy has become a 'symbol' in efforts to address emissions from electricity generation. The 'inconvenient truth' is that wind energy is ineffectual.Editor's Note: Submitted to the Burlington Free Press in response to Richard Watts' Op-ed published 7/21/06 which is also below.
There are a lot of energy decisions on the region's plate, from wind farm proposals, to the relicensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, to an intensive plan by Central Vermont Public Service to restructure the southern loop to keep up with a growing demand for power.
Next month, an Arizona developer will start selling a residential-scale turbine that is expected to cost $10,000 or less, installed — a price significantly lower than turbines on the market now, which range as high as $22,000.
There is another solution to Vermont’s energy needs, and I suggest that a second nuclear power plant be given serious consideration.
Some day large overhead power lines will become dinosaurs. Vermonters are forward-thinking, creative people. We should be looking ahead today. Who wants to be the last ones stringing these lines across the landscape, with all the environmental and dollar costs that they entail?
So 1,152 megawatts of wind -- 576 to 768 machines -- would be needed to reliably provide 15% of Vermont's electricity. The absurdity goes beyond the outrageous scale for such little benefit, because if all of those turbines were actually producing power at once, most of them would have to be shut down, since base load plants can't rapidly ramp off and on.
Naturally, the industry does not want a fair process. They want one that they control, like they apparently control Scudder Parker's thinking about big wind. They want us to swallow their pablum about energy costs, jobs, and the environment and not have to show any evidence to back up their claims. They want to industrialize Vermont's mountaintops and don't want any one questioning the usefulness, much less the wisdom, of it.
"My opponent wants to industrialize our ridgelines. I don't," Douglas said.
Parker supports wind development and thinks the state can get 15% of its energy from wind, he says that would require at least 100 turbines on ridge lines all over Vermont.