Public Service Board, Montpelier, Vermont
April 20, 2007
Re: Docket 7156
I have been studying the issue of industrial-scale wind turbines on the grid for four years. I have yet to see evidence that they are able to make a significant contribution that can justify their expense and intrusion.
Although wind turbines do not produce carbon dioxide or other polluting emissions, that is a meaningless accomplishment if it does not affect other sources on the grid. It appears that adding, say, 5% wind to a system does not reduce the fuel use of other sources by 5% – or even a measurable fraction of that.
(The reality of Denmark’s achievement of producing 20% of their electricity from wind is that most of it is exported and represents only 1% of the international grids that Denmark is connected to.)
Even the symbolic credit for adding that extra capacity is unlikely to be available to Vermont utilities. The “renewable energy credits” (RECs) are sold separately from the actual energy. An international investment consortium such as UPC is bound to sell them on the open market to the highest bidder. Vermont would be burdening its utilities with a nondispatchable highly variable source and wrecking its communities and landscapes to allow entities far outside our borders to claim they are “green.”
In other words, building a wind energy facility in Sheffield would not alter fuel consumption that will still be necessary to provide useful energy in response to demand and would likely not even be able to be symbolically claimed as renewable energy since the RECs may be sold to other entities than in-state utilities.
The idea that a “public good” could be achieved by the installation of such a sprawling, visually and auditorily intrusive, industrial facility on Vermont’s sacred ridgelines is preposterous. The benefits are pathetically small, if they exist at all beyond a few local rents. The negative impacts, in contrast, are substantial and wide ranging: economic, aesthetic, and ecologic.
Communities, individual lives, watersheds, and wildlife habitat would be destroyed for next to nothing. There is no public good in that, only a wholly unjustified public burden.
Docket 7156, the petition of UPC Vermont Wind to construct a facility in Sheffield, should be rejected.
National Wind Watch, Inc.
[Note: Comments to the PSB concerning the Sheffield proposal will be accepted through May 14: Write to: Susan Hudson, Clerk, Public Service Board, 112 State Street, Drawer 20, Montpelier, Vermont 05620. E-Mail: email@example.com. Be sure to reference Docket 7156.]