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Wind is not the energy answer

Around Halloween, Leila LaRosa, the local face for UPC Vermont Wind, sent a letter to Sheffield and Sutton residents. The letter attempted to refute worries about industrializating otherwise protected ridges and assert that the project’s value is worth the sacrifice.

“They … ARE effective and they DO reduce our dependence on oil, gas and fossil fuels,” LaRosa wrote.

The only measure of success the industry presents, however, is that they are built. They do not show that wind energy on the grid actually reduces the use of other fuels. This is not surprising, because the variable, intermittent, and unpredictable wind energy only makes the rest of the grid work harder to balance it.

The letter brings up taxpayer subsidies, citing (incorrectly) only one, the 1.9-cent per kWh production tax credit. There are also five-year double-declining accelerated depreciation, and other federal and state breaks that can cover 75 perent of the developer’s costs.

On health problems from low-frequency noise, the letter is exactly backwards. As the scientific community looks into it, the U.K. Noise Association and the French Academy of Medicine recommend a one-mile setback from any residence.

Even as she denies negative impacts, LaRosa tries to divert attention to the undisputed problems with coal and nuclear. But it is a wind facility proposed for Sheffield and Sutton, and wind energy does not reduce the use of those other sources. It is not a choice between wind and something worse.

Wind only adds more negatives, and none are reduced.

Eric Rosenbloom

National Wind Watch

East Hardwick