The editorial of Feb. 3 (“An Energy Future”) states that the “main objection to wind power in Vermont has been based on aesthetics.”
In fact, the six-megawatt “demonstration” project in East Haven was denied a permit because of the developer’s disregard of concerns for wildlife, including migrating birds and bats. (Remember that the blades of each turbine sweep a vertical area of one to two acres at top speeds up to 150-200 mph.)
A project right over the border in the Hoosac range is being held up for its threat to protected wetlands. In Ireland, construction of wind energy facilities caused massive slides of peat bog, killing tens of thousands of fish in a nearby river and releasing more carbon than the facility could ever hope to “save.” Look at the picture at www.vermonterswithvision.org of construction on Mars Hill in Maine (where noise from the operating turbines has turned out to be a serious problem) and those from Cefn Croes in Wales to see the damage these facilities do to mountains.
Aesthetic opposition thus includes reason. The Energy Information Agency has just reported that wind energy produced 0.36 percent of the total electricity generated in the U.S. in 2005 and 0.05 percent of the total energy we used. In European countries where wind produces a significant proportion of electricity, consumption of other fuels continues apace. This is apparently because other plants must stay on line, burning fuel less efficiently to balance the highly intermittent and variable infeed from wind.
Giant wind turbines on the grid are sham symbolism, nothing more. Their negative impacts – to the environment, wildlife, people, and communities – are, however, all too real.
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