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The Public Service Board’s (PSB) approval of the Sheffield wind farm is truly regrettable, and that for several reasons. The 16 420-foot wind turbines will despoil one of the most spectacular ridge lines in Vermont, kill hundreds of birds every year, make enough noise to disturb the woods for miles around, and stay there for generations beyond their usefulness. These are the lesser reasons for denying a permit to do the project.
More important, despite the prevailing dogma of the environmentalists that proclaims wind energy the natural savior of the globally warming world, the towers wouldn’t exist except for the huge tax subsidies their owners will enjoy. It’s not about electric power; it’s about money. Next, the wind towers will produce power for only about 11 percent of the time. The rest of the time, the wind isn’t there, and the power that isn’t produced by them will have to be replaced by current, allegedly inefficient, global-warming plants. Net benefit to energy efficiency? None.
The PSB attached a number of conditions to their approval of the project. As the Ridge Protectors, a group of people who have opposed the project for years, say, the attached conditions contain potential deal breakers and they intend to fight the actual project to the bitter end.
We are with them. The Sheffield voters, when they approved the project for an entirely illusory tax benefit, sold the Northeast Kingdom’s birthright for a mess of pottage. Assuming The Ridge Protectors prevail and the project is stopped, these same voters, when they discover the taste of pottage, will be thanking them.
10 August 2007
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