On Wednesday, October 10, there was a meeting at the Memorial Hall regarding a proposal from an international power company. I was amazed at the small turnout on such a large problem facing the valley.
PPM Energy has put an application in to the state of Vermont to build 17 new wind turbines near the existing ones in Searsburg. The big difference is that these new wind turbines will be more than twice the size of the existing ones, will have turbines and blades that weigh 15,000 pounds (I wonder what the supports weigh), be lit, and sit at the top of ridgelines on national forest land. This will have a negative impact on the beauty of the southern Vermont ridgelines, the natural habitat, tourism, quality of life, and real estate values.
If this project goes through, there are 19,700 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest that might be used for future wind production and lots of it in your backyard! They are inefficient eyesores. With an expected 32% efficiency, one must ask, “there must be a better way?”
Hydro power. Most of the Vermont hydro plants are very outdated. A fairly simple upgrade to existing plants will greatly improve their efficiency to more than seven percent, keep more fish alive, and increase oxygen levels in the water. I asked the question on what the efficiency was on the existing hydro plants; I could not get an answer. But, when I called an engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory (a leader in alternative energy research) he explained how new hydro technology is much more efficient than the old and much more eco-friendly. Well, before we allow a possible 19,700 acres of national forest to be industrialized shouldn’t some sort of pro and con study be done?
PPM Energy has nothing to lose from this proposed project, in fact, they will make millions. Will we see a reduction in our utility bill? I don’t think so. Will the Green Mountain state be marred forever? I think so. Renewable energy is on all our minds; being fuel free someday will be nice, it will happen. Wind power will definitely not be the answer. Ask Great Britain. There’s a moratorium on any future wind development projects, voted the biggest eyesore in the country.
I am part of a newly formed, not-for-profit group, opposing the destruction of these beautiful mountain tops and industrializing of southern Vermont. We have a Web site: www.clearskyvt.org. I urge you to log on and get informed. We have pictures, articles, and more information on this proposal. Please get involved!
There are much greener alternatives that run at a much higher efficiency that will give the United States the alternative power it needs.
25 October 2007
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