I think we’re looking at this wind energy thing all wrong in The Valley. Instead of fighting wind, we should be embracing the concept. We should be going all out here. Let’s have a ridgeline covered with beautiful, spinning pinwheels! But, we need to get busy. By my calculation we will need about 643,261 wind turbines on the ridges of Vermont to cover the loss of Vermont Yankee. Else we’ll be buying that hydropower from those usurious Canadians. There’s a lot of concrete to get poured and steel to be erected, so we’d better get to it!
I’ve taken a very hard look at this thing and here is my careful and studied assessment of the pros. I think you’ll all come to the same conclusion I did.
PAIN IN THE BUTT
Wind turbines will take care of the bears, deer, birds and other nuisance creatures on our ridgelines. I had a birdfeeder that a bear got into this spring. It bent the metal post and it was very annoying. Ate all the seed. Some might think that having these “top of the food chain” animals back in The Valley is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Nah, it’s just a pain in the butt. Wind will take care of their habitat and them. Good riddance, I say. Let’s not even talk about the bird poop.
I got behind a bus the other day. Leafpeepers. All they wanted to do was take pictures and spend money in The Valley. Took me an extra six minutes to get to Kenyon’s. If we get rid of those picturesque ridgelines, we can stop worrying about the tourists. No more slow downs on Route 100. Traffic will ease. Also, I’m sure we can count on fewer weddings in The Valley with those annoying brides and yellow Ferraris.
I read this great book called
We never spend enough time thinking about erosion. Inexorably, the forces of nature are eroding our ridges. Why, in 10,000 or 20,000 years, Vermont could end up being as flat as a pancake. Something to think about. I, for one, don’t really want to live in a state that looks like Iowa. But, wind will make us pour a lot of concrete up in those hills! Concrete doesn’t erode! The water will just bounce off. We secure the future of our hills for generations to come.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this feeding energy back to the grid concept. Here in the north (sorry, NEK folks. So, we’re not that far north), we are pretty economical with our energy use. But they consume a ton down south. I think it is highly altruistic and kind that we’d be willing to put turbines on our ridges to subsidize the energy use of those down south. Talk about state team spirit! Darn, we could take it up to 1 million turbines and take care of Massachusetts as well.
There’s something about a technological challenge that is exciting. Why would we put wind turbines on, say, flat plains where there is an abundance of wind and installation is easy when we can put them on a ridgeline? Now there’s a challenge worthy of the great engineers of our day! Think of the helicopters, tons of concrete, precarious perches and all that will be necessary to install our turbines. Just to nudge out the little bit of wind our hills produce. Why worry about Iowa and the Great Plains when the challenge is clearly here!
It will be great to see some new companies in The Valley. I think it is really important that we get some new corporate blood in The Valley. Not fly-by-night organizations that are trying to make a quick buck from tax breaks and incentives. Pillars of the local community like Citizens Energy will surely be boosting local employment, renting offices locally and transferring their senior staff to our valley. They will be here to stay and will be committed to our community!
Let’s not forget the intrinsic attractiveness of wind turbines. The methodic rotation of the blades and the steady noise accompanying them are almost Zen-like. You can meditate to the rhythm. At night, you have the blinking lights to keep you company. You can never feel lonely with the “womp womp” of the blades and the friendly flashing lights. Also, just imagine those magnificent turbines coated with a sheen of high mountain ice in the winter. Statuesque, immobile, frozen and dignified. Back to producing electricity when spring comes. Ah, civilization.
In summary, I think it is pretty obvious that wind energy is our future. From the standpoint of tradition, easing congestion, technological challenge and pure altruism, it is clearly the right thing for us to do. So, Mad River Valley, let’s get behind this thing and let’s get to work!
Walton Dodds lives in Waitsfield.
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