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I am writing regarding the ongoing controversy over Lowell Range and Sheffield wind farms (and industrial scale wind energy in general).
I agree that we need to work toward a future of “green,” renewable energy and a fairer, more just society.
And I have no issues with the 110-foot wind tower on the farm next door to me. But exactly what is so green or just about 460 feet high, 220-foot blade width wind developments on Vermont’s (or any state’s) mountain tops? Sixth generation Vermonters being forced off their well cared for land is not right.
Neither is streamlining environmental regulations in order that the above mentioned project be completed in time (by end of 2012) so that Green Mountain Power may qualify for $45 million in tax breaks and subsidies (which smacks excessive corporate welfare, especially in these difficult times of shrinking funding for social services, education, etc.). And for what?
The track record of existing industrial ridgeline wind projects in the Northeast is not good. In winter (when winds are strongest) ice builds up on the blades, etc., caused turbines to freeze up/cease working (and even break and plunge to the ground).
Corrosion is also an issue. Because of severe winter conditions, the life expectancy of these industrial wind projects in the Northeast is now said to be roughly half what was promised.
That $45 million giveaway to Green Mountain Power is looking worse by the minute! And Gov. Shumlin wants to erect 10 more of them around the state! As for the claim we need to put up these wind farms to replace Vermont Yankee (which I support shutting down) there is actually a power glut on the New England grid.
And due to recent breakthroughs in solar, efficiency, etc., we’d do much better to invest in local solar and efficiency (not to mention the latest in nuclear technology, which is much safer and can burn spent fuel). More power, more jobs, no new power lines, much better for the environment and people. But ultimately, all the above really is moot.
Former Gov. Douglas hit it right on the head of the nail when he recently stated that tourism is Vermont’s No. 1 industry, and destroying ridgelines, marring vistas, etc., was not in the best interests of Vermont.
Maybe it is time for a new state motto. How about: Vermont: The Blown-up Mountain State?
MICHAEL A. CODY
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