Gov. Peter Shumlin’s oft-heralded energy plan for the next 40 years features another chapter in his tiresome harangue to put Vermont Yankee out of business, despite VY’s employing 600-plus highly paid employees, paying millions of dollars in taxes, supplying 40 percent of the state’s electricity at rock bottom prices and contributing not one ounce of pollution to the atmosphere. The state, slavishly salaaming to Shumlin’s bidding, is pushing to close the Vernon reactor when its initial 40-year license expires in March.
We’ve heard all of Shumlin’s verbal attacks before, nothing new there. His energy plan, though, is going to cost us in several ways. It calls for 90 percent of our power to be produced by “renewable sources” by 2050. That won’t happen unless we’re willing to pay astronomical rates for our power.
As it is, the power that wind and solar will produce already costs five times as much as Vermont Yankee nuclear power. Shutting off the low cost power and replacing it with hugely subsidized power will be a powerful incentive for businesses and jobs to stay out of Vermont and the ones that are here to leave. This in spite of the plan’s stated prerequisite that future power strategies must promote economic development throughout the state.
What is Peter Shumlin’s plan to cut power use? Well, he wants more residents to use public transportation, ride bikes and walk. At the same time, he expects most of us to drive electric cars; you know, cars that will go as far as 34 miles (17 miles away and 17 miles back) before needing several hours to be recharged. He promises that the recharging will be done overnight, when demand for power is low.
Finally, he predicts greatly expanded use of biomass fuels, including wood pellets, corn and other crops grown to be burned. He obviously is ignoring the sharp rise in food prices caused by more and more grains being diverted from feed to produce ethanol that is supposed to clean up gasoline emissions, but that is fouling millions of small engines, instead. Oh, and the $6 billion dollar federal subsidy.
Gov. Shumlin’s plans are irresponsible and ill-informed. His energy plan is totally unrealistic and ignores the economic health of the state. It’s really about his rabid, insane obsession to close Vermont Yankee. An apt title might be “Windmills and Pipe Dreams.”
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