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Big wind, big solar, big questions  

Credit:  Lucas Willard, WAMC, www.publicbroadcasting.net 9 January 2012 ~~

Hancock Massachusetts based EOS Ventures was developing a 2.2 megawatt solar farm project in Pownal, Vermont – right over the border – at the site of the former Green Mountain Racetrack stables. The project will cover 15 acres in solar panels. After EOS engineered, permitted, and completed all necessary preparatory work, the project was sold to Gestamp Solar – a solar development company headquarted in Spain. EOS praised Gestamp as a capable and experienced company to take over the project.

In Searsburg, VT, a 15-turbine wind project was recently approved by the Green Mountain National Forest. The plan to build the turbines, known as the Deerfield Wind project, is being undertaken by Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish Company. Iberdrola will need 80 acres of National Forest land to construct the turbines. The turbines will be reaching a height of 410 feet. 144 acres of habitat will be set aside for native bear populations, but wildlife advocates are concerned. Eleanor Tillinghast of Green Berkshires is one of the voices speaking out.

Massachusetts State Representative Gail Cariddi’s district is home to the proposed Hoosac Wind Project in Florida, also owned by Iberdrola – the same company also operates Central Maine Power Company and many projects in New York State. The Hoosac Wind Project has been permitted to construct 20 wind turbines in the next year. Cariddi is concerned that it’s foreign companies taking taxpayer and rate-payer subsidies to develop clean energy projects that require the development of open spaces.

Iberdrola has estimated they could receive up to 2 billion dollars in federal subsidies in projects nationwide.

Bob Rio, Senior Vice President and Counsel at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, says that where the tax subsidies for energy projects go isn’t the main issue.

An international company investing in American energy is an indicator of today’s global economy.

Just recently in Massachusetts, the controversial Wind Energy Siting Reform Act has been taken back for review, after public outcry over concerns of a loss of local control.

Opponents of solar and wind power also criticize the environmental risks undertaken by the mining of rare-earth metals in other countries. 90% of rare-earth metals supplied to manufacturers come from China, where less regulation means cheaper extraction.

Still, the push for energy independence in New England continues, with many state and local governments praising the benefits of wind and solar.

Source:  Lucas Willard, WAMC, www.publicbroadcasting.net 9 January 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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