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Insulation wins, hands down, over wind  

Thermal efficiency is a good deal. It saves money, saves a lot of CO2 cheaply, does not affect human health, does not harm the environment and keeps people in warm homes. Industrial wind is a bad deal. It is expensive, saves a little CO2 at great expense, affects human health, harms the environment and ruins our beloved ridgelines. We need an industrial wind moratorium now.

Credit:  Jim Rademacher | January 24, 2013 | vtdigger.org ~~

The Vermont Thermal Energy Efficiency Task Force has issued its report indicating that the expenditures of $275 million over seven years to insulate 80,000 homes would save Vermont $2 billion in home heating oil over that time. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 3.6 million tons over that same time period.

If one assumes equal expenditures of funds each year over the seven years there would be a linear increase in the yearly benefit to ultimately reach the seven-year total. The last year’s reduction of the total 3.6 million tons of CO2 reduction would be 900,000 tons and the corresponding last year of the total $2 billion fuel oil savings would be $500,000. Of course after the seven years the savings from the installed insulation would continue at the 900,000 tons/year and the $500,000/year rates.

The Lowell Mountain 63 MW industrial wind project has a projected output 175,000 megawatt hours (MWH)/year. The generally accepted science indicates that 0.4 tons of CO2 are produced for each MWH of electricity available on the New England grid. It has yet to be determine if Lowell Mountain will achieve the projected output but if it does the project will save 70,000 tons in CO2 emissions/year. Lowell Mountain cost over $170 million to complete.

Gov. Shumlin says we cannot move fast enough to build industrial wind turbines to lower Vermont’s CO2 emissions. Does he really think that spending $170 million to be able to purchase very expensive electricity, save 70,000 tons of CO2/year and destroy our ridgelines makes sense when we can spend $275 million, save 900,000 tons of CO2/year, save $500,000 on fuel oil/year, not increase our already expensive electricity rates and not destroy our ridgelines? Vermonters are smarter than that. It would take 13 projects the size of the Lowell Mountain project to have the CO2 impact of this thermal efficiency project at a total cost of over $2.2 billion.

Assume a 50-year life to the insulated homes. We save $500,000/year on fuel oil for a total of $25 million. The net expense for the thermal efficiency project is then $250 million. This divided by the 900,000 tons/year for 50 years results in a cost/ton of CO2 reduced of $5.50/ton. The Lowell Mountain project has a projected life of 25 years. Add some profit for Green Mountain Power to the installation cost of $170 million and one might get $200 million. This divided by the 70,000 tons/year of CO2 reduced for 25 years results in a cost/ton of CO2 reduced of $114/ton. CO2 reduction using industrial wind turbines is 20 times more expensive then insulation. Industrial wind is not a good bang for our hard-earned dollars. If the governor wants to move with great haste to reduce our CO2 emissions forget wind; think insulation.

Thermal efficiency is a good deal. It saves money, saves a lot of CO2 cheaply, does not affect human health, does not harm the environment and keeps people in warm homes. Industrial wind is a bad deal. It is expensive, saves a little CO2 at great expense, affects human health, harms the environment and ruins our beloved ridgelines. We need an industrial wind moratorium now.

Source:  Jim Rademacher | January 24, 2013 | vtdigger.org

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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