Like most Vermonters, I support goals that would decrease our carbon footprint. Of all the energy we use in Vermont, only 5 percent is electricity and 95 percent is fueling our cars and heating our homes. If we truly want to decrease our carbon footprint, wouldn’t it be better to focus our resources on making our homes and cars more energy efﬁcient?
Is it worth ﬁlling one-third of our ridgelines with 50-foot industrial wind turbines to meet 5 percent of our energy needs? What is the carbon footprint of making and installing these wind turbines?
Reps. Tony Klein and Shap Smith have both stated they want Vermont to produce 90 percent of its own energy. Does that make sense? With that line of thinking, shouldn’t Vermont also make 90 percent of all cars in state? Or should 90 percent of all clothing bought in Vermont be Vermont-made?
An interesting fact is that the wind turbines used at Georgia Mountain and the ones being considered for Swanton Wind are made by a Chinese company, Goldwind. How do we rationalize the polluting of China’s lakes and land while making our turbines? Using the made-in-Vermont goal, should 90 percent of our wind turbines be produced in Vermont?
Another goal of Reps. Tony Klein and Shap Smith is to have power produced locally and used locally. But why is it that many of our renewable energy projects sell “renewable energy credits” to Massachusetts and Connecticut? Are we destroying Vermont ridgelines and countrysides so other states can meet their renewable energy portfolios?
What are the safeguards for protecting the health of the families living near these turbines? Families in Lowell, Sheffield and Georgia Mountain report the turbine noise keeps them awake at night. How many people and communities is it OK to sacrifice for wind turbines? I believe the state of Vermont needs to protect Vermonters by setting siting standards for industrial wind turbines. There is much evidence that the low-frequency noise emitted by industrial wind turbines is the cause of sleep disruption and illness. Vermont Lives Matter!
Our state is having growing pains with renewable energy. To keep support for renewable energy projects, I think there are a couple of steps the Legislature can take. The ﬁrst and most important is to return local control. Each town should have the power to decide and site the type of renewable energy that best ﬁts their town and needs.
The second is to review the energy usage of each town. Require each town to develop a renewable energy plan that would meet their needs. Then place a timeline for completion.
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