I love the wind…waves lapping against my dock, the whispering of the tree leaves, the way my flags blow. All are moving with this crisp wind blowing through my land. I even have a little windmill in my garden that I love watching! So you may wonder why I’m opposed to industrial wind turbines in Vermont. I’ve seen wind turbines in the horizon on my many jaunts throughout New England-they appeared majestic. I thought:” How wonderful! Harvesting the wind. Green energy is awesome-I totally support it”, and went about my merry way, like so many of us do.
I live on Dream Lake-aka Fairfield Pond-the the backside of the same ridgeline proposed for the Swanton Wind Project . Residents call it “Dream Lake” for many reasons but I suspect one is that this body of water is tucked into a quiet community that not many know about. Its fresh spring-fed waters bubble up creating the pond and some of the sweetest water I’ve ever had the pleasure to swim in or boat on anywhere in New England.
The name Fairfield Pond doesn’t do it justice and maybe that’s why it’s been able to keep its pristine water quality as long as it has: it hasn’t been discovered yet by the masses. And now I’m outing it in the hopes to save it.
Like many disillusioned Vermonter youngsters, I left our state looking for fortunes in more developed areas but finally returned recently from the hustle and bustle to reclaim the serenity of my childhood home: the quiet and dark horizons, the sounds of birds and owls, the silent places within these Green Mountains. Finally, I could breathe again! I’d missed it. It’s a special magical place, Vermont is….not like many others. We have something here people WANT (and are willing to pay for)…. Sunsets. Clear water. Mountains. Nature. The Sound of…Silence.
Fast forward to now. Seven industrial wind turbines proposed for our waterway, towering 499 feet, with blade speeds up to 186 mph! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is a bad idea on so many levels but bird migration is HUGE. Flight migration of birds going south now, and returning in the spring, not to mention the loons, bald eagles, and others that make it their home throughout the summer. Thousands daily, cruising on top of the water, and then heading over the ridge to munch on some farmer’s corn on the other side. In the direct path of the proposed turbines. Ouch.
Industrial wind turbines are not your friendly Dutch windmills. Towering almost twice the size of Lady Liberty, these not only kill raptors and cause bat’s lungs to explode, they barely reduce carbon use. Seriously? How did THAT message get into my consciousness? Studies show that’s true, due to the extreme pollution in manufacturing and placement after dynamiting our mountaintops to install. Coming from China, how many fossil fuels are used to bring one blade weighing 7 tons across the ocean, trucks to haul it to its location, the dynamite and concrete poured to erect them? Hmmm. All of a sudden, these didn’t look as “green” as I previously thought!
I didn’t understand imperious surface water runoff either, and how turbines affected waterways. Since then, I’ve come to understand how the natural world works regarding gravity, clear-cutting trees, mountaintop blasting. These things destroy forests’ ability to hold storm water, increasing sediment runoff, which then affects the water, fish population, and carries sediment onward…to Lake Champlain, in this case, which is already struggling. You might even say it’s not doing so well, hence the millions for clean up. So why do something here at Point A that will affect Point B, ruining Point C, the place you are throwing money into?? Hmmmm. Again, things began to change that picture of “majestic” in my mind.
The human cost is also of great concern. Small towns across New England and Vermont are being targeted for their cheap land and lack of industry; developers make huge profits, with financing for these projects coming mostly from government subsidies, which is OUR MONEY…But it is neighbors who suffer from the ill-effects of these industrial monstrosities, the cost an untold story within our health care system. Again, the words used in the marketing of why we need wind turbines like “Free!”, “Green!” and “Good for the Planet!” began to shift meanings.
Supposedly the electricity generated from this project will be enough to power 7800 homes….but in places like Massachusetts. Vermonters probably will not even benefit. And nowhere in this conversation to save our planet is the concept of CONSERVATION. We can use less, and still keep our ridgelines intact! Humankind seems to have an unhealthy thirst for more and more power…will there ever be enough to quench it? Perhaps we should be looking at how to use less of IT.
My story is not an example of “not in my back yard” (NIMBY). I’m 100% for small-scale renewables, and ultimately did a crash course on Industrial Wind. And that, my friends, is why I’m writing. Do the research. Someone is selling us out when they tell us wind turbines will save the planet. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The question I have regarding our Governor’s plan for Vermont’s renewable-compliant 2050 deadline is: what’s the rush? With more effective technology being invented every week, I’m convinced there are better fits for the landscape of our beautiful state. We don’t have to destroy our planet to save it.
We can’t even have billboards in this state. ‘Nuff said. Get educated. I did, and now, I’ll never see wind turbines in quite the same way. Let’s Save, Not Sacrifice our Green Mountain State. You can’t take ridgelines back once they’ve been destroyed. Do your homework: there’s more blowing out there than just the wind.
Fairfield Pond, VT.