In 2015, our Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation stated “Expanding areas of healthy forests will maximize carbon uptake and storage, more than any other land use.” At this time Vermont’s forests absorb about the same amount of carbon dioxide that Vermont emits as a state. In other words, our net contribution to global warming is negligible. However, the wind lobby has paid enough money to convince our governor that cutting down our forests, and blasting off the tops of our mountains is green and will help with global warming, when in fact it will do the opposite.
The deception is three-fold. First, cutting down our forests is a net loss to Vermont and the world in terms of ending global warming. We are all upset about cutting down the Amazon forest. Right? Cutting our own forest has the same effect on global warming. It permanently removes a source of carbon sequestration from the world.
Second, manufacturing wind turbines, burning the trees, blasting the rock, carting away the remainders in huge trucks, and flattening the remaining rock into a 65-foot-wide highway produces a huge amount of carbon, which the turbines must offset before they can be considered to be creating green energy.
Third, wind energy does not decrease emissions from other energy sources, since it depends on those same sources for its ability to use the grid in the first place. Because the electricity turbines provide is intermittent, they require the pre-existing electric grid to be operating on oil or coal exactly as it is now. Even worse, they cause the existing grid to run less efficiently, because it must handle the cycles of burst and bust electricity that comes from the turbines.
Industrial wind farms are not green from the outset. They increase the total carbon emissions in the state while depleting the ability of the state’s forests to absorb this increase. Add to that the fact that the electricity credits created by this green electricity are sold out of state, which allows other states to maintain their current reliance on coal or oil. Nothing remotely green comes from the wind industry.
Iberdola is increasing the carbon debt of the state. Iberdola is making vast sums of money, because of the huge tax breaks from the U.S. government, not because of the wind they generate. Why do Minter and Shumlin support foreign corporations razing our ridgelines?
Sally Warren, Grafton, Oct. 19
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