In Nancy Tips’ Sunday (Dec. 24) commentary on halting wind projects, I agree with most of her conclusions, but the second “no brainer reason” that Vermont has a “tiny carbon footprint” is wrong.
Vermont’s per-capita footprint is bigger than you think and getting bigger. By selling renewable energy credits, they can’t be used for credit towards Gov. Peter Shumlin’s goal, noble but probably not obtainable, of 90 percent renewable energy by 2030. In fact, none of the energy from those windmills and solar farms can be credited towards that goal. Those credits have been sold to out-of-state smokestack companies. In effect, they become “pollution credits” because Green Mountain Power is now credited with buying brown power, not making green power. Vermont’s “tiny carbon footprint” is getting bigger, a lot bigger. We are in reverse.
We should start to draw a line through the green in Green Mountain State. A line certainly needs to be drawn through the green in Green Mountain Power, with those solar farms and windmills, their RECs having all been sold. Think of a fossil fuel fire burning wherever you see a windmill, the faster it is turning, the bigger the fire. Then think of a fossil fuel fire burning wherever you see a solar farm, the bigger the farm, the bigger the fire. The solar epicenter is in Rutland. It’s got the biggest fossil fuel fire of all. Plug an electric car into a GMP terminal and fool yourself into thinking you’re green. Nope. Fossil fuel power.
How could this happen? The Public Service Board ruled that “it is in the public’s best interest.” The Environmental Board didn’t say a word. They are more worried about a kid peeing on the ice while ice fishing – ruled illegal. Attorney General William Sorrell belatedly ruled that those credits can’t be sold, then used again. The Shumlin administration pretended they could have it both ways, hence the push for wind and solar at any price. Not even counting subsidies, a fair amount of money has changed hands. It would be interesting to see if all of it went to “lowering electric bills.” All that selling of RECs pretty much makes a farce out of Shumlin’s 90 percent renewable energy goal.
If all of the above is actually happening, then it should go into the same category as burning our food – corn ethanol in an internal combustion engine – mind-bogglingly stupid.
RICHARD J. WALKER
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