The power struggle that is wind energy
by Bethany M. Dunbar, November 13, 2009
Wind energy has been a tough subject for us here at the Chronicle. Everyone likes the idea of renewable energy, and we are no exception. I really enjoy the sight of small wind towers at individual farms and homes, spinning away. You can’t hear them unless you’re right next to them, and most of them are not that much taller than the area around them.
But comparing those systems to a wind “farm” with dozens of 400-foot towers and lights on them is kind of like comparing a five-cow farm that sells raw milk in half-gallon glass jars from its milkhouse to a 2,000-cow factory farm in California. Do you want a row of those on top of your Vermont mountains?
Putting an industrial development on top of our wild and unspoiled Vermont mountains seems incredibly counter-productive and short-sighted. There are so many other potential sources of energy that have not been fully explored.
Tourists are not flocking to Vermont to look at wind turbines. They are coming here to see beautiful wild mountains, working farm landscapes, wildlife and woods and streams and lakes.
After next summer, most likely, the people who go to the beautiful Crystal Lake state park beach will be looking at a row of wind turbines with lights on top. The Sheffield wind project is smack dab in the middle of that particular view.
I remember when I first started thinking about what wind energy would really look like. It was when Paul Lefebvre got ahold of a map of proposed wind projects all over the state. It’s still hanging on the door to his office. It’s as wide as the door, almost, and shows the state of Vermont in white, with black writing showing towns, mountains and the usual stuff that shows up on maps.
Pink circles the size of coffee cans around the proposed wind projects show the towns that will be looking at these developments. These are the towns that will be paying the price. Putting a project like this to a vote in one town is kind of a sick joke. But that’s the way it’s been going.
The most recent project is Lowell Mountain. This week, the Chronicle came out in opposition. Chris Braithwaite’s editorial and this week’s news story are available to you to read at the Chronicle’s web site, along with a lot of work that we have done about wind in past issues.
That’s including reporting by Paul who went to see the project in Mars Hill, Maine, and talked to people there about how it had affected them.
Please take a look, and post your comments — here, on that site, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for reading and for all your feedback.