Times Argus Letter: Truth about big wind

Nov 19, 2010 No Comments by

Letter reposted here from the Times Argus website.

Truth about big wind

Published: November 19, 2010

As an enviromental historian, I see a tragedy unfolding right here in Vermont. The Green Mountain State, which managed to dodge the bullets of the CCC roads along our ridgelines, mountaintop strip removal mining in West Virginia, and clear-cutting of our forests (which have clawed their way back only in the last 100 years), is about to see all three descend in the name of Big Wind development. The simple engineering facts are that these industrial-scale turbines, taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighing in exess of 150 tons, each requiring a concrete base weighing 1,000 tons, necessitate extra-wide, low-incline-grade roads to haul them up the mountain and large clear-cuts of the forest once they get there.

Very often, the mountain terrain has to be blasted with dynamite and bulldozed in order to make this happen. With dozens of turbines proposed for miles-long stretches along our ridgeline, this means the loss and descruction of a whole mountain-top habitats for bear, moose, birds, and a host of other wildlife. And for what? A not-always-reliable total wind energy capacity of 6 gigawatts, a fraction of what is available in the Midwest or the Gulf of Maine.

Meanwhile, a host of other renewable energy alternatives, including solar power, biomass, cow power, amd small-scaled wind, are currently available to fill in the gap, with far less destruction to the enviroment. So far, the Big Wind developers, backed by the money of large corporation conglomerates and partnered, ironically, with many respected enviromental groups such as the Conservation Law Foundation and NRCD, have been less than honest and come clean about the true impact of their “clean” energy.

Some “voices of reason” will say that we need to compromise, that we need to accept at least some of these over-sized wind turbines on our ridgelines. Yet they fail to explain the paradox of how we can save the enviroment by destroying it. In reality, the best thing for the enviroment and the future of renewable energy in our state would be to shut all the Big Wind projects down and explore our other, less controversial options. Once Big wind development go up and word of their true impact gets out, which it will, they will actually may very well ruin the reputation and prospects for all renewable energy here, should stand up and say no to Big Wind.

John Aberth


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