• Wind power has a price
    February 11,2013
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    On Thursday, I testified for the Vermont Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee on why we need a moratorium on industrial wind development and why we need to reform the process for permitting this development. One of the senators asked me if I was a “climate change denier.”

    I responded that I am not a climate change denier. I have been concerned about global warming and the other consequences of reckless use of fossil fuel in this country since the early 1990s, if not before. I wonder why our state political leaders have suddenly seized upon this as the greatest issue of our time. Peter Shumlin and Bernie Sanders have surely been educated about global warming at least as long as I have. Why are we just hearing them declaring this to be the issue of our time now? Could it be because it furthers some other agenda or financial interest?

    In the first presentation the public heard from Reunion Power and their partner Nordex. We heard the Nordex rep state “Well, the wind is free.” I guess he’s never heard the old Vermont adage “Ain’t nothin’ free.” And he’s probably not heard the corollary to that, which is “If somebody offers you something free, take as little of it as possible.”

    Clearly, the Nordex rep thinks we are all country bumpkins who can easily be sold on an idea. Residents of our area were not so easily sold on the virtues of this “free” wind. Sadly, too many of our political leaders appear to be sold on this sales pitch, or at least willing to continue to sell it down the line. When Bill McKibben tells them that industrial wind is “carbon free,” many of them apparently buy that, too.

    How is an industry “carbon free” that must rely on other C02-emitting sources to supply reliable power as that source is intermittent? How “carbon free” is an industry that requires many tons of explosives, concrete, and fossil fuels to completely transform a landscape for the technology? How “carbon free” is an industry that starts out with a negative impact on carbon emissions due to the destruction it causes to one of our best carbon sinks? The fact is that industrial wind has been in use all over the world for many years, and it has not resulted in significant CO2 emissions reductions in those places.

    Perhaps we need a new adage to live by in Vermont and that is “Ain’t nothin’ free, and ain’t nothin’ carbon-free.” And again, take as little of it as possible.


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