A recent letter (“An affront to natural heritage,” Feb. 27) unfortunately missed the big picture on how our energy policy choices affect our lives. While every energy source has some impact, a careful evaluation of our energy options reveals the misguided nature of recent protests against developing wind power.
Emissions from fossil fuel-powered electricity sources help create acid rain, which destroys trees and poisons lakes. Leakage from nuclear energy plants pollutes water and renders areas unsafe for both humans and wildlife. Climate change resulting from fossil fuels will profoundly impact everyone: plants, animals, and humans alike.
No one wants to have the panoramic view from their dream home altered. However, each of us uses massive amounts of energy while enjoying the luxuries of our modern society. That energy must come from somewhere.
A recent study from the Vermont Public Interest Research and Education Foundation found that generating electricity from wind power on just 4 percent of the state’s windy sites could provide 25 percent of Vermont’s electricity by 2023. That’s the equivalent of installing solar systems on 200,000 Vermont households, or 80 percent of all the homes in the state. That’s not to say solar is bad—we need all the clean, renewable energy we can get, including both solar and wind.
Wind power’s long-term, fixed-rate pricing protects consumers from fossil fuel market price shocks. As The New York Times noted in a recent article, due to our heavy reliance on natural gas, New England is particularly vulnerable to that market volatility. Wind power reduces that risk, acting as a hedge against price swings.
A global problem like climate change requires a global effort. Vermont’s wind resources should be part of that solution and creating an unduly burdensome siting process for wind power simply does not make sense.
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