Saint Albans Messenger; November 16, 2015
The developers of the Swanton Wind project state that they want to create a clean energy future their community’s kids deserve.
Ben Luce from Lyndon State T College explains how ridgeline wind in Northern Vermont will not accomplish that:
“The wind resource analysis clearly shows that claims that ridgeline wind development in the Northeast is important for protecting the environment are misleading because they are based on the false premise that wind in this particular region can make a significant contribution to the regional energy supply. The simple fact is it will not. Even if most of the ridges in this region are developed with wind generation, the estimates from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory clearly show that, unlike the situation in the Midwestern US, only a few percent of the regional greenhouse gas emissions could actually be offset.
“Extensive development of wind in this region is all but ruled out economically by the cost of transmission, a cost which is usually ignored by wind proponents but which is in fact very, very real.
“Solar is now cost competitive with wind and has much better potential for future cost reductions.
“In short, wind projects in this particular region can mainly be regarded as simple profiteering attempts that will enrich a few at extreme expense to the local environment and local communities. The impact of such installations also undermines societal trust in renewable energy development, and so also comes at the expense of more viable attempts to truly protect the environment.”
My first concern is the health and well-being of the dozen children that live less than 3,000 feet from this proposed project. I have seen the effects that these industrial wind turbines have had on other Vermont children. I have met the family in Sheffield that abandoned their home on Christmas Eve last year to get away from the turbines to save their health. They are now a healthy family with children that sleep through the night and no longer have bags under their eyes.
I have watched testimony of the Vermont father with two children – one with autism that will not go outside to play and the other one who runs around the yard with his hands over his ears. I do not want that future for any children.
How about some common sense? I have spoken to many people in Vermont that live near the turbines. I have watched videos of them speaking before the Vermont Public Service Board Wind project state that they about their issues with living near the turbines. And, I have listened to people tell me how their issues and complaints are repeatedly ignored by the developers and the State of Vermont. Common sense says that if you have issues and complaints from people living near smaller turbines that are farther away from homes, you do NOT put bigger turbines CLOSER to homes. The proposed turbine size is bigger than any in Vermont and yet they want to put them closer to homes.
134 homes within a 1 mile radius. The developer says that these turbines are quieter and better insulated. How do you insulate a blade that is moving almost 200 mph?
What about the cooling fans at the base of the turbines? How do you insulate a fan and have it still work?
The developer touts studies that say that real estate values are not affected – really? Those studies look at homes in a 10 mile radius and homes that are shielded by hills or woods and can’t even see the turbines to dilute their samples. They can’t give you any studies for homes within 2,000 feet of turbines because there aren’t any that close. Again, common sense. Homes will not be worth as much with seven 499 foot towers looming over them. The town of Barton reduced property values by 10% for every home in the town that could SEE the Sheffield turbines. Reduced just for the sight of them – nobody had to ask for it, the reassessment just did it. There are probably over 1,000 homes that would see these proposed turbines – imagine losing 10% of all those property values off the town books. And, many of those homes are in St. Albans and Fairfield – nobody is offering those towns any payments.
How about Falmouth, Ma where they are planning to use eminent domain to take back many houses that are too close to the turbines the town put up?
And if that isn’t enough, the grid up here in Northern Vermont is full. Either it will cost the ratepayers millions of dollars to upgrade the lines, some other renewable energy will be shut down to allow this power through or, the energy will be stranded (and therefore, not used). How is that saving the world? GMP and the Governor state that this project will be detrimental to ratepayers. How is that helping our community? Common sense again – put the power where it is needed and that is not here.
Swanton Wind says that they will go forward with this project regardless of how the community feels. That doesn’t sound like someone who cares about his neighbors or community.
On Tues Nov 17 vote YES to OPPOSE Swanton Wind and vote YES for local control on industrial energy projects. Christine Lang, Swanton