Lowell Wind Project is not green
To the Editor:
During the Great Depression, the WPA proposed building a road along the spine of the Green Mountains in order to create jobs in the state. Vermonters wisely rejected the plan: they understood that desecrating the mountains would entail a deeper cost than any economic benefit the road might bring.
Unfortunately, Governor Shumlin lacks the same level of wisdom, and has been aggressively promoting utility-scale wind development along our ridgelines. The reason, he claims, is that we need to do something about global warming. But these large-scale projects will have a negligible impact on climate change: because their output varies so widely depending on wind conditions, utilities must compensate by ramping up and down other power plants, often fossil-fuel based. Those plants operate less efficiently as a result, and emit higher levels of greenhouse gases. What's more, every ridgeline development requires clear-cutting hundreds of acres of forest -- a CO2 sink -- to make way for tower pads, transmission lines, and access roads.
These massive projects are not about being "green," they're about making money, much of it from government subsidies. For the Lowell Project, Green Mountain Power expects to reap $46 million in production tax credits, and millions more through the sale of renewable energy credits.
We still have largely pristine mountains in this state because of the wisdom of an earlier generation of Vermonters. At stake today are at least 200 miles of ridgeline. Don't let future generations point to ours as the generation that sold out Vermont's soul.