Tomorrow’s White Elephants

Driving through the Texas panhandle en route to southern California last March, hundreds of Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) stretch to the horizon, a dramatic addition to an otherwise flat, uninhabited, drought seared landscape. Fast forward to Vermont, where David Blittersdorf and company want to ride roughshod over communities and towns to develop two hundred miles of pristine ridge lines yesterday. The big picture, as I see it, calls for prudence in the face of climate change hysteria, and an appreciation of place. The cons outweigh the pros in terms of wind energy in Vermont.

Emboldened by the state’s lofty goal of 90% renewable energy by 2050, or lured by huge subsidies and carbon credits, proponents of IWTs in Vermont are committed to a hardcore agenda, a crony capitalist ‘positive feedback loop’, enriching behemoths like Spanish turbine maker Iberdrola and Canadian Gaz Metro owned Green Mountain Power (GMP), combined with local and out of state developers that keep the cash contributions flowing.

All despite a lack of evidence that the economics, resulting destruction of animal habitat and watersheds, bird and bat kills, and harmful health impacts on neighbors can ever be justified in terms of significant energy production. Meanwhile, in a small oversight known prior to construction (subsidies are time sensitive), GMP’s Lowell Mountain turbines are often curtailed because the fluctuating energy produced can’t be absorbed into the existing grid, necessitating a ten million dollar synchronous condenser at rate-payer expense.

The pro-wind posse would throw the green baby, our mountains, out with the bath water in a vain sacrifice, creating the white elephants of tomorrow.

President Kennedy, a conservation advocate, said: “National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.” The Wilderness Act of 1964 sought to “secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness”.

We now face a critical juncture involving Vermont’s George D. Aiken Wilderness, under threat by a proposed IWT project in Deerfield, one of ten “green-lighted” or fast-tracked projects designated by President Obama. VCE has undertaken this battle, suing the US Government.

Thanks to VCE, the Peakkeepers, Senator Bob Hartwell, and others, for their dedication to the preservation of our mountains. To borrow from Abraham Lincoln’s beautiful, timeless, Gettysburg Address, wilderness, like democracy, must be cherished, lest it “perish from the earth.”



Martine Victor

Leave a Reply