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Victoria Hudson's picture
Executive Assistant to PUC Chairman Vermont Public Utility Commission

New to energy regulation but a longtime writer focused on green and sustainable topics, I am privileged to contribute to the Energy Central mission of sharing an extraordinary amount of industry...

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  • Jan 17, 2020
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The battle against wind energy in Vermont takes another casualty.  

wind turbines in a grass field
ID 141790382 © Fayethequeen93 | Dreamstime.com

"Dairy Air Wind, the last remaining wind energy project being developed in Vermont, today announced the ending of all development activities surrounding the project. In a statement issued Thursday, project partner David Blittersdorf cited a current political environment that is hostile to wind energy as the leading cause for this step. Dairy Air Wind was intended to be a single-turbine project sited in a cornfield on the Champney family’s 450-acre dairy farm in Holland, VT. 'In 2012, there were over a dozen wind projects in development. Now there are none. This is truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont,' stated David Blittersdorf. 'Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We must combat the carbon emissions crisis and move to a renewable energy based future. We simply can’t do this without wind energy as part of the mix. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the science, or is lying.' Under the current governor, Phil Scott, zero wind projects have been approved, two wind projects had previously folded, and now the last remaining project, Dairy Air Wind, has come to a halt as well, Blittersdorf said. Governor Scott made opposition to renewable wind energy a part of his campaign platform in 2016, and following his election he appointed a vocal wind energy opponent as Chair of the Public Utility Commission, he said."

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 19, 2020

"'This is truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont,' stated David Blittersdorf. 'Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We must combat the carbon emissions crisis and move to a renewable energy based future. We simply can’t do this without wind energy as part of the mix. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the science, or is lying.'"

Victoria, though I don't believe David is lying, he clearly doesn't understand the science.

Wind can do a lot to clean up a fossil-dominated grid. It can replace up to 40% of either coal or gas with 100% clean energy. But the other 60% it can do nothing about - either coal or gas (mostly gas) will be necessary to fill in the gaps when the turbines aren't turning. Thus, Vermont still ends up with a fossil-dominated grid.

That's not all, though. Renewables advocates might see wind turbines and think "Clean energy!", but a lot of people who see them think "Eyesore!". Their pristine natural view has been despoiled by industrial hardware, a view that might have been a significant factor in their decision to purchase property in Vermont.

What's truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont is allowing people like David, with slim appreciation for the exorbitant land use of wind and its intermittent generation, to attempt to replace Vermont Yankee with it then find out too late it was a mistake.

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