DOE’s “objective information to allow informed decisions about proposed wind energy projects’’

Boston Globe reporter Beth Daley, who has been covering wind energy development in Massachusetts, posted an article on The Green Blog today about the New England Wind Energy Education project, an eight-part webinar series and an in-person conference this spring.  Her article refers to a news release and contains a link to the initiative’s website, which says “NEWEEP is neither industry-funded nor industry-driven.”

The Steering Committee consists of the following entities:

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF)
  • Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC)
  • University of Massachusetts — Wind Energy Center (WEC)
  • Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC)
  • ISO-New England (ISO-NE)
  • Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG)
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)
  • Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA)
  • New Hampshire Office of Energy & Planning (OEP)
  • Renewable Energy New England (RENEW)

Seems balanced enough, right?  Mostly state governments and relevant representatives.  Though if you drill down, it is obvious that the majority of the partners to this “objective” initiative have a bias in favor of wind energy development.    But what about the last one on the list, Renewable Energy New England?  I never heard of it either, at least not until about 10 days ago when I was listening to testimony in the Connecticut legislature’s Committee on Energy and Technology about a proposed moratorium on wind energy development until regulations are put into place.

During the nearly 6 hour public hearing, Francis Pullaro testified on behalf of RENEW-NE as its Executive Director.  He told the committee

“RENEW’s membership is comprised of the American Wind Energy Association, Conservation Law Foundation, First Wind, Horizon Wind Energy,  Iberdrola Renewables, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Vestas Americas.”

So the wind industry has a seat at the table of this supposedly “objective” initiative.  And where are the citizens groups?

The DOE has subcontracted its “objective” New England Wind Energy Education project to Sustainability Energy Advantage, whose Partners and Collaborators are heavily weighted with wind interests.  Among them is Raab Associates.  I visited their website recently after someone sent me this flyer about a stakeholder process to be held in March.  50 stakeholders will be chosen.  I applied for one of the 50 seats.  They are going to announce the successful applicants on Feb. 15.  How many citizens groups do you think will be represented?  Or rather, will anyone be chosen to represent citizens who are living next to or are being expected to live next to wind turbines?  If the mountain behind your home is slated for a wind turbine, will your interests be included?

Sutton, Vermont, to the east of the mountain in Sheffield where First Wind is bulldozing and blasting roads for sixteen 420 foot tall 2.5 MW Clipper Liberty wind turbines.  Sutton voted 120-23 to oppose the wind project and changed the town plan.

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About vermontersforacleanenvironment

VCE's mission is to raise the voices of Vermonters and hold corporations accountable for their impacts on our people, our land, our air and our water. We are united in the belief that Vermont's future lies in conserving its clean, rural, small-town environment. We have joined together to pursue the common goals of encouraging economic development with minimal environmental impacts and preserving Vermont's natural beauty. VCE is committed to providing facts and information so that people can make informed decisions. We encourage your participation.
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