Where is the Grassroots Support for Wind Energy?

Proud.  Having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.

Aristotle defined hubris (excessive pride): to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.

Rebecca Towne is proud of the progress on Lowell Wind.  I wonder, then, why she did not sign her letter to the Burlington Free Press with her job title, “Operations Project Manager at Green Mountain Power.”  Her letter follows a pattern we have been 0bserving in letters published in the Rutland Herald and Times Argus in recent weeks, giving the impression there is grassroots support for mountain top wind energy in Vermont.  Other authors of pro-wind letters who were apparently not proud enough to disclose their associations include a staff person for VPIRG and the partner of the person in charge of Green Mountain Power’s Customer Relations and External Affairs.

As I have traveled around Vermont meeting with neighbors of wind projects, I have observed that there is no grassroots support for wind.  The formula wind developers use (this is what they talk about at their conferences) involves creating local wind proponent groups to counter the organic opposition groups that naturally respond to the numerous and obvious negatives big wind technology involves.  Jeff Wennberg tried this in Ira. With a few exceptions, after hearing Vermonters advocate in public for wind and tracking down who they are, it turns out they have some sort of economic interest in wind energy development.

I see no evidence that the results of deliberative polling that wind developers and pro-wind legislators keep parroting, that 80 or 90% of Vermonters support wind energy, aretrue.  When Vermonters have engaged in a democratic process around wind development in Vermont, they have overwhelmingly voted NO.

  1. Londonderry voted 425-213 to oppose wind turbines on Glebe Mountain and changed town plan
  2. Sheffield 120-93 to continue to explore the wind project (after PR campaign by UPC/First Wind).  They did not vote to support the project.
  3. Barton 160-0 to oppose
  4. Sutton 120-23 to oppose and changed town plan
  5. Manchester voted 62 to 60 not to support wind turbines on Little Equinox Mountain, and to appropriate $150,000 to oppose the project through the PSB process
  6. Readsboro voted 191 to 31 to allow expansion of the existing 11-turbine array, which in 2006 was for 300 feet tall turbines, not the 410 feet tall turbines the PSB approved.
  7. Lowell 342-114 in favor (after one-year PR campaign by GMP) and the promise of $400,000
  8. Ira 80 to 29 to support town plan that says no wind turbines on ridgelines
  9. Wilmington 51-15 to oppose the Searsburg expansion, also known as Deerfield Wind

Even prominent wind advocate David Blittersdorf is following the markets to solar instead of wind.  In this week’s Seven Days Vermont, he says

“My personality makeup is, I tend to be able to adapt by seeing new realities,” says Blittersdorf during a tour of AllEarth Renewables. “You set some goals, but things always change.”

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2011

As a customer of Vermont Electric Co-op, I’m proud to watch the progress of the Kingdom Community Wind project and know that the energy that powers my ever-more efficient home will become more renewable and therefore sustainable…

…I’m proud of the way VEC and GMP have been partnering with the community and spending time addressing concerns in Lowell and surrounding towns in a factual and down to earth way…..

REBECCA COLE TOWNE
Cambridge

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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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One Response to Where is the Grassroots Support for Wind Energy?

  1. Pingback: Green Mountain Power’s Friends & Family Letter Writing Campaign | Vermonters for a Clean Environment's Blog

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