Readers of Green Energy Times brought to our attention the newspaper’s write-up of the Lowell Wind project. The title of the article is “LOWELL WIND UPDATE…A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.” We’ll offer our comments after sections of the article, below:
Green Mountain Power’s Lowell Wind Project had already been termed ‘a learning experience’. Last week, after construction had started, ANR put a ‘Stop Work’ Order on the project temporarily.
Why? because the storm water system that was still in the process of being built did not adequately handle an unforeseen 4″ rainfall that occurred recently. (We have certainly had our share of them this year). While the stop order was in place, crews worked to strengthen the stormwater systems. Once ANR and GMP were satisfied, the order was lifted on October 12. GMP’s Dorothy Schnure told us that they “got a little bit ahead of themselves. We need to have always built to the highest standards and will move forward doing exactly that. We agree with this order and are now moving forward, holding to the highest environmental standards possible.”
Well, that’s very interesting spin, but the stormwater design was supposed to prepare for a 100 year flood event and a mere 4″ of rain should have been no problem. Here’s what the Stop Work Order said:
The observed non-compliance included but was not limited to the failure by the permittees to construct the necessary permanent stormwater dry ponds, wet ponds, and/or level lip spreaders to serve as temporary sedimentation traps and/or basins in order to manage stormwater runoff from contributing earth disturbance, as specified in the approved erosion prevention and sediment control (EPSC) plan.
In other words, GMP didn’t comply with its permit conditions and built roads without even attempting to control stormwater runoff. Oh, gee, it rained? During the rainy season, no less? Darn. Here’s a picture of some of the sediment going into the streams, in violation of the permit and the Clean Water Act.
21 Vestas Wind Turbines will be installed, which will produce 63MW of electricity.
Well, no, Nancy Rae, the turbines will produce 63MW of electricity only if the wind blows continuously. Ever heard of capacity factor? It’ll be roughly 1/3 (or less) of 63MW that’s produced. ISO-NE said at a forum we attended in June that the 500MW of wind energy currently on the New England grid is just “noise” to them. So another 20MW isn’t going to make much difference in the regional electricity picture. There are some facts for you to print since you are so interested in facts.
To clarify the rumor that this project would be ‘blowing off the mountaintops’, like they do with dirty, polluting coal, we were assured that they would NOT be blowing off any mountaintops. Not one! Whew!
Here’s a picture taken on Saturday showing a large area that has been blasted
and before you get picky and say “but that’s not the mountain top”, here’s a picture of the top of the highest point on the Lowell Mountains, all of which is to be blasted away real soon. Look for the person in the photo, he’s there for scale. Yep, the whole mountain top is about to be blasted away:
In fact from the road or from a distance it will barely even be noticeable that anything has changed except for wind turbines that will serve to bring roughly 180,000 MWh per year of clean, renewable energy to our state. There will be some necessary leveling that will require some blasting so that the roads and the turbine pads can be built. Whew, again!
Time for another photo. Barely noticeable? By whom? The bear, moose, and other wildlife who have called these woods home for centuries?
Just as with any building site, during the construction period, there will be some disturbance at the work areas (which has been authorized by state and federal environmental regulators) – but a year from completion, the grass will be growing and look like our other mountain tops where you see lush green pastures throughout our beautiful state – but with some working art in motion.
If you want to see lush green, better get up there soon, because these areas won’t exist much longer, especially since Green Mountain Power is disrupting groundwater flows and rearranging the hydrology of the mountain, and opening up wide canopies that will raise water temperatures and dry out the ridgeline:
It will also be necessary to do some blasting for the road up to the ridge line. The material from the blasting will be ‘recycled’ by using it for the road itself. Very Nice!
Very nice, indeed!!
134 acres of trees will need to be cut, unfortunately, but to mitigate this, GMP is conserving more than 1000 acres that will never be able to be developed, as well as conserving more than 1,000 acres more for fragmentation mitigation. Assuredly, there will be no bears going hungry or starving.
You could just stop after bears, as in “there will be no bears.” Their habitat is being destroyed, the trees that provide them food are gone. Yes, there will be bears somewhere, but the ones who have lived on and rely on the Lowell Mountains are being displaced to make room for your pinwheels.
In other countries, wind turbines gently spin along the horizon, an incredibly thrilling sight, in itself, understanding that they represent good changes for that our future.
If our future does not include respecting our water resources and the sacred places on our mountains, what kind of a future is that?
Rumors can cause confusion and deviations. Green Energy Times thought it was time to present these facts. It is always best to go to the source before forming opinions. Then, an educated opinion or decision can then result. For concerns, please contact Dorothy Schnure at GMP: 802.655.8418
Nancy Rae, if your “source” for “educated opinion” and “facts” is Green Mountain Power, you have sold out to the corporate/government complex that is ruling our state and our country. Very sorry to see that’s the price of keeping your newspaper going.