Letter: Reviewing Role of Wind Power

To the Editor:

The Vermont Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill today that would require industrial wind developments to go through the Act 250 process. I think this makes sense for many reasons — fairness, transparency, equality — but primarily to determine, in a rational, scientific process, if industrial wind projects will reduce carbon emissions in Vermont in any meaningful way. In addition, this bill would allow town and local planning commission review, which is not required right now.

Currently, the production of electricity accounts for less than 4 percent of Vermont’s total carbon emissions. So, if we converted to all wind power, we could reduce our total carbon emissions by 4 percent (assuming, generously, that there is no carbon cost to installing the towers). We will not be all wind power any time soon, if ever. Therefore, a more likely scenario is that wind farms will produce some of our power needs and thereby reduce total carbon emissions in the state by 1 or 2 percent. Therefore, the question is, does the benefit of wind power actually outweigh the cost of destroying rare and fragile wildlife habitat, killing significant numbers of birds and bats, and building huge, aesthetically displeasing towers on Vermont ridgelines and mountaintops?

Senate Bill 30 would help us make this determination. Let’s not go forward without this sort of analysis and information.

Please email or call your state senators and ask them to vote yes on S.30.

Clare Holland