Not So Fast With Renewables

To the Editor:

Green Mountain Power, in its efforts to make Rutland the renewable energy capital of Vermont, is to be commended. Indeed, its public relations campaign has succeeded so well that its virtues are daily extolled in editorials and publicly praised by politicians and even the police chief.

Is it any wonder that under the capable hands of GMP CEO Mary Powell and her enabling partner, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, all the hills of Vermont will soon be humming turbine tunes and its valleys abloom with photovoltaic cells?

But not so fast, please, lest we laud too much; it is not all altruistic.

GMP stands to benefit mightily from its efforts. Each installation of a renewable energy device by GMP is highly subsidized by taxpayers and commands prices from ratepayers that are more than three times the cost of base-load power.

The Shumlin administration and its minions on the Public Service Board are working to make wind and solar power, which now account for less than 2 percent of the state’s power, contribute 90 percent by 2020. That is an insane proposition; it is a physical improbability.

But it is politically attractive, so let’s cap all those hills with wind towers and fill all the valley slopes with solar panels.

But again, not so fast. According to a Wall Street Journal commentary by David Garman and Samuel Thernstrom (“Europe’s Renewables Romance Fades,” July 30), Denmark hopes to get 50 percent of its electricity from wind by 2020 (it now accounts for 30 percent), and Germany aims to receive 35 percent of its electricity from wind and solar (now 12 percent) by 2020.

“(T)he honeymoon with renewable is ending as the practical challenges become clear: The first challenge is cost,” Garman and Thernstrom write. “Germany has invested more than $350 billion in renewable energy deployment and its households pay the highest power costs in Europe, except for the Danish. On average Germans and Danes pay roughly 300 percent more for residential electricity than Americans do.”

Reliability is also an issue. Dependence on renewable energy equals potential blackouts.

William Kevan


Don’t Overestimate NRA’s Power

To the Editor:

Before we attribute more clout to the National Rifle Association than it deserves for the Colorado recall election (“Colo. Senator Recall Shows Risk of Supporting Gun Control,” Sept. 12), consider these facts:

∎ Only 11 percent of the electorate in one district and 40 percent in the other voted; 70 percent of Colorado voters typically cast their vote via mail-in ballots, a practice disallowed in this recall.

∎ State Sen. John Morse, one of the state senators who was recalled, lost by less than 2 percent. (The winning side drew just 9,100 total votes.)

While these facts don’t undo the outcome, they don’t add up to an NRA juggernaut. Look at the NRA’s record in the 2012 election: $20 million spent and less than 1 percent of their guys won.

Although the two Colorado state senators lost on Sept. 10, the gun reforms they helped pass still stand, making Colorado safer. Those lawmakers, by the way, would do it all again, and they’re eligible to run again in elections allowing the usual mail-in ballots.

Bottom line: Should we care more about who’s elected or recalled, or about the next Newtown, Aurora or Columbine? You decide.

Bob Williamson

South Woodstock

Serving Those Who Served Us

To the Editor:

There are many ways to recognize and thank the military veterans who live among us in the Upper Valley. Recently, we at Project VetCare organized a raffle to honor wounded veterans during a weekend adventure and to publicize the work we do at our Hanover office. Two people were each awarded a stay for two at the Mountain View Grand Resort, with an invitation to join five wounded soldiers for an off-road tour at Jericho Mountain State Park. The winners were Elizabeth Crory, one of Hanover’s representatives in the New Hampshire House for many years, and Jim McKeown, a Lebanon veteran and volunteer for Project VetCare. But Project VetCare was the big winner when both prizes were donated back to our organization.

We in turn decided to pass along the prizes to deserving veterans. One trip was awarded to an Army veteran from Hampton Beach who was wounded by a rocket attack in Iraq. The other was awarded to Wayne Dunham, who served our country for eight years as a member of the Army’s military police. Dunham was sent to Iraq six days after he was married. In that country, he dealt with full-scale riots, mortar bomb strikes and run-ins with enemy combatants on a daily basis. Wayne continues to serve, but these days he works as a full-time firefighter and EMT in Hanover.

As for Project VetCare, we, too, will continue to serve. We’ll be sending veterans into classrooms at Hanover and Lebanon high schools to help students understand what’s involved in the vital business of defending our country. And with the generous and thoughtful help of people like Crory and McKeown, we will keep our doors open to the veterans who come to us for advice and financial and moral support.

Robert Chambers


Another Chance to See ‘Giselle’

To the Editor:

There is a lot of activity on the mall in Lebanon as the dancers of City Center Ballet have returned from their summer programs in dance. These dancers auditioned for and were accepted to programs at Alvin Ailey, Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Burklyn Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ellison Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. These are dedicated and talented dancers whose passion for their art is evident.

Rehearsals are underway for the encore production of Giselle to be performed at the Lebanon Opera House on Sept. 20 and 21. If you weren’t able to attend the premiere in May or saw it but would love to see it again, you will have the chance. City Center Ballet is the same company that has brought you Cinderella and the annual holiday tradition Clara’s Dream. These dancers want nothing more than to dance to an audience that appreciates the beauty and artistry of ballet.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Lebanon Opera House. Hope to see you at Giselle.

Pat Levesque

Parent volunteer, City Center Ballet Parent