Most of Vermont’s media coverage of wind energy tells a David-and-Goliath story: the plucky locals and underdog activists going up against a corporate developer and the state regulatory system.
The pro-wind case usually gets short shrift. But even when it gets equal time, it’s almost always in response to anti-wind arguments. Rarely, if ever, is the positive case for wind given a fair hearing. As a result, there’s quite a bit of stuff about large-scale wind that most Vermonters don’t know. Here’s a list, with details to follow.
— For all our bluster about fossil fuels and gas pipelines, Vermont remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels, including fracked gas.
— Wind is a necessary component of a renewable system. There is no way we can reach our “90 percent by 2050” goal without large-scale wind.
— Wind has huge economic benefits, including tax payments to local and state governments and a healthier trade balance.
— Large-scale wind cannot be replaced by residential turbines. It just doesn’t work. And replacing large-scale wind with more solar would dramatically increase solar’s footprint on our landscape.
— Thanks to recent advances, large-scale wind no longer has to be sited on the highest mountaintops. Lower ridges and hills are now suitable sites.
— Siting on developed land and rooftops is good, but it’s only a fraction of what we need. There aren’t nearly enough developed sites and roofs in Vermont.
And now for the details.