Sanders opposes state wind moratorium proposal

Paul Burns, executive director of VPIRG, holds up a photo of fracking. Photo by Andrew Stein

Paul Burns, executive director of VPIRG, holds up a photo of fracking. Photo by Andrew Stein

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., just jumped into the middle of one of the Vermont Legislature’s hottest debates.

On Monday, Sanders vehemently opposed a three-year moratorium on wind generation projects more than 500 kilowatts in capacity. The Senate proposal has bipartisan support and was ushered in by loud and frequent protests to Vermont’s ridgeline wind development this past year.

Sanders told reporters at a press conference that he was sticking his neck out on this issue because he is concerned about the national implications of a short-term ban in Vermont. He plans to introduce national legislation next month that would tax carbon dioxide emissions, and he said that Vermont must continue to lead the country in measures to curb climate change — including the expansion of Vermont wind generation.

“I am deeply concerned that currently there is an effort in the Legislature to put a moratorium on the construction of new wind projects,” Sanders said. “I strongly disagree with that effort; not only in what it will mean for our state in terms of transforming our energy system, but what it will mean nationally.”

On Thursday, in his Church Street office, Sanders sat flanked by leading advocates of utility-scale wind development in Vermont. Sitting at the table with Sanders were: Paul Burns, director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group; Chris Kilian, Vermont director of the Conservation Law Foundation; Gabrielle Stebbins, director of the trade association Renewable Energy Vermont; and Don Hooper, northeast regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation.

Sanders said that if the proposed moratorium were approved it would fan the flames of the fossil fuel industry.

“I have no doubt that if Vermont ceases new wind development the message will go out all across the country, spread by well-funded coal and oil companies, that even in Vermont, even in progressive Vermont, even in environmentally conscious Vermont, there is not a serious commitment to combating global warming,” Sanders said. “It is my hope that Vermont will hold its head high and lead this country in terms of transforming our energy system and in combating this horrendous danger of global warming.”

Both Sanders and Kilian defended the state’s energy permitting processes, which frequently came under fire this past year by protestors of large-scale wind development. Their chief complaint was that the public did not have a loud enough voice over such permits. Partly as a result of these complaints, Gov. Peter Shumlin created a siting commission to assess these processes.

“It would be totally inappropriate for some wind energy company to bulldoze their way through a project,” Sanders said. “There is a thoughtful process that must take place, involving community input … I applaud and respect the processes we have in the state of Vermont.”

Kilian — who said his organization was involved in the permitting of currently operating wind power projects in Vermont — rejected the notion that the public doesn’t have a say over permitting as it now stands.

“I feel that the Public Service Board in particular … (has) done an excellent job of including public input through public hearings and through broad public participation,” he said. “I can understand people not being happy with the results, but I don’t think it’s fair to call for this moratorium based on a lack of public participation.”

Ridgeprotectors, an anti-wind group, says renewable electric generation projects have a limited impact on climate change.

“Atmospheric scientists tell us that the phenomenon variously referred to as climate change or global warming is likely caused and certainly exacerbated by elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Ridgeprotectors said in a statement. “If we trust that conclusion then the solution is reduction of those emissions at their sources. In Vermont, 92.6 percent of emissions come from transportation, structural heating, agriculture and commercial/industrial operations.”

Republican Sen. Joe Benning, who was a principal architect of the moratorium bill, panned Sanders just after his announcement.

“Bernie Sanders rose to power fighting for the little guy against big-moneyed corporate interests,” Benning said. “Now he ignores the cries of Vermonters caught in the crosshairs of huge corporations, whose powerful lobbyists and high-priced lawyers use a frustrating maze of regulatory bureaucracy to threaten their cherished mountain homes. … How sad.”

Andrew Stein

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101 Comments on "Sanders opposes state wind moratorium proposal"

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Lance Hagen
3 years 7 months ago

So the net for wind power is:
– No or insignificant reduction in CO2
– Power costs are 3 to 4 times higher than existing power
– Ridge lines are scared. Natural environment destroyed.
– Potential health risks

Why would anyone want them!

Oh yea, I forgot …… it is to make the likes of Mr. Blittersdorf (ex VPIRG Board Member) and industrial ‘wind developers’ even richer.

Kathleen Nelson
3 years 7 months ago

Blittersdorf may have been a past member of VPIRG but he is a current member of Renewable Energy Vermont, the lackey arm of the American Wind Energy Ass(es). Why the media continues to refer to organizations like REV and VPIRG as “environmentalist” is a real mystery. It like saying Deb Markowitz, over at the ANR, cares about wildlife (after she issues kill permits for endangered species).
Take a real good look at the organizations that are opposing the moratorium and you will find the true definition of hypocrite.

krister adams
3 years 7 months ago

For $1,500? Bernies get’s no use of other donations you cited as he is a registered Independant.

Patrick Cashman
3 years 7 months ago

Let’s take a look at the Blittersdorfs’ donations courtesy of opensecrets.org for 2011/12:

$25,800 to the Democratic National Committee
$20,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
$20,000 to the Vermont State Democratic Committee
$1,500 direct to Bernie

Mind you, this is just the Blittersdorf donations for 2011/12.

I can’t imagine why Bernie would come out against the moratorium.

3 years 7 months ago
Kilian feels : “I feel that the Public Service Board in particular … (has) done an excellent job of including public input through public hearings and through broad public participation,” The VT-PSB has shamefully bent over backwards to use bogus vendor-provided data to make IWT ridge line energy costs appear much less/kWh than if REAL WORLD values were used. IWT vendors continuing to claim CFs = 0.32 or better on ridge lines is a misrepresentation IWT vendors continuing the claim IWT lives of 25 years is a misrepresentation Here we have an example of people such as Klein, Smith, Cheney,… Read more »
krister adams
3 years 7 months ago

Mr. Post: I understand that yiou fervantly want to advocate your cause. But believe me, your turning off an awful lot of folks with your lengthy commentary and endless citings.

3 years 7 months ago

Did I hear correctly on VPR tonight that the director of VPIRG said Vermonters who support the wind moratorium were “opposing Evolution” on the way home from work tonight? That is some really embarrassing hyperbole if so.

John Walters
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah, usually the “embarrassing hyperbole” comes from the antiw-ind crowd. See Mr. Hagen above for a prime example.

Sure, Lance, the entire Vermont environmental community and Bernie Sanders have sold their principles to make David Blittersdorf rich. Uh-huh.

Carl Werth
3 years 7 months ago

Well, John, appearnaces seem to paint that picture.

Karl Riemer
3 years 7 months ago
“appearnaces” don’t paint that picture at all. Deliberately deceptive propaganda paints that picture. People who’ve dedicated themselves for many years to thoughtful, serious consideration of environmental policy, making difficult decisions with far-reaching consequences, are being painted as rash and underhanded by people with single-issue, reactionary passion and no regard, zero regard, for truth or consequences. Ridgeprotectors and Vermonters for a Clean Environment are our NRA, willing to say anything, convinced their narrow position, and only their narrow position, is just and therefor justifies any lie, any slander, any wild speculation, any tactic, any alliance. For them, prevalence of their position… Read more »
Kathy Leonard
3 years 7 months ago
Paul Burns consistently resorts to slurs when discussing opposing views. In itself, that’s merely distasteful, but coming from the Executive Director of a statewide non-profit, that is an embarrassment and I challenge VPIRGs Board of Directors to re-assess his ability to lead when he lacks basic civility when speaking with either the public OR long-time members. Burns has alienated many VPIRG’s members who–while they could understand an opposing view–cannot accept being spoken to this way. In addition to calling ridgeline wind opponents ‘opposed to evolution,’ and ‘ignoring science’ he has previously called them climate deniers, as a class — making… Read more »
Annette Smith
3 years 7 months ago
Here is part of what he said Paul Burns said at the press conference: “I believe that is uh you might call it our Kansas moment. You might remember back in 2005 the Kansas board of education rejected science and decided that the public schools there were not going to teach evolution and would instead move to a creationism based science curriculum. The question now to us in Vermont as we face climate change, perhaps, well I believe certainly the most significant environmental issue of our time is what will we do in Vermont when faced with this choice? Will… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago

Why is Senator Sanders so afraid of a debate on the pros and cons of constructing gigantic wind turbines on Vermont mountain ridges or in the valleys for that matter?

If Senator’s and the wind proponent’s arguments are sound, they’ll win and the turbines will go up. But, I’d guess that Senator Sanders and the wind industry know that they arguments are weak and thus cannot risk a debate.

3 years 7 months ago
Kilian feels : “I feel that the Public Service Board in particular … (has) done an excellent job of including public input through public hearings and through broad public participation.” Wind energy in Vermont is not about CO2 emissions reduction, but about schlepping federal subsidies to Vermont to benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the many. World CO2 emissions in 2011 = 33,990 million metric ton, Vermont’s CO2 emissions in 2011 = 8.1 million metric ton; only 4% of that from generating energy. How much difference can Vermont make? Answer: NOTHING. The VT-PSB has shamefully bent over backwards… Read more »
Kevin Jones
3 years 7 months ago
Reasonable people can surely disagree as to whether a wind moratorium is or is not good energy policy. But we should not let anyone fool us that the Vermont legislature’s current renewable energy policies, the SPEED and Standard Offer programs, are either producing additional renewable energy on a regional basis or benefiting the climate. Any credible energy policy analyst should recognize that the Vermont SPEED program is fundamentally flawed in that it encourages the sale of renewable energy credits (RECs) into out of state programs. All of the Vermont wind projects are participating in the SPEED program and thus the… Read more »
Stan Shapiro
3 years 7 months ago
There is no credible proof that industrial wind turbines inVermont will have any impact on climate change.I thought that the picture of Burns was with a wind turbine on our ridge lines .It really looks the same.?VPIRG and it’s cohort need to publicly state how much money they receive from wind developers so that people will understand why they are supporting the destruction of our most important and defining natural resource.People who are reviled by ridge line development come from all walks of life and all political parties.They are united by their love of what makes this state a wonder.Shame… Read more »
Mary Barton
3 years 7 months ago
Apparently Bernie Sanders is energy-illiterate, on the take from Big Wind, or both — none of which bodes well for tax- and rate-payers. Wouldn’t it be a novel idea if our elected “public servants” actually had to know something about energy before picking & choosing winners & losers in the energy marketplace?! See Bjorn Lomborg’s interesting WSJ article on this issue, & other articles on mafia involvement, cronyism and corruption surrounding Big Wind, & then ask Bernie what’s in it for him!? Climate Change Misdirection: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323485704578258172660564886.html “Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption”: http://greencorruption.blogspot.com/2013/01/big-wind-energy-subsidies-hurricane-of.html?m=1 “Sting operations… Read more »
Josh Fitzhugh
3 years 7 months ago
I am not an expert on this but when you consider the cost of wind, it seems to me you have to include some factor for the cost of backup power when the wind does not blow. What that factor should be I have no idea. But to exclude it would be like saying a cake can be all frosting. Certainly from a CO2 perspective there is some benefit to wind power and I would think it should be part of our power grid. But the question really is whether our mountaintops are a good place for it. I don’t… Read more »
Mike Feiner
3 years 7 months ago
I just want to know where you all were when we were asking for a moratorium on planting genetically engineered seed in the state? Talk about a threat! Not a peep. A moratorium on wind is the wrong way to go. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a process for every proposal, but a moratorium should be reserved for things that can literally take on a life of their own if unchecked, and wind is not that thing. We might want to consider a moratorium on the PSB, however, which has clearly taken on a life of its own; in… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Mike, See my above comment regarding the lack of wind energy on Vermont ridge lines, but the VT-PSB approves ridge line IWTs anyway, basing its approvals on bogus vender-predicted values. Those vendors know better, as do I, but misrepresent anyway, and the AWEA PR and misrepresentations causes the Vermont lay public, including legislators, to swallow the bait. Read this article. http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-energy-capacity-less-estimated VT-PSB and Lack of Due Diligence: The VT-PSB, VT-DPS, etc., likely knew CFs on Vermont ridge lines would be less than the vendor-predicted values (the evidence was on the FERC website), but approved the above 3 projects anyway, after… Read more »
Fred Woogmaster
3 years 7 months ago
“Moratorium” sounds like death; three years is a long time. Given the importance of this issue and the unanswered questions and legitimate concerns raised within our citizenry, a pause is in order to answer those questions and to resolve those concerns. If Senator Sanders’ point of view in relation to the larger picture is valid, a shorter pause and deeper inquiry would be prudent. The money involved surely makes this matter far more complicated; we witness over and over again how the quest for profit and the power of money can stifle the will and still the voice of the… Read more »
Carl Werth
3 years 7 months ago
Those are wise words, Fred. Clearly, just from the amount of posts on these Wind Moratorium stories I have read – one can easily see that there is still much to debate and consider. Often in life, things are not known and considered until they are put into use. Like many of those who are pro-moratorium, I am not anti-wind or a dis-believer of climate change, I just don’t want to trade one of our most treasured resources without knowing that we have traded it for something which is truly worthwhile and not just for something which only made us… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Senator Bernie Sanders and VPIRG’s Paul Burns violate truth and public trust along with responsibility to Vermonters. Their performance yesterday demonstrates only their most recent attempts to manipulate through outright misrepresentation of facts. They apparently think the public is ignorant. Sanders-Burns high-ground reaches as high as Vermont mountain-tops, while those of us who know better stand firmly on solid ground: industrial wind turbines – IWT – are actual contributors to carbon emissions just as surely as corporations like GMP are contributors to political campaigns. Bernie appears to have become part of what he says he despises: corporatocracy. Burns has repeatedly… Read more »
Rob Roy MacGregor
3 years 7 months ago

Whereas no wind opponent has ever labeled a wind proponent “corporate shill”, or “capitalist crony” or “pinhead” or whatever…..

Surely no wind opponent has ever been guilty of transmitting ” disinformation and distortions when confronted with differing perspectives.”

And certainly no wind opponent would ever suggest that the large majority of Vermonters and environmental groups who support wind development are “ignorant”…..

I’m thinking “people in glass houses….”

Bruce Post
3 years 7 months ago

With apologies to Joyce Kilmer:

Trees.

I think that I shall never see
A windmill lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Windmills are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

3 years 7 months ago
Bruce, there’s no need to apologize to Joyce Kilmer for sharing that beautiful poem, having added one important embellishment! Words often fail me when I try to express my dismay at the desecration of Robert Frost’s beautiful Vermont. But I will do my best. FOR A WINTER BIRD By Ellin Anderson Do not go to the mountains, Little bird with velvet wing, For none will greet you with a smile, And none will hear you sing, Nor hear the crystal fountains Go gently whispering Through snow upon the hillside, while Man’s avarice is king. Do not go to the ridgeline,… Read more »
Bruce Post
3 years 7 months ago
Thanks, Ellin, that is both a beautiful and a troubling poem. If you don’t know this book, take a look at it: “The Natural Alien — Humankind and Environment,” by Neil Evernden. Here is one quote from the book, a passage by Bill Duvall, that crystallizes the division between those environmentalists who support mountaintop destruction by wind turbines versus those who oppose it: “There are two great streams of environmentalism in the latter half of the twentieth century. One stream is reformist, attempting to control some of the worst of the air and water pollution and inefficient land use practices… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago

Since poetry and nature are both things of beauty,
it is natural to see the preservation of Vermont’s
incomparable landscape being defended by two
Vermonters who, by quotation or original composition,
express their dismay at the destruction of our precious ridgelines.

3 years 7 months ago
You are welcome, Bruce! Please read this poem — you can savor it over many days, because it’s long — and glory in the beauty of unspoiled New England. Mountaintops are sacred to Native Americans, AND THESE DESTROYING FIENDS DO NOT CARE. It is said that the great Chief Passaconaway was drawn up to the summit of Mount Washington in a sled drawn by wolves, and thence to the Great Spirit. I’d sooner believe in that than the man-made climate change malarkey. Let’s save the planet by fighting pollution. Why are there still open toxic sewers in the USA, like… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Three responses: First, those who support a moratorium appear to suggest that the issues surrounding wind energy are being considered for the first time with the 3 recent projects in Vermont. Moratorium proponents appear to be blissfully unaware that alternative energy has been front and center both in Vermont and around the world since the oil crises of the 1970s. In particular, Vermont’s DPS, PSB and legislature have been studying, regulating and monitoring these issues for decades. Similarly, Vermont’s permitting processes have also been evolving for almost 4 decades. Are 30-40 years of deliberation really so insufficient that we require… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 7 months ago
John, your quoted reference, by Charles Komanoff, seems to have a major inconsistency. He is claiming that they buy supplemental power, when the wind isn’t generating power, at $0.75 to $2.00 per MWh. He uses this as his basis to calculate to amount supplemental power needed to support wind generation. The problem is, if you convert his supplemental power cost to something we recognize in $/KWh, he is paying $0.00075/KWh to $0.0020/KWh. Compare this versus grid price of $0.055/KWh. So he is claiming he is paying only 1.4% to 3.6% of grid price for his supplemental power. At those prices,… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Lance: I’m afraid you didn’t read the Komanoff article very carefully. First, Komanoff is relying on an interview, from 2007, with the head of the PJM grid in Pennsylvania, not ISO-NE. The figures quoted are PJM’s, not Komanoff’s. Second, to understand these figures, you need to distinguish different kinds of reserve power needed to maintain the grid. Synchronized reserve is provided by units which stand ready to supply power to the grid “on extremely short notice,” “against a sudden loss of the single largest generating unit on the entire system.” There must be enough to replace the power of the… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 7 months ago
John, I did read the article and, yes, I understand the all the concepts. But I’m afraid you failed to look at the math and just took Komanoff’s analysis as presented. So let’s look at the math using Komanoff’s numbers (and not grid cost numbers of today) Coal burned to make electricity = $1.72 per million BTU Fossil-fuel ‘heat rate’ = 10,000 BTU/KWh Cost to generate coal electricity = ($1.72/10^6 BTU)*(10^4 BYU/KWh) = $0.0172/KWh = 1.72 c/KWh Now using Komanoff’s number of $2.00 per MWh for purchased supplemental power Cost of supplemental power = ($2.00/10^6 Wh)*(10^3 Wh/KWh) = $0.0020/KWh =… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Lance Hagen, I read the Komanoff article, do understand the concepts and I conclude it is mostly garbage that the AWEA, etc., would agree with. John Greenberg, All grids have synchronized (3600 rpm) spinning capacity (usually OCGTs) in service 24/7/365, more MW during the day than at night. NO energy is sent to the grid, unless necessary per grid operator command. It uses about 6-8 % of rated output fuel flow. With up to about 3% annual wind energy on the grid, most grids, including the New England grid, can cope with the variability and intermittency of wind energy. On… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Lance Hagen writes: “Now using Komanoff’s number of $2.00 per MWh for purchased supplemental power…” First, the number is NOT Komanoff’s. It’s Pfirrmann’s. Pfirrmann is the CEO of the grid operator PJM. Are you suggesting that he doesn’t know how much the grid he runs pays for supplemental power? Second, Komanoff’s (not Pfirrmann’s) calculations explain the difference between the amount of generation provided by the wind turbines to the grid when they’re operating (10M BTUs) to the amount of supplemental generation required by their operation (463,000 to 1.163M). To get these figures, he is using $ per MW and then… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Willem Post calls Komanoff’s analysis “mostly garbage that the AWEA, etc., would agree with,” but fails to tell uys why. Instead, he repeats the point Komanoff underscored: namely, that grids have spinning reserves WITH OR WITHOUT wind turbines. Mr. Post then goes on to assert that when wind becomes a significant enough component of a grid’s power, intermittency becomes more of an issue. That’s not a point anyone disagrees with either, although there might be disagreement as to when that point is reached. ISO-NE has said that it is not concerned about less than 20% penetration, and that figure is… Read more »
Karl Riemer
3 years 7 months ago

Wind is not only a force of nature. It’s also a metaphor. Specifically, it describes Willem Post’s posts. Trying to tease out substance and rational analysis from his rants is arguing with the wind.

Justin Boland
3 years 7 months ago

Josh, thank you for introducing data. However, both NREL links get 404 errors for me.

Working versions of the NREL link – I think:

HTML precis: http://www.nrel.gov/wind/news/2010/803.html

However, their link to the full PDF is currently down. I have located a very interesting powerpoint style presentation of the information, though:

http://wiki.glin.net/download/attachments/950463/GLWC+EWITS+Webinar_Schuerger+and+Zavadil.pdf

pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

The site map on the NREL site will take you to the full study report

Will Amidon
3 years 7 months ago
This is about corporate greed right here in Vermont. The VPIRG board is loaded with, and the group partially funded by wind industry titans who stand to profit from developing Vermont’s ridgelines. They have called in a political favor from Senator Sanders, who likely doesn’t know much about how wind energy actually works. Wind in Vermont will not slow climate change, and will soon be eclipsed by more effective technologies with smaller footprints. It is not our obligation to sacrifice our mountains just to set an example for the country. We can lead in other ways, like passing tough conservation… Read more »
Rob Roy Macgregor
3 years 7 months ago

Been to a major ski area lately?

krister adams
3 years 7 months ago

which fuels the VT economy?

Karl Riemer
3 years 7 months ago

Would we build interstate highways through our river valleys? Would we build bridges, causeways and rail beds across our lakes? Would we build smoke-belching coal-fired power plants next to, even below, our cities? Would we allow a nuclear generator in Vermont? Oh, wait…

3 years 7 months ago
From the Burlington Free Press, August 23, 2012. People, you were warned about Vermont’s fluffy ‘pink’ bunny and his ties to Blittersdorf! No one should be surprised at what he just did. Bought and paid for. A raging hypocrite, just like Al Gore. http://energizevermont.org/2012/08/burlington-free-press-macgovern-takes-shot-at-sanders-for-ties-to-wind-energy-backer/ Republican U.S. Senate hopeful John MacGovern on Thursday called on Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to give back $7,000 to David Blittersdorf, a Sanders campaign contributor and wind energy developer engaged in an ongoing property rights squabble with landowners in Milton. “The hypocrisy that is so blatant in Blittersdorf’s pay-to-play politics, and Sanders’ gleefully accepting his contributions,… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

John Greenberg’s post demands a response.

Not from me; I totally agree with him. But John presents detailed information that directly contradicts specific statements by several other previous posters.

So how about it Willem Post, Stan Shapiro, Kevin Jones, Kathy Leonard, Lance Hagen: What do you say?? Is John’s information . . . somehow tainted . . . completely fraudulent . . . misinterpreted . . . or just plain wrong for some other reason??

I challenge someone to poke holes in the information John has presented. Otherwise much of the argument against big wind fails completely.

Justin Boland
3 years 7 months ago

A Vermonter by the name of Eric Rosenbloom has actually been on Komanoff’s case since 2005 at least. Komanoff is primarily an advocate for Carbon Tax and an expert in the economics of traffic patterns. His rhetoric in support of wind has been consistent throughout New England, and always short on data:

http://www.aweo.org/Komanoff.html

Willem Post has a much better grasp of the physics and economics of energy and I haven’t seen anyone capable of really engaging him here yet. I have learned a great deal studying his voluminous posts, but completely understand if his data-heavy presentation style is a turnoff for people.

pete blose
3 years 7 months ago
Did you actually read either of the studies cited by John Greenberg?????? I’m betting that you did not. Komanoff’s study certainly contains far more data than Rosenbloom’s ad hominem drival. I have invited Willem Post to “poke holes” in the studies cited by John Greenberg. As yet he has not. But then you claim to have learned a lot from Willem Post. Well, let’s have a little data from you. If you don’t like Komanoff tell us what’s wrong with the NREL study cited by John Greenberg. No need to hold back. Make sure to double check your citations because… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Howdy. As a NEK native who is here to learn and conversate about this issue, I would like to formally ask you to calm down. Move more slowly in making assumptions about me, my motivations and my opinions, and I earnestly promise to do the same. As I noted to John – who I called Josh, darn – the links to his NREL material was 404’d. I tracked down some working links, too, because my personal interest is locating and sharing quality information. I am still learning, and I have printed off about 50 pages of material to digest this… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

Justin,

You will note that I replied to your previous post by trying to help you find the NREL study after you got 404’d

Peter Romans
3 years 7 months ago

Is the NREL based on empirical data? Is this the modeling conjecture in which the DOE uses some information supplied by the American Wind Energy Assoc, the industry lobby? What is implied when Komanoff says “extrapolate”, “model”, “can expect”? Does he include measured data from ramping coal plants? Would you embrace a new pharmaceutical drug because the industry says no one died from it yet?

3 years 7 months ago
Pete, On the internet, you will find numerous critical articles about the NREL studies on wind energy. The AWEA supports these studies, because they make the case FOR wind energy. In general, NREL studies are based on a standard methodology that used assumptions that turn out to be incorrect, if actual grid operations data are studied. Here are several studies using 1/4-hour grid operations data of the Irish grid, some performed by professors and dr. engineers. The AWEA has debunked them. A summary of wind energy CO2 emission reduction effectiveness versus annual wind energy percent, for various grids is shown… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago

Justin,
Thank you for the compliment. I have the high respect for Eric Rosenbloom and think his writings about RE are among the best

Kevin Jones
3 years 7 months ago
Pete, It seems like you may not understand my comments because nothing John Greenberg stated contradicts the points I made about the Vermont SPEED and Standard Offer programs and how resources that participate in them (all Vermont wind projects) do not result in a net increase in renewables in the region nor do they reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions (they actually increase them). I have had VPIRG’s senior clean energy staff in my office and they have agreed with these points that I make and have filed similar comments before the PSB. Vermont utilities have actually filed similar comments before… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

Kevin, I owe you an apology. I do and did understand your original comment and should not have included you in my challenge for a response. It was a mistake made in haste.

Karl Riemer
3 years 7 months ago

Perhaps a 3-minute moratorium…

3 years 7 months ago

Pete,
See my above post.

John Greenberg is intelligent, writes well, has factual data, but is not an energy systems analyst, whereas I have about 40 years of energy systems experience and the proper technical education as a basis to judge, for example, the quality of a Komanoff article.

You will find my articles under Willem Post on THE ENERGY COLLECTIVE.

Annette Smith
3 years 7 months ago
The studies cited by Greenberg are not based on the New England grid or what is actually happening with wind integration. We use practically no coal and oil, and Komanoff’s study is about PMJ and NYISO, not ISO-NE. He says coal plants can ramp quickly in response to wind in those other grids. Whether or not that is true there, it has nothing to do with what is happening in the New England grid. Last week the energy siting commission did a site visit to the most efficient combined cycle natural gas plant in the ISO-NE grid. It is a… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Annette Smith claims: ‘The studies cited by Greenberg are not based on the New England grid or what is actually happening with wind integration.” But in fact, Komanoff quotes liberally from an interview with PA grid operator PJM, specifically “PJM on Wind,” interview with Karl Pfirrmann, Interim President and CEO of PJM Interconnection, published by PennFuture, in E-cubed, Vol. 9, No. 5 – December 5, 2007, . The PJM region runs from Delaware in the East to Illinois in the West and New Jersey in the North to Kentucky in the South. (Komanoff, p. 3 footnote 5). In addition, the… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

John,

I don’t understand your comment “the systems mentioned in the studies are not the ISO-NE system,” ISO_NE is mentioned throughout the NREL study. Am I reading the wrong study??

John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago

Sorry, I was referring to the Komanoff article.

3 years 7 months ago
Annette, “It is 752 MW operating at 70% efficiency.” You asked good questions and you received good answers. I wish I had been there, because I am very familiar with such plants. As your tour guide implies, the CCGT is used as an intermediate plant, i.e., not base-loaded, not peaking, not synchronous spinning; the output is as required by the ISO-NE to meet daily demand. Operating such a plant in part-load-ramping mode to balance wind energy surges and ebbs is inefficient. The maximum efficiency of CCGT plants is 60% (GE-flex), much better than ALL other generators. In addition, it has… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Annette, “I’ve asked numerous times in the comments on this site for evidence to support the notion that GHG emissions and fossil fuel consumption is being reduced. Prove it!” The New England grid has a significant component of gas turbines compared to its annual wind energy percent. Accordingly, the gas turbines do the balancing. ISO-NE personnel stated they do not yet “notice” wind energy on the grid, because it is only 0.6% of the annual supply. Inefficiencies due to spinning, start/stop, part-load ramping, etc., are minimal and the effectiveness would likely be about 0.95. A summary of wind energy CO2… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago
Thank you Annette, I am so disappointed with your post. I thought you could do better. Let me get this straight. Your rebuttle to John Greenberg is based on a single undocumented personal conversation with a single individual who could not answer the question whether or not a single particular ramping plant was decreasing or increasing GHG emissions . . .? You refer to the studies cited by Greenberg as “modeling or philosophy.” That is an unreasonable characterization as anyone would agree who has actually read the studies. In fact the Komanoff study included not only the PMJ and NYISO… Read more »
Peter Romans
3 years 7 months ago

Mr Blose, I saw nothing in Ms. Smith’s response that warrants your snide comments. You may want to read NREL more closely, including the footnotes. The source for some of their “data” is the American Wind Energy Assoc. I was shocked to see that a federal agency used information from the industry lobby for their modeling. A cynic might be led to believe that everyone is for hire. If you find any empirical evidence, folks might take you seriously.

pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

I can’t find the footnotes. Can you direct me? I found a bibliography but no footnotes.

Annette Smith
3 years 7 months ago
Show me a study of the New England grid and which fossil fuel plants are reducing their fossil fuel consumption. What is happening in Texas or PMJ or NYISO is entertaining but not illuminating. What we know for sure is that natural gas is changing the marketplace, even resulting in nuclear power being shut down because of cost. Wind energy right now is an extraordinarily expensive technology at a time when we do not need more electricity, especially when it has not been shown to reduce GHG emissions or fossil fuel consumption. I am disappointed that in four years of… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Annette: 1) Please explain why you believe that “What is happening in Texas or PMJ or NYISO is entertaining but not illuminating.” You keep asking for experience-based data. I presented some to you. Now you dismiss it because it is based on experience elsewhere. Exactly what is it about New England’s grid that you believe is so distinct from others around the world that the experience from grids in other areas becomes completely irrelevant? 2) Your statement that wind energy “has not been shown to reduce GHG emissions or fossil fuel consumption” is directly contradicted by the studies I’ve cited… Read more »
Jim Barrett
3 years 7 months ago

Sanders opposes anything and everything that will harm the private sector and that is why he supports alternative energy……it has nothing to do with saving anything. It has to do with making private companies pay more and more to support an industry which is faltering all over America…….wind and solar. He wants competition for the small oil companies in Vermont so he can get a gas was going and destroy small businesses. A true socialist and he even admits it but doesn’t run as a socialist!!!!!!

Karl Riemer
3 years 7 months ago

Breathtaking. Truly, dazzlingly, breathtaking.
The capacity to believe anything – the ability to say anything: imagine the freedom and clarity of being bound only by one’s own imagination.

Charles Laramie
3 years 7 months ago
I have enjoyed reading all of the comments above. Both Pro and Con. I was up on Hanley Mountain near West Rutland last week. I hiked up there with my brother. We also enjoy hiking a lot in the Adirondacks. The site Vermont Yankee is on is zoned for two Nuclear Power Plants. Anti-Nuclear activists are much the same as our leaders in Washington…say terrorists and the American people will give you the Red Light for War…fear is a great motivator…say nuclear accident and people will tell you Wind Mills on hills are safer and more efficent…again fear is the… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

And so, finally, we come to the point. Thank you Charles Laramie. Many – perhaps most- certainly not all – wind oponants are pro nuclear.

Steve Wright
3 years 7 months ago

Show us your data on that conclusion, Pete. And then turn on spell-check.

Within the past 48 hrs many of us mountain advocates have been labeled “creationists, “climate deniers” and now, “pro nuclear.” Does this mean the mountain-blasters are running scared?

First they ignore you, then they call you names, then they fight you, then you win–or something like that.

This is getting funnier by the minute but there’s lots more room for a more creative use of labels. Get busy out there. We need an occasional laugh midst all the bile.

How about LaMarckians? Anti-Myotians? Pro-trinitrotoluenists? Caterpilarites?
Alidadists? Schistists? Granitites?

Carl Werth
3 years 7 months ago

No doubt! – ” Many – perhaps most- certainly not all – wind oponants are pro nuclear.” – is by far the best line of comedy ever posted on vtdigger.org since it went online. Just awesome!

pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

Stove,

I thought that was a fair comment in response to Charles Laramie’s post. I took his post as expressing a pro nuclear sentiment. Am I wrong about that? Perhaps Charles could clarify.

In any event I have read a number of letters to the editor that clearly expressed anti wind and pro nuclear sentiments.

Have I struck a nerve here?

Steve Wright
3 years 7 months ago
Spell check still not working. It’s Steve, not “Stove.” I am not nearly so warm as my stove. Our group of mountain advocates includes scientists, medical professionals, teachers, students, foresters, loggers, retired professionals, librarians, carpenters, builders, birders, hunters, anglers, businessmen and women and others who care about protecting the Vermont landscape and Vermonters. The name-calling and various characterizations of all these people are childish and funny. They bespeak a certain insecurity among those doing such. No, you haven’t “struck a nerve.” You made a mistake in characterizing “most” of my colleagues as “pro-nuclear.” That’s a long way from the truth.… Read more »
pete blose
3 years 7 months ago
Steve, I’m not saying you have a litmus test. But I don’t think calling someone pro nuclear is “name calling” if it’s true. I have friends who are pro nuclear. Likewise I have friends who are among your group of mountain advocates. And I have friends who are anti nuclear AND anti big wind. Its all OK. I don’t think either position is a “personal ideology.” I just think maybe its relevant if someone is anti big wind and also pro nuclear and I think its OK for me to bring that up in this discussion. Would you agree?. It… Read more »
Carl Werth
3 years 7 months ago

Pete, in your mind, does pro – moratorium = anti – wind?
Does anti – IWT on Vermont ridgelines = ainti – wind?

pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

No; I understand the nuanced arguments and I don’t agree. It is by far the best line of comedy posted on VTDigger.org since it went on line. Just awful!

3 years 7 months ago

For what conceivable reason would a certain Federal legislator confuse his role by coming and sticking his nose into the State legislature’s business? Could it be that his campaign coffers are filled with contributions from industrial concerns who have found a way to profit from Al Gore’s monumental global warming climate change scam? The senator may soon learn that the compassion felt by Vermonters for those people and wildlife creatures who suffer from these nefarious wind farm schemes trumps any dedication to the latest liberal fad.

3 years 7 months ago

Thanks, Richard, for reminding everyone that the topic of this thread, as indicated in the URL, is SANDERS.

http://energizevermont.org/2013/01/times-argus-opinion-bernie-betrays-the-little-guy/

Times Argus: Opinion: Bernie betrays the little guy

“Less that a year ago, Sen. Sanders sent out a form letter saying he wouldn’t respond to the plight of rural towns battling wind developers because he doesn’t intervene in local or state political processes. That idea sure went out the window in a hurry….”

Joe Stern
3 years 5 months ago

Gee, why would a VT resident be allowed to have an opinion on a VT issue after having the audacity to gain elected office?

Nice little “shoot the messenger” campaign by the anti-wind contingent.

Justin Boland
3 years 7 months ago

Pete Blose, thanks for the tip re: NREL site map.

Found another very relevant data point via NREL — a 1999 vintage assessment of Vermont’s wind coverage, in terms of ideal sites for installations:

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/27507.pdf

(I also did not realize that Searsburg was the site of New England’s first wind farm.)

pete blose
3 years 7 months ago

Justin,

I looked at that wind map several years ago when considering wind as a component for a community-wide micro-grid in Ryegate Vermont (which was never built). What is your conclusion from that assessment?

3 years 7 months ago
My biggest conclusion was surprise at how vague and pre-paradigm the methodology was, really. I can see why Vestas has sunk so much profit into their Firestorm “supercomputer” array for real-time calculation and machine learning. It’s exciting to think that meterology might become an actual science in the next decade! In terms of wind power, I remain baffled as to why the conversation isn’t about US coastlines, which are clearly indicated on NREL national map. I remain suspicious that low property costs and weak local government is the main reason the NEK is the focus for Vermont’s wind power projects,… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Here is an article from VPR regarding wind energy causing grid problems in the NEK. http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/97331/grid-constraints-mean-less-power-output-from-wind/ The current system is minimal, because the NEK demand has been minimal. To suddenly feed up to 63 MW of Lowell wind power into such a grid destabilizes/ congests it. It is somewhat similar to a lot of traffic coming from a major highway onto a country road, except wind energy, as electromagnetic waves, travels at almost the speed of light on power lines. This requires detailed study that will take at least 6 months, plus redesign, plus build-outs. Whomever said wind energy is… Read more »
Rob Pforzheimer
3 years 7 months ago
The fossil fuel industry isn’t opposed to wind because they know it replaces nothing. In fact the fossil fuel industry (BP, Gaz Metro, Enbridge, GDF Suez, Iberdrola, Exelon, FPL, etc) is a large part of the wind industry. They build wind projects for the tax credits, grants, accelerated depreciation, etc. In 2001, Sanders got a $1 million grant for UPC/First Wind to start Sheffield and has been greasing the skid for big wind for over a decade. To date his friends, First Wind has received $454 million in DOE 1603 grants and a $119 million dollar loan guarantee. Sanders failed… Read more »
Karl Riemer
3 years 7 months ago
If anyone makes it all the way to the end of this, and has an answer (as opposed to a stance): much of the argument is about electrical generation capacity, specifically where and how much exists in relation to demand. Many assertions also hinge on the minor rôle electric power generation plays in various considerations of pollution ramification. My question: isn’t the ostensible purpose of wind and solar power generation to substitute electricity for fossil fuels in transportation, heating and manufacturing? Isn’t the whole idea to make its rôle much greater, if not completely dominant? If the idea is to… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Karl Riemer is correct to note that our energy debates need broader horizons. It’s a point I’ve tried to make here and elsewhere, but not as clearly as he has. Since virtually everyone agrees that for both environmental and economic reasons we will be unable to depend on fossil fuels for many more years, the obvious question is what will replace them. Those whose constant refrain is to note that Vermont’s electricity demands are met with far smaller carbon load than its transportation needs are only re-stating the problem, not providing a solution. As Riemer suggests, we must begin thinking… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Follow this link to see photos of a wind tower that exploded in Northern Britain: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2071633/UK-weather-Wind-turbine-EXPLODES-hurricane-force-gusts-batter-Northern-Britain.html “They might claim that specific wind turbine had an excellent record, but it’s not true in general.Over 100 have caught fire in the past decade alone. At least one has caused a massive forest fire (in Australia it burnt out a national park). Another fire in Australia last year ended with an article about it, including comments from the fire service that noted there’s nothing that can be done about them. They can’t use water to put out the fire (because of the electricity)… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
John Greenberg, “Grids have spinning reserves WITH OR WITHOUT wind turbines.” That is correct, but as annual wind energy percent on the grid increases, they need a GREATER capacity of spinning reserves that use about 6-8% of rated fuel flow, but send no energy to the grid. Grids have units in start/stop mode, but as wind energy percent on the grid increases, they need a GREATER capacity of units in start/stop mode AND they perform the start/stop function more often, up to 24/7/365. Grids have units in part-load-ramping mode to ramp up and down with daily demand, but as wind… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Willem Post quotes one of my comments, namely the one posted at 10:45 on Jan 30 above, and the remainder of his comments appears to be in response to my own. (Apologies for the cumbersome reference, but I don’t know a better way to do this, since Willem chose not to directly “Reply” to my comments.) Mr. Post picked one small point on which to disagree, so let’s clear that up first. ISO-NE has a good deal on its website indicating that it does not foresee major problems integrating wind resources for many years. For example, in 2008, in a… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
John, “At these current levels we do not see major operational or planning issues that would inhibit system operations at the MACRO level” Macro, is correct, but, as you know, the devil is in the details; see my above Maine, Lowell and Sheffield comments. By the way the study was by GE and GE sells wind turbines, electrical gear, OCGTs and CCGTs. Conflict of interest? It is somewhat like the fox advising on the lock for the henhouse. “The actual statement about 20%………” I have not disagreed with the 20%, and, as I stated above, there is no problem at… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago

John Greenberg,

Below is a critique of the Komanoff article by Kent Hawkins. Please read Kent’s critique.

http://www.masterresource.org/2010/04/case-study-on-methods-of-industrial-scale-wind-power-analysis-part-i/

John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago
Here’s where we appear to stand at present. Willem Post and the article he cites below by Kent Hawkins agree with Charles Komanoff’s analysis that, at least at low levels of grid penetration such as those we see currently in New England, the introduction of utility scale wind turbines DOES reduce the use of carbon gas producing power sources and therefore emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere. I responded to Lance Hagen’s and Annette Smith’s objections, and have yet to receive a response. So having traveled full circle, we appear to have arrived back at the sole point I was… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
John, “Obviously, the greater the land area, the greater the chances of variation, so intermittency in New England is likely to be less of a problem than in Denmark, based on their respective sizes alone.” John, it is more complicated, as the German lay people, including legislators (not their energy systems engineers) are beginning to realize. In Northern Germany, where most of Germany’s wind is, there are well-documented, major problems with variability and intermittency of wind energy. Germany exports some its variable energy to the Netherlands (which has a significant component of gas turbines and many other commercial interests with… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
John Greenberg, “First, in 2012, non-hydro renewables (some of which are not intermittent) collectively constituted 0.7% of the ISO-NE grid, and that INCLUDES solar, biomass, geothermal, etc. In other words, the limiting factor of large-scale penetration by intermittent renewables that Post and Hawkins are worried about is a LONG way off in New England.” Post and Hawkins are not “worried”. We are raising valid issues that WILL arise if 20% wind energy goals ARE implemented, such as the: – huge capital costs (tens of $billions, per NREL reports) for IWT facilities and for grid modifications – high-cost variable, intermittent wind… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 7 months ago

Willem Post concludes: “”It will be decades before wind and solar will be meaningful quantities in this energy source mix.”

That was precisely the point I made above: there’s plenty of time to confront the problems which could arise from intermittent renewable power being a significant factor on the grid, since these problems arise only when these sources become “meaningful.”

In the meantime, CO2 IS being reduced. Most of the scientific community seems to believe that there is little or no time remaining to begin reducing CO2 emissions.

3 years 7 months ago
John, “In the meantime, CO2 IS being reduced.” True, but a more nuanced statement would add “at a reasonable cost”. I think the cost/ton of CO2 reduced with IWTs on ridge lines is far in excess of what is reasonable. As Vermonters, currently befuddled with PR blather, gain more of the facts, they will agree. Assume fully paid-for, 40-year-old coal plants that emit 3.3 million metric ton of CO2/yr were replaced with one base-loaded 500 MW CCGT plant that produces the same energy, but emits only 1 million metric ton/yr. CCGT plant amortization payment $31,581,607/yr, or 0.901 c/kWh Cost of… Read more »
Vanessa Mills
3 years 7 months ago
In his poignant and powerful book, “The Speech,” Bernie Sanders wrote about the dangers & damages of corporate control. He had my vote for years because of what he supposedly represented. This is an outrage that he should now align with those who are exercising corporate dominance over the people who are crying out, who are living with the day-to-day impacts of Big Wind, who are trying to be heard that we can respond to the grave issues of climate change WITHOUT impacting our carbon-sink forests and watersheds (i.e Vermont ridgelines)and without impacting property values, property rights, tax bases and… Read more »
3 years 7 months ago
Vanessa, Stop voting for these sell-out politicians. Mostly, they are doing “RE constituent service” to build up their “campaign chests”. IWTs on ridge lines are there, not to reduce CO2 emissions, but because of subsidy-chasing IWT project developers, most of them already multi-millionaires, want to become even richer, at the expense of Vermont’s household and businesses. They want to build as many IWTs on ridge lines as quickly as possible to get as many subsidies as possible and “save” the world from climate change. Little Vermont a world savior? World CO2 emissions 33,990 million metric tonnes Vermont 8.1 million metric… Read more »
Tess Beemer
3 years 7 months ago

save the ridgelines- put some towers on the Moran Plant . After 20 years thats still there.

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