Maroni: A different side of Bernie

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Carol Maroni of Craftsbury.

As a supporter of Bernie Sanders I am floored by his lack of knowledge on the realities of ridgeline wind. In his interview on VPR’s “Vermont Edition,” Sanders states, “We have got to move as rapidly as we can to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel into energy efficiency and into sustainable energies, including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass. But not excluding wind!”

Bernie doesn’t seem to understand that wind (and solar) are intermittent renewable resources that do not replace fossil fuels. Battery storage capability yet to be developed is needed before intermittent energy can be integrated into the transmission system in a way that allows for it to replace fossil fuels. Currently grid instability issues caused by the energy production at Sheffield and Lowell are resulting in significant restrictions in the energy allowed on the grid from those projects. This is not a new problem for industrial wind but has been well documented in other areas of the country like the Pacific Northwest, where turbines have been curtailed to the point of shutdown due to the grid instability issues.

Bernie also believes that a moratorium on wind would send the wrong signal regarding Vermont’s commitment to renewable energy and would be a step backward on climate change action. Is Bernie not acquainted with Vermont’s fundamentally flawed SPEED Program?

Essentially we’re increasing our Vermont carbon footprint by destroying intact ecosystems building wind projects in Vermont so our neighboring states won’t have to. Is Bernie blind to the benefits of Vermont’s intact ecosystems in combating global warming?

This program allows Vermont utilities to sell renewable energy credits to out-of-state programs rather than retiring them in Vermont. In doing so, wind power in Vermont cannot legally be called green. On the contrary the green renewable energy credits (RECs) in Vermont have become a commodity in itself as our neighboring New England states buy Vermont RECs to avoid fines for not meeting their own state renewable energy goals. Essentially we’re increasing our Vermont carbon footprint by destroying intact ecosystems building wind projects in Vermont so our neighboring states won’t have to. Is Bernie blind to the benefits of Vermont’s intact ecosystems in combating global warming?

While Bernie rags on the big fossil fuel companies, he ignores the fact that industrial wind represents big business as well. Incentivized by large federal production tax credits, large corporations build industrial scale wind projects to gain the benefit of huge tax incentives and depreciation schedules that make these wind projects profitable even without producing any power. Making business decisions to benefit corporate stockholders is what big business does in a free enterprise. What is missing here is the checks and balances that should come from the legislative process. Unfortunately in Vermont and in Washington we have legislators just pushing the agenda forward with all speed and no controls … wanting to appear green and needlessly contributing to the degradation of our environment, adding to the underlying cause of global warming, and leaving us environmentally, economically and aesthetically poorer.

But what is most concerning to me is that Bernie’s comment on this issue has shown me a different side of Bernie. That is, his total disregard for well-documented facts; his digging his heels in and using his influence to blindly push this agenda forward; and his inability to consider the benefits of taking a reasonable pause to allow time to learn the truth. This leads me to ask: Is this the way Bernie approaches all the decisions he makes in Washington?

Leave a Reply

136 Comments on "Maroni: A different side of Bernie"

Comment Policy

VTDigger.org requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation.

Privacy policy
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
timothy price
3 years 5 months ago

“…has shown me a different side of Bernie. That is, his total disregard for well-documented facts;…..blindly push this agenda forward; and his inability to consider the benefits of taking a reasonable pause to allow time to learn the truth. ”

Oh brother, when you heard him still supporting the 9/11 Commission Report, you should have waked up. Bernie cares little for the truth if it does not benefit his friends. Now, exactly who his friends are isn’t always clear but we can be pretty sure about a few. It is a dark time for us.

3 years 5 months ago

Brava! Your opinion states it so very articulately Carol: Beloved Bernie’s misguided, uninformed and falacious opposition to the Moratorium reveals he has foresaken principles (i.e.protecting the People from voracious corporate appetites)for which Vermonters have long trusted him.
No more.
Worse, Bernie underestimates Vermonters’ clear-sightedness…We see his absolute politicized abandonment of facts, in favor of abiding by indisputable evidence that IWT (industrial wind towers)on Vermont mountain ridges are epitaphs to our mountains, wildlife, headwaters and health.
Trust, such as Bernie once enjoyed ours, is earned over time,it is renewed by deeds…Trust in Bernie is not immutable, not to be abused.

3 years 5 months ago

I think you might be attributing more agency to Bernie Sanders than necessary. Our politicians, local and national, spend very little time on factual analysis and exist in a bubble of briefs and talking points. Bernie is getting old and constantly bombarded by issues he needs to react to and make statements about.

His recent statements about wind, most likely, are the result of someone on his staff’s opinions, not anything Bernie actually believes. It’s not like he’s been poring over Willem Post’s figures and looking over NREL topo map assessments, you know? He’s just doing an impossible job.

Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago

Justin,
Thank you for the reminder about politicians and talking points… rather than indept analysis. If Bernie is doing an impossible job then maybe it’s time for him to step aside? Carol

Robbin Clark
3 years 5 months ago
Great letter Carol, Bernie’s true colors are shining through. He is quite the professional political puppeteer. He is pushing for big business and has forgotten the about the middle class. We have tried to reach out to Bernie on several occasions and he has refused to meet with us. He still has a lot to learn about industrial wind and it’s problems. Not to mention that Vermont does not use fossil fuel for electricity generation. The best politician will be someone that will listen and not just bully his agenda through. Bernie has lost his way. Maybe it’s time to… Read more »
Jamal Kheiry
3 years 5 months ago

Ms. Maroni,

In this instance it appears that one important facet of Sen. Sanders’ vision for the nation doesn’t sit well with many of those who put him in office. As often becomes the case with those who reside in Washington D.C. for a term or two, his tendency leans toward siding with his vision (and the special interests who support it and him), rather than with those upon whom the vision must be imposed. The term “local control” begins to be annoying to federal lawmakers before too long.

Karl Riemer
3 years 5 months ago
Falsehoods repeated don’t become less false. Bernie hears you, plus he hears people who actually know what they’re talking about. He spoke up, about an issue he’d rather not, to counteract “total disregard for well-documented facts”, of which this is a well-rehearsed example. The fact you were a Bernie supporter doesn’t mitigate the fact you’re now a fossil fuel or fission advocate (blindly pushing forward their agenda), parroting irrelevant nonsense and blatant distortion. Face this fact: when the chips are down and decisions aren’t black and white, you prefer the clarity of reactionary right-wing rhetoric. You labor for whom you… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago
Karl, In your post you accuse me of …. “parroting irrelevant nonsense and blatant distortion”. And suggest that I “Face this fact: when the chips are down and decisions aren’t black and white, you prefer the clarity of reactionary right-wing rhetoric. You labor for whom you despise”. Wow, To respond to your comments I will quote a friend in a recent op-ed about Gun Safety or gun control (Hardwick Gazette Wed. 2-6-12) “Words matter. An essential strength of a well-functioning society is the ability to frame important policy issues in a clear, objective and dispassionate manner. When positions are distorted… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago

Karl,
In your post you state: “The fact you were a Bernie supporter doesn’t mitigate the fact you’re now a fossil fuel or fission advocate (blindly pushing forward their agenda), parroting irrelevant nonsense and blatant distortion. Face this fact: when the chips are down and decisions aren’t black and white, you prefer the clarity of reactionary right-wing rhetoric”.
Rather than demonizing me, Let’s frame the discussion in a clear objective and dispassionate manner that brings us to a quality of discussion where we might learn the facts. Carol

walter moses
3 years 5 months ago

To Carol Maroni, We are talking politics here, about a consummate politician. My advice would be to follow the money trail flowing from big industrial wind. It is easy with Shumlin and his electric power bedfellows. Now, try it with Bernie.

Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago

Wow, Mr. Moses, are you saying that maybe Bernie’s been bought? I do think the “green” in industrial wind is more about the cash than the environment.

timothy price
3 years 5 months ago

Made my comment at 7:53 am. It is now 6:14 pm and still awaiting moderation. Why don’t you just say that there will be no comments permitted that criticize Bernie? 🙂

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
It’s pretty remarkable to see the author of this diatribe accuse Bernie Sanders of “total disregard for well-documented facts” given that Ms. Maroni begins by stating: “Bernie doesn’t seem to understand that wind (and solar) are intermittent renewable resources that do not replace fossil fuels.” The fact is, however that power from intermittent renewables DOES displace fossil fuels. Ms. Maroni goes on to argue: “Battery storage capability yet to be developed is needed before intermittent energy can be integrated into the transmission system in a way that allows for it to replace fossil fuels,” apparently ignorant of the fact that… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago

John,
Before you discredit my comments about renewable intermittent power replacing fossil fuels I’d suggest you review studies like the “New England Wind Integration Study” sponsored by ISO-NE and also the Electric Power Research Institute’s 2011 “Impacts of Wind Integration.”
Carol

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Actually, I HAVE read the New England wind integration study. It supports MY conclusion, not yours. Specifically: “The ISO-NE system presently has a high percentage of gas-fired generation, which can have good flexibility characteristics (e.g., ramping, turn-down). Using the assumed system, the results showed adequate flexible resources at wind energy penetration levels up to 20%.” (We are currently at less than 1%)

And “Study results showed no need for additional energy storage capacity on the ISO-NE system given the flexibility provided by the assumed system.” (both on page 30).

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

The EPRI study comes to the same conclusion on page 2: “Studies and experience to date have shown that most
power systems can, on an energy basis, reliably accommodate up to 10%
wind penetration, with only minor cost and operating impacts.[5][12]” Again, we’re at <1% in New England.

Your statements discredit themselves. They don't need my help.

Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
This contradicts what is being reported most recently in Vermont news. More simply put, what little energy is being provided by wind, is coming online intermittently and is hard to balance, requiring back up sources to to idle and wait, what we are hearing is that it may be worse than was predicted because some of these reserves are not shutting down at all because it is too costly to ramp back up. So power is spinning out the window… nothing to get all heated up about, it just simply doesn’t work, and in fact most likely is making the… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
“This contradicts what is being reported most recently in Vermont news.” You then make a number of claims: — “hard to balance” — “requiring back up sources to to idle and wait” — “worse than was predicted because some of these reserves are not shutting down at all because it is too costly to ramp back up.” — “it just simply doesn’t work” — “most likely is making the CO2 problem worse with RECs being sold down south” I read 6 Vermont news sources daily (Brattleboro Reformer, Rutland Herald, Burlington Free Press, 7 Days, Green Mountain Daily, Vermont Digger) and… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
John, Germany has major grid stability problems due to IWT energy in the North and PV solar energy in the South. In the North, where are almost all of the IWTs, it started around 3% and became steadily worse gong to the current 7% annual wind energy penetration. Texas had the same problems as Germany starting around 4% and getting worse since then. “Studies and experience to date have shown that most power systems can, on an energy basis, reliably accommodate up to 10% wind penetration, with only minor cost and operating impacts.[5][12]” The person who wrote this must believe… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
John, “The amount of fossil fuels “saved” or “avoided” by the wind turbines may be estimated at around 90-95 percent of the fuel that ordinarily would be required to generate the same amount of electricity at fossil-fuel generating plants in the absence of the wind turbines.” The 90-95% statement is true for most grids with less than 3% annual wind energy on the grid; New England still has less than 1%. However, in case of Lowell, it is not true, because of the 3% additional losses (read CO2 emissions) of the $10.5 million synchronous-condenser system to smooth the voltages of… Read more »
Avram Patt
3 years 5 months ago

Bernie Sanders has been very consistent in his support of commercial scale wind energy in Vermont, dating back to 2004 or so when he was still a Congressman and helped secure funding for Washington Electric Co-op to evaluate our options regarding wind projects we could link with. And that’s a good thing and thank you Bernie! The author of this commentary has just regurgitated misstatements about wind energy that opponents circulate among themselves in a closed loop.

Kevin Jones
3 years 5 months ago
As a longtime and continuing supporter of Senator Sanders I don’t agree with attacks on his integrity over this issue. The debate over the benefits versus the costs of ridgeline wind power in Vermont involves a complex set of issues but also requires a fair amount of value judgements. It is no more fair to attack Bernie’s longstanding commitment to Vermont than it is for Avram Patt to attribute ridgeline wind opponents concerns to “regurgitated misstatements”. As Avram well understands, the author of this commentary is spot on in her criticism of the sham Vermont renewable energy policy that allows… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

“As Avram well understands, the author of this commentary is spot on in her criticism of the sham Vermont renewable energy policy that allows the “have your cake and eat it too” approach of selling Renewable Energy Credits.”

But she’s also wrong about everything else and her comments are indeed, as Avram correctly notes “just regurgitated misstatements about wind energy that opponents circulate among themselves in a closed loop.”

Avram Patt
3 years 5 months ago
Vermont’s energy policy is not a sham, whether one agrees with the SPEED concept of allowing utilities to sell RECs or not. It would be a sham if utilities were not open and up front that they are selling the RECs, but they disclose this clearly. It would be a sham if Vermonters were not directly getting the economic benefit from the RECs revenue, but all of the RECs revenue reduces the utility’s cost of service and lowers the rates they would otherwise need to charge. There has always been an assumption that Vermont might move to a renewable portfolio… Read more »
Kevin Jones
3 years 5 months ago
If you sell the RECs you cannot then claim you are buying wind energy and you cannot call it renewable or low carbon. The accurate description of a power contract stripped of its RECs is that you are purchasing the New England residual mix which is largely fossil fuel and nuclear. The reason MA and CT energy suppliers will purchase these RECs for 5-6 cents/kwh to meet thier legitimate state renewable mandates is that they are the entity that recieves the green energy. The SPEED and Standard Offer programs are not a transition to a green future, they are a… Read more »
Kevin Jones
3 years 5 months ago

But if the program design results in Vermonters exporting renewable energy and importing fossil and nuclear in its place is that not a problem that deserves immediate attention? Asking someone to overlook significant development on ridgelines for no public policy benefit given the shell game played with the renewable energy credits is more than a bit perplexing. If the debate is happening in a closed loop then maybe that is because facts are being ignored by those that have something to gain by maintaining the SPEED and Standard Offer illusions.

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Kevin: You’re missing Avram’s most important point: time. Utilities build projects which last decades. A project can generate power whose renewable status is sold out-of-state for a few years and then be recognized as an in-state renewable project at a later date when the RECs are no longer being sold. And in the meantime, Vermont ratepayers benefit. Pushing this a bit further, it must often be the case that the timing of some elements of a project coincides poorly with that of other elements. For example, thanks to the financial panic, the cost of borrowing has been low in recent… Read more »
Kevin Jones
3 years 5 months ago
John I did not miss Avram’s point but it is irrelevant to the argument that the SPEED Program is a sham. Yes if the law is amended at some unknown future date to preclude the sale of RECs it could produce additional renewables and benefit to the climate but since 2005 or so when it was enacted it has misused ratepayer money on an illusionary goal. There are no savings today since SPEED and standard offer projects are above market brown power. Finally when you sell a REC you not only don’t get the carbon benefit you also forgo the… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Kevin Jones writes “when you sell a REC you not only don’t get the carbon benefit you also forgo the Sulfur dioxide, VOC, and air toxic benefits.” I profess to no expertise, but my understanding is that RECs pertain ONLY to greenhouse gases (GHGs). Kevin’s correct that this includes more than CO2, specifically, as I now understand it, it includes methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), & sulfur hexafluoride SF6) as well. http://www.epa.gov/oaintrnt/ghg/index.htm But I have not seen anything indicating that sulfur dioxide and other non-GHG related impacts are included, and therefore assume that they are not.… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago

My goodness, Avrim Pratt, Really? You accuse me of regurgitating misstatements? Talk some about Sheffield Wind curtailment. Over the time Sheffield has been producing, how does the production output compare to the expected capacity? Will your electric co-op be purchasing a synchronous condensor to smooth out power fluctuations? ….which oh-by-the-way does nothing to solve the intermittent energy storage issue.
Seriously Avrim, lets discuss the facts. Carol

Stan Shapiro
3 years 5 months ago
Maronis’s piece has merit primarily because it challenges Sanders and McKibben who are constantly stating there will no debate or discussion given that we are in a climate crisis.This proto fascist mantra has been adopted by other high ranking politicians in the state.The arrogance that the only truth and way are their way is actually more of a danger to our society than the concerns they they raise.On the ground Vermonters who find themselves in the midst of these IWT projects have a clearer reality of what these projects mean for their lives than lets say those that live in… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

Stan, well said ….. you hit the issue on the ‘sweet spot’

It is this ‘crisis’ mode mentality that is being used to justify irrational decisions concerning energy. I have yet to hear from proponent of IWT any technical or logical reason why a 3 year moratorium would be detrimental.

Every response we hear from them is there is no time to discuss, since we have a ‘crisis’.

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

” I have yet to hear from proponent of IWT any technical or logical reason why a 3 year moratorium would be detrimental.” Perhaps if you unblock your ears?

Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

John,

You are still doing your ‘evasive dance’. You have only made rebuttal statements on points from opponents of IWT and have never really answered the question.

So a simple question …… Please provide a technical or logical answer as to why, as a proponent of IWT, a 3 year moratorium would be detrimental?

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
ALance: Before answering your question directly, let me note that others in multiple VT Digger columns have provided reasons for not having a moratorium. My previous comment was not limited to myself. In addition, however, I have suggested everything else that follows here at least once elsewhere in VT Digger comments. **** I have heard no persuasive positive reasons to support a moratorium. The MOST convincing arguments really amount to a total rejection of wind development in Vermont, and I find these totally unavailing. Given that this appears to be the real motivation for the moratorium call, it would be… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

John, thank you for your response.

As I see it, from your (lengthy) response that you see the items below as non-problems
– 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
And that you fear an IWT moratorium would drive the focus to other methods of power generation that is not popular with you; such as nuclear, coal or natural gas.

Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
What Mr. Greenburg is offering is a great “worldly” view on solving the global CO2 problem. What he is lacking is a “Vermont” view or a “Vermont” solution that deals with the resources and abilities of our state. Perhaps, being so worldly is not such a good thing when it comes to actually making a difference and caring about those communities around us. Maybe we should first work on ourselves before setting out to save the rest of the world. The most lasting solutions are always best from the ground up. Here in Vermont we are already the cleanest state… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

So Lance, are YOU “still doing your ‘evasive dance’?” I gave you what you asked for, but I’m not seeing any rebuttal or reply.

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Greg Bryant writes: “Unfortunately, we are a poor wind resource. We are the 16th poorest wind resource in the nation.” He fails to note that we’re the one of the smallest states in the country, ranking 45th. That suggests that the wind resource is pretty good for a tiny state. Not to go all global on Mr. Bryant, but the National Academy of science points out that US wind resources are pretty extraordinary” “The analysis indicates that a network of land-based 2.5-megawatt (MW) turbines restricted to nonforested, ice-free, nonurban areas operating at as little as 20%of their rated capacity could… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

John, where were at 8:33am when I posted a reply …… still in bed? I even thanked you

Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

Correction:

Jojn, where were you at 8:33am

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Lance: Our recent comments crossed in the mail, so to speak. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I don’t accept your characterization of my remarks. First, I didn’t address rates at all, so I won’t do so here. I raised quite a number of points which you have chosen to simply ignore. Third, I never said that the points you list are “non-problems” or that I “fear an IWT moratorium would drive the focus to other methods of power generation.” What I said is that the drawbacks of wind technology must be viewed in comparison to the alternatives and… Read more »
David Bell
3 years 5 months ago
“there will no debate or discussion given that we are in a climate crisis” I believe you mean there is no debate. If that is correct, I would say the scientific consensus on this issue has been reached, and there is no longer a debate among scientific organizations that actually study this issue. You claim that this statement makes me a “proto fascist” notwithstanding your argument that their is still a debate on the fundamentals is similar to the argument that their is a debate on whether cigarettes are harmful. Their is not 100% consensus on this issue (or almost… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

Mr. Bell

There are many scientific organizations that support the fact that the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere will cause the planet to warm, but very few are supporting that this is a ‘crisis’. If you read their position statements, they use words like ‘may’ or ‘could’ to describe the impact of such warming.

David Bell
3 years 5 months ago

Mr. Hagen,

If by “many” you mean pretty much every organization of national or international standing, then you are correct.

As for your argument that the words “may” or “could” somehow detracts from their conclusions on the results of this warming, you might note that cigarette packs are only required to you the same language in their warning. Should we conclude that cigarettes are not actually dangerous because they do not use words like “will” or “guaranteed”?

I would say no.

Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago
Mr Bell and Mr H Mr Bell and Mr. Hagen, It wasn’t for the lack of trying to use words like “will” and “guaranteed” it was because The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington announced it upheld a decision barring the federal government from requiring tobacco companies to put large graphic health warnings on cigarette packages to show that smoking can disfigure and even kill people. Federal judges have ruled the new warning labels provided by the U.S. food and Drug Administration that cigarette makers would have had to use by the fall of 2012 violate First Amendment free speech… Read more »
Steve Comeau
3 years 5 months ago

Lance,

Perhaps you should check out the World Bank report published in November 2012 titled “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided,” (pdf), which “warns we’re on track for a 4°C warmer world marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.”

That sounds like a crisis, at least in some parts of the world, a big problem for most.

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Lance Hagen writes: “If you read their position statements, they use words like ‘may’ or ‘could’ to describe the impact of such warming.” So because SOME scientists are cautious about how much of a crisis this could be, you would prefer to wait and do nothing? Isn’t it more sensible to err on the side of caution than to find ourselves incapable of meeting an epic global crisis which could have been avoided by prompter action? And doesn’t the fact that most of the new data seems to suggest that the damage is actually occurring to a greater extent AND… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

“And doesn’t the fact that most of the new data seems to suggest that the damage is actually occurring to a greater extent AND faster than originally anticipated put the virtues of restraint into question?”

John, there is NO such data. There is only speculation that climate change is causing extreme weather events. Efforts to connect such events to climate change has shown NO correlation. You are spending too much time listening to ‘Calamity’ Bill McKibben

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Lance: You write: “John, there is NO such data. There is only speculation that climate change is causing extreme weather events. Efforts to connect such events to climate change has shown NO correlation.” Here are some of the data to which I referred: ** “”Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says. “Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer.” Written by 240 scientists, business… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago
John, I know you are not a scientist, but output from models is NOT data. And until these models are verified with physical measurements, model output is speculation. Educated speculation maybe, but still speculation and NOT data. Second point is that your referenced articles fail to demonstrate any connection between extreme weather events and climate change. They seem to focus on longer summers and shorter winters and the impacts of these climate patterns, but not causes for extreme events.. You know, like when ‘Calamity’ Bill suggested to the legislature that Irene was caused by climate change. Last point. The article… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Lance Hagen writes: “John, I know you are not a scientist, but output from models is NOT data. And until these models are verified with physical measurements, model output is speculation.” There’s just one problem: the sources I referenced are not quoting “output from models.” I can go through each of these if I have to, but one should suffice. The fourth source cited above, which is found here — http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap4-3/final-report/sap4-3-final-exec-summary.pdf — describes itself this way: “This assessment is based on EXTENSIVE REVIEW OF THE RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE AND MEASUREMENTS AND DATA collected and published by U.S. government agencies. The… Read more »
Kathy Leonard
3 years 5 months ago
The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s DocZone program aired a documentary last week called “Wind Rush” (43 min) which looks at SOME of Industrial Wind Turbines’ pluses and minuses. You can critique the film, but it illustrates why people living near them are being forced to leave their homes. Our neighbors in Vermont living near IWTs are beginning to face that same sacrifice. The featured wind farms are located in farm fields in Ontario. (Higher altitudes are reported to worsen the effect). The CBC webpage and description can be found at: http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episode/wind-rush.html But you can’t view it outside Canada. You CAN watch… Read more »
Rusty Brigham
3 years 5 months ago

I think a lot of people are missing the point here! Big wind projects will destroy our mountains and give us very little in return,so why risk it when we can use solar.Once you cut down the trees and level the mountain top its gone for ever,is that what people really want????

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Once cut, trees never grow again?

3 years 5 months ago

All those turbine pads and high-voltage transmission ROWs will someday be reclaimed by natural processes. For now, regular mowings and herbicide applications are effectively creating landscapes that are life-unsupportive and create urban runoff scenarios in once pristine wilderness.

MJ Farmer
3 years 5 months ago
Why not build a new nuclear plant at the Vermont Yankee location? A new plant could use some of the spent fuel (recycled) and would provide VT with carbon free LOW COST power for the next 40 years. Plus, we already have 600 experiened nuclear workers at the site. The wind does not blow 24/7/365- be realistic. Plus President Obama supports nuclear power. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 4-1 to allow Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build and operate two new nuclear power reactors at its existing Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. The units will cost Southern and partners about… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
MJ Farmer is wrong on just about every point: 1) Current US nuclear plant designs cannot “use some of the spent fuel (recycled).” Even if they could, the US abandoned its efforts to recycle nuclear fuel during the Carter administration, concerned that the program (which had already cost taxpayers billions) would significantly undermine efforts to end nuclear weapons proliferation. Does Farmer really have no reservations about highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel being transported around the globe? 2) Nuclear power is not “carbon free.” The nuclear fuel cycle produces massive amounts of CO2. Building a new nuclear plant is a highly… Read more »
Lance Hagen
3 years 5 months ago

Actually, when you do the math, looking at the capital $ spread over the lifetime of the site and amount of power generated, the $8.87B for the Vogtle nuclear power plant is 8 times lower in capital investment $/KWh than the capital investment in Lowell Mountain.

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Please show us exactly what math you’re describing.

Andrew Berley
3 years 5 months ago
Amen! Bernie of late has become a disappointment, if not worse. Having been a Bernie admirer for years I cannot understand his stance(s)recently. I’m dumfounded by not only his stance on wind power and the ridgelines of the NEK, but also his position re Saturday delivery by the USPS. The future of the NEK lies in the folks spending big bucks to visit Jay and more recently Burke Mtn and they don’t want to see windmills on the ridgelines. As far as the PO is concerned, when was the last time you received any mail of value on a Saturday?… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

“when was the last time you received any mail of value on a Saturday?” Yesterday.

Stanley Shapiro
3 years 5 months ago
Mr. Bell no one questions that we must act on global warming,we need to. However no should say as do Mckibben ,Sanders et al that we should approach the solving of this problem their way or you are on the wrong side of the argument.The blind faith they would proscribe is infected with opportunists (IWT developers) who could not care about anything but for the ridiculous financial benefit that the PTC has endowed for them.The problem in many ways is the congress that has created these financial instruments that are at the root cause as to why they would trash… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago
Sue, You need to check into this further before you state that this is not true. Battery storage capability yet to be developed is needed before intermittent energy can be integrated into the transmission system in a way that allows for it to replace fossil fuels. Currently grid instability issues caused by the energy production at Sheffield and Lowell are resulting in significant restrictions in the energy allowed on the grid from those projects. This is not a new problem for industrial wind but has been well documented in other areas of the country like the Pacific Northwest, where turbines… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Repeating your misstatement doesn’t make it any truer. See below for links to multiple articles specifically explaining why storage power is NOT needed.

Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
(Editor’s note: John Greenberg owns and operates The Bear Bookshop in Marlboro and has worked on Vermont Yankee issues for over 25 years.) Sometimes like our Governor, in these efforts to kill Vt Yankee, neighbors will do anything to try to make this happen. And because of this anger at the rest of the state they do not care what happens,to our ridgelines, wild spaces, or their neighboring communities that are assaulted by their efforts. Unfortunately, wind won’t help you, and probably is another really good reason to keep Vt Yankee open. Energize Vermont and other groups have really good… Read more »
Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
Absolutely, correct. This is not a new problem for the wind industry, no matter how they try to “spin” it. Problems arise when power is put into the grid at varied times and unexpected places. The grid was set up to accept power from specific locations. “Dumping” power in at odd times and locations makes it really difficult to regulate and many times it is easier to curtail, or stop, wind generation, lowering the amount of power accepted to nearly nothing. So not only do they not generate as expected, they require us to build more transmission lines, more conventional… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
It’s amazing how fast you guys can just make this stuff up. “Net production, less than 0.” The facts speak for themselves. Here’s DOE: “According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, the United States remained one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets in 2011, with wind power representing a remarkable 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the United States last year and accounting for $14 billion in new investment. According the report, the percentage of wind equipment made in America also increased dramatically. Nearly seventy percent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind… Read more »
paul kenyon
3 years 5 months ago
Mr. Greenberg, To say that it’s a fact that intermittent and variable renewables displace fossil fuels is quite a statement. Please post your sources for this interesting and extraordinary claim. Please also tell us just how much fossil fuel is replaced by wind or PV renewables on a unit energy to unit energy basis. My understanding is that baseload providers like coal and nuclear can not be run to balance wind and PV renewables or, if they are, on a spinning reserve type basis where energy is bled from turbines so they can balance the rapid changes in the ragged… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

My sources are posted above in multiple comments: Komanoff, NREL, ISO-NE Wind Integration, EPRI, etc.

Suzanne Griffiths
3 years 5 months ago
This situation reminds me of my 15 years with the Federal Government, watching the bigwigs stamp out fires. Any time there was a crisis somewhere in the world, they would take action by throwing bodies at the office involved. It didn’t matter that those bodies didn’t have the right skills to bring to the table and would end up getting in the way. Thus would begin the bloat and inefficiencies in yet another office. To me, that’s like throwing industrial wind into the energy mix without thought. It doesn’t matter that it’s not really saving anything. They’re TAKING ACTION, dammit!… Read more »
Craig Kneeland
3 years 5 months ago
Wind energy replaces fossil fuel and saves importing electricity produced with fossil fuel. Today, on this cold Presidents Day, as I see the turbines spinning on Lowell Mountain, I am pleased to know that those turbines are supplying power for electrical loads at Jay Peak and other places in this area. This save us money and makes us more energy independent. It also addresses the critical problem of global warming. If there is a problem associated with siting wind turbines then lets address that problem promptly so that we won’t be stopping progress associated with the very worthwhile wind industry.… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 5 months ago

Craig,
You may be interested in this article:Some lessons from New York
http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20130214/OPINION04/702149967/1018/OPINION

Craig Kneeland
3 years 5 months ago

BTW, Don’t dismiss Bernie and his staff for not being knowledgeable about renewable power. In a few years, unless we get stuck with a moratorium, more will see the wisdom of his position. Global Warming will not wait for us to ignore the issue for 2 or 3 years.

Rob Pforzheimer
3 years 5 months ago
Industrial wind proponents need to get in touch with reality and stop perpetuating the unproven, non-existent benefits of wind power based on garbage in computer modeling and wishful thinking. In reality hundreds of thousands of giant, loud, strobe lit wind turbines built around the world over the last two decades have not lowered emissions or replaced or displaced any other generation. These heavily subsidized boondoggles have killed untold numbers of birds and bats, destroyed wildlife and human habitat and raised electric rates. How is sacrificing our mountains, quality of life and property values to multi national conglomerates like Gaz Metro/Enbridge,… Read more »
Ben Luce
3 years 5 months ago
I personally believe that intermittent renewable energy sources, in particular solar power, are an essential part of the response to climate change, and that the longer we delay developing viable renewables, despite the difficulties we may encounter with integrating them with current conventional generation, the more we ensure that this planet’s ecosystems will not survive the ravages of climate change. And I agree with the idea that we will basically need to force the development of storage and other integration measures by adding intermittent renewables now. That said, I do not believe at all that ridge line wind is a… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Ben. You write: “The various DOE resource estimates available, and transmission considerations and other factors, clearly suggest that the total amount of wind generation that can likely be economically developed in the Northeast, and that would likely pass muster with environmental permitting agencies, is probably a few gigawatts of peak generation capacity at best (it now appears that even this may be a stretch). This would offset no more than a few percent of the fossil fuel demand of the Northeast.” Could you please provide links to document these conclusions? I note that the “high-penetration” scenario in GE’s “Final Report:… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Avram, Denigration, belittling of others views is used by people who lack facts to support their arguments. The “closed loop” is presenting you with more facts regarding the MUCH LESS THAN PREDICTED capacity factors on Maine ridge lines. Instead of 0.32 or better it is less than 0.25. The “closed loop” is presenting you with more facts regarding the MUCH SHORTER IWT LIVES THAN PREDICTED. Instead of 25 years it is more like 17.5 years. Both factors will increase GMP’s 10 c/kWh for heavily-subsidized, variable, intermittent wind energy, i.e., junk energy, by 10 x 25/17.5 x 0.32/0.25 = 18.3 c/kWh,… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Willem: Your repeated math about wind turbine lifespan – a subject about which I readily admit I have no knowledge – is based on the faulty assumption that the turbine constitutes all or even most of the cost of a wind project. But this isn’t true. Many aspects of these projects have indefinite life spans: permitting is only needed once, road building and tower placement, the same. The land for the project (and for any mitigation required by the permit) will only need to be purchased once. Even if the turbine needs to be replaced, there’s no probability that the… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Ann, I wrote the below comment earlier, but it seems to have fallen by the wayside, as I cannot find it in this comment string. Please be so kind to post it. Thank you , Willem John, Having done numerous life cycle cost analysis during my 40 years as an energy systems analyst and energy systems designer, I can assure you my numbers are much more correct than the GMP numbers of a levelized 10c/kWh. Regarding REPLACEMENT at the approx. 17.5 year mark, YOU are correct, as many items need not be replaced, as you say. Shorter useful service lives… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

John,
I have made a comment to the above, but it seems to have gotten lost.

JAMES DYLAN RIVIS
3 years 5 months ago
Obama is even worse as he doesn’t take the time to study the issue. I suppose they are all too busy and have too many political debts to pay off that they bury their heads in the sand. It’s up to us to educate them somehow, I suppose, and then we’ll be faced ewith the inevitable question of ‘Then how do you reduce emissions and deal with that pesky ‘global warming’crisis?’. It’s been my contention for a long time that is we all were hooked to the concept that ‘you can only use as much electricity as you produce’ and… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Focusing on Bernie and his recent comments on ridge line turbines is like viewing him through a door key hole and he’s standing next to the door. The point, you really don’t see much.

I would appreciate any of the above writers citing anything of significance that Bernie has accomplished in his many, many, many, many years in public service.

Running around ranting and raving doesn’t count.

Kevin Jones
3 years 5 months ago
Peter – while no politician is perfect and I for one disagree with some of the Senators statements regarding large scale wind on our sensitive ridgelines he obviously has for a longtime won the support of the vast majority of Vermonters. He must be doing something right. As far as accomplishments the list is long and includes being recognized as one of America’s most successful Mayors, a leading critic of too big to fail financial institutions which contributed to an incredible financial collapse and significant economic pain to many Americans, and his leadership for federally qualified health centers in Vermont… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Sue, “(i.e., the author’s erroneous insistence that wind and solar power do not displace electricity generated by fossil fuels)” The wind and solar energy DOES displace other energy on the grid, but it also causes instabilities. Expensive wind and solar energy is variable and therefore unsuited for the grid without expensive “treatment”. The ridge line IWT capacity factors and useful service lives are not anywhere near predicted values. See URLs. http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-energy-capacity-less-estimated Example: GMP’s Lowell had to add a $10.5 million a synchronous-condenser system just for smoothing wind energy voltages BEFORE entering the grid. Such systems have about 3% losses.… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
John, “I note that the “high-penetration” scenario in GE’s “Final Report: New England Wind Integration Study” prepared for ISO-NE called for 12 GW of onshore capacity (plus another 9.7 GW offshore) accounting altogether for 24% of the “forecasted annual energy demand” (p.9) Do you believe these figures are unobtainable, and if so, can you explain why you do and GE doesn’t?” Of course anything can be done. If we just throw enough money at it, even pigs can be made to fly. GE sells IWTs, did the study. It is like the fox buying the lock for the henhouse. Shame… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Willem – what is the sourcing on the $9.43b figure?

3 years 5 months ago

Justin,

57 x $165 million (GMP’s latest estimate of Lowell) = $9.41 billion

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Willem: First, let me note that the question I posed referred to statements made above by Ben Luce who suggested that there is no little to no wind resource in the Northeastern US. That’s a somewhat different assertion from your usual arguments, which concern economics, low historic capacity factors, etc. But perhaps you’re joining him in this new argument. Given that nothing else I’ve read supports Luce’s statement, I’m happy to ask you the same question I asked him: why is GE’s figure wrong? After all, even a turbine manufacturer – the only reason you offer for doubting their figure… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
John, Blittersdorf, et al, wrote the VPIRG “Repowering Vermont” Proposal to “kick off” RE in Vermont, as VPIRG does not have the personnel with the required skills to prepare such a proposal. The Coalition for Energy Solutions analyzed the Proposal and wrote a report which was widely distributed about 3 years ago. Many people agreed with the report, VPIRG did not. Blittersdorf said at least 200 miles of Vermont ridge lines are suitable for IWTs. As Lowell uses 3.5 miles of ridge line, 200/3.5 = 57 Lowell Mountains, if all ridge line miles are used for IWTs. Blittersdorf basically says… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Willem: You’ve really outdone yourself. 1) You begin by alleging that “Blittersdorf, et al, wrote the VPIRG “Repowering Vermont” Proposal … as VPIRG does not have the personnel with the required skills to prepare such a proposal.” The report itself says quite clearly “Written by James Moore.” (p.1) James worked for VPIRG at the time the report was issued (he’s moved on since then), and I can tell you from my personal contact with him at the time that he took great pride in his authorship. Blittersdorf is acknowledged on page 2 along with 15 other people and “the folks… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
John, The VPIRG Proposal lays out an analysis of an energy future for Vermont. Such analysis, based on my 40 years of experience, is best performed by engineers who understand energy systems and the numbers. James Moore is a well-spoken PR person, but certainly not an engineer, as is clear from the report. That IS the reason CES undertook ITS analysis, because such a sham proposal should not stand. You need to study the spreadsheets on the CES website, before making comments. After I reviewed the spreadsheets, I find I have been far too generous with the IWT CFs used… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Willem:
You STILL don’t address the 3 questions I asked you, or address any of the other specific, but obvious errors I mention above. Now you reply to the issue of authorship by saying “James Moore is a well-spoken PR person, but certainly not an engineer, as is clear from the report.” What difference could that possibly make if, as you said previously, Blittersdorf wrote the report?? Make up your mind.

Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
Did you ever notice that those who support (or stand to profit from) industrial wind plants never seem to make any sense? For example, Supporters from Washington Electric Coop, and staff. You cannot get a straight answer out of them if you tried. They will tell you that, “it is so complicated,,,the average person wouldn’t understand,,,” or perhaps they feel they are so incredibly bright, they feel it justifies, their complicated answers? Truth is, simply put, they are talking garbage. They are not making any sense because they don’t want to make sense… the facts are against them. Anytime someone… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
“Did you ever notice that those who support (or stand to profit from) industrial wind plants never seem to make any sense? For example, Supporters from Washington Electric Coop, and staff. You cannot get a straight answer out of them if you tried.” Normally, I’d let this pass, but I simply cannot. When I had questions (mainly, as I recall, on topics related to how utilities, and particularly co-ops, function from a business point of view) for WEC, I asked for and got a meeting with Avram Patt and Bill Powell. Both were well-informed, totally straightforward and generous in the… Read more »
Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
“I should note that during that same period, my friend and I “has” meetings with CVPS and GMP officials as well,,” ? It seems like this discussion has touched a raw nerve, and that is a good sign. The louder proponents are shouting, the closer legislators are getting to the truth behind the issue. Wind Developers and a few electric utilities have done a great job providing supporters with their versions of the truth when it comes to wind power. Most of this coming from outdated or biased studies that they conducted or sponsored. They quote these resources,,, a lot.… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Greg,

Well said.

The real CO2 emitters in Vermont are buildings and vehicles.

On would think realistic politicians would know that basic fact and would do something about it, such as shifting RE subsidy funds to EE.

Willem

Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago
I find it interesting that wind power opponents so blithely assume that proponents have sold their souls to the devil. Yet at the same time they take great offense when proponents respond in kind. It’s apparently fine for Ms. Maroni to accuse Sen. Sanders of “his total disregard for well-documented facts; his digging his heels in and using his influence to blindly push this agenda forward; and his inability to consider the benefits of taking a reasonable pause to allow time to learn the truth”. But she considers it offensive when someone points out the emptiness of some of her… Read more »
Greg Bryant
3 years 5 months ago
One Correction, the numbers ARE dropping. If your statement is true, (supported by nearly 60 percent) Polls have dropped nearly 30 percent. The more Vermonters discover about wind, the less they like it. And as it destroys more and more communities, our landscape, and our environment, those numbers will only decrease more. This is what supporters like Bernie are so worried about. Why are they so focused on wind only? All the confusion surrounding this issue is purposeful. It is meant to deceive. Supporters do not want to know the truth. They do not want the general Vermont public to… Read more »
Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago
Mr. Bryant, Kindly provide some references for your claim that support for utility scale windfarms is down by 30%. I have followed the polling on this question fairly closely for over a decade. I have never seen a scientific survey that specifically identified support for utility scale wind in the high 90% range, which is where it would have to have started in order for it to have dropped to 69%, where it was for a WCAX poll conducted in May of 2012. There are some informal surveys with numbers in the 90% range, but I don’t know what question… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Rob, You have indeed a lot of data about RE and IWT polls in Vermont. However, the polls you cite are 2 -10 years old. At that time, as you know, Vermonters were wild about IWTs on ridge lines. This is no longer the case, as a result of GMP’s damn-the-torpedoes, Lowell Mountain destruction to have its way, to look “green”, etc., and the poor production results by Maine ridge line IWTs of variable, intermittent energy, i.e., junk energy, that is 3-5 times more costly than current grid NE prices, or Hydro-Quebec prices. These polls may be of historic value,… Read more »
Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago
Mssrs. Post and Bryant I suggest you reread the results of the latest WCAX survey, which was conducted in May of 2012, as I noted, less than a year ago. Certainly a lot more recent than the 2 years that Mr Post mistakenly notes. This is well into the time frame of the operation of Sheffield, and the construction of Lowell, and the latest round of controversy. As I have now repeatedly pointed out, the numbers have barely moved. I’m afraid that you’d be mistaken in thinking that the comment sections here at VT Digger and in the Free Press… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Rob. Here’s one more survey for you: “When asked how strongly they would support or oppose a wind farm being built if it were visible from where they live, 85% of the total participants said they would strongly support or somewhat support it, and 10% said that they would strongly oppose or somewhat oppose it. The only significant regional difference was in St. Johnsbury, where 57% said they would strongly support or somewhat support it, and 35% said that they would strongly oppose or somewhat oppose it.” quoted from page 13 of “Veromnt’s Energy Future Regional Workshops: Final Report,” November… Read more »
Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago

Thanks John.

Appreciate your (and a few others) willingness to hang in there on a regular basis, in a thankless effort.

I had been aware of this finding, back when I was more deeply involved, and participated in these workshops.

Getting harder and harder to keep track of it all, though….

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
Rob: At the risk of appearing to be a mutual admiration society, I appreciate YOUR willingness to keep showing up and responding intelligently. The effort is “thankless,” however, only if you define your goal as convincing those to whom you are responding. That probably IS hopeless, but these comments columns are widely read by many folks who will never write a word, but who read what others have written. My goal, really, is quite simple: namely, to keep the discussion fact-based, well-documented, and civil. Devoted wind opponents may not appreciate any of that, but I’m convinced that most Vermonter do,… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Carol, This is a helpful, clear article. The slight error “…wind and solar do not replace fossil fuel…” is actually a correct statement in the long run. Wind and solar must be backed up by quick-starting natural-gas-combustion-turbines elsewhere on the grid. These have a fuel-energy-to-electricity efficiency of about 29%. Were utilities not forced to buy intermittent wind and solar power, they could instead use slow-starting, 60% efficient combined-cycle-gas-turbines. So the requirement for using wind and solar, which actually work less than 30% of the time, force the use of less efficient natural-gas-combustion-turbines for 70% of the time, increasing natural gas… Read more »
Carol Maroni
3 years 4 months ago

Mr, Hargraves,
Thank you for your articulate comments regarding my statement that wind did not “replace” fossil fuels. On another note my High School principal in Townsend, MA was Robert Hargraves back in 1971 could that by chance be you?

Mary Kay Barton
3 years 5 months ago
Even avid Global Warming believers, admit that “wind is not the future,” and is “a cul de sac that will prove uneconomic and a waste of resources in the battle against climate change.” See: “Wind is Not the Future”: http://thedailynewsonline.com/blogs/commentary_and_letters/article_53ac6bcf-d9e3-5cf5-83a8-172bc15cbaf1.html “Climate Change Misdirection”: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323485704578258172660564886.html Wind does NOT provide RELIABLE, DISPATCHABLE, BASELOAD power, and therefore, provides virtually NO Capacity Value – specified amounts of power on demand (aka: Effective, or Firm Capacity). See: http://www.masterresource.org/2010/09/wind-not-power-iii/ This is why wind is inextricably tied with fossil fuel back-up, and is exactly what the recent report, “The Hidden Costs of Wind Power” discusses. See: http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2013/01/04/the-hidden-costs-of-wind-power/… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Mary,

Excellent comments. Right on the mark. Keep it up.

Avram Patt
3 years 5 months ago
A few general responses on behalf of WEC to comments : Kevin Jones says ratepayers are paying extra for the “sham” power, since it’s not counted as renewable. But the ratepayers are GETTING THE RECs revenue, which lowers their cost of power. In WEC’s case, the RECs revenue from our Coventry landfill gas plant and Sheffield lowers what we have to collect in rates a lot. So the SPEED statute was set up this way to lower and ease into the financial impact to ratepayers, and it’s done that. To Greg Bryant, same thing. WEC is a co-op, we don’t… Read more »
Kevin Jones
3 years 5 months ago
Avram, agreed and I have never said anything other than that the utilities credit the customer for the REC revenue. Additionally, the utilities selling the RECs is consistent with the SPEED program. My point is that SPEED resources, and certainly Standard Offer resources, are largely above market even after the RECs are sold and credited to the customer (while that may not be the case for Coventry, it very likely is for most other resources and is way above market on Standard Offer even with REC sales). Once RECs are sold then their is no environmental benefit to Vermonters. So… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Kevin:

You write: “Once RECs are sold then their is no environmental benefit to Vermonters.”

You never responded to my comment above, but unless I’m mistaken your remark should read “there is no GREENHOUSE GAS benefit to Vermonters.” As I have pointed out repeatedly, there are environmental benefits other than greenhouse gases, and unless I’m mistaken, they are not convey to the buyers of RECs.

3 years 5 months ago

Avram,

Vermont is destroying its ridge lines with foreign-built IWTs so WEC can offset its expensive, 10 c/kWh, wind energy cost by selling RECs at about 5.5 c/kWh to out of state utilities, etc., which, as you rightly say, lowers the costs of energy for WEC and for WEC members; a shabby business it is.

The footprint of IWT systems requires the addition of a human exclusion zone at least 2 km from any 3 MW IWT for quality of life and health reasons.

Numerous people near Vermont’s IWT-infested ridge lines have been complaining about the infrasound and low frequency noise.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-energy-capacity-less-estimated

3 years 5 months ago
Avram, From a bookkeeping point of view, you are right, WEC does lower its energy purchasing costs by having IWT energy RECs to sell to out-of-state entities in RPS states. As you know, IWT energy on ridge lines in Vermont costs a minimum of 10c/kWh, the price at which WEC buys. You lower that cost by 5.5 c/kWh by selling RECs. From WEC’s point of view RECs are good, deserve to be defended, etc. CO2 emissions are being reduced due to wind energy. It is too bad Vermont is ruining ITS ridge lines and much of the tourist industry, to… Read more »
Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago
Sorry, but this comment confuses the issues of wind integration into the energy mix. First of all, “capacity value” is not the only energy “value” in play, wind has other desirable attributes even if it does not have a lot of capacity value. And as all forms of energy require back-up, until wind reaches much higher levels of “penetration” into the ISO-NE grid than it’s at at present, not much additional back-up is needed that’s not also already serving the other generators in the ISO-NE mix. And what use is made of wind now is not necessarily the way it… Read more »
Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago

Sorry , this comment was made in reply to Ms. Barton’s comment above…

3 years 5 months ago
Rob, IWTs on NEK ridge lines have poor capacity factors for several reasons, all of which were known to me and others, including people in the IWT oligarchy, DPS, PSB, et al. The lesser, real-world CFs are likely due to:   – Winds entering 373-ft diameter rotors varying in speed AND direction under all conditions; less so in the Great Plains and offshore, more so, if arriving from irregular upstream or hilly terrain.  – Turbine performance curves being based on idealized conditions, i.e., uniform wind vectors perpendicularly entering rotors; those curves are poor predictors of ACTUAL CFs. – Wind testing… Read more »
Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago

uh, except that Ms. Barton was writing about “Capacity Value”, which is something different than Capacity factor”
… just for starters…

3 years 5 months ago
Rob, Here is a write up on capacity value of IWTs from this article. http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated For summer peak capacity planning, ERCOT, the operator of the Texas grid, counts 8.7 percent of the Texas wind turbine rated capacity as dependable capacity at peak demand, in accordance with ERCOT’s stakeholder-adopted methodology. According to ERCOT, the capacity value is a statistical concept created for generator planning purposes. It is based on multiyear averages of wind energy generation at key peak demand periods. http://www.ercot.com/news/press_releases/show/381   ERCOT’s capacity planning value of 8.7% does not mean the ENERGY of 8.7% of wind turbine rated capacity would… Read more »
Mary Kay Barton
3 years 5 months ago

Mr. McGregor,

Whether it’s Capacity Value (wind has virtually NONE),

or Capacity Factors (the percentage of the Total Installed Capacity that a wind plant actually produces) —

Wind fails miserably in both departments.

From 2008 – 2010, NY’s wind factories produced an abysmal average Capacity Factor of 18%.

See: NY Wind: So Much Ado For So Little: http://www.windaction.org/faqs/31912

Wind is Not Power at All:
http://www.masterresource.org/2010/09/wind-not-power-iii/

3 years 5 months ago
Many people, including some in these responses, are misquoting the December, 2010 ISO wind integration study. They claim that study says we can integrate wind, up to 24% of supply, into the grid. The study was not done to show we can integrate wind. It was a “what-if” scenario addressing what would happen if all of the wind (including off shore) was built. That would end up being 24%. It states that 18 to 21 billion dollars of investment would be needed in transmission upgrades, and there (still) may not be enough spinning natural gas reserves available, due to market… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
David, Thanks for speaking up for a rational engineering approach. To willy-nilly put IWTs on NEK ridge lines, as Shumlin, PSB, DPS, et al, are doing, without first performing due diligence, is an expensive, political-agenda-driven travesty and a folly. GMP having to BELATEDLY add a $10.5 million synchronous-condenser, which at best is just a band-aid, is ample proof and Sheffield and Lowell having to curtail is further proof. All this should have been foreseen, would have been, if decision-making were in the hands of independently-acting engineers. The NEK does not have a robust grid. It is, in fact, just adequate… Read more »
Aliena J. Gerhard
3 years 5 months ago
To denounce a moratorium for fear of what others may think not only requires that Senator Sanders cover his eyes and ears to the documented shortfalls and destruction caused by ridgeline industrial turbine development, but also it falls contrary to what we know of the history of this man, “the independent voice”. Surely, you of all people, Senator, must not be worried about “appearances” or feel so threatened by the request that we take time to examine and reflect before blindly plowing forward at the expense of so much. Surely, you should be the first to step forward and ask… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Aliena,

True colors are revealed under pressure.

Politicians taking “campaign contributions” and becoming “constituent service providers”, or worse, shilling for imfamous endeavors, such as IWTs on pristine ridge lines, will eventually get what they deserve which is kicked out of office without a fat government pension.

Mary Kay Barton
3 years 5 months ago
Mr. Macgregor – You say, “wind has other desirable attributes even if it does not have a lot of capacity value.” Frankly sir, that is complete hogwash. And since we have to integrate wind into the grid if we wish to use it, integration has everything to do with this conversation. It is also obvious that you did NOT read the links included in my first post. “Desirable attributes”??? Like what??? Let’s see: 1.) The massive footprints of industrial wind factories cause massive habitat fragmentation; 2.) the massive 450+ foot-tall industrial “Bird Cuisinarts” kill hundreds of thousands of birds and… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Mary,

I love your well-placed wrath. Keep it up, and those greedy, subsidy grabbing carpetbaggers with their quack projects that produce expensive junk energy will eventually be run out of town.

Rob Macgregor
3 years 5 months ago

To quote Mr Post, who was replying to Avram Patt,above:

“Denigration, belittling of others views is used by people who lack facts to support their arguments.”

And the balance of Ms Barton’s post is hardly worth dignifying with a response….

Mary Kay Barton
3 years 5 months ago
Mr. McGregor, I did not denigrate you, and presented plenty of facts – that you appear to be trying to justify discounting. If the fact that there is plenty of proof of corruption surrounding the wind mess bothers you, it must be that you feel guilty about something. Perhaps, Mr. McGregor, if it was your Town, your home, your friends & neighbors whose lives, homes, and Towns were being devastated by industrial wind factories being irresponsibly, and ludicrously strewn throughout entire Townships where you live, you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the facts. My family and friends have been… Read more »
Craig Kneeland
3 years 5 months ago
My reading of Dave Hallquist’s comment about integrating 24 percent renewables does not support a moratorium on what small percentage Vermont is contributing toward that 24 percent. As for the shutting down of generators; It happens all the time with gas generators. We also turn off water driven turbines and other generators when the grid doesn’t nee the power. Sure, the integration of any new power source presents a challenge. That doesn’t mean we should sit on our hands while ISO-NE is working on the problem of coordinating generators. Our own GMP can simply coordinate water turbine flow and perhaps… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Craig, David Hallquist is a good engineer and he deservedly is a CEO of a Vermont Utility. He has warned committees of the Vermont legislature regarding the likely adverse effects of IWT policies. Let us hope his message eventually makes itself heard in Shumlin’s mind. From your comments, I conclude, you mean well, but lack knowledge about energy systems and how they are operated, as do many others commenting on this article. The Vermont IWT moratorium is necessary, because for Vermont to proceed on the IWT route would: – end up as a big negative for the Vermont economy, because… Read more »
Craig Kneeland
3 years 5 months ago

Willem,
The Vermont Electric Coop under Dave Hallquist’s leadership has supported the Lowell Wind Project. More recently, the coop has asked for relief from aggressive renewable mandates, which is another issue.

As for the tourists: One of the fastest growinng resorts in the skiing industry is just a few miles from the Lowell Turbines. The owner of that resort said that his guests support renewable wind. He should know.

I have been an Electrical Engineer for over a half century and I admit I have a lot to learn. Your “well meaning” comments have not helped in that regard.

3 years 5 months ago
Craig, Dave’s early support of Lowell was unfortunate, but, as he has said, he has learned a lot, as have other Vermonters, including some legislators, except diehards, such as subsidy and campaign contribution chasing Bernie, Shulman, IWT project developers, etc., and he is now very skeptical about going forward with more IWT systems in the NEK in the future, based on the curtailed operations of Sheffield and Lowell and the Lowell $10.5 million synchronous-condenser to regulate wind energy voltages. Most alert people are now aware IWT lives are not about 25 years, but about 17.5 years, based on UK and… Read more »
Bruce Post
3 years 5 months ago

Actually, according to NREL/Wind Powering America (http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_resource_maps.asp?stateab=vt), it looks like one of the premier wind sites in Vermont is Jay Peak. The summit has already been compromised, blown up in 1966 to build the tram house. Therefore, Stenger should welcome a large-scale industrial wind facility right in his backyard. Then, his guests might have even more reasons to stay at Jay.

3 years 5 months ago
Bruce, Also see my above comment to Rob: February 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm IWTs in ski areas throwing large ice chunks on skiers? Insurance rates? Good PR for IWTs? At first blush, various starry-eyed promoters of IWTs on ridge lines might think Jay Peak is a good site for IWTs, but the winds are irregular because of the terrain, meaning winds of different velocities AND directions are entering the 373-ft diameter rotor, meaning its energy output is reduced; somewhat like running a car on bad gas. Add to that the reduced IWT life from a vendor-assumed life of 25… Read more »
Stan Shapiro
3 years 5 months ago

‘his guests support renewable wind’ has as much validity toward the arguments about the appropriatness of wind on Vermont ridge lines as saying they like dessert.People who are effected by these projects quickly learn that their lives will never be the same.Unfortunately public support for the concept is based on a complete lack of education and a high level of abstraction of the real issues involved.

3 years 5 months ago
To Rob Macgregor: As a Scot, you should take a keen interest in what is being done to the original Rob Roy MacGregor’s beautiful wild Scotland in the interest of “green power.” The following government-funded study is one more voice in the chorus of voices declaring that big wind is a loser. Both forests and peat bogs are carbon sinks; substitute the former for the latter, and the following study may also be applied to Vermont: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9889882/Wind-farms-will-create-more-carbon-dioxide-say-scientists.html Wind farms will create more carbon dioxide, say scientists Thousands of Britain’s wind turbines will create more greenhouse gases than they save, according… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Maroni: A different side of Bernie"