Annette Smith: GMP’s Rutland ‘Solar Capital’ all wrong for Vermont

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Annette Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.

Nobody should be surprised by the easily anticipated opposition to the numerous proposed solar projects that are part of Green Mountain Power’s Rutland “Solar Capital” initiative. I will not call it a “plan” because plan implies that there has been some planning involved. Only GMP knows what that plan is. The corporation is not communicating with planners about “the plan.”

With one exception — the old landfill — all the sites that make up GMP’s 10mW Rutland solar initiative are on fields, some of which involve stream buffers and flood plains, most of which contain wetlands and agricultural soils and are in close proximity to neighbors. Even the landfill site raises issues because of proximity to neighbors. The Old Poor Farm site involves cutting trees and eliminating hiking trails.

Most of the developers have no connection to the Rutland region, and stand to make large profits from their investments. GMP has even petitioned the Public Service Board to keep the power output and prices they (that means you, the ratepayer) are paying to these solar developers confidential, a request the PSB wisely denied. The Rutland Herald would do a service to the community by digging into the financial structures of these deals, which apparently lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in profits for those mostly out-of-state investors. Included in that analysis should be the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates out of state, which means that according to Federal Trade Commission guidelines, GMP cannot claim that these Rutland “Solar Capital” projects are renewable energy for Vermonters.

Solar developers work with the Rutland Economic Development Corp., not town or regional planners, to identify potential sites. They enter into power purchase agreements and develop their applications without any discussion with community members who learn about the projects when they are already far along in the development phase, including having what are essentially closed-door negotiations with state agencies of natural resources and agriculture.

There is a right way to do solar, which many people who find themselves labelled “opponents” want to support, utilizing better sites developed through collaboration.

 

Neighbors, marginalized by being labelled NIMBYs, who have legitimate concerns about aesthetics including glare, environmental issues, impacts on property values, and noise — yes, solar inverters hum and contain fans — find out about these solar projects when they receive letters during the required 45-day notice period, and then must scramble to understand the PSB process, dig into their own pockets to participate in what is truly an impossible process for anyone who is not a lawyer, with a virtual certainty based on recent precedent that the PSB will rubber stamp the application because the Legislature told them to approve standard offer (at above-market prices) solar projects as quickly as possible. Read the PSB’s approval of the precedent-setting Charlotte Solar project to understand the board’s reasoning.

Several of these large Rutland solar proposals are in close proximity to stores with flat roofs and large parking lots that are more appropriate locations that would lead to broader public acceptance. Working with town and regional planners and providing opportunities for public input in the development of proposals on the built landscape rather than green fields will result in successful renewable energy for Vermonters. There is a right way to do solar, which many people who find themselves labelled “opponents” want to support, utilizing better sites developed through collaboration.

The best way to assure that renewable energy in Vermont fails is for GMP to continue with its current model. Solar development is now so lucrative and legislative policies guiding the PSB are being interpreted so strictly that there is no impediment to covering every possible open field with solar panels.

Will GMP continue to exploit our state’s resources while ignoring our communities and the people who live here and sending the benefits out of state? It does not have to be this way. Solar panels are a symbol of progress for some, but for others they are as ugly as billboards. Unlike wind turbines which cannot be hidden, there are many appropriate sites for solar panels that will enable Vermont to meets our renewable energy goals while also protecting Vermont’s aesthetic and community values.

Proponents of solar, as I am, are right to be dismayed by GMP’s exploitive and disrespectful model which is doomed to failure. It is ironic that a California organization recently gave GMP an award for its solar development, at the same time opposition is increasing in Vermont because GMP is doing it all wrong.

This map shows the projects that make up GMP’s Rutland Solar Capital initiative. The 850kW site proposed for the Old Poor Farm was recently increased to 1mW. The 150kW site is the only community solar project and has been constructed. GMP sought confidential treatment for five of the seven projects shown on the map. The 150kW community solar project and the 2.3mW landfill project were not included in the request. All of the 1mW and larger projects are in various stages in the PSB permitting process.

Rutland solar

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58 Comments on "Annette Smith: GMP’s Rutland ‘Solar Capital’ all wrong for Vermont"

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Glenn Thompson
2 years 2 months ago

From the article!

“all the sites that make up GMP’s 10mW Rutland solar initiative are on fields, some of which involve stream buffers and flood plains, most of which contain wetlands and agricultural soils and are in close proximity to neighbors.”

Given the past history of the CLF and VPIRG for rigorously opposing developing “open space”…I expect any day now to hear those groups come out in strong opposition to this proposal? {{{{rolleyes}}}}

Matt Fisken
2 years 2 months ago

I want to know what town/city is planning to be the passive solar capitol of Vermont?

We don’t need to erect huge PV arrays or build homes from scratch to take advantage of the sun. A sliding glass door installed facing south with an overhang/awning, an interior thermal curtain and a few square feet of dark tile can be an incredible heater. It can pay for itself in a few years and last decades.

rosemarie jackowski
2 years 2 months ago

Matt… I built my house in 1985 and placed the sliding doors and most windows on the south side. Everyone should do that. It does not add one dollar to the cost of construction.

Jason Wells
2 years 2 months ago

I see Annette must be out of wind turbines to fight so now she goes after “noisy solar panels”. Seriously????

Bob Stannard
2 years 2 months ago
Again, Ms. Smith suggests that the PSB “rubber stamped” the Charlotte solar project. She continues to use this term presumably because she’s in the minority and disagrees with the decision. The PSB did not rubber stamp the application, but apparently Ms. Smith believes that if she says this often enough it will be true. The PSB does a very good job of following the guidance laid out for them by the legislature. If you don’t like what the PSB is doing then get the legislature to change the law. It should be noted that Ms. Smith has had no success… Read more »
Karl Riemer
2 years 2 months ago

We read the code, Bob.
rubber stamp = approve
didn’t listen to = wasn’t convinced
bought and paid for by = did listen to
When you’re on the side of the angles, anyone who disagrees, or even fails to agree, must be in league with the devil.

The tragedy is that many of her ideas have merit and her energy is admirable. If she could tell the difference between caution, criticism and crazy-talk, she’d be such an asset.

Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago
What a strange comment. As are many who seem more focused on personalities than the issues. So aside from calling me crazy, how about discussing the ideas that have merit. We do have the benefit of working together rather than begging regulators and legislators. Community-based stakeholder process work and can produce better outcomes. The kinds of comments that seek to bash instead of build on constructive ideas do nothing to advance the state’s renewable energy goals. When we sit around the table with developers, regulators, legislators and citizens, the whole dynamic changes. I gave a presentation to the siting commission… Read more »
Elizabeth Bassett
2 years 2 months ago
I beg to differ with Mr. Stannard. A group of neighbors in Charlotte attempted to fight Charlotte Solar because it is inappropriately sited in a rural/agricultural setting, a hundred feet from and visible to a neighborhood of homes (whose value will no doubt decrease). We spent an enormous sum to no avail. A portion of my testimony to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee follows. You will note I am not anti-solar, having generated more electricity than I/we consume for nearly four years. While the goals may be laudable the application of the law is disrespectful of the community… Read more »
Bill Christian
10 months 14 days ago

NIMBY mentality makes me crazy. It’s time to step up to the plate, do your duty, not pretend that seeing something is a great big hardship. Do you see roads? Do you see the power line that runs right up to your home? Do you see your face in the mirror? Seeing something is not a big deal. Destroying the planet IS a big deal.

Bruce Post
2 years 2 months ago

I am thankful that there are people who stand up for Vermont’s environment in the face of a culture — social and political — that excuses environmental destruction. Annette Smith, in my opinion, is one of those people. Thanks.

Steven Young
2 years 2 months ago

Let us hope that Annette Smith has indeed run out of wind power projects. If so, it would show that she has succeeded in one of her major efforts. But we shouldn’t get confident too soon. Who knows what may be lurking silently in the pipeline.
It seems that her issues with the Rutland solar project and others like it have to do with transparency and real opportunities for input from those who are affected by the project but have little access to ways to influence decisions that affect their lives and homes. More power to her!

Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago
Below is the relevant excerpt from the PSB’s approval of the Charlotte Solar project that shows their Rubber Stamp attitude. Below that is from a recent Order from a hearing officer in the Rutland Cold River Road case noting that the Agency of Agriculture says it is no longer going to participate in the PSB’s consideration of solar projects. Add to that an MOU that ANR entered into with Barton Solar agreeing to 1.89mW of solar on a field that is almost entirely Class 2 wetlands and it seems there is nothing to stop widespread solar development on prime agricultural… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
Annette Smith writes: ‘Below is the relevant excerpt from the PSB’s approval of the Charlotte Solar project that shows their Rubber Stamp attitude.” She then quotes a passage which shows something entirely different: namely, as Bob Stannard suggests above, deference to the legislature. Perhaps it’s best to put it this way: the Board is SUPPOSED to be a “rubber stamp” to the legislature; that’s its job! On the other hand, nothing in the passage suggests that the Board has listened only to the concerns of project proponents, or that it has ignored project opponents. Quite to the contrary, the passage… Read more »
Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago

The PSB says to take complaints to the legislature, and then Chairman Volz goes into the legislature and says everything is fine, don’t change anything, and the legislature defers to him. Round and round we go. Meanwhile Vermont’s landscape and communities are given over to corporate developers.

John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
Annette Smith’s rejoinder relies on a highly misleading parallel: “The PSB says to take complaints to the legislature, and then Chairman Volz goes into the legislature and says everything is fine, don’t change anything, and the legislature defers to him.” I’ll try again to break this down even more clearly than I did above. When Ms Smith writes “The PSB says to take complaints to the legislature,” she neglects the legal implications of her statement, which is what I just tried to show. The Board is actually saying something more like this. The legislature writes the laws in this State… Read more »
Coleman Dunnar
2 years 2 months ago
Mr. Greenberg you correctly refer to the Public Service Board as a quasi-judicial entity whose job it is to follow the laws the legislature promulgates. The legislature lays out the guidelines the Board is to follow in rendering decisions in granting CPG’s. Examples of this are the criteria enumerated in 30 VSA §248 and similarly Act 250. The list is extensive and subject to cherry picking in order to justify a decision. Especially when the decision is guided by the prevailing political whimsy. From reading your comment I get the impression that the you find a two legged form of… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago

Coleman Dunnar writes: “From reading your comment I get the impression that the you find a two legged form of government in which the legislature and executive branch collaborate making and interpreting the laws as an acceptable form of government. The third leg, an independent Judiciary is unnecessary.”

I don’t even have a clue as to how you impute that “impression” to what I wrote here.

I didn’t bother to mention previously, but will now add, that Board decisions can be appealed to the independent judiciary branch of government.

2 years 2 months ago
John: Maybe the Governor, GMP, VPRIG, PSB and the rest of the climate change alarmists, with your blessing of course, should recommend building a nuclear plant in Rutland instead of covering the area with unwanted industrial solar farms to supposedly combat climate change. You are surely aware of the just released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC’s assessment stating that more nuclear power be developed to mitigate climate change along with fracking for natural gas. Wow, ouch, OMG and how could this be happening? Didn’t the IPCC scientists check with you, the Governor and VPRIG before making such recommendations?… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
Peter Yankowski, You raise a variety of issues, so I’ll respond to them one at a time: 1) “Maybe the Governor, GMP, VPRIG, PSB and the rest of the climate change alarmists ….” If you accept what the scientists are telling us, as the folks you list here do, climate change is indeed “alarming.” But then, why limit yourself just to these folks? Why not throw in the rest of the world community, the UN, the IPCC, 97% of working climate scientists, etc.? Apparently, you’d prefer that we listen to the “vanishingly small proportion of the published research” (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article) which… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 2 months ago
Well put, John. I’ve been a member of both the Development Review Board and Planning Commission in my community for years. In that time, I’ve often been reminded of the distinctly different roles these two Boards serve, as directed by Vermont statute. Quasi-judicial Development Review Boards examine the evidence presented by proponents and opponents of development in public hearings. The developer/public’s job is to cite how such proposed development is in accordance with, or in violation of, current regulations. The Board is tasked with making their decision based on the evidence presented during the public hearing. Otherwise, any decision made… Read more »
Glenn Thompson
2 years 2 months ago
John Greenberg states, “Ms. Smith very consistently fails to recognize (or admit) how Vermont law works.” Given the history getting projects approved on the development of open land….I know EXACTLY how Vermont law works! A project gets proposed and along comes special interest groups like the CLF and VPRIG and takes those projects to court either tying them up for years or becomes successful (The Circ Highway) in getting them canned! Perhaps you would care to take a shot at my question given Special Interest groups dislike of developing open land which contains wetlands, stream buffers, flood plains, agricultural soils,etc… Read more »
2 years 2 months ago

Glenn:

The answer to your question is: HYPOCRISY !

Glenn Thompson
2 years 2 months ago

Peter,

You got it!

Jason Farrell
2 years 2 months ago
Your mind appears to be far more conspiratorial than inquisitive. You appear persuaded by the contention that Ms. Smith makes claiming that these project represent development of “open land which contains wetlands, stream buffers, flood plains, agricultural soils” without inquiring anything further of the author to provide context, or more information, to substantiate her contention. The fact that a parcel of land proposed for development “contains wetlands, stream buffers, flood plains, agricultural soils” doesn’t necessarily prohibit development of the part of the land that doesn’t. Do you know if the plan contemplates development in these zones, or even if development… Read more »
Glenn Thompson
2 years 2 months ago
Jason Farrell, I was not attacking Mr. Greenberg, but merely pointing out I understand how the law works when it comes to special interest groups jumping into the process due to their opposition and being able to tie up a project indefinitely or kill it outright! Mr. Greenberg did point out he wasn’t a member of either group and for that I appreciate his comment! As for your comment on the land itself. Just to be clear, the likes of the CLF and VPRIG at one time had a vendetta on development on “open land”. The Circ comes to mind… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 2 months ago
There’s a substantial difference between building infrastructure such as roads and school buildings, versus siting a solar array, in an open field. Which is another way of saying that not all “sprawl” is equal. And, I don’t even believe solar arrays can be considered sprawl precisely because, should the need ever arise, for whatever reason, reverting a field with solar panels on it back to greenfield status is cheap and would result in minimal, if any, environmental impact. The nature of the development of the Circ and the The Mount Anthony Union Middle School, and the impact they would have… Read more »
Glenn Thompson
2 years 2 months ago
Jason, to follow up on your comments. On the Mount Anthony Union Middle School topic, the school district took approx a decade to evaluate and investigate a location to place a new school. During that period, the CLF was not involved in the process. Only when the decision was made to build the school on “Open Land” and apply for a permit did the CLF jump in and stopped the project at additional costs to the school district and the taxpayers! The CLF demanded the school district spend the time to rehash options that were already rejected. Due to pressure… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 2 months ago
Glenn, thanks for your reply. You wrote: “When developers propose projects…..isn’t ‘aesthetics’ considered? Having driven by those solar farms along Rt 7, there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about them!” I live less than an eighth-of-a-mile from the Ferrisburgh Solar Farm, in Vergennes. I find the solar array to be very aesthetically pleasing, which is why the subjective definition of “aesthetics” isn’t one I’d support as a criterion for development. Reasonable people can disagree. However, as you point out, the Vermont Statue “10 V.S.A. § 6086 Issuance of permit; conditions and criteria”, states in (a) (8) that before granting a permit,… Read more »
Glenn Thompson
2 years 2 months ago
Jason, wanted to respond earlier. Better late than never! You said…. “I find the solar array to be very aesthetically pleasing, which is why the subjective definition of “aesthetics” isn’t one I’d support as a criterion for development.” I think we just proved no “two sets of different eyeballs sees the same beauty”. I mentioned billboards. To me, solar panels remind of billboards due to their shape. They are certainly not pleasing to look at through my eyeballs. I will take up your suggestion not to look at them…perhaps taking another route when heading down south to Rutland or somewheres!… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago

Glenn,

Ask them. I don’t represent any groups and am not a member of either of the two you cite.

Karl Riemer
2 years 2 months ago

“The Board can flaunt the guidelines”
they could, but that wouldn’t be illegal
Perhaps you meant they could flout the guidelines.

Tyler Rowe
2 years 2 months ago

I find it so funny that the people of Vermont are so easily willing to dismiss several GW of power and can’t agree on replaing 2.3 MW. I pray that things work out.

Paul Richards
2 years 2 months ago

All politics and rubber stamps aside; Fields and wetlands are no places for solar panels. Lets put them on new and existing buildings without adding to our overall footprint. Then lets put politics aside, get out of the dark ages and build some new modern nuclear generating plants.

Ed McFarren
2 years 2 months ago

Don’t like wind power. Don’t like solar. They’re noisy and ugly. Don’t like fossil fuels. Don’t like biomass. They’re stinky and smokey. Don’t like nuke it could grill us like bacon. That having been said, how do you like freezing in the dark??? A person who is against everything is in favor of nothing. Get over yourselves.

Bob Stannard
2 years 2 months ago
There is one point that hasn’t been mentioned here, which is that Annette Smith and VCE have a full-time lobbyist working in the State House. It goes to the point that I, and John Greenberg, made which is that if Ms. Smith has a problem with the PSB then her recourse is to get the law(s) changed. Full-time lobbyists are expensive and their lobbyist has been on the job for many years. I know him and he’s a good guy. But it’s their message that is not persuading the General Assembly and that’s the core of Ms. Smith’s problem. Understandably… Read more »
Randy Koch
2 years 2 months ago
Pardon me while I rub my eyes in disbelief: Bob Stannard, old Statehouse hand that he is, really thinks there’s any comparison in resources and horsepower between the well-funded, well-staffed biz lobby on the one hand and Annette Smith / VCE on the other? I’d love to see some research on how many and which industry applications the PSB has ever denied. The only recent case I myself followed in any detail was the CVPS takeover by GazMetro. Here the impression of steamrolled rubber stamping was unmistakable. GazMetro proposed, the DPS despite a profound conflict of interest seconded, and the… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
“Pardon me while I rub my eyes in disbelief: Bob Stannard, old Statehouse hand that he is, really thinks there’s any comparison in resources and horsepower between the well-funded, well-staffed biz lobby on the one hand and Annette Smith / VCE on the other?” So, Randy, the “well-funded, well-staffed biz lobby” always wins in the Statehouse? Then please explain how Entergy could muster only 4 senators to support continuing operations at VY in 2010? And for that matter, exactly how did Rich Cowart lose the battle for deregulation which you describe? After all, he was backed by a powerful governor… Read more »
Randy Koch
2 years 2 months ago

John
After Cherobyl, Fukushima, etc getting 4 might Senators might be considered a triumph.

I recall it had something to do with Enron and intentional brownouts in deregulated California

John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
Nice try, Randy, but no go. First of all, Fukushima was 2011; the vote was 2010. Second, anyone who was watching would have predicted a lopsided vote in the opposite direction in, say, 2008 or 2009, which was well after Chernobyl. To be fair, we got a LOT of help from Entergy’s own incompetence. But the fact remains that the lobbyists were all (or certainly mostly) on the losing side. I assume your Enron story is supposed to account for the de-regulation debacle, but that happened in 2000, AFTER the deregulation debate (1999) in Vermont. Again, most of the lobbying… Read more »
Bob Stannard
2 years 2 months ago

Mr. Koch, I was the only lobbyist hired to work to thwart Entergy’s move to extend the operations of its nuclear power plant beyond its designed life. I had some help from one VPIRG lobbyist. That was it.

Entergy and other ancillary groups had roughly 22 full-time lobbyist working the other side.

I won. They lost. If you’re right on the issue in the eyes of the majority than you can prevail. That was my point. Ms. Smith is not right on the issue(s) in the eyes of the majority.

Fred Woogmaster
2 years 2 months ago

I agree, Mr. Stannard. “Ms. Smith is not right on the issue(s) in the eyes of the majority.”

She is simply ‘right’ on the issue(s), in my view.

The majority has yet to learn.

Political partisanship prevails. You, Mr. Stannard, appear to be a political partisan.

Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago
More than once in vtdigger.org comments I have noted that we live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. The United States is a representative democracy, partly because of concern about the rights of minorities being overwhelmed by the majority. Here is a discussion about the history: “MAJORITY RULE, MINORITY RIGHTS, MAJORITY TYRANNY The fear of “majority tyranny” was a common theme in the 17th century and later, even among those who were sympathetic to democracy. Given the opportunity, it was argued, a majority would surely trample on the fundamental rights of minorities. Property rights were perceived as particularly… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 2 months ago
I noticed you chose not to copy and paste the next paragraph from the encyclopedia entry that you borrowed this from. As it might help inform beyond the part you’ve pasted, I’ll paste the next paragraph here, with a link for those who might want to read the entire entry… “Here too, however, Madison’s views changed after reflection on and observation of the emerging American democracy. In a letter of 1833, he wrote, “[E]very friend to Republican government ought to raise his voice against the sweeping denunciation of majority governments as the most tyrannical and intolerable of all governments.… [N]o… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago

Fred,

You write: “Political partisanship prevails. ”

How does “political partisanship” prevail in this instance? Unless I’m very mistaken, most of the policies we’re discussing here have strong tri-partisan support. This is an instance of majority rule, not of political partisanship.

The majority may be wrong — you and Annette believe it is — but that’s quite a different matter, isn’t it?

Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago
It’s interesting and disappointing to see this discussion degenerate away from the issues raised in this piece. Here’s another way of looking at it. Can you imagine half a dozen Vermonters sitting around a table agreeing that it is appropriate to put solar panels in aesthetically beautiful areas on prime agricultural soils with Class 2 wetlands as a norm rather than an exception? Do you agree that this is a good approach to solar development? Would you agree that the Ag Agency should stay out of solar siting on prime agricultural soils? Would you agree that ANR should enter into… Read more »
Rob Pforzheimer
2 years 2 months ago
There is a glut of generation in New England. Building grid scale, intermittent, expensive, divisive, s0-called “renewable” projects, to satisfy the states pie in the sky renewable energy goals is crazy. For those that feel the need to have so-called renewable energy, unsubsidized roof top and backyard solar is far better than wind, but the rest of us should not have to pay for it through subsidies or net metering. From my experience with the psb in the wind dockets, I would have to agree that they are rubber stamping cpgs without much regard for the criteria they are supposed… Read more »
Rob Roy Macgregor
2 years 2 months ago

Mr Pforzheimer – you might found it important to note: “New England electricity glut a thing of the past” (http://www.vermonttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/RH/20140206/NEWS02/702069853)

As to the price of renewables, if you were paying for the true cost of fossil fuels, you’d probably be amongst the first in line to buy renewables.

Carl Werth
2 years 2 months ago

“Appears” to be a partisan? APPEARS? Oh my…

John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
Annette, Please explain how “minority rights” are being trampled by “majority tyranny” in the instance we’re discussing here. You write: “Given the opportunity, it was argued, a majority would surely trample on the fundamental rights of minorities. Property rights were perceived as particularly vulnerable, since presumably any majority of citizens with little or no property would be tempted to infringe the rights of the propertied minority. Such concerns were shared by Madison and other delegates at the Convention and strongly influenced the document they created.” The document they created is the Constitution of the United States, which allots to minorities… Read more »
Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago
That is not what you and your pal have been saying, but that the majority has decided and since what I am saying is perceived as a minority position, it has no weight. I am making a simple point that we do not live in a system where majority rules, and that was a choice made at the founding of our country. The more relevant issues related to the subject of this commentary go to a changing landscape, both literally and figuratively, and the opportunities for Vermonters to participate in those changes or have them rammed through our communities without… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
Annette, I don’t know you, and I have no interest in trashing you. On the other hand, I do have a very great interest in trashing bad ideas, wherever they’re found, and you’ve been pushing quite a few here. I don’t have any idea what you mean by “afar.” I’ve lived in Vermont since 1975 and I’ve been publicly active in energy debates here for decades. I too “work on the ground in the real world.” Rather than pursuing this discussion any further, however, I’m going to leave it right where it is. As long as you’re happy losing your… Read more »
Fred Woogmaster
2 years 2 months ago
A belated response to your question, Mr. Greenberg, “The majority may be wrong — you and Annette believe it is — but that’s quite a different matter, isn’t it?” The voice of the “majority” continues to be stifled by a ‘one party system with two heads’. The third party has rendered itself impotent. The majority you refer to is represented by the politically and socially elite, elected through a process controlled by money – not by ideas. The game is rigged; the deck is stacked; the field is tilted, your observations about the established process and the ‘majority’ notwithstanding. Majority… Read more »
Bruce Post
2 years 2 months ago

Interesting report:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-u-s-is-not-a-democracy-it-is-an-oligarchy/5377765

Just one passage:

“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.”

John Greenberg
2 years 2 months ago
OK Fred. First, I want to remind everyone how this portion of the discussion arose: namely, in response to Annette’s argument about the PSB being a “rubber stamp,” I pointed out that the Board’s JOB is to comply with legislative policy enactments rather than to make policy, and that the evidence I see (including mostly evidence Annette herself introduces) supports just that principle. The point Bob Stannard and I have defended here is that if you want Board rulings to change, you need to change the law itself and that such change can only happen in the legislature (unless you’re… Read more »
Fred Woogmaster
2 years 2 months ago
Once again Mr. Greenberg, your logic is impeccable. I will continue to support responsible alternative energy development, including wind and solar. You appear to approve of the system(s) established to determine the siting of such projects; I do not. My comments originate from my experience of the plight of the Therrien family who live within 3/4 of a mile from the First Wind turbine facility in Sheffield. My knowledge of alternative energies is miniscule. Learning about the operation of the Public Services Board has followed my introduction to the Therriens. Perhaps your response to my statements is founded in knowledge… Read more »
Annette Smith
2 years 2 months ago
In a civil society, it does not require an act of the legislature for good people to come together to solve our problems. We have a regulatory process that is not working for neighbors, towns, and the natural world. Those in power have put in place a system that says “build everything everywhere as fast as possible.” Renewable energy developers are people, and as such they could easily do their development process differently, working with communities before bringing their applications to the PSB. The numerous comments about the majority, the legislature, and the PSB, are really a deflection from the… Read more »
2 years 2 months ago
Uninvited and as if it were a monarch with unquestioned and absolute power, GMP stormed into Rutland and proclaimed it was going to be made into the “solar capital” of the northeast while offering scant detail of what this would entail. Meanwhile, the area’s so called political leaders sit around like dutiful lapdogs and do nothing to establish reasonable standards for development to protect the interest of the citizens and their property. In a few years, Rutland will wake up to find itself covered with industrial solar panels, GMP and the solar developers will be no where to be found,… Read more »
Bill Christian
10 months 14 days ago

Peter, you are happy to use power from Granite Ridge, in NH, that burns 5 million cubic feet of “clean” fracked natural gas every hour, 24/7, all year long. But you think installing solar is some plot by the devil. Your logic is deeply flawed, perverse.

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