Wind power gains momentum in Vermont

Erin LaVoie

CLF applauds the balance regulators struck in approving the Kingdom Community Wind Project in Lowell, VT. The order allows the controversial project to move forward while protecting wildlife habitat and ensuring restoration of disturbed areas.  The decision addresses all the concerns that were raised and provides some innovative means to manage the impacts.

All power supplies – including wind – have environmental impacts.   While the environmental harms associated with wind are less than most sources of generation, they need to be minimized and mitigated, not ignored. The Vermont order includes specific requirements from an agreement with Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources that permanently protects significant habitat and requires re-vegetation and restoration of disturbed areas both after construction and when the project is no longer used.  These measures go a long way to reduce the environmental footprint of the project.  The decision also calls for minimizing lighting while still conforming to FAA requirements.  Overall, the decision can be a model for how projects can move forward while responsibly addressing impacts. 

The project’s benefits are significant and weighed in favor of approval.  Powering 20,000 homes from this project will help Vermont meet it renewable energy goals, create jobs and tax revenue, avoid greenhouse gas emissions, and provide long-term, stably priced power. In an interview with VPR, GMP’s President Mary Powell described the project as, “incredibly cost effective for premium renewable electricity.”

The project, consisting of 20-21 400-foot turbines along 3 miles of Lowell Mountain ridgeline, is expected to break ground in August of this year. The turbines will power an estimated 20,000 households, making it the largest wind site in the state. The project is moving forward with the approval of the Lowell community, who voted in favor of the turbines during Town Meeting Day in 2010.  CLF is excited to support wind projects that bring the community to the table, are responsibly cited, and mitigate the impacts on the environment in exchange for clean, locally produced energy.

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8 Responses to “Wind power gains momentum in Vermont”

  1. Steve Wright

    CLF’s support of the Lowell Wind outrage is itself outrageous. This bludgeoning, rape, maiming, literal dismembering of an intact, functioning natural system is a monstrous crime against the state, the Northeast Kingdom and the people in and near the proposed project area. The first priority in effective climate change action is to protect intact ecosystems not blast them into oblivion. Is CLF so out of touch with modern climate change action as to ignore this principle?Apparently so, because in the Lowell wind case CLF is complicit in destroying a major geologic feature of he Northeast Kingdom, a refuge for large vertebrates, an intact self-regulating system. To claim that the Certificate for Public Greed “permanently protects” important wildlife habitat is disingenuous at best and turns a blind eye to the facts of the case at worst. Supporting the blasting away of a 450 million year old ridgeline for a project designed to last 25 years is inconceivable. How about omitting the word “Conservation” from your masthead? You have earned it.

    If Vermont is serious about its own contribution to climate change it will begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by attacking the sources: transportation (driving) and home heating (burning fuel oil). The Lowell wind proposal DOES NOT reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a feel-good political hoax authored by the governor, Green Mountain Power, clueless statewide enviro groups and the Legislature. The enviro groups should be ashamed that they either supported or stuck their heads in the sand regarding Lowell. What an abrogation of mission and responsibility by those who love to tell us they’re ‘protecting the state’s natural resources. We need to rebuild a genuine conservation advocacy movement in Vermont. This current one–public and private–is a failure as evidenced by the approval of the Lowell Wind proposal.
    Steve E. Wright
    Craftsbury Common, Vermont

  2. Steve Wright

    CLF’s support of the Lowell Wind outrage is itself outrageous. This bludgeoning, rape, maiming, literal dismembering of an intact, functioning natural system is a monstrous crime against the state, the Northeast Kingdom and the people in and near the proposed project area. The first priority in effective climate change action is to protect intact ecosystems not blast them into oblivion. Is CLF so out of touch with modern climate change action as to ignore this principle?Apparently so, because in the Lowell wind case CLF is complicit in destroying a major geologic feature of he Northeast Kingdom, a refuge for large vertebrates, an intact self-regulating system. To claim that the Certificate for Public Greed “permanently protects” important wildlife habitat is disingenuous at best and turns a blind eye to the facts of the case at worst. Supporting the blasting away of a 450 million year old ridgeline for a project designed to last 25 years is inconceivable. How about omitting the word “Conservation” from your masthead? You have earned it.

    If Vermont is serious about its own contribution to climate change it will begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by attacking the sources: transportation (driving) and home heating (burning fuel oil). The Lowell wind proposal DOES NOT reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a feel-good political hoax authored by the governor, Green Mountain Power, clueless statewide enviro groups and the Legislature. The enviro groups should be ashamed that they either supported or stuck their heads in the sand regarding Lowell. What an abrogation of mission and responsibility by those who love to tell us they’re ‘protecting the state’s natural resources. We need to rebuild a genuine conservation advocacy movement in Vermont. This current one–public and private–is a failure as evidenced by the approval of the Lowell Wind proposal.
    Steve E. Wright
    Craftsbury Common, Vermont

  3. Steve Wright

    CLF’s support of the Lowell Wind outrage is itself outrageous. This bludgeoning, rape, maiming, literal dismembering of an intact, functioning natural system is a monstrous crime against the state, the Northeast Kingdom and the people in and near the proposed project area. The first priority in effective climate change action is to protect intact ecosystems not blast them into oblivion. Is CLF so out of touch with modern climate change action as to ignore this principle?Apparently so, because in the Lowell wind case CLF is complicit in destroying a major geologic feature of he Northeast Kingdom, a refuge for large vertebrates, an intact self-regulating system. To claim that the Certificate for Public Greed “permanently protects” important wildlife habitat is disingenuous at best and turns a blind eye to the facts of the case at worst. Supporting the blasting away of a 450 million year old ridgeline for a project designed to last 25 years is inconceivable. How about omitting the word “Conservation” from your masthead? You have earned it.

    If Vermont is serious about its own contribution to climate change it will begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by attacking the sources: transportation (driving) and home heating (burning fuel oil). The Lowell wind proposal DOES NOT reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a feel-good political hoax authored by the governor, Green Mountain Power, clueless statewide enviro groups and the Legislature. The enviro groups should be ashamed that they either supported or stuck their heads in the sand regarding Lowell. What an abrogation of mission and responsibility by those who love to tell us they’re ‘protecting the state’s natural resources. We need to rebuild a genuine conservation advocacy movement in Vermont. This current one–public and private–is a failure as evidenced by the approval of the Lowell Wind proposal.
    Steve E. Wright
    Craftsbury Common, Vermont

  4. Steve Wright

    CLF’s support of the Lowell Wind outrage is itself outrageous. This bludgeoning, rape, maiming, literal dismembering of an intact, functioning natural system is a monstrous crime against the state, the Northeast Kingdom and the people in and near the proposed project area. The first priority in effective climate change action is to protect intact ecosystems not blast them into oblivion. Is CLF so out of touch with modern climate change action as to ignore this principle?Apparently so, because in the Lowell wind case CLF is complicit in destroying a major geologic feature of he Northeast Kingdom, a refuge for large vertebrates, an intact self-regulating system. To claim that the Certificate for Public Greed “permanently protects” important wildlife habitat is disingenuous at best and turns a blind eye to the facts of the case at worst. Supporting the blasting away of a 450 million year old ridgeline for a project designed to last 25 years is inconceivable. How about omitting the word “Conservation” from your masthead? You have earned it.

    If Vermont is serious about its own contribution to climate change it will begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by attacking the sources: transportation (driving) and home heating (burning fuel oil). The Lowell wind proposal DOES NOT reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a feel-good political hoax authored by the governor, Green Mountain Power, clueless statewide enviro groups and the Legislature. The enviro groups should be ashamed that they either supported or stuck their heads in the sand regarding Lowell. What an abrogation of mission and responsibility by those who love to tell us they’re ‘protecting the state’s natural resources. We need to rebuild a genuine conservation advocacy movement in Vermont. This current one–public and private–is a failure as evidenced by the approval of the Lowell Wind proposal.
    Steve E. Wright
    Craftsbury Common, Vermont

  5. Craig Majoros

    Steve Wright said it all, I can’t help but think the CLF is a sham. You spent years stopping the Circ Highway in Burlington ( God forbid you have a highway in the city), but then you say nothing to putting a highway on top of the beautiful Lowell Mtn.

  6. Craig Majoros

    Steve Wright said it all, I can’t help but think the CLF is a sham. You spent years stopping the Circ Highway in Burlington ( God forbid you have a highway in the city), but then you say nothing to putting a highway on top of the beautiful Lowell Mtn.

  7. Craig Majoros

    Steve Wright said it all, I can’t help but think the CLF is a sham. You spent years stopping the Circ Highway in Burlington ( God forbid you have a highway in the city), but then you say nothing to putting a highway on top of the beautiful Lowell Mtn.

  8. Craig Majoros

    Steve Wright said it all, I can’t help but think the CLF is a sham. You spent years stopping the Circ Highway in Burlington ( God forbid you have a highway in the city), but then you say nothing to putting a highway on top of the beautiful Lowell Mtn.

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