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Some thoughts on wind power (from developer)

December 21, 2012

Opinion | Letters

Rutland Herald | December 21,2012

I want to speak in favor of wind power development in Vermont and especially Rutland County.

I have worked in the energy industry for many years. I hold a strong belief that we must develop more renewable energy sources on a faster timetable than has actually occurred (as do the great majority of experts in the field and throughout the energy industry at large and the mainstream population of the U.S.). I believe our society, our country and our state must transition from a primarily fossil fuel-based economy to a sustainably based economy within my lifetime.

Earlier this year I sat patiently though meeting after meeting regarding the Grandpa’s Knob wind project in Rutland County and listened while misinformation was repeatedly put forth by people who oppose the development of wind power.

I was called a liar (and much, much worse) by people opposing the wind project. Obscenities were screamed at us in parking lots. We were frequently maligned in writing, and individuals who changed their positions 180 degrees regarding the wind project, becoming opposed to it apparently under pressure from others, have unfairly and inaccurately and falsely accused us of atrocious conduct. 

The well-organized anti-development elements, local fossil fuel business executives and the resident NIMBY activists have made it very clear: If you disagree with us on wind power, your reputation will be attacked and you will be treated with contempt.

I deplore that the public discourse on something as critically important as Vermont’s energy future has been figuratively dragged into the gutter by these elements acting in such a disrespectful and antagonistic manner.

Next, I’d like to set the record straight and share a few facts, backed by the scientific and academic communities regarding wind power:

1) The intermittent nature of wind generation is readily incorporated into the electricity grid and this has been successfully done throughout the U.S.

2) Wind power generation displaces large amounts of fossil fuel and credible studies of modern wind turbines conclusively show that wind turbines are “emission neutral” in less than one year of operation.

3) Federal tax subsidies for wind power are far smaller than for fossil fuels of all types.

4) There is no credible evidence, anywhere, that wind turbines have an adverse systematic impact on property values; numerous studies throughout the U.S. by legitimate researchers have all concluded this same thing.

5) There is no such thing as “wind turbine syndrome,” and fears of such health impacts are not consistent with scientific evidence gathered through credible research.

6) The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources concluded that construction of the Sheffield wind project in northern Vermont had no adverse impact on water quality in the streams coming off that ridge. Fears of stream and lake pollution from wind turbine construction and subsequent operations are unfounded.

These are just a few of the items that have been misunderstood and misrepresented over the past months.

Finally, I conclude with this thought: Wind power has been the fastest growing form of electric generation for many years in the U.S. and the world. Around the globe it has been supported by people who understand, first-hand, the issues, the impacts and the benefits of wind power far better than some people here in Rutland County.

I believe wind is a good and necessary piece of the energy picture and Vermont should embrace it.

STEVE EISENBERG  (Reunion Power )

Manchester Center


One Comment leave one →
  1. Vanessa permalink
    December 23, 2012 12:07 am

    I’m guessing Mr Eisenberg’s investment in the energy industry dates back and is relative
    to the time when the Production Tax Credits went into effect in the US. For twenty years now, Big Wind has been propped up by taxpayer subsidies. His scramble to take part in the
    stirring of wind into Vermont’s mix is about an investment, pure and simple. He’d like some financial backing. He’s playing a game here with Pittsford Ridge and is willing to affect many Vermonters while scooping up taxpayers dollars and laughing all the way to the bank. But he’s played this same game in Cherry Valley NY where he attempted to pillage a town’s historically significant asset and destroy intact ecosystems there in the name of “green” energy. He was subpoeaned there by the NY atttorney General’s office for violations of code of ethics. He denies any issue to this day, stating “they found nothing on me.” Bottom line, he was unwanted there. And he’s unwanted here now.

    Back in May and June we assembled in peaceful protests while first checking with local PD when we did so, and while a small percentage of folks were angered enough by Steve Eisenberg’s slickened marketing schpeel to shout some things I’ll recognize were inappropriate, these two or three emotionally-charged individuals were not instructed to scream obscenities. These select few folks, and I heard them myself, and I know who these select few folks were, were angered to a boiling point and felt almost powerless against a corporation that threatened their family’s and friends’ quality-of-life and properties.

    At the same meetings where I stood at the front of the throngs every day of protest, I spoke to folks entering and leaving the meetings held by Eisenberg. More than once, folks left those meetings and they were ANGRY. One woman I stopped to talk with was literally shaking, red-faced, and she spoke with vehemence about Mr Eisenberg and his associates.
    She said,and I quote, “They are LYING to people in these meetings!!! Reunion Power is lying to us all! This is outrageous and wrong what they intend to do here!!!” THIS IS WHAT I HEARD from a woman and her husband leaving a meeting held for Hubbardton residents. I didn’t have to speak; all i did was sympathetically listen to her! Her visibly shaken demeanor and her angry words said plenty and I had nothing to add.

    We stand for Pittsford ridge. the four towns have spoken thru their selectboards. The four towns have worked to conserve and protect this area, its assets, and its resources. We’d like to expand and work to implement sound, sustainable and financially-sensible and community-based (not developer-centric) ideas about sustainable energy choices. But massive towers upon ridges deemed as fragile ecosystems are not in harmony with what the region wants, nor is this truly green.

    Folks can look into things themselves. Folks can get informed about the farce of big wind. It is everyhwere from Ontario Canada & Mars Hill Maine to Germany and the UK. The good people of Vermont are smart enough to understand that we cannot brace ourselves to be resilient in the face of climate change
    by pouring $12 billion of taxpayers’ money down the drain, as Congress estimates we’ll do here in the US if an extension for the PTC is approved. But Eisenberg and fellow corporate wind developers will certainly benefit if we do this extension for them. So why wouldn’t Eisenberg implore you to listen to him. I say, let’s keep our ridges intact. Let’s keep our intact ecosystems to better brace ourselves for climate change. Let’s protect our watersheds and the ridge aquifers and the deeply driven wells of the four town region. Let’s protect our children and elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, the ones who are most sensitive to infrasound and low-frequency, vibrational, percussive sound and it’s effects on the human body and the sleeping body and the developing young mind! There ARE independent studies done worldwide that attest to this information. But Big Wind developers and stakeholders do their best discount the findings and/or create paid studies to counter the findings of independent studies in order to slant info in their favor. Let’s let the facts speak for themselves. Eisenberg and other corporate welfare scavengers would certainly rather you didn’t look into things, though.

    These developers don’t need to whine that they are being maltreated and maligned. They are maligning themselves by their motives and manifested actions.
    They are dividing communties and pitting vermonters against one another and they are ripping rights from property owners and taking our money while they do it all. Falsely in the name of ‘green.’ Oh it’s about the GREEN alright. The $$$$$ kind of green.
    We haven’t needed to malign the developer who is threatening us, our friends and our neighbors and our mountains.. The developer has acted and spoken and worked in ways that malign himself. Big Wind cannot efficiently, greenly, economically, nor ethically stand on its own and hasn’t in this country for 20 years. And it won’t anytime soon.

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