• Comprehensive plan includes wind
    December 12,2012

    Plan includes wind

    James Rademacher’s recent letter (“Wind power pluses don’t add up,” Dec. 3) misses the big picture on Vermont energy policy. In order to reach its goal of 90 percent renewable power by 2050, the state needs to start building now for the future.

    Efficiency must form the cornerstone of our energy policy, since it is the cheapest “source” of energy. But efficiency alone cannot satisfy future needs.

    Contracts with aging nuclear plants, nearly a third of the state’s power, will have to be replaced with renewable power. We will need to shift our reliance on fossil fuels for transportation and heating buildings to efficient electric vehicles and heat exchange pumps, powered by renewable energy.

    The National Renewable Energy Lab has found that Vermont’s wind resources are particularly abundant. When Vermont adds wind power to the New England grid it causes the operator to reduce output of the most expensive power plant in the region — almost always a fossil fuel-fired power plant — thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of the New England region.

    With no fuel cost and 20-year or longer fixed prices, wind energy acts as a great hedge against volatility in fossil fuel markets, much like how a fixed-rate mortgage protects homeowners from interest rate fluctuations.

    Regarding incentives, it is important to note that the federal support for the fossil fuel industry has historically been far greater than for renewables. In fact, a recent DBL Investors study found that over the first 15 years of incentives, the federal incentives for oil and gas were five times greater than the incentives for renewables.

    In short, what Vermont needs is not a moratorium on wind power, but a commitment to implement our thoughtful, comprehensive energy plan, built on efficiency and clean renewable power that creates local jobs and strengthens the state’s economy.

    Bob Walker

    Director, Sustainable Energy Resource Group

    Thetford Center

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