It was a beautiful sunny day in Northeastern Vermont,well at least for the moment, give it a little while and the skies will open up and it will begin to rain. My grandparents live in Sheffield, Vermont and have for many years. In October of 2005, First Wind, a wind energy company from Newton Massachusetts filed for notice for wind farm approval on mountain ridges in Sheffield and Sutton, according to the First Wind Sheffield website.
The idea of wind turbines in the Northeast Kingdom caused much discussion and debate. Several ideas were tossed around about wind farms in East Haven and even one in Ira, Vermont but Sheffield’s was the only one approved. On that sunny rainy day in May, roads were being constructed, concrete was being poured while the tiny town of Sheffield was preparing to build 16 wind turbines and change the way that Vermont looks at electricity.
The project was approved in 2007, but according to a newsletter titled “Sheffield Wind'”which was released the spring of 2009 much opposition was met. The Vermont public service board gave the project a certificate of public good in August 2007. Lawsuits have stalled the construction until this year.
I find it amazing how something that is so good, for so many, can run into such opposition by others. We as a country need to have more energy independence. A company offers to help us do that by building a wind farm. They don’t pollute and don’t put us at risk of radiation poisoning, how can you oppose this project? What type of opposition could you possibly meet? According to brighterenergy.org Energize Vermont, a group that constantly opposed the project since First wind proposed the idea in 2005. They were unsure how First Wind was going to finance the project. First Wind told the group that they had already secured $76 million in funding but Energize Vermont was confused why they had to secure funds before they started the permit litigation. Energize Vermont members shared too much uncertainty in the project. They also didn’t believe that large scale wind farms was the answer to energy independence, but energy efficiency and solar power was the route to go.
In my opinion even energy efficiency wouldn’t solve our pollution or environmental issues but they might minimize them. I think that by building large scale wind utilities you would be able to completely eliminate the cause of the problem and we as a country would not have to rely on other countries but on ourselves. We wouldn’t have to worry about old nuclear plants that in my opinion can’t keep themselves secure enough to help supply power to Vermont. What would happen if Vermont Yankee should fail, that would put our entire state in danger and even our country. Wind power just seems like a safer option for our state and our families.
Construction has officially started on the 16 turbine project. Cement trucks pass my grandmother’s house one after the other. You wonder how much cement is it going to take to secure the turbines. Roads had to be widened to accommodate the wide-load trucks that carry the turbines up the steep hill to the top of the ridge line. Rocks were crushed and moved from the Sheffield granite quarries, which only served as party locations until the construction began. I am so excited to see this project continue forward. I think that once people see how beneficial wind farms can be, opposition to them won’t be as frequent.
First Wind Sheffield. http://www.sheffieldwind.com/sheffield/news.cfm?ID=92c6f1ee-74e4-4927-b618-5e48c65f7036&test
Vermont group pledges continued opposition to wind farm.http://www.brighterenergy.org/21375/news/wind/vermont-group-pledges-continued-opposition-to-wind-farm/. Brighter Energy.org