Lowell wind power opponents protest at GMP headquarters

first_imgGreen Mountain Power Corp,More than a hundred opponents of a proposed wind farm staged a rally on the lawn of Green Mountain Power’s headquarters Wednesday afternoon, hoping the utility would abandon plans to build 21 turbines on Lowell Mountain. Bearing signs and chanting ‘Solar, not wind,’ the group was at GMP to deliver a letter addressed to president and CEO Mary Powell and signed by 120 opponents of the plan.‘The desecration of the Lowell Mountains that will result if the Lowell project moves forward is, to us, irreversible and unacceptable,’ the letter stated. ‘Our efforts to resist this project will not fade if this project moves forward.’The group had also stopped in Montpelier Wednesday morning to hold another rally and to deliver a similar letter to Governor Peter Shumlin. Seventy of the protesters traveled in two buses from Craftsbury and Albany; another busload carried members of Bread and Puppet Theater who came in costumes representing the wind, the sun, and the bears whose habitats they said would be destroyed.‘We are opposed to the destruction of the ridgeline,’ said Robbin Clark, a Lowell resident who attended three weeks of hearings on the project. ‘Solar power is much more favorable and doesn’t have the impact wind does on water and wildlife.’Under the proposal known as Kingdom Community Wind, GMP plans to install 21 turbines on Lowell Mountain. The company says it will generate 63 megawatts of power ‘ enough electricity for 24,000 homes. Last Friday the project received five environmental permits from the state Agency of Natural Resources.‘Wind energy will have minimal effect on our carbon emissions,’ said Steve Wright of Craftsbury, a leading opponent of the proposed wind development. ‘Some 96 percent of Vermont’s carbon emissions come from driving our cars and burning oil for heat. We should not be looking to wind as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What we should do is reducing our driving and heating oil.’Wright said he believed Vermont should take some responsibility for its energy production, but said the focus should be on solar, not wind. He said subsidies should be expanded so solar panels are more affordable for lower-income consumers. And he disagreed that employers, especially large manufacturers that consume a lot of power, would benefit from wind.‘Manufacturers like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters can’t depend on wind energy, anyway,’ Wright said. ‘They need a steady, reliable source. There is no storage system for wind ‘ either the electrons flow or they don’t.’Lowell held a vote on the project on Town Meeting Day in March 2010, and 75 percent of voters were in favor of it.Green Mountain Power says the project still needs final approval from the PSB, but it is moving forward.‘We know there’s a group of people opposed to the project, but the majority of Vermonters want wind,’ GMP spokeswoman Dotty Schnure said. ‘They had participated in the hearings before the Public Service Board and presented their case, but the regulators determined the project is in the public good.’Story and photos by Kate Duffy. Photos: Robbin Clark of Lowell rallies against a proposed wind farm.Members of Bread and Puppet Theater dress as the wildlife they say would be dislocated by the turbinesSteve Wright reads a letter to GMP CEO Mary Powell signed by 120 opponentsProtester carries sign: “These mountains belong to you and me”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *