Today’s poll by Castleton Polling Institute regarding energy in Vermont and specifically wind energy on ridgelines shows that the vast majority of Vermonters support clean energy and support wind on our mountains. Across the political spectrum, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike polled in the high 60 to 70 percentiles for wind along our ridgelines and in support of the development of a wind farm in their community. This is in keeping with all past polls – from the 2012 Castleton Poll, annual Town Meeting Doyle polls, to polls undertaken by the Vermont Public Service Department (http://www.csc.vsc.edu/polling/feb26_2013/pollresults.htm,http://www.castleton.edu/polling/may12/results.htm, http://www.raabassociates.org/Articles/VTENG%20Final%20Report%2011-27-07.pdf).
“Utility-scale wind energy is the cleanest, most cost-effective new renewable energy available to us – stabilizing our energy rates much like a fixed rate versus adjustable rate mortgage helps homeowners know what to expect with their bills”, stated Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. “Not only is wind a critical part of our shared energy future, companies such as Northern Power, Aegis Wind, Northeast Wind, NRG Systems, J. A. McDonald, and component part businesses equate to a vibrant clean energy economy in Vermont.”
Vermont is home to four utility-scale wind projects including Searsburg, Sheffield, Georgia Mountain and Kingdom Wind in Lowell. Collectively, these projects have a capacity of 119 megaWatts, power 46,000 Vermont homes, and provide $960,000 per year to the Vermont education fund, more than $1.2 million annually to the host communities and also provide $1 per megawatt to neighboring, non-host towns. They have undergone rigorous permitting processes – taking up to seven years for final construction to be completed, securing $8 million in decommissioning funds, and impacting just under 200 acres of land while conserving more than 5,500 acres. The Vermont Public Service Board, in partnership with the Public Service Department and the Agency of Natural Resources requires stormwater, sound, and aviary life monitoring and compliance plans in addition to other stringent permitting requirements.
“The poll shows ongoing, broad-based support for all renewable energy,” states Martha Staskus, Chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont Board of Directors, “We must maintain Vermont’s leadership in developing a clean, resilient energy future – the will of the vast majority of Vermonters should continue to be reflected in our state laws and for the public good.”