Another view: What is the cost of renewable energy?
At what cost do we draw the line on obtaining renewable energy? Are traditional fossil fuels so alarming and so terrifying that we push the installations of renewable energy wind farms and solar fields at any cost?
If allowed, the Stiles Brook project will be the largest wind farm in Vermont, covering 5,000 acres of pristine Vermont ridgeline forest in both Windham and Grafton. The 5,000 acres, which are being carved out of the ridgeline forest, are owned by an out-of-state New Hampshire company called Meadowshend Timberlands, which will lease the land to a foreign owned company, Iberdrola, a Spanish-Arab held billion dollar corporation that has been siphoning big dollars out of government green energy bills for years; government money that always seems to find its way to the already super rich, big money corporations, or companies warily connected to our politicians by way of highly compensated lobbyists.
Oddly, and an important footnote in this mix, is the fact that Meadowshend Timberlands is a forestry company whose mission statement on its website is nothing short of a testimonial to land conservation and preservation. This seems to be clearly in opposition to what will actually happen to those 5,000 acres, and it creates a question and concern in my understanding the motivation driving Meadowshend Timberland's decision to lease land to Iberdrola. It's clear that the usage of the land goes against everything Meadowshend Timberlands seems to stand for, calling themselves the "stewards of the land."
The mission of Meadowsend Timberlands Ltd. is to own and maintain a significant inventory of productive forest land which, over time, will be capable of supplying a consistent and predictable amount of high quality and high value forest products without having a detrimental effect on the forest community.
According to its website, its mission is "To demonstrate leadership in sustainably managing a healthy and profitable diversified land base of quality working forestland for future generations of a small, family owned business. Uphold the concepts of environmental conservation by keeping this land open-green-space. Enhancement of sustainable timber resource in both quality and quantity. Be responsible stewards of the land while continually raising our standards. Provide and enhance a diverse variety of habitats for wildlife. Maintain a healthy, productive and aesthetically pleasing forest. Maintain or enhance the water quality of streams and wetland systems. Maintain the stability and integrity of the entire ecosystem within our control. Consider all the known and understood elements of natural forest ecosystem during management decisions."
Digging further into this project we also find several hundred homes located in the shadows of the proposed project, located in the mountains and valleys that will surround the 5,000 acres, many within a couple of thousand feet of the 28 500-foot-high turbines, some even closer.
The villages of Windham and Grafton are the two main settlements to take the brunt of this power punch but there are other communities close to the borders, which will also be impacted. The turbine installations will not only crush the mountain ridges but cause upheaval to the already delicate high elevation mountainsides, which are already straining to hold back water flow from flooding our villages.
Completely unrelated and disassociated with the townspeople in these villages both Iberdrola and Meadowshend Timberlands have no compassion for the impact created by this giant construction project.
I ask what is the driving force for the devastation of 5,000 acres and the cost of renewable green energy?
Keep in mind that Iberdrola is nothing more than a general contractor doing a job to make money by using new state and federal laws to line their pockets. The state needs to conform to these new guidelines so they welcome these renewable energy projects with open arms whether right or wrong, and regardless of the environmental impact. People who will not live near the turbines also don't really care, especially those who do not understand how fragile our forests are, what the forests, rivers and streams already do to our sustainability, the support system the forest provides to plants and animals. The ecosystem that has been there for hundreds of years sustaining us will be gone and forever, changed by the cost of green energy.
So at what cost does green energy come to Southern Vermont? It seems to me that it comes to Vermont "at any cost" as it's all about the money, the "green energy" money, with Iberdrola being the "bank of green energy money." There is no concern for the land, no concern for the impact of the high elevation ridges, the animals and plants, and no concern for the people living near these new proposed wind farms.
Seems Iberdrola has enough money to pay a company that before they met Iberdrola considered themselves the stewards of the land. Iberdrola can afford to pay lobbyists in Montpelier to keep the pressure on elected officials that are supposed to be our representatives. Now Iberdrola is literally trying to pay off the village people in Windham and Grafton to buy their votes.
So, what is the cost of Renewable Green Energy? Well, in Windham and Grafton it doesn't seem to matter, seems cost is no object. It's just all about the money.
Dan Carluccio is a landowner in Windham. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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