Group takes on Entergy in ad crusade
Wednesday's ads were sponsored by the Clean Green Vermont Alliance, which was co-founded by David Blittersdorf, a former president of the American Wind Energy Association and co-owner with his wife Jan of NRG Systems.
Other co-founders of the Clean Green Vermont Alliance include Pamela Baker of Marketing Partners and Andy Perchlik, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont.
The alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on the impact of fossil fuels and nuclear power on the environment and how renewables can replace those sources of electricity, said Blittersdorf, and is actively pursuing new members.
"We are just starting to grow it."
Recently, Blittersdorf also founded Earth Turbines to develop residential wind turbines for electricity production and is happy to admit he sponsored the ads.
"Entergy tends to hide behind the groups they fund," said Blittersdorf.
Not so with the Clean Energy Vermont Alliance, he said.
"We're Vermonters. I've been here my whole life and I believe in growing businesses that are meaningful to Vermont."
The Clean Green Vermont Alliance wants people to know about the ecological, safety and health issues around coal and nuclear power and the advantages of renewables, said Blittersdorf.
"I would like to see wind energy in Vermont," he said, whether it be large, small or community-based. "We want clean energy."
The stimulus bill should help the renewable energy industry and start-up businesses such as his. That makes it good for the economy as well, he said.
"The small wind turbine industry has never taken off," he said. "It needs a better product."
That's why he founded Earth Turbine, a company in Williston with 15 employees and prospects for the addition of 15 to 30 new jobs this year.
Needing centralized coal-fired or nuclear power plants is "old school thinking," he said, which is the central point to the alliances 72 Good as New campaign.
"We haven't been real successful at pointing out the advantages of renewables," said Blittersdorf, who said the coal and nuclear industries have done a good job of convincing many people that renewables can't supply a continuous supply of baseload power.
"We're really sick and tired of the garbage. This is not a baseload argument."
With an integrated system of hydro, solar, wind and biomass, electricity can be on demand 24 hours a day, he said.
In its public relations blitz, which featured the ads and a 1972 Pontiac LeMans, a car that was parked at the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington on April Fool's Day.
Yankee went on line in 1972.
"There are many products we use today that date back to 1972 -- calculators were invented that year, for example," stated Blittersdorf, in a press release announcing the formation of the Clean Green Energy Alliance. "Do we really want something designed and constructed in 1972 to run until 2032?"
Entergy, which owns and operates Yankee, has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the plant's operating license from 2012 to 2032.
"This '72 LeMans still runs, and it passed the State's inspection -- but it only gets 12 miles to the gallon, on a good day," he stated. "When it comes to a nuclear power plant, I feel very passionately that 40 years is long enough and extending the life-span for another 20 years is a risk we Vermonters can't afford to take."
A spokesman for Vermont Yankee said he had no comment about the advertisement or any of the claims made.
NRG Systems, which was founded in 1982, has 56 employees who develop and make wind assessment systems turbine control equipment for the wind turbine industry.
Marketing Partners, located in Burlington, works with not-for-profits, government entities and companies dedicated to social, health and environmental values, according to its Web site.
Renewable Energy Vermont is dedicated to transitioning from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables as energy sources.
For more information, visit www.72GoodAsNew.com.
Bob Audette can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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