It takes a business, not a foolish windmill
Nov 01, 2012 | 1107 views | 4 4 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the Editor:

I am no fan of litigation defeating legislation and oppose both the state of Vermont’s lawsuit against the Vermont Yankee license and the quixotic opposition to the ridgeline windmills.

That said, the windmills are a foolish expense: I hope Don Quixote succeeds.

Windmills, like most renewable energy sources, are uneconomic. How do we know this? The government has to support them through tax incentives and by forcing utilities to buy their power at higher than market rates. But for these incentives there would be no windmills. In Vermont utilities have to buy windmill power at 27 cents per kilowatt hour versus a market rate of 5 cents, more than five times the going rate. Is this why we have the third highest electric rates in the nation and why those rates are increasing while in other New England states they are falling?

The tax revenues that the towns are lusting after does not come from productive investment and increased employment, it is rather, just a transfer payment, not corporate welfare, but inter-government welfare. Subsidies and mandated price support are given to windmill operators who then pay local real estate taxes. Thus all consumers pay more for electricity so that some localities benefit. And these higher electric rates are borne disproportionately by lower-income residents, a very regressive tax in a very progressive state.

This is not the redistribution of wealth, it is redistribution of pain. The residents of Searsburg and Readsboro may see their property taxes go down (probably not) but they, along with everyone else in the valley, will see their electric bill go up.

I am sympathetic to the economic plight of the towns, and the entire valley. But the only solution is economic growth; with growth much is possible, without it nothing is possible. Economic growth cannot be achieved by making uneconomic investments.

It takes a business not a windmill.

Michael Recca

Wardsboro

Comments
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hithardinthehead
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December 11, 2012
For everyone's information, they are not called wind mills. Those are something totally different, they are called "Wind Turbines" and because it is renewable energy they are worth every penny and not a waste of money at all. What is a waste of money is the fact the we keep the Vernon, VT yankee power plant open, when it should be shut down for good. We need to begin building solar and wind turbines, there is a richer much powerful energy and its renewable and safe.
HittheNailRightontheHead
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November 02, 2012
Mr. Recca: Well stated. What you fail to mention is the fact that towns like Searsburg and Readsboro who have many National Forest non property taxable acres are already taking on the chin. To those residents they feel like they are getting something out of the deal for "subsidizing" the govt share of property taxes.

As for the windmill subsidy, I agree with you, however why are you not complaining about the Vermont Energy Efficency charges which are levied monthly on everyone's electric bills? That group is the real hog here with their snoot in your pocketbook.They take from you and you have to reach to get back. At least with the spinning windmills there is productivity as an end result, expensive as it may be.
merecca
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November 05, 2012
Thank you for the comment. And I did not complain about the VT Energy Efficiency charges - or other things - because of the limitations on length. And I fully agree that Searsburg and Readsboro are taking on the chin, or perhaps in a more sensitive spot, because of the non-taxable land.
hithardinthehead
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December 11, 2012
You know those surcharges that were added on the electric bills in Readsboro, VT? well I fought every step of the way and didn't have to pay one dime of those surcharges, so there is good out there. KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!