The Manchester Community Wind Farm will produce low-cost, clean, renewable electricity from modern wind turbines on LIttle Equinox Mountain near Manchester, Vermont. For an up front fee, local residents, school, businesses, churches, etc. will be able to buy a slice of the power from the project, getting a low, stable rate over a 15-yr contract. This community wind model was developed in response to feedback from local residents who wanted more local benefits from the project.
The Manchester Community Wind Farm will use local resources to provide low-cost power while reducing air pollution and global warming emissions. It gives Manchester residents the opportunity to think globally and act locally; demonstrating to the town’s many visitors how wind energy fits in with their community. Mt. Equinox, which has already held wind energy projects twice before in its past, is a particularly good site as it is already developed with a road, power line, and an Inn at the summit. It has a world-class wind resource.
Letters of Support for a wind farm on Little Equinox Mountain: Numerous individuals have publicly shown their support for wind power by writing letters to the editor.
Burlington Electric Strongly Supports Wind Power
Burlington Free Press - Letter to the Editor
by Patty Richards
The simple act of turning on a light switch or a computer triggers a complex chain reaction of events. Generation turns on, transmission lines energize, and electricity is delivered. As we consider Vermont's energy future, we need to make the connections between our energy use and where that power comes from.
Having recently listened to many debates and discussions on energy issues for the state of Vermont, I want to reiterate why Burlington Electric Department is a strong supporter of wind energy. Over the years, BED has made wise energy decisions; our rates are testament to that. If Vermont is going to have a strong economy and build sustainable communities, in-state renewable generation is a necessary part of our energy future. Consider the following facts:
Much of the debate around wind focuses on aesthetics. Many people who fear how wind farms will look have never seen one. I encourage people to visit Searsburg in southern Vermont or the Madison and Fenner wind farms in central New York State. Owned and operated by Green Mountain Power, the 11 Searsburg turbines have been providing electricity to Vermont since 1997. Most visitors find them visually appealing and in harmony with the landscape. Skeptics often come away impressed. Tourism has not suffered.
When the 50 MW McNeil wood chip plant located in Burlington's Intervale was on the drawing boards back in the early 1980s, opponents said that such a plant would cause the end of Vermont's forests from clear cutting and that tourism would be negatively affected. Not only has this not happened, but the local generation has been an economic boost for Vermont and has increased reliability for the region. McNeil helped to spare Vermont from the blackout in the summer of 2003 and kept the lights on for all of Vermont during the summer of 2000 when transmission equipment failed near Plattsburg. I'm glad people did not cave to the fear tactics 20 years ago with McNeil, and I hope they don't today with wind. Our Green Mountains will not be ruined by appropriately sited wind turbines, but rather by acid rain and other pollutants coming from fossil fuel, especially coal-fired electric plants. Some opponents say that if we develop wind energy some of the electrons may go out of state. Vermont now is a net importer of power, so most electrons will stay here. Only if power is left over will it flow out of state.
As Vermont gets closer to 2012, when Vermont Yankee and the bulk of the Hydro-Quebec contract ends, we have choices to make. If we do nothing, then we are making a choice for more transmission lines to bring in out-of-state generation. However, if we instead choose to increase energy efficiency and promote in-state renewables, we are securing a stronger economic and environmental future for our state.
We do not need to fear what we can see -- wind turbines spinning gracefully in a few spots along our hill tops -- but rather what we cannot see -- the mercury contamination that is poisoning our fish and making them non-edible, acid rain that is acidifying our lakes and destroying our forests, and carbon dioxide that is bringing us global warming.
When you compare all the facts and make the big picture connections, I think most people would find these unseen air emissions pretty scary and find wind power a good choice. Let's face it; electricity has to come from somewhere.
Director of Resource Planning
Burlington Electric Department
From our email "Inbox"
Dear Endless Energy Corporation,
I am a resident of Arlington, Vt and work in Manchester. I feel those who are against the project are receiving a disproportionate percentage of representation in the media and in town council/commission meetings and votes. Often those who support projects such as these are a lot quieter than those who oppose, even though the support may be the majority of residents. Has a letter of support for the project been circulated anywhere in the area? I support wind energy and would be happy to speak up on the issue, but it is difficult to track when and where to give my input.
Best of luck,
Made in Vermont
Burlington Free Press - Letter to the Editor - 3/16/05
by Li Ling Young
As I viewed Killington ski area from I-89 today, I wondered how visible wind turbines would be on that same ridge. Would I be able to see them 20 or 30 miles off as one can see the wide ski trails cut into the mountainside? As a snowboarder, those trails represent a fun day outdoors serving my need for speed. To a small business owner, they could represent income that out of town skiers bring. To a wildlife conservationist, perhaps they represent destructive human intrusion into a fragile alpine environment. If the Vermont aesthetic can accommodate the scarred mountainside of a ski resort, can we not accept wind turbines on mountain ridges? Just like the ski area, a view of wind turbines is full of meaning: clean energy, use of a local resource, the mark of human use of the landscape.
In the past week there has been news of mercury pollution in Vermont, primarily due to coal fired electric power plants, and new rules for regulating emissions from the dirtiest power plants. Vermont can take responsibility for our energy use and its political, environmental and economic side effects by embracing renewable energy. When we expand our aesthetic to appreciate the value and beauty of wind power, while protecting the mountaintop ecosystem, Vermont will again lead the way with vision for a long term energy future, made in Vermont.
Wind Power: Aesthetic Judgments are Often Based on More than Looks
Rutland Herald and other papers - Letter to the Editor - 3/25/04
by Keith Dewey, AIA Weston, Vermont
Judgments of beauty are not always based only on the way thinks look. There is also an intellectual facet to all aesthetic experiences.
Unfortunately, many of us in Vermont have not been careful to consciously monitor the quality and validity of information which we are digesting into our subconscious process of aesthetic judgment relating to windmills. Purely visual aesthetic judgments about windmills seem to be taking a backseat to what people perceive them to mean. There are many unjustified fears and partial-truths being peddled by those who oppose wind power about their visual impacts and the future of our environment, ecosystems and energy situations. They are busy trying to make us all see windmills as "bad" when we think of them so that their NIMBY aesthetic opinions will rule the day. I appreciate the efforts of these ‘Good Samaritans’ to decide for me that windmills are new, different, and therefore inappropriate, but as an architect, citizen and parent, I think I’m qualified to think for myself.
These self-appointed keepers of aesthetic righteousness have been busy spinning tales about the evils of wind power. Their words are painstakingly crafted to subconsciously bias the public with phases like "industrial factories along our ridge lines" and that a handful of sensibly-sighted wind farms will turn "Vermont into the pinwheel state"… I could go on for pages and pages.
The net result of these distortions of reality has been a subconscious aesthetic conclusion by some Vermonters that windmills are "evil", "bad" and "ugly". The purely visual aesthetic judgment of wind turbines is being overpowered by what people have come to believe they mean.
Unfortunately, many of the NIMBY’s have simply not yet found the courage to open their minds to the possibility of "joy" and the magnificently positive result which these projects could provide for our society, our children and our planet. In my mind, the aesthetic experience of viewing sensibly designed wind turbines is one of profound beauty. A "positive" aesthetic experience.
New and different utilitarian structures that provide a service to man do not have to be seen as "inappropriate" or "bad" to a creative and open-minded soul. If that were true, how did awkward-looking lighthouses, dams, monuments, public art and flagpoles ever end up as focal points on our post cards, calendars, photographs and landscapes? Following the logic of wind power opponents, aren’t sailboats, ski resorts, all architecture and man-made entities that stand out as separate from nature then visually offensive too? What is the subconscious aesthetic impact of watching a daily dose of soldiers in the Mideast die on television in order to perpetuate the lifestyle of the 20th century fossil fuel generations? What is the total sum aesthetic impact of alternative sources of power when we include infrastructure and delivery systems such as strip mining, oil spills and fossil fuel power plant smokestacks? How beautiful will our mountains be with little life or snow on them due to pollution and climate change?
I love to look at modern windmills. Their simple, clean and graceful form and kinetic movement carries strong visual aesthetic appeal to me because of how they look and for what they really mean. They are a bright symbol of hope. When I look at windmills, they symbolize and trigger comforting emotional meanings like sanity, intelligence, maturity, peace, environmental congruency, bright future, harmony, energy and political freedom, high morality, legacy to our children, free fuel forever, sophisticated simplicity, cleanliness, planetary stewardship, the constant power of nature and a reminder that maybe we can be intelligent enough to save ourselves and the planet after a century of ignorance, hedonism and bad choices relating to self-preservation and sustainability. They silently convey to me that our society is finally evolving to become smart enough to produce what it consumes while minimizing the soiling of our fragile nest.
Please email us if you are interested posting your letter of support for the project on our website. Sign our online support petition for the project and receive periodic newsletters about our progress.
"Vermont Yankee: The Costs of Nuclear"
"Vermont receives $8.8 million in recovery funds for renewable energy projects"
"A Decade of Change: A vision for Vermont's Renewable Energy Future"
"On the Ground: Manchester, Vermont" from the Orton Family Foundation E-Journal