Vermont has a Whoa Moment

The need for green energy industrial scale facilities to meet consumer and constituency demands for cleaner, reduced CO2 electricity production is now at a volume that lead to competition with other stated community needs.  When local, these sorts of conflicts get catalogued as NIMBY disputes.  And when the backyard feeling the impact is an entire region or state – well you get a Whoa moment.  The moment when the consequences of assorted actions begin to coalesce, be seen and considered at a scale that elevates the stakes for competing interests.  Vermont has reached that point with the development of wind farms.

The Whoa Moment is burgeoning everywhere. Moratoriums [sic] and ’No’ votes from the grassroots are reaching to all levels of government in all parts of the world. The movement against Natural Destruction is a force unto itself. The development of turbines intrinsically is a decision to “collapse, kill, dig, plug, reduce water quality, explode, and create unbearable noise.”

More can be found here – Vermont Environmentalists:  ‘Time Out’  to Industrial Wind

This is an important discussion to start and encourage.  At some point it will dawn on even those predisposed to one course of action or another that to produce the amount of energy a modern, technological society requires is massively disruptive to ecosystems and environments.   For too long, reliance on foreign oil and coal production from remote regions of this country hid the ecological impact of energy production.  It took only local action to stop or suspend domestic production, processing or distribution because there were plentiful, cheap alternatives readily available that could be utilized. 

The conversion to low density renewable energy requires large areal footprints.  This leads to a great number of affected persons and broader array of constituencies that need to be involved with decision making about these facilities.  And it is this wider effect that elevates NIMBY to a Whoa Moment. 

There is a serious case to be made that these sorts of installations (wind, wave, solar) be placed closer to consumers – trading off economics of scale; paying increased costs; and accepting local impacts.  In return, there is a long-term reduction in environmental consequences due to cleaner energy production, reduced GHG emissions, more efficient utilization of resources.   And time for such considerations is now.