Georgia Mountain wind farm opening day festivities in June 2013. VBM file photo.
Vermont Business Magazine A coalition of individuals and businesses seeking to protect Vermont's environment and repower our state with local renewables have launched a campaign in support of wind power in Vermont. The coalition, Wind Works VT launched a website – www.windworksvt.com - and will promote wind power as an essential part of the state’s energy future. In the face of rampant misinformation spread by an anti-wind minority, the campaign aims "to reaffirm that wind must be a part of our fight against climate change and to make our state more energy independent from polluting fossil fuels. Every legitimate poll conducted in Vermont over the last few years has found that the majority of Vermonters support wind energy. Wind Works VT will work to ensure that their voices are heard."
“The future of our energy system is in jeopardy and our planet is at stake,” said Wind Works VT spokesperson Kyle Martel. “Wind power is a clean, cost-effective renewable energy source that reduces the region’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels. As Vermont moves towards a future of 90 percent renewable energy by the year 2050 it is critical that wind play an important role in that transformation.”
On its facebook page, a post from August 10 states: "Wind power became a central issue in the Democratic primary and the candidate that best articulated the benefits of wind power for VT won. The recognition that this cleanenergy technology is good for the environment, good for our planet and helps us get to our 90 percent renewable energy goal helped put Sue Minter over the top."
The reference is to Minter's opponent Matt Dunne, who advocated for more local control of renewable energy sources, which renewable energy advoactes maintain could stifle development of such projects. Dunne's position became a major issue late in the campaign and is widely viewed as having hurt him in the Democratic primary August 9, which Minter won convincingly.
Wind Works VT will focus on providing Vermonters with factual information about wind power and will fact check false claims made by anti-wind groups.
“Wind power is an important source for our energy independence,” Martel said. “Vermont’s four existing wind projects - Sheffield, Kingdom Community Wind, Georgia Mountain Community Wind, and Searsburg - generate enough clean energy to power more than 46,000 households and contribute nearly $1 million to the Vermont Education Fund and more than $1.25 million to local communities annually.”
Martel told VBM that: "The organziation is setup as C4, so it is a nonprofit. The organization is funded by individual Vermonters and wind developers. Unfortunately the behavior of some of the anti-wind people in this state has bordered on harassment and due to that we are going to respect individuals and developers anonymity."
However, he did say that the Wind Works VT board members are Arthur Berndt, Tom Gray, and Jessica Edgerly-Walsh.
Berndt is a sugarmaker at Maverick Farm in Sharon. He was finance chair for Peter Shumlin’s first campaign for governor. He is currently on the board of the Governor’s Council on Energy & the Environment. In 2002 he sued the federal government over its support of fossil fuel companies. Gray is a consultant. Edgerly-Walsh is a Montpelier city councilor and organizing director at SunCommon.