Dubie says wind power important for Vermont’s future

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(Host) Lieutenant. Governor Brian Dubie says he believes wind power should play an important role in Vermont’s energy future.

This puts Dubie at odds with Governor Jim Douglas, who opposes the development of wind projects on most Vermont’s ridgelines.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Since his election as Lt. Governor four years ago, Brian Dubie has been an enthusiastic supporter of virtually every initiative proposed by Governor Jim Douglas.

But there’s one issue where Dubie and Douglas don’t see eye to eye – whether or not wind power should play a critical role in Vermont’s energy future.

While Douglas has been a vocal opponent of efforts to locate wind projects on Vermont’s mountain ridgelines, Dubie told participants at a special energy summit earlier this week that he’s “an unabashed supporter of wind.”

Dubie, who also works as a commercial airline pilot, thinks an existing group of wind turbines in Searsburg, clearly demonstrate the potential of wind power in the state:

(Dubie) “When I fly over Vermont I look down at Searsburg quite a bit from the air and I do believe there’s an opportunity to harness the wind to be a part of our energy future.”

(Kinzel) Dubie thinks creating opportunities for wind power in Vermont will also yield economic benefits:

(Dubie) “Any dollar that we can keep in state is a dollar that would be generated and circulated in our communities.”

(Kinzel) Dubie says it’s important to listen to local concerns about siting wind turbines and he thinks the state’s energy regulatory review process, known as Act 248, will be able to consider projects in a thoughtful manner.

(Dubie) “It’s something that a local community and through the Act 248 process I think we’re going to have to work together. There’s other questions obviously with impact on birds and bats. There’s research that needs to be done to make sure that the locations aren’t going to have a negative impact on wildlife but it’s my belief that we can work these things out.”

(Kinzel) Dubie readily acknowledges his disagreement with the governor and he thinks their disagreement could serve an important function.

(Dubie) “In many ways the governor and I can model our sincerity and our equally valid points of view. It’s not a lot different than the little tension or the little discussions that are going across statewide. The governor and I are no different than what’s going on in communities and families and trying to sort out these issues.”

(Kinzel) The Public Service Board recently rejected an application to locate a group of wind turbines on East Mountain in East Haven. That leaves one other project under PSB review – a plan to locate 26 turbines in Sheffield and Sutton.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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