The Rutland Herald recently wrote about the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ application to the Clean Energy Development Fund for a grant to conduct an 18 month study of natural resources and wind resources.

VCE found a similar study a year ago and sent it to ANR with the comment that it looks like a worthwhile endeavor.  But Vermont’s proposal seems “too little, too late,” and since we already have mapped data (available through all regional planning commissions with their excellent GIS mapping capabilities), it’s not clear why this endeavor needs to take 18 months or cost so much.

VCE told the reporter that at best the study will tell us what we know.  But there are a lot of areas of Vermont where the types of data that this study intends to include have not been evaluated, so the study will also tell us what we don’t know.  And it will not tell us about things that are site specific like wetlands.  So while we support the idea, it seems to create a level of uncertainty for wind developers, and it is going to take so much time that any projects currently proposed will not have the benefit of the results.

The study is not what Governor Shumlin said he was going to do when he got into office, where he promised that in 6 weeks we would know where wind will and won’t go.  Perhaps he is learning, as are many Vermonters, that there is nothing simple about wind development on Vermont’s ridgelines, and that it is a time sink.

Will ANR’s study evaluate all the wetlands and vernal pools on top of Vermont’s mountains?  Is the photo below Sheffield, Deerfield, or Lowell?