The Impact of Ridgeline Wind on Vermont’s Water Resources

On Friday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Grafton Elementary School gymnasium Geoffrey Goll, civil and environmental engineer, and vice-president of Princeton Hydro, will discuss the Saxtons River watershed and the impact of the industrial wind project proposed for Grafton and Windham.  The focus will be based on his direct relevant experience with other wind projects and the impacts of Vermont’s high elevation headwater sources of water for people and the ecology.

Goll says, “Climate change arguments aside, the impact of renewable energy project construction is no different from any other type of land development, such as natural gas fracking or a pipeline construction.  It has all the same types of pitfalls and risks associated with environmental degradation and threats to public health.  And in the case of ridgeline wind, the impacts of blasting and earthwork in sensitive headwater environments, those associated risks are much greater.” 

In discussing project impacts Goll will highlight the extreme difficulty of controlling stormwater run-off from the high-impact, high-elevation construction site proposed for Grafton and Windham.  He will describe the risks associated with the permit conditions and subsequent lack of enforcement by Vermont in permitting of the wind turbine project at Lowell.  He will also discuss the downstream risks imparted by such projects—including increased flooding, stream bank erosion, and sedimentation on culverts, bridges, and downstream communities. 

He says, “The cumulative impacts of these high elevation projects increase substantially as more and more are built.”

The talk is sponsored by the Grafton Woodlands Group and Friends of Windham. The public is invited. Refreshments will be served.  Snow/weather date is March 19 at 2 p.m. 

Geoffrey Goll is licensed professional engineer in seven states, including Vermont, and a founding partner of Princeton Hydro, a water resource and soils engineering firm, and brings his extensive expertise in the areas of stormwater, water quality, and floodplain management into the discussion of energy development.