A letter from an alternative energy advocate

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A letter from an alternative energy advocate

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:18 pm

Friday, June 20
Douglas plan reflects failed Bush energy view

After reading about Governor Douglas's "Harvest to Heat Initiative," I am astounded. He is continuing on
the same shortsighted path of our Republican presidency. Offering people wood and pellet stoves to offset
the price of oil is beyond shortsighted. Band-Aids are what we give to small children to make them think
we have fixed their pain. This is a Band-Aid solution like my George Bush rebate, which will offset, slightly,
my rising fuel costs but will not fix anything.

Don't get me wrong I have heated with wood and oil for years, and wood has always offset my oil
consumption. I also have a passive solar living room, which I was able to construct with incentives under
the Carter administration, in the late 1970s. Thank you, Jimmy Carter. I actually received substantial
income tax credits as a result of that construction.

Wood is a renewable resource but only when well managed. And the cost of cutting wood is going up at
the same rate as oil because fuel is needed for chainsaws, transportation and manufacturing of pellets.
I foolishly put off buying my final cords of wood until this week (who wants to stack wood in the heat)
and discovered that the cost per cord has jumped $25 since last week because of the increase in the cost
of gasoline. My vendor assured me that increases were expected to continue. To assume that a wood or
pellet stove in every home is a solution is folly. Heating with wood is a lot of work. How will an elderly or
disabled person stack and haul the logs necessary to provide heat. My friends who have pellet stoves
bemoan the fact that, unlike wood stoves, when the power goes out so does the stove, which relies on
electrical blowers. Has anybody reading this lost power this year?

Wood is a fossil fuel. Driving from elevation into a valley on a cold sunny Vermont winter day you can see
the wood smoke smog sitting over our valleys. How does this help global warming? How does this affect
our air quality and our health? More wood stoves mean more smog, even the new super low emission
wood stoves put out smoke.

What about solar? Massachusetts has a smarter solution. The state is proposing future investment in
solar power, providing manufacturing jobs as well as truly clean renewable energy. There are also
proposals for rebates that will make this method affordable to the average person. My passive solar
space does not have long term storage, but on a sunny day in January or February, my furnace doesn't
kick on and my wood stove goes out. Vermont can provide enough energy using solar to make an impact.

And what about wind. I love wind power. Anyone who is scared of windmills should stand in Merck Forest
near the windmill and be lulled by the rhythmic sound. Quite frankly if there is an increase in wood burning
there will be an increase in the melodic (not) sounds of chainsaws all through the state. I am not prepared
to argue for or against large wind farms, but what about smaller windmills that serve a house or a
neighborhood. In the Netherlands, windmills are tourist attractions as well as functional. In downtown
Burlington, there are two small windmills perched on a house on the waterfront. Have they impacted
anyone's enjoyment of Burlington's waterfront? Absolutely not. Confess, did you even notice that they
were there?

Governor Douglas, where are the incentives for homeowners to install truly renewable energy solutions?
Where are the incentives to improve insulation and fix leaky windows and doors, not just for the poorest
but for those of us who are making hard decisions about diapers versus fuel oil or gas to get to work
versus food. Where are the incentives for manufacturers of wind and solar solutions to come to Vermont
and provide jobs as well as opportunities to purchase these goods locally? Where are the rebates to
encourage these kinds of truly renewable solutions?

Vermont could be a leader in this new industry and lifestyle. Instead we are living under a state government
that is missing the boat.

Wood is a fossil fuel. Let's think outside the fire box. Burning anything is not an option when there are
so many others. As long as the planet earth exists there will be sun and wind. We will not need to fight
wars for oil, to hoard at the expense of others and make choices about food versus fuel. Let's get off the
same old bandwagon and think smarter.


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Douglas plan reflects failed Bush energy view
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