Symington backs plan to increase wind power

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(Host) Wind power has emerged as a key issue in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Democratic candidate Gaye Symington backs a plan for wind turbines to provide 20 percent of Vermont’s electricity over the next ten years.

Symington says 15 sites around the state could be developed for wind turbines. She wants to streamline the state’s regulatory process so the projects could be built as soon as possible.

(Symington) “The U.S. Department of Energy says Vermont can generate 6,000 megawatts of power from wind. All I’m calling for is 500 megawatts. It’s a very realistic goal, as long as we take the action we need to encourage it and get out of the way of the private sector in developing wind."

(Host) Republican Governor Jim Douglas says wind power should be part of the state’s overall energy strategy. But he says Symington’s plan goes much too far.

(Douglas) “I don’t believe that we should industrialize our ridgelines. I don’t think we should put huge, 450-foot turbines on the ridgelines that so beautifully define the natural landscape of our state. ………And remember, the wind doesn’t always blow. So this is not a responsible replacement for our base load power."

(Host) Symington says Douglas is ignoring the many positive aspects of wind projects.

(Symington) “We’re not talking about windmills on every ridgeline in Vermont. We’re talking about a very limited use of wind within the state. I think Vermonters look at wind turbines and they see jobs. They know that they have the opportunity to save money and that they’re looking for a reliable and predictable source of power for our business community in the long term."

(Host) Symington says her wind plan is part of an overall energy strategy that relies more heavily on renewable power sources and energy efficiency projects.

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