Our opinion: The force of wind


It did, as Governor Deval Patrick said Monday, take a "long, long time to get here," but the Hoosac Wind Project, nine years in the making, will be providing wind energy for a far longer time to come. The 19-turbine project on a ridge line in Florida and Monroe takes a chunk out of the state's carbon footprint and advances the administration's aggressive and farsighted clean-energy policy.

Governor Patrick was joined by local and state government officials atop Bakke Mountain in heralding the completion of the project by the end of the year. Hoosac Wind is expected to produce enough power for 10,000 homes a year and offset roughly 64 million pounds of polluting carbon dioxide created by fossil fuel generation. It will produce just under $7 million in tax revenue for Florida and Monroe.

Hoosac Wind had to slog past nuisance lawsuits and appeals made not on merit but on the philosophical opposition of wind energy foes. It is as environmentally irresponsible to be opposed to any and all wind projects as it would be to endorse any and all wind projects. Turbines are not for everywhere in the Berkshires but under the right circumstances and location they are beneficial. Opponents of wind and solar energy make the false argument that green energy won't end U.S. dependence on fossil fuel energy even though advocates are not making the argument that it will. Green energy, however, does lower dependency while reducing destructive carbon emissions.

The town of Otis is assessing the feasibility of a promising plan to finance a wind turbine to power government buildings and generate revenue by the sale of energy to neighboring towns. Bonding the project would not raise property taxes -- in reality it should reduce them by bringing in revenue. (See letter on this page from Town Administrator Christopher Morris.) Residents are urged to keep open minds on the project as studies are conducted, and separate facts from propaganda.

State Senator Benjamin Downing, a Pittsfield Democrat in attendance on Bakke Mountain, said he looked forward to the day when green energy installations would be "the norm" rather than a celebratory event. Passage of the Wind Siting Reform Act, which would clear away the bureaucratic red tape that stalls projects like Hoosac Wind, would bring that day closer. Foes have succeed in bottling it up, but Monday's event demonstrated that green energy is a reality and while progress can be delayed it cannot be stopped.


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