If elected governor in November, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott says he’ll work to stop industrial wind development in Vermont. Scott says his goal is to come to a consensus with the Legislature about how to regulate wind development, but that he would act unilaterally if necessary.
“I would not rule out the possibility of some sort of executive order to stop this from happening,” Scott said in an interview Thursday.
Scott says his position on the matter was influenced by personal experience.
“I remember when I first saw industrial wind up close. I was riding through Craftsbury on my bike. It was after the first phase [of development] came through, which I was supportive of – I like renewables, I like to be able to take care of ourselves and be more energy independent, independent in every sense of the word. But I was riding my bike through Craftsbury Common coming down through into Albany, and I looked up and I couldn’t believe the massiveness of what I saw. And I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that.”
Now, Scott is firmly opposed to further industrial-scale wind developments in Vermont.
“I think that it’s unfair to destroy our ridgelines any further than they have already, and I think we should stop now," he says.
While he opposes wind development in Vermont, Scott says he is in favor of other forms of renewable energy.
“I think solar is the answer in the future. I think hydrogen [is]," he said. "Technology’s changing every single day, and I think that there’s going to be opportunities [for] much more efficient renewables in the future.”
The systems in place to regulate energy development in Vermont, many of which flow through the Vermont Public Service Board, have been criticized in recent years for approving energy developments despite strong local opposition.
A law passed this year was designed to respond to those concerns, and Scott says even more can be done.
“I do think that more municipalities, more locals, need to have a voice – more control over the process. And I think we were able to move forward on that and I think we should move forward more in the future,” he said.
Scott specifically mentioned the New England Clean Power Link, a proposed transmission line running under Lake Champlain and then underground to a substation in Ludlow, where the power will be sent to the southern New England market.
“I think that that’s something we might want to think about for our own power needs," Scott said. "We have hydro to our north. That’s a great resource and affordable."