Renewable Vermont?

Developers of industrial solar arrays and wind turbines pay for the sites. How about natural views and restful quiet replaced by industrial sights and sounds offending surrounding landowners, tenants, visitors and travelers' eyes, ears and spirits?

Act 250 addressed these questions, limiting all development above 2,500-feet elevation and setting criteria for developmental impacts affecting everyone. But it was enacted in 1970, before industrial solar arrays and wind turbines. Now the Vermont Public Service Board can preempt Act 250 to permit them. Moreover, towns, school districts and property taxpayers welcome their taxable values. And environmentalists welcome renewable energy.

Should willing towns invite industrial solar arrays and wind turbines like other industrial development? Should industrial solar-array and wind-turbine developers be required to offer fair-market-value buyouts to abutting landowners? Alternatively, should assessed values of surrounding properties be reduced by amounts added to the assessed value of an industrial solar-array or wind-turbine development? Act 250 criteria verify that a development satisfies community standards in Vermont. If not, why should industrial solar arrays and wind turbines be permitted? So that renewable energy credits can be sold elsewhere in New England?

— Howard Fairman Putney