Wind power industry leader calls quits for Vermont

David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables, has become synonymous with industrial-scale wind power over the past decade, and for the second time in as many years, he’s calling it quits in Vermont.

Dairy Air Wind is the most recent wind turbine project that he had under development in the state, and he says he’s done moving it forward through the development process. The installation would have been a single-turbine installation on a 450-acre dairy farm in Holland.

Blittersdorf cites a hostile political climate for his recent decision, and he credits Gov. Phil Scott, who campaigned on opposing industrial wind development in 2016, as the main force behind this new reality.

Wikimedia Commons/Harvey McDaniel

NO MORE WIND: David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables, is calling it quits for the second time in as many years on further wind projects.

“In 2012 there were over a dozen wind projects in development. Now there are none,” he said. “This is truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont. Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We must combat the carbon emissions crisis and move to a renewable energy-based future.

“We simply can’t do this without wind energy as part of the mix. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the science, or is lying.”

Scott has kept his promise to halt wind development. There have been no new wind developments approved under his watch, and two previously approved projects have folded.

In particular, Blittersdorf expressed frustration with the governor’s appointees to the Vermont Public Utility Commission.

The Dairy Air Wind project received a contract to sell electricity to Vermont in 2016, but it hasn’t made much progress since. According to the Blittersdorf press release, “given the current regulatory and political environment, project leadership no longer believes that acquiring a CPG [certificate of public good] is possible.”

Blittersdorf says he doesn’t think any wind project can move ahead now.

“If Vermont is saying no to a project like Dairy Air Wind, we are really saying no to everything,” Blittersdorf said.

He added: “Governor Scott has gotten away with a de facto ban on wind energy without paying the political costs. It is time for Vermonters to step up and demand real action on climate change. Until we change the laws and move toward being powered by 100 percent renewable energy, good renewable energy projects like Dairy Air Wind will continue to fail in permitting.”

This is not the first time Blittersdorf has given up on doing business in Vermont. He put out a similar statement two years ago when he said developers are “being slowed down due to the rules and the present administration that wants to see that some things don’t happen.”

Blittersdorf-backed wind projects have developed a reputation for dividing communities with advocates wishing to fight climate change and opponents concerned about the health and environmental impacts that the turbines have on the local communities.

One of the most vocal opponents of industrial wind turbines in Vermont has been Steven Therrien, who formerly lived near the 40-megawatt Sheffield Wind Farm. While that was not a Blitersdorf project, he had said his family suffered so much from the sound and “infrasound” coming off the project that his family sold their home at a big loss. Therrien passed away suddenly at home on Jan. 2.

When lawmakers took action three years ago to set decibel limits for turbines, to protect Vermonters’ health, Blittersdorf’s reaction was that the limits were too stringent. He said they would amount to a “ban on wind.”

Annette Smith, director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, has been a critic of Blittersdorf. She told True North that Vermonters are “celebrating the end of aggressive wind energy developers who have attempted to force inappropriate technology into Vermont’s rural communities that oppose industrial wind turbines.”

“We hope that renewable energy developers have learned from the numerous failed industrial wind turbine proposals of the last decade how important it is to work with the people who live here,” she added.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Harvey McDaniel
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25 thoughts on “Wind power industry leader calls quits for Vermont

  1. Don’t you wish he means it when he says he quits? Parasites like this are incapable of telling the truth.

  2. Don’t feel too bad for Blittersdorf, he still has his bud car lease on the front burner for the Barre to Montpelier commuter rail project scam!

  3. ……wind energy generation facilities were to be sited in appropriate locations based on clear, predictable and protective environmental standards.

    So let’s see the state map that shows the locations where this can be accomplished. So far I have been unable to find any state agency that can give this information. Any towns interested in hosting an “appropriate location”?

  4. Hostile political climate? Hmm! Blitts couldn’t just admit that he made some poor choices, he puts the blame on the Gov. I thought all along he was a carpetbagger, opportunist, speculator. Thanks to Willem I now understand what fueled his motives. $$$ The saddest day in the VT energy industry was when the likes of VPIRG, and carpetbaggers succeeded in closing Yankee Vernon. I knew a few people who did scheduled maintenances at a number of NE nuke plants, welders, fabricators, a maintenance foreman, and a safety manager. They worked for a couple of contracting companies that specialized in nukes around the country. All of them are very conscientious about the quality of their work. To make the story short, they also live in the regions of the nukes they work on. Yes, Yankee Vernon was an older facility, but it was kept in excellent shape. There was no radioactive leak under a cooling tower as reported by the news media.

    Yankee made 50% of Vermont”s power at the lowest rate in the state and it did so all year long with no interruptions, but for scheduled maintenance. It produced no CO2 whilst making power. That’s why it was shutdown, to make room for RE energy. The folks who shuts it down, especially Shumlin, didn’t care about how much the working citizens had to pay for RE electricity. We’re paying now, since windmills and solar sites have been installed and hooked to the grid, and the lion’s share is currently from Hydro Quebec. My electric bill never used to be over a hundred dollars/ month, in the summer, with four ACs going. Now it’s over that by 20%, in the winter, with my only heat being wood.

  5. I want to thank the commenters to this article. Very important information was provided to the public about the scam of industrial wind turbine projects. Here in the Lake Erie region we are trying to stop the destruction of Lake Erie (drinking water source for over 11 million people) by what may be thousands of IWTs. For the Icebreaker project off of Cleveland, Ohio the developers have received grants totalling $ 55.7 million dollars so far from the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE failed to do an Environmental Impact Statement for the project. U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Cleveland proudly said she envisions wind turbines from Toledo all the way to Buffalo. By the Way—Bernie on the campaign trail is promoting wind turbines in his speeches—what is he saying in Vermont?

  6. Good riddance and don’t let the door hit you in the posterior….

    You bird killing carpetbagger…who’d stick us with higher cost less
    reliable power… I miss my nukes….

  7. Wind and Solar provide extremely expensive unreliable electricity when all grid costs/modifications are considered compared to the alternatives.
    The target is .05 USD at the generation point without transfer costs from other sources.
    Expensive energy means industry and jobs heads overseas and perhaps that suits you.

  8. Blittersdorf wasn’t able to ensure that wind energy generation facilities were to be sited in appropriate locations based on clear, predictable and protective environmental standards. His decision has nothing to do with a hostile political climate.

    • He was spoiled getting everything from Klein/Shumlin.
      Both are cooling their heels in retirement.
      Blittersdorf should join them!

    • Agreed. The resistance to Blittersdorf projects weren’t sure to politics. The locals didn’t see with where he wanted his windmills.

  9. Warren Buffett Quote: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nancy-pfotenhauer/2014/05/12/even-warren-buffet-admits-wind-energy-is-a-bad-investment

  10. Wind and Solar Subsidies Provide a Bonanza for Wall Street and Blittersdorf
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

    This URL shows wind and solar prices per kWh would be at least 50% higher without direct and indirect subsidies. They would be even higher, if the costs of other items were properly allocated to the owners of wind and solar projects, instead of shifted elsewhere. See below section High Levels of Wind and Solar Require Energy Storage.

    About 2/3 of the financial value of a wind project is due to direct and indirect subsidies, and the other 1/3 is due to electricity sales.

    – Indirect subsidies are due to federal and state tax rebates due to loan interest deductions from taxable income, and federal and state MARCS depreciation deductions from taxable income.

    – Direct subsidies are up-front federal and state cash grants, the partial waiving of state sales taxes, the partial waiving of local property, municipal and school taxes.

    Any owner, foreign or domestic, of a wind and/or solar project, looking to shelter taxable income from their other US businesses, is allowed to depreciate in 6 years almost the entire cost of a wind and solar project under the IRS scheme called Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, MARCS. The normal period for other forms of utility depreciation is about 20 years.

    Then, with help of Wall Street financial wizardry from financial tax shelter advisers, such as BNEF*, JPMorgan, Lazard, etc., the owner sells the project to a new owner who is allowed to depreciate, according to MARCS, almost his entire cost all over again. Over the past 20 years, there now are many thousands of owners of RE projects who are cashing in on that bonanza.

    Loss of Federal and State Tax Revenues: The loss of tax revenues to federal and state governments due to MARCS was estimated by the IRS at $266 billion for the 5y period of 2017 – 2021, or about $53.2 billion/y.
    The IRS is required to annually provide a 5y-running estimate to Congress, by law.
    The next report would be for the 2018 – 2022 period

    The indirect largesse of about $53.2 billion/y, mostly for wind and solar plants^ that produce expensive, variable/intermittent electricity, does not show up in electric rates. It likely is added to federal and state debts.

    Most of the direct federal subsidies to all energy projects of about $25 billion/y also do not show up in electric rates. They likely were also added to the federal debt.

    Most of the direct state subsidies to RE projects likely were added to state debts.

    The additional costs of state-mandated RPS requirements likely were added to the utility rate base for electric rates.

    * BNEF is Bloomberg New Energy Finance, owned by the pro-RE former Mayor Bloomberg of New York, which provides financial services to the wealthy of the world, including providing them with tax avoidance schemes.

    ^ In New England, wind is near zero for about 30% of the hours of the year, and solar is minimal or zero for about 70% of the hours of the year. Often these hours coincide for multi-day periods, which happen at random throughout the year, per ISO-NE real-time, minute-by-minute generation data posted on its website. Where would the electricity come from during these hours; $multi-billion battery storage, insufficient capacity hydro storage?

  11. Blittersdorf threatened to move to NY if he did not get his subsidies a few years ago.
    He is still here in Vermont causing trouble and lining his pockets, at the expense of all others?

    Indirect subsidies are due to loan interest deduction and depreciation deductions from taxable incomes.

    Direct subsidies are due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.

    An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.

    That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.

    He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting, he also received various subsidies. The same rationale holds for solar.

    The corresponding SOLAR numbers are 23.5 c/kWh, 21.4 c/kWh, 11.8 c/kWh

    In NE construction costs of ridgeline wind and offshore wind are high/MW, and the capacity factor of wind is about 0.285 and of solar about 0.14. Thus, NE wind and solar have high prices/MWh.

    In US areas, such as the Great Plains, Texas Panhandle and Southwest, with much lower construction costs/MW and much better sun and wind conditions than New England, wind and solar electricity prices/MWh are less.

    Those lower prices often are mentioned, without mentioning other factors, by the pro-RE media and financial consultants, such as Bloomberg, etc., which surely deceives the lay public

    Future electricity cost/MWh, due to the planned build-out of NE offshore wind added to the planned build-out of NE onshore wind, likely would not significantly change, because of the high costs of grid extensions and upgrades to connect the wind plants and to provide significantly increased connections to the New York and Canadian grids.

    NOTE: For the past 20 years, Germany and Denmark have been increasing their connections to nearby grids, because of their increased wind and solar.

    The subsidy percentages in below table are from a cost analysis of NE wind and solar in this article. See URL.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for-2200-kw-field-mounted-solar-system-in

  12. Just another ” Save The World ” boondoggle subsidized by Tax Payers,
    hard-earned money………………

    Wake up people, they are not interested in your well being, they are only
    interested in their pockets !!

  13. Will this mean he won’t get any more HUGE tax-payer $ubsidie$ from Vermonters pockets?

    Can we rest easy? Nice to have electric power even when the big wind doesn’t blow!

    Vermont really needs two Nuclear power generators. Clean, practical, affordable rates and reliable,
    proven safe by decades of reliable power. Make one of them the kind that regenerates used fuel rods!

  14. The PUC played zero role in the failure of this project. The case was stayed by the PUC at one point because Blittersdorf had not complied with the requirement to submit interior noise modeling for all residences in the area. Instead of meeting that requirement, he moved (in a separate case) to size down the turbine from 2.5 MW to 1.5 MW. The town opposed it but they weren’t even granted party status. The PUC gave Blittersdorf what he wanted. Because of the change in turbine, it changed the aesthetics, noise, ice throw and other testimony, so he was supposed to file all that — and the interior sound monitoring — in December 2019. Instead his attorney filed a letter saying they were going to wait until January. And in January the attorney wrote a letter to the PUC saying they were not going to proceed. Tell me how any of that is the PUC’s or Gov. Scott’s fault.

    • Hi Annette,
      You are worth your weight in gold.

      Thank you for revealing the flow of actions so self-serving, demagogues like Blittersdorf, have not a leg to stand on.

      Why in h… does he not move to the Great Plains?

      Plenty of wind, unlike in Vermont, where you have to demolish a pristine ridge line to get some medium winds.

    • Ah, he still has his trains to play with. If he gets his way we will be footing the bill for that big Barre to Montpelier track upgrade, talk about follow the money!

  15. This is a great relief to hear. Now if we can get his rail boondoggle squashed… we’ll be doing pretty good.

  16. Imagine….Difficulty citing energy instrastruture in Vermont

    No good deed goes unpunished

    Welcome to the energy business, David

  17. Blittersdorf also should call it quits on his hairbrained Montpelier to Barre railroad scheme that would require $millions from the state in subsidies.

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