United States

United States

Customers want wind

More than four-fifths of the customers of Green Mountain Power Co (GMP) approve of wind, the Vermont-based utility says. In a survey conducted by the utility, 83% of customers support wind energy development, which the utility is already involved in. GMP has been testing two Kenetech Windpower turbines on Mount Equinox for two years (see cover).

In August GMP was also one of three utilities chosen for funding by the Electric Power Research Institute and the US Department of Energy. The utility will receive $3 million towards its project to build an 8 MW wind farm -- using as yet unspecified turbines -- in southern Vermont.

In the survey, as many as 66% of those questioned say they would not even object to a wind farm near their home, and 80% say they would prefer to buy power generated from renewables rather than from fossil fuels. In addition, 62% would pay more for clean power, says the utility, which is based in South Burlington.

"We were pleasantly surprised to see such a high acceptance," comments utility senior vice president Norm Terreri. But Terreri also stresses it was not entirely unexpected. He says the utility has had a powerful outreach programme to educate customers, environmental groups and others about wind ever since erecting its two-turbine installation. He also says local and media acceptance of Mount Equinox has been consistently high.

"They really are interested in renewable resources and in stepping forward to be counted," he says of GMP customers. "They are not so concerned if (wind-generated power) is within eyesight or costs more." Vermont is known for its environmental skew. The state's government and regulators are also disposed towards renewables, adds Terreri.

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