A 40-page draft bill unveiled in the Vermont Legislature last week would place a three-year moratorium on wind projects with a production capacity of more than 500 kilowatts. The bill is being backed with bipartisan support.
The arguments in favor of this idea are amusingly consistent with those being made for moratoriums on other forms of energy extraction (ex. It’s potentially too risky, and/or we need time to study it).
But even if wind turbines don’t produce nearly the same economic value as say, hydraulic fracturing (which Vermont already banned), that doesn’t make a moratorium justifiable by default because a moratorium still infringes on local property rights and zoning laws. This prevents local communities from determining what level of development they are willing to accept.
Instead, state officials should seek to remove any form of government support for the industry and its competitors, thereby still allowing those who choose to develop wind resources a chance to pursue their enterprise and overcome the ensuing market challenges.