March 2005


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VGBN Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
Michelle Smith Mullarkey <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 31 Mar 2005 15:57:30 -0500
VGBN Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
TEXT/PLAIN (57 lines)

here is a link to Sam Hemingway's column.
Also pasted below:
NRG founder says Vt. needs wake-up call David Blittersdorf of Charlotte smiles a
lot, and who can blame him? He's the founder of NRG Systems, the world's leading
wind energy measuring equipment manufacturer. Blittersdorf started the company in a
spare bedroom 23 years ago and has watched it grow by more than 20 percent each year
since. Today, the firm is run by his wife, Jan. The company resides in a new,
48,000- square-foot facility in Hinesburg recognized as perhaps the most
energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, beautiful workplace in Vermont. Ten
miles of radiant piping under its floor warm and cool the structure. Artificial
lights brighten and dim, depending on the amount of natural light available. Hand-
painted artwork graces the building's walkways. Recyclable materials are everywhere,
right down to bathroom tiles made out of old car windshields. A small wind turbine
and solar panels generate power for the plant, sometimes more than it can use.
"Right now, our meter's going backward," Blittersdorf chuckled. "We're probably
providing the power for the Mobil station down the road." Ask him about the
criticism of plans to erect four wind turbines on the top of East Mountain in East
Haven, and the smile on Blittersdorf's face starts to fade. The Northeast Kingdom
project is seen as a test case on the future of wind power in Vermont. "If East
Haven doesn't get built, Vermont isn't going to have wind energy to any great
degree," he predicted. "I consider that energy suicide." The world's energy supplies
-- particularly oil and natural gas -- are on the verge of dwindling, he said. That
and the increased demand for fuel in emerging countries such as China will only
drive prices higher. As high as the price of a barrel of crude is now, Blittersdorf
expects it will be dramatically higher five years from now. In the face of this
yawning crisis, Vermont seems content to close its eyes and think it can continue to
be what Blittersdorf called an "environmental Disneyland." No serious
power-generating facility has been built in the state in 20 years. Government
incentives for renewable energy are lacking. Conservation efforts have focused on
reducing electrical use, not energy use, he said. "For some reason, Vermont doesn't
want to own up to the fact we import 90 percent of our energy," he said. "We don't
have oil, natural gas or uranium deposits. Even all of Vermont Yankee's fuel is
imported. Hydro Quebec? It's flooded thousands of acres of Indian lands."
Blittersdorf said wind is the best energy option available to the state, and not
because it might make his company some money. NRG sells to 110 countries worldwide,
and will grow at its double-digit annual rate regardless of what happens on East
Mountain. Blittersdorf said the beauty of wind energy is that it's clean, quiet,
cheap to develop and endlessly available. Vermonters also like wind energy,
according to a 2004 Macro International poll conducted for Renewable Energy Vermont.
The poll found that 79 percent of those questioned would not be bothered by the
sight of wind turbines on Vermont ridge lines. "There is no reason we couldn't have
50 percent of our energy supplied by wind," Blittersdorf said. Contact Sam
Hemingway, state news columnist, at 660-1850 or e-mail at
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David Blittersdorf
NRG Systems, Inc.
110 Riggs Road
Hinesburg, VT 05461 USA
Tel: 802-482-2255
email: [log in to unmask]