Mass., Vermont Plan for Clean Energy, Universal High-Speed Internet

In a move that could be repeated in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the state of Vermont is poised to discourage companies from building cell phone towers that look like fake trees and will offer subsidies to encourage the companies to instead build electricity-generating windmills to hold up their cell phone antennas.

In other clean energy news, Western Massachusetts Electric Corporation says it will erect $42 million worth of solar panels. The new solar panels will generate enough electricity for about 6,000 homes. Construction will start in early 2010 and electricity will be generated by next summer, the company says.

Vermont state telecom chief Bill Shuttleworth told the Brattleboro Reformer that he will soon announce details about a plan to build about 200 windmill/cell phone towers around the state. The windmills will also let the state get high-speed internet to every home and business, Shuttleworth said. The windmills will hold wireless internet antennas and will each be about 120 feet tall.

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