Clean Energy Boost

Two existing dams near Brattleboro will likely soon be used to generate roughly the amount of electricity used by 6,000 people. The dams are along the West river, which meets the Connecticut river about a mile north of downtown Brattleboro. The dams are in the Vermont towns of Jamaica and Townshend.

For years, environmental activists have held rallies, been arrested for peaceful protests, and called and written their legislators to protest polluting ways to generate electricity like nuclear, coal, and gas. One result has been legislators' move to have states pay more for clean energy such as wind, solar, and hydro, and to invest in energy efficiency programs.

As of 2009, the most recent year for which data were available, Massachusetts had committed to getting 15 percent of its electricty from renewable sources by 2020. New Hampshire had committed to getting 24 percent of its electricty from renewable sources by 2025. Vermont had set a goal of getting 10 percent of its electricty from renewable sources by 2013. More than a dozen states had failed to set any goals for clean energy.

The dam project is being run by Community Hydro Corporation www.communityhydro.biz of Plainfield, Vermont. The dams were built decades ago for flood control. Until now they haven't generated electricty. A company spokesperson told Vermont Public Radio that the dams should be generating power some time next year.

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