General and Vermont
Brighton recently adopted a newly amended town plan in which the town says it supports the regional planning agency's call for a moratorium on wind development until further study is done.
Four members of the Brighton Planning Commission and the three members of the town's select board, signed a letter urging the CPG not be issued for the MET towers.
There were planning issues, aesthetic issues, things that people get concerned about when one of these type of projects shows up in their backyard, their neighborhood, so we really felt, and the Commission felt, that we needed to emphasize the planning process more first and also give the public an opportunity, a much longer opportunity to respond. Right now, there's a 45-day public notice period when an applicant is going to file with the board.
Marsha Blomberg, an ISO New England spokesperson, said the grid uses an "economic dispatch" method, which often gives the most expensive power source the temporary ax. But Johnson said cheaper sources could be curtailed if it keeps the grid safe.
Senate Bill 30 might have gotten the wind knocked out of it this session, but a revised bill - far from its original call for a moratorium on big wind projects - sailed through a second reading on the House floor Friday by a vote of 140-3.
That does not mean, however, that some senators have ceased trying to pump the legislation back up.
The four wind turbines on Georgia Mountain, stationary for a week, are expected to spin back into action in the near future while technicians run safety checks, a company official said Thursday.
A faulty electrical component at the site’s tie-in with power lines caused the turbines to shut down automatically, project manager Martha Staskus told the Burlington Free Press.
Kim Fried, chairman of the Town of Newark's Planning Commission, which amended the Town Plan last year to ban industrial wind projects, a change overwhelmingly supported by residents, said "We are very disappointed and saddened. Neither SMW, the PSB or the state of Vermont appear to care about the concerns of Newark's citizens and I think this attitude towards small towns is beginning to bother many other citizens across the state, as it should.
David Hallquist, CEO of the utility Vermont Electric Cooperative, publicly opposed any new utility-scale wind projects in the Northeast Kingdom because the ISO-New England, is ordering Vermont and New Hampshire wind projects to curtail electricity output to maintain grid stability. Hallquist said the co-op and its utility partner, Green Mountain Power, have already lost $1 million this winter on curtailment of Lowell Mountain's 21-turbine Kingdom Community Wind Project.
Senators took a bill that called for a three-year moratorium on large-scale wind developments, pared it down to legislation that would have required large energy generation projects to conform to Act 250 land-use criteria, and then stripped it to $75,000 worth of studies for the House to consider.
"The basic fact is just to make a small dent-- a few percent of the energy demand in the Northeast and virtually nothing in the Southeast-- you would have to develop thousands of miles of ridgeline. You'd be talking about devastating impacts to the mountaintops due to bulldozing and blasting," Luce said.
Two members of the public grilled the town's Selectboard on Tuesday with questions about the planning commission and a meeting between the board's chairman and a representative from an energy company constructing a test tower.
Stone, who owns G. Stone Motors in Middlebury, said Friday the condition in the agreement was his way out, but other factors also contributed to his family pulling their support.
"The main reason was they stopped paying the rent of the land," Stone said. "But I was not aware of the devastation on the mountain they were going to have."
Vermont Electric Cooperative will oppose any large new wind project in northern Vermont, including Seneca Mountain Wind, CEO David Hallquist says.
That's because existing wind projects have introduced instability in the grid, prompting grid operator ISO-New England to order existing wind projects in Vermont and New Hampshire to cut back or "curtail" electricity output.
He said opponents of the bill "threw huge amounts of money" into defeating S.30. He added he was shocked by the hypocrisy of the renewable energy movement that expressed interest in preserving a clean environment but opposes Act 250 environmental oversight of large scale renewable energy projects.
"I would have preferred to get the protections for the towns," Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee Chairman Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington, said, but he added, "We'll be back. This is going to continue. It was a good debate."
The Senate is due to vote again on the newly revised bill, likely Thursday, when attempts could be made to change the bill again before sending it to the House.
John Ewing, a former chairman of the state environmental board, says the issue has badly divided environmentalists. He supports the Senate bill. ...If there were "a more adequate environmental review and the impact on aesthetics that Act 250 provides, and opportunity for citizen participation that Act 250 provides, that would make a big difference and I think a lot of the conflicts that we see now and the gridlock would go away if we had a proper process," Ewing said.
By a vote of 88-12, residents of this Northeast Kingdom hill town voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to raise the tax rate by about a nickel to defend their community's opposition to placing commercial wind turbines on a local ridgeline.
Following more than an hour of discussion on an article regarding proposed commercial wind development here, voters at Grafton's annual Town Meeting on Tuesday overwhelmingly agreed to table it "as if it never existed," according to Moderator Bill Kearns.
Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham, Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington, and Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia/Orange, said they were concerned about the development of Vermont's ridgelines by commercial wind developers and the lack of local control in the decision-making process.
When wind energy is on the agenda at tax-decision time, it's a matter of for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.
Barton Chronicle editor Chris Braithwaite said Tuesday afternoon he planned to drop a lawsuit against the company after it promised to compensate him $22,500 for legal fees he racked up defending himself against a previously dismissed trespassing charge.