New Hampshire or Vermont
It has been almost two years since voters at Town Meeting directed the Select Board to oppose a wind project planned for Little Equinox with up to $150,000 after a contentious discussion. As this year's Town Meeting approaches, the proposal seems to have dropped from the radar of both the proponent and the town directed to stop it.
Endless Energy, a Yarmouth, Maine-based company, had proposed to build five 390-foot wind turbines on Little Equinox to generate 30 million kilowatt-hours a year that would be sold to the Burlington Electric Department. ...On the municipal side, the money voters set aside to oppose the project is no longer being held in reserve and has been added to an allocated surplus fund, according to Manchester Town Manager John O'Keefe.
Gov. Don Carcieri is gambling that he can overcome that opposition and build enough windmills to satisfy 15 percent of the state's energy needs in five years. Environmentalists say the plan is workable but ambitious considering that Rhode Island would essentially be starting from scratch.
Patrick Eagan is trying to rejoin the Select Board.
Eagan, 66, served several years on the board and was chairman when he resigned in 2000. At the time he said he took his recent primary defeat in a legislative race as a vote of no-confidence from the town. The following year he lost to Thomas Ettori, who had been appointed to replace him.
This time, Eagan is running for one of the pair of one-year seats on the board against incumbents James Leamy and Stephen Williams Sr.
"I follow the town," Eagan said. "I still represent the town on the transportation council. People called, asked me to run — several people. I had a concern personally about the wind towers. I'd like to be in a position to listen and give input."
Eagan said he was leaning toward favoring the wind farm and was concerned about anti-wind activists coming to town from other parts of the state.
"I think the main thing is to listen to the local people," he said.
A Georgia family is preparing to seek state approval for three 400-foot wind turbines atop Georgia Mountain, the first commercial wind project to be proposed for Chittenden County. ...If all goes as planned, Georgia Mountain Community Wind will file an application with the state Public Service Board by Jan. 1. If the project wins approval, the turbines would be installed in 2010.
The Harrisons' proposal differs from most of the dozen other wind projects in the Vermont pipeline.
If the GMP project goes ahead, decision-makers will be viewed as having "destroyed one of the beautiful pristine areas of Vermont ... for no good reason at a time when a better alternative was just about to come into reach."
The proposed ordinance applies to wind turbines that have an energy-producing capacity of 100 kilowatts or less and that will be used primarily for on-site energy consumption. ...The systems cannot exceed 30 feet above the average tree line closest to it.
Englander and Scott Darling, the district wildlife biologist for ANR, both noted during the heated public hearing on Monday night that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already had issued a migratory bird permit to First Wind; the permit being sought for the bat takings is now in draft stage and Secretary Deb Markowitz ultimately will decide the matter.
A newly released state Public Utilties Commission report says that, under current federal regulations, New Hampshire can expect no fiscal help from the rest of New England to upgrade power lines in Coos County.
The power lines would required to fulfill the supply created by several proposed renewable energy power plants in the region.
According to the report, it would take a change in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rules to make Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and the rest of the ISO-New England power grid share the cost to beef up the closed transmission loop that runs through Littleton, Berlin and Whitefield. Any change in policy at that level would take years to effect, if it is even possible
A federal ruling has cast doubt on a Vermont program designed to promote renewable energy.
The ruling says utilities should not pay more than market rates for electricity from the clean-energy projects.
The state agency that represents consumers wants to know how the decision affects projects in Vermont, so it's asked the state attorney general's office for legal advice.
"The USFWS has indicated that inadequate preconstruction data has been collected to evaluate risk to birds and bats," according to the Army's letter to UPC requesting more information. "Briefly discuss the data that has been collected and what additional data may be necessary to resolve the concerns of USFWS."
BRATTLEBORO — After two tense public hearings, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) told area residents that an initial analysis finds there would be minimal environmental impact if Vermont Yankee were allowed to operate for an additional 20 years.
About 50 people showed up Wednesday night in Brattleboro to comment on the draft report.
Entergy Vermont Yankee’s (ENVY) operating license expires in 2012 and has filed an application to renew its license. An initial step in that process is the completion of an environmental impact statement (EIS), where Vermont Yankee is inspected thoroughly for any possible damages in might incur on the environment.
Fickle as the wind
November 3, 2011
by Jessica Camille Aguirre
in Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Residents will finally get a chance to weigh in on the future of local wind energy development Tuesday, culminating an information war waged by campaigns aimed at dispelling confusion over two controversial ballot items proposed by the Planning Board.
The commission charged with finding how the state should reduce its contribution to global climate change - and profit from concerns worldwide about the issue - released its final report Friday calling for more energy efficiency, renewable energy development and the creation of an alliance between the state, nonprofit groups and Vermont's colleges and universities. ...Crombie said all recommendations and possibilities will be considered. But that does not necessarily mean Douglas will change his mind about large wind turbines on the state's ridgelines or bend to the Legislature's proposal of last year.
"The governor's position is that we have to be careful about how we approach wind," Crombie said, adding that such wind projects may have other effects on the state - including impacts on the economy and recreation.
"We may find that in Vermont we are using a lot of renewable energy already," Crombie said. "Already Vermont is one of the greenest economies in the United States."
"The major concerns were the cost impact of a renewable portfolio standard," she said.
Cheney said the new bill requires a study of the impacts of a renewable portfolio standard and better ways to design it.
The Associated Industries of Vermont has lobbied persistently against the bill, citing the impact it will have on electric rates.
Enel North America rang few bells in local energy circles last month when the firm announced its involvement in a proposed wind project in Ira. ...It's something Ira seems to want to know. Concerns that developer Per White-Hansen, who retains sole ownership of the project, might sell it off to another company have come up repeatedly at meetings about the proposal.
Sennott said Enel will also provide capital and technical expertise to the Ira project.
"We carefully drafted and approved a town plan that prohibits commercial wind development on our ridgelines," Boyer said. "And our intention is to uphold our town plan."
Grafton officials are researching what their regulations might say about wind power.
The company proposing a controversial wind farm on Lempster Mountain has filed its application with the state Site Evaluation Committee.
The action marks the first step in the evaluation process for what could be the first major source of wind power in New Hampshire and one of the first new wind power sources in New England in more than decade.
An out-of-state company has partnered with a Vermont environmental consulting firm to locate potential wind power sites in the state.
Noble Environmental Power and Vermont Environmental Research Associates are exploring sites for wind parks throughout Vermont, including potential sites in Rutland, Bennington and Windsor counties.
The wind parks would ideally be situated along some of Vermont’s ridgelines, where wind currents are strongest, said Anna Giovinetto, a spokeswoman for Noble Environmental Power in Essex, Conn.
Giovinetto said the company is in the very early stages of evaluating potential sites.
“I would say it would be probably a year before we could positively propose something for a specific location,’ Giovinetto said. “You have to do so much work in terms of evaluating a site not only for its wind resources and access to transmission but also in terms of the community acceptance and a bunch of other factors.”
Wind opponents and neighbors, however, aren't satisfied with the study, and say the noise generated by the 400-foot-tall turbines is still loud enough to disrupt the quality of life for nearby residents. ...The turbines sound like "a jet plane on the horizon." The noise isn't steady, the Nelsons say, but pulses in and out.
Lisa Linowes of National Wind Watch says a project on the scale of Loranger's isn't nearly as bad as some. But if it succeeds, she predicts big companies will try to move in to capitalize on the resource.