Article

Deerfield Wind project’s bear study plans approved

The proposed Deerfield Wind project in Readsboro and Searsburg is continuing to move forward with the Public Service Board approving a plan for a bear study and the public comment period set by the Green Mountain National Forest ended.

READSBORO — The proposed Deerfield Wind project in Readsboro and Searsburg is continuing to move forward with the Public Service Board approving a plan for a bear study and the public comment period set by the Green Mountain National Forest ended.

Iberdrola Renewables, an international company with offices in Portland, Ore., has filed for permits to build a wind-powered electrical generation plant, known as Deerfield Wind, with up to 17 turbines in Readsboro and Searsburg near Route 8. The plant is expected to be able to generate up to 30 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the annual need of about 14,000 Vermont homes.

Like many wind power projects in the state, the proposal has been met with some support and some opposition. One of the concerns raised about the wind farm, which would be next to an existing wind-power facility operated by Green Mountain Power in Searsburg, is the potential harm to black bear habitat.

While the Vermont Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good for the project in April 2009, that order was modified in July 2009 to require that Deerfield conduct a “multi-year study on the impact of the project on bears.” The... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

READSBORO — The proposed Deerfield Wind project in Readsboro and Searsburg is continuing to move forward with the Public Service Board approving a plan for a bear study and the public comment period set by the Green Mountain National Forest ended.

Iberdrola Renewables, an international company with offices in Portland, Ore., has filed for permits to build a wind-powered electrical generation plant, known as Deerfield Wind, with up to 17 turbines in Readsboro and Searsburg near Route 8. The plant is expected to be able to generate up to 30 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the annual need of about 14,000 Vermont homes.

Like many wind power projects in the state, the proposal has been met with some support and some opposition. One of the concerns raised about the wind farm, which would be next to an existing wind-power facility operated by Green Mountain Power in Searsburg, is the potential harm to black bear habitat.

While the Vermont Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good for the project in April 2009, that order was modified in July 2009 to require that Deerfield conduct a “multi-year study on the impact of the project on bears.” The board ordered the study to look at the indirect impact as well and include data both from before construction and after the plant was operating.

In an order dated April 7, the Public Service Board approved a study proposal, submitted in November, which had been created by the Deerfield proponents, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

Under the agreement, Deerfield will provide up to $500,000 to the Agency of Natural Resources for a study that would use global-positioning system, or GPS, data to determine how the turbines affect the bears’ use of the surrounding habitat.

“We applaud the parties for reaching an agreement on this contentious issue,” the April 7 order said.

The board added two requirements. First, the study must include as much information as possible from the pre-construction period at least through the upcoming fall season. Second, the GPS study must be designed to correlate the bears’ locations with turbine use to determine if there is a “pattern of use or avoidance of adjacent habitat during days that the turbines were operating.”

Paul Copleman, communications manager for Iberdrola Renewables, said the company’s officials were pleased with the approval because the company had worked closely with state agencies to reach an agreement.

Because Deerfield is an energy generation project, it needs only a certificate of public good from the Public Service Board and not local permits.

However, because it would be built on national forest land, the Green Mountain National Forest has made efforts to seek public input before its staff decide whether to allow the project.

The most recent comment period involved a supplemental draft environmental impact statement released in December. The comment period was closed last month after hundreds of comment were submitted, according to Ethan Ready, public affairs officer for the Green Mountain National Forest.

“Obviously, people have put a lot of time and thought and work into their comments and we appreciate that,” he said.

Ready said a decision is expected to be released, with an accompanying final assessment report, this summer.


Source: http://www.rutlandherald.co...

JAN 1 1970
http://www.windaction.org/posts/11753-deerfield-wind-project-s-bear-study-plans-approved
back to top