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Vt.'s GMP says saving bats would cost $4 million

On Thursday the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources will hold a hearing in Lowell on Green Mountain Power's request to kill up to four of the bats a year at the Kingdom Community Wind site in Lowell. The request comes as bat populations in the Northeast have been decimated by a fungal disease called white nose syndrome.

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The utility that owns the Lowell Mountain wind power project said it would have to stop its turbines from spinning at night for six months a year to eliminate any risk to the little brown bats known to fly on the mountain.

Idling the turbines would cost the utility about $4 million a year in reduced power output.

On Thursday the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources will hold a hearing in Lowell on Green Mountain Power's request to kill up to four of the bats a year at the Kingdom Community Wind site in Lowell.

The request comes as bat populations in the Northeast have been decimated by a fungal disease called white nose syndrome.

The draft permit says GMP will pay $18,000 a year to protect other bat colonies.

‘‘If we were to have to ensure there's absolutely no risk at all to the bats, we would have to stop all the generation at night for about six months,'' GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1bNAT6x).

The permit the company is seeking would still protect the rare bats.

‘‘With the permit, and with the understanding that there is a minimal number of bats that could be... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The utility that owns the Lowell Mountain wind power project said it would have to stop its turbines from spinning at night for six months a year to eliminate any risk to the little brown bats known to fly on the mountain.

Idling the turbines would cost the utility about $4 million a year in reduced power output.

On Thursday the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources will hold a hearing in Lowell on Green Mountain Power's request to kill up to four of the bats a year at the Kingdom Community Wind site in Lowell.

The request comes as bat populations in the Northeast have been decimated by a fungal disease called white nose syndrome.

The draft permit says GMP will pay $18,000 a year to protect other bat colonies.

‘‘If we were to have to ensure there's absolutely no risk at all to the bats, we would have to stop all the generation at night for about six months,'' GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1bNAT6x).

The permit the company is seeking would still protect the rare bats.

‘‘With the permit, and with the understanding that there is a minimal number of bats that could be affected, we can continue to generate cost-effective wind power. We can operate the plant in a way that really minimizes the risk to the endangered bats,'' Schnure said.

Steve Wright of the environmental group Ridgeprotectors is among those objecting to the permit.

Wright wants to see more data that backs up GMP's claim that it faces a $4 million loss in generation if it fully protects the little brown bats.

‘‘I mean just checking off a box and claiming economic hardship based on a 23 percent reduction in production, it feels like to me there should be more analysis there,'' Wright said.

 


Source: http://www.boston.com/news/...

JUN 18 2013
http://www.windaction.org/posts/37471-vt-s-gmp-says-saving-bats-would-cost-4-million
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