Official Notice Filed, Blittersdorf Wants To Break Ground A Year From Now On Dairy Air Farm
HOLLAND — Dairy Air Wind, a company owned by renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, filed notice Monday of the intent to apply in 45 days for permission to erect an industrial-sized wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm.
Dairy Air Wind is expected to apply to state utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board for a certificate of public good for the 2.2-megawatt wind turbine on or after Dec. 22.
The nearly 500-foot-tall turbine would be located on a farm field off School Road, about a mile from the Holland school. There are dozens of homes and buildings within a mile of the turbine site. Dairy Air Farm is owned by Brian and Kim Champney who would lease space on their 250-head dairy farm for the wind turbine. They live on the farm with their three boys.
Blittersdorf also wants to erect two industrial-sized wind turbines on his property on Kidder Hill in Irasburg. He built the Georgia Mountain Community Wind Project and has permission to put up a 500-kilowatt solar project in Morgan.
He wants to gain all the necessary permits and approvals by the second half of 2017 and break ground a year from now, according to the 45-day notice filed with the PSB and signed by the Champneys and Martha Staskus, project manager for Dairy Air Wind. The notice went to neighbors, Holland’s select board and planning commission and those in neighboring towns plus relevant state agencies.
The Holland Select Board has voted to oppose the wind project. The town planning commission has been working on updating the energy section of the town plan to address the wind project.
The wind turbine would generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes, according to the notice.
The wind project would pay $20,000 in municipal taxes and $25,000 in state education taxes. “This would make Dairy Air Wind one of the largest taxpayers in town,” according to the notice.
The wind turbine will also benefit the Champneys. “Through lease payments from Dairy Air Wind, the project will also help to improve the long-term economic sustainability of the Champney family’s Dairy Air Farm,” offsetting the fluctuation in milk prices, the notice states.
Lease payment details were not released.
“We are grateful and encouraged by the support we have received from so many of our neighbors for having a wind turbine on the farm,” Kim Champney said in a statement Monday by Dairy Air Wind.
“Our vision to harvest clean energy from the wind that blows across our cornfields, will also make the farm more financially sustainable for the long term.”
Said Brian Champney: “I am excited that our piece of working landscape can help contribute to Vermont’s renewable energy economy.”
Phil Letourneau, a retired dairy farmer, said the project will benefit the town budget and the school. “I spent my life turning the sun’s energy into feed to produce milk for people to drink. Now I look forward to seeing us embrace modern wind power on our farms in a similar way,” he said in the Dairy Air Wind press release.
Nearly 500 Feet Tall
Dairy Air Wind is considering a Goldwind permanent magnet, direct-drive wind turbine with a total height of up to 499 feet tall, with a federally required aviation warning light on top. The tower height would be 296 feet and the rotor up to 396 feet in diameter.
The turbine would be visible across this part of the Northeast Kingdom and into nearby Quebec.
The analysis will look into the visual impact across 314 square miles, including in six towns and three gores in Vermont and in six Quebec municipalities. Holland is higher in elevation than many neighboring communities.
Unlike the defunct Derby Line Wind Project that would have put two turbines very close to the U.S.-Canadian border, this Dairy Air Wind turbine would be more than a mile from the border.
T.J. Boyle Associates, a landscape architecture and planning firm, is conducting an assessment of the potential visible impact within a 10-mile radius “and will recommend measures that could be taken to soften any such impact,” the notice states.
The project includes a 1,200-foot spur road off School Road that will initially be 35 feet wide near the turbine site and then be narrowed after construction to 20 feet. The turbine would sit on a one-acre pad.
The parts will be shipped by truck and require special permits for oversize/overweight loads from state and local officials.
The turbine will be near a meteorological tower to measure wind speeds. Dairy Air Wind just applied for that tower to the PSB.
The turbine will be connected to the electrical grid through an underground line to a new three-phase electrical line on School Road that will then link to the three-phase line on Valley Road.
Vermont Electric Cooperative concluded in an impact study that the wind turbine can be interconnected without creating an unduly adverse impact on the system’s stability and reliability, according to the notice. Dairy Air Wind will pay for the connection costs.
The renewable energy credits would be provided to Vermont utilities. Dairy Air Wind has a 20-year standard offer contract for the electricity the turbine would produce at 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour or less.
The construction and operation will benefit the Vermont economy, according to the notice. Dairy Air Wind will hire Vermont firms to erect the turbine and for operation.
The turbine would have little impact on the environment, with only a small roadside wetland area nearby that would not be affected.
The notice did not address how many people live close enough to be impacted by shadow flicker from the turning blades, sound impact, ice throw and the proximity to School Road and other issues that have come up at recent meetings in Holland.
Dairy Air Wind is welcoming comments or questions about the project before Dec. 15, in order to react to them in the final application for a certificate of public good. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who wants more information or a presentation about the project can contact Staskus at 802-244-7522 ext. 2.