A Searsburg man says he wants the developers of the 15-turbine Deerfield Wind project to repair damage to his home he blames on blasting for the ongoing construction project.
“All I have asked for is for them to do the repairs,” Francis Candiloro said Saturday, referring to chimney, window and other damage he attributes to blasting between October 2016 and May.
He said representatives for the developer, Avangrid Renewables, told him the damage was unrelated to the work.
Candiloro then filed a complaint with the state, and the Public Utility Commission said last week it will investigate whether the project violated its permit. A prehearing conference is set for Friday in Montpelier.
According to the PUC, Candiloro first filed a complaint with the state Public Service Department’s consumer affairs division, which investigated and reported to the PUC in August.
The division found “adequate reason to believe” the Deerfield Wind project may have violated conditions of the certificate of public good that authorizes its construction, the PUC said.
The commission said it will focus on whether there was indeed a permit violation.
Asked to comment, Paul Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid Renewables, said via email, “Out of respect for the process, we won’t comment on the specifics at this juncture, but we will cooperate fully with the state as we have throughout the permitting process.”
Work on the project, which involves construction of wind turbine towers along Route 8 in both Searsburg and Readsboro, began in September 2016. The 30-megawatt generating facility is expected to go online in 2018.
The project is a result of agreements with the U.S. Forest Service for the use of public land and a 25-year power-purchasing pact with Green Mountain Power.
Avangrid Renewables, formerly known as Iberdrola Renewables, is a U.S. renewable energy division of the Spain-based company Iberdrola S.A.
In a telephone interview, Candiloro said he was told by a company representative prior to the blasting that his home “was too far away” for there to be a concern about damage. But he said that on the first day of blasting in that vicinity of the project site, “I heard a bang that sounded like something had hit my deck. I found a brick on my picnic table.”
He said the brick came from his chimney, adding that the thermal sealing in some of his windows also was compromised and that for a time “the house was shaking.”
Candiloro said he gave the state photographs of the damage. In addition, he said he purchased the house in 2014 and had a complete home inspection at that time, which showed no such defects.
Part of the reason for the blasting was to install the 15 towers, each roughly 255 feet tall, that will hold the turbine blades. The blades are from 144 to 160 feet in length, depending on the model, and weigh from 21,213 to 24,560 pounds each, according to the developer.