Library filed under General from Connecticut
Joyce Hemingson - president of FairWindCT, which opposes the Colebrook turbines - said when the state decided to fast-track renewables, it didn't consider the impacts of wind turbines, which are taller and more visible than power plants. "I don't think the legislature ever envisioned that these would be put in neighborhoods," Hemingson said. "We are not the Midwest where you have vast agricultural lands."
More than 50 people signed up to speak at the hearing held by the Connecticut Siting Council, which has sole authority over the siting of electric-generating facilities, including wind farms. At issue is the fate of a proposal filed by BNE Energy Inc. that would allow the wind developer to begin construction of Connecticut's first commercial wind project. The nine-member siting council is expected to issue a decision about the project in May.
A bill requiring new regulations on wind turbine projects was voted out of the Energy and Technology Committee Tuesday. The bill puts the breaks on wind projects until the Connecticut Siting Council develops regulations specific to wind energy. ...The committee voted 14 to 6 in favor of a substitute bill which took the word "moratorium" out of the title. However, the substance of the bill did not change.
"The use and expansion of renewable energy should not come at the expense of Connecticut, either financially or to the health of the people," said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in his testimony to the Energy and Technology Committee. Almost 60 individuals, including Blumenthal and almost a dozen residents of Prospect, have submitted testimony to the committee against the proposal.
A new bill before the General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee would stall wind turbine projects until the Connecticut Siting Council adopts regulations specific to commercial wind turbines. The committee met Jan. 3 to consider the moratorium which state Rep. Vickie Nardello (D-Prospect) and state Sen. Joan Hartley (D-Prospect) introduced in response to concerns over the projects proposed by BNE Energy, Inc. of West Hartford.
A pair of bills authored by State Rep. Vickie Nardello and State Sen. Joan Hartley are scheduled to be brought before the General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee for hearings Thursday, Feb. 3. One bill calls for a moratorium on the siting of wind projects until regulations are adopted, and a second bill would limit the location of generation facilities.
Citizens groups from Colebrook and Prospect told lawmakers Thursday they should approve a proposed bill that would put a moratorium on any commercial wind turbine projects until state regulations governing their placement are developed. "It's a new industry and, as it expands, health and safety issues continue to be cited."
Prospect Corp. and FairWindCT's press conference will be held before lawmakers on the state's energy and technology committee are scheduled to hear public comments on a bill that would put a moratorium on wind power development to allow for the creation of state regulations.
Ms. Somers added that she had visited a wind turbine farm in New Hampshire that was located on 1,400 acres of property (as opposed to the 80 acres on Colebrook's two sites), and found the turbines to be as disruptive as she had thought. "Even at a mile away, you could have a conversation, but it was like being a mile away from LaGuardia or JFK," she said. "It was, of course, dependent on how the wind was that day. On that particular day we could have a conversation, but it was like a steady airplane going by. It's not appropriate for a residential neighborhood."
The Connecticut Siting Council on Thursday, meeting at its New Britain office, approved eight applications from Colebrook residents seeking party status, or the ability to present evidence against siting wind turbines. It was the second time the board acted on applications from BNE Energy Inc. of West Hartford.
Plans for a pair of wind turbine sites in this tiny town that would represent Connecticut's first step toward commercial wind power are set to be heard before the Connecticut Siting Council at its next meeting on Jan. 20.
Wise people (and politicians) often say perception is more important than reality. Take the case of wind energy in Connecticut. What are the perceptions and what are the realities? With the proposed wind projects in Colebrook and Prospect currently being so hotly debated, perhaps it's timely to consider a few points.
"When [residents] found out about the Rock Hall and Flag Hill applications at a town meeting in November, people were surprised," Hemingson said. "We formed the group to see what we could do to educate ourselves and the town about what is being proposed. We found out that there are no real [state] regulations when it comes to large wind turbines."
Siting Council Chairman Daniel Caruso said although the council has no legal obligation to hold public hearings, he thought it would be appropriate given the controversial nature of the issue.
The Connecticut Siting Council began taking a long, hard look at a proposed pair of wind farms in Colebrook - one day early. As it had been less than 30 days since the council received BNE Energy's petitions for two separate sets of three wind turbines, the Connecticut Siting Council acknowledged that it could do little at the present time.
Blumenthal said that the officials who now make decisions on approving construction of projects like the two wind farms are operating in an environment of "lawlessness" - not in violation of the law, but in the absence of any guidelines about what criteria to consider.
Neighbors of two proposed wind farms on Rock Hall Road and Flagg Hill Road have formed a nonprofit group that seeks a moratorium on wind turbines in residential areas statewide. Members of the group, called Fairwindct Inc., were expected to appear before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday.
Even as energy experts say the Northeast has great potential for the development of wind energy, they acknowledged last week that Connecticut is not a major part of that optimistic picture. The state does not have a high potential for wind-generated electricity off-shore, and that other sources, including solar, make more sense to pursue, at least in the short term.
A draft resolution by a Town Council subcommittee would call for state legislators to place a moratorium on wind energy projects until state minimum standards are created. ...The four-member subcommittee spent nearly three hours Saturday at Town Hall deciding to recommend a resolution.
Several members of the newly-formed Save Prospect group made emotional appeals to the commission to help them prevent BNE Energy from building two wind turbines near their homes. "The intent is to have some town control over the development of wind farms so it's not strictly only up to Siting Council," said Bill Donnavan, land use official.