Library from Vermont
Swanton Wind’s developers are getting a partial refund of their $100,000 regulatory application fee, and they won’t have to pay other parties’ attorney fees should they decide to renew the project. That’s according to a Vermont Supreme Court ruling issued Dec. 21.
A boom in renewable energy around New England has led to higher rates for a small Vermont utility. The reason has to do with the declining value of an energy commodity know as "renewable energy credits."
The Vermont Public Utilities Commission now says a wind turbine project in northern Vermont must explain its economic impact and whether it fits into the state’s energy plan.
The state Public Utility Commission issued an order this week reversing a May decision to hold off on reviewing site-specific criteria for the project until the body determined how the electricity it generates would impact the already overburdened northern tier of the state’s electrical grid, called the SHEI. The new order means the PUC can now schedule project hearings that had previously been delayed.
The report details that during high wind conditions from May to September, decibel levels reached 5 points higher than what was permitted in the project’s certificate of public good from 2007. It states an increase of just 3 decibels exponentially increases the intensity, disrupting the ability to sleep or live peacefully during waking hours.
The Dairy Air Wind project, a single 2.2 megawatt turbine to be installed at a dairy farm in the state’s far northeast corner, won a state contract in July 2016 to supply renewable power to the New England power grid. Since then, the landscape for wind development has shifted significantly, with a pro-wind governor retiring and being replaced by a candidate who partly ran on a campaign against large wind turbines.
Vermont is falling short of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate renewable energy, according to the Energy Action Network.
“The biggest issue with the Dairy Air Wind project proposed for Holland is that it is in the area known as SHEI — Sheffield Highgate Export Interface. The area has about 400 MW of generation flowing through it which includes about 200 MW of Hydro-Quebec power, but the area has a load (need) for only 30 to 60 MW.” “VEC and GMP are very opposed to adding any new generation to this area."
A landowner who said his property was damaged by blasting at a nearby wind power facility has reached a settlement with developers.
After years of fighting, Ron Holland has breathed a sigh of relief after the Kidder Hill Community Wind project was canceled. That means he won’t see turbines go up behind his home in Irasburg.
FERC approved ISO-NE’s two-stage capacity auction to accommodate state renewable energy procurements, with Commissioner Robert Powelson dissenting and Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick leveling new criticism on the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) (ER18-619).
One of Vermont's renewable energy pioneers is giving up on his home state — at least for now. David Blittersdorf, founder of Williston-based AllEarth Renewables, is set to announce Wednesday that he is abandoning the Kidder Hill Community Wind project, a two-turbine installation in Lowell and Irasburg. Furthermore, Blittersdorf said he is not pursuing any more wind or solar projects in Vermont.
New England’s power grid is in good shape now and home solar and energy efficiency efforts mean the region’s annual demand for electricity is projected to decline, according to the grid’s operators. But there are also problems ahead.
“There are contracts in place with the utilities under various previous programs that, as you say, we are paying more than perhaps you could buy the energy for elsewhere,” he said.
Green Mountain Power suffered “several millions” of dollars of lost revenue over the past 18 months because northern Vermont’s electrical grid isn’t robust enough, the company’s director of power planning said Thursday.
Swanton Wind’s developers are not getting the project’s $100,000 Public Utility Commission (PUC) filing fee back, nor are participants in the PUC’s review process getting their legal expenditures returned. But if Swanton Wind’s developers file a new application in the future, those participants may again argue they’re eligible for compensation.
READSBORO — The controversial Deerfield Wind project that took over 10 years and $7.5 million to complete is now generating power, but regional data shows that renewables are not producing as much energy in these cold winter months as some might have hoped.
“This is a sad day for many Vermonters and people who care about wildlife and value the importance of wilderness,” said Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, which mounted a court challenge over impacts on the nearby George D. Aiken Wilderness Area. Smith and other opponents of commercial-size wind projects also protested the Deerfield Wind groundbreaking ceremony in September 2016.
“When it comes to energy development in Vermont, the industrial wind industry leads the “old way” pack. Wind operators and developers have been living off federal subsidies since the early 1990s and have been wreaking havoc in Vermont for just as long. It’s time to boot them out of the state…”
The operator of several wind turbines near Georgia received a $7,500 fine for operating the turbines in 2016 during weather that could have led ice to form on the turbines’ blades. The turbines’ owner won’t contest the fine, a representative said.