Articles from Vermont
Developers who want to build a commercial wind project in Windham and Grafton say environmental surveys will start soon which will give them a clearer picture of where the turbines might go. For the past two-and-a-half years Iberdrola Renewables has been collecting wind data from three meteorological towers located on a high plateau that straddles the Grafton-Windham town line.
Some leery residents believe Blittersdorf's ridgeline land purchases mean he also wants to bring wind to the small Northeast Kingdom town. "If you move it away from the lake and out of sight, I don't have a problem with it, but if you bring turbines, we'll have a major fight," said Bob Kern of Morgan. ...At the end of the meeting, locals voted 62-7 to have the select board try to intervene to stop the project.
Thomas Melone, CEO of New York-based Allco Renewable Energy, opposed Cape Wind over concerns it would hurt the view from his home in Martha’s Vineyard. Melone’s company has been critical of so-called NIMBY concerns in Vermont.
For decades, organizations including Vermont Natural Resources Council, Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Preservation Trust and others could be counted on to show up at the merest hint of potential development anywhere in Vermont. Lobbying in Montpellier and using Act 250 and local regulations, those groups helped preserve the landscape that we love.
The floor of Lake Champlain is quickly becoming a highway for transmission lines to bring renewable energy to metropolitan areas of the Northeast. A new project to bring wind power from New York to New England through the lake was announced this week.
Renewable energy, for the most part, is a good thing. I support net metering for home-scaled wind and solar, fish-friendly small scale hydro, and mining landfills and bio digesters for methane. But at some point the rush into large scale (and subsidized) renewable energy becomes too costly, and too destructive of human and environmental values, to merit continued support. We have reached that point with Big Wind, and it’s time to slow this rush to “renewable energy of all kinds at whatever cost.”
The extension was approved despite objections from the town of Windham, where officials argued that the revised town plan “specifically prohibits both meteorological towers and commercial wind-energy systems.” Iberdrola’s requested extension represented a “substantial change” to the company’s plans, the town argued, so the new town plan should apply. But the Public Service Board, in an order dated Sept. 3, disagreed.
But an insidious new form of visual pollution is overtaking the state. Solar sprawl tied to Act 56 could wipe out thousands of acres of undisturbed land and transform Vermont from The Green Mountain State to The Solar Panel State. With Vermont set to become the nation’s first all green-energy economy, solar projects popping up from Bennington to Barton dwarf the billboard blight of the 1960s, and could erase tourism’s marketing message.
A proposal to erect two commercial wind turbines in Irasburg is drawing local opposition. But the developer, David Blittersdorf, says the project would benefit the entire state.
HYDRO REC SCAM?: Under Vermont’s new renewable portfolio standard, utility companies can meet state goals using cheap hydro-electric renewable energy credits that neighboring states won’t buy and don’t recognize as renewable.
The developers of a proposed wind power project in Swanton have formally notified 10 communities of plans to construct up to seven wind turbines.
Anybody who has ever objected to a “renewable” energy project in Vermont knows that the deck is stacked in favor of energy developers — that just about any project that’s proposed, no matter how objectionable, will be approved by our Public Service Board. Yet, having the playing field tilted sharply in their direction isn’t enough for some developers — they have to cheat, too.
One of the concerns cited by homeowners is a sharp drop in home values that is caused by the aesthetics, noise pollution and related health effects. Neighbors reference instances where families have abandoned their homes after years of being unable to sell but the developers, Swanton Wind, points to academic and government studies reporting there is no evidence that wind farms damage home values.
Flames were visible from Route 8 and a state trooper on patrol called in the alarm. Eight firefighters and an engine were sent to the site. The fiberglass housing that covers the machinery of windmill number four was on fire. ...The windmill is so high in the air that we cannot reach it to perform any type of extinguishment efforts and we cannot be underneath it due to falling debris,” said March.
Kevin McGrath, who lives near the Lowell project, and Steve Therrien, who said he was forced from his home because of the Sheffield development, both spoke about the damage that wind turbines have caused. McGrath, who is appealing his tax appraisal due to the towers, invited everyone to visit his home to see for themselves. He spoke about the deafening noise that wakes him at 2 a.m. and how he can’t just shut it off. “My land has scrap value,” McGrath said.
Company officials say the turbine went up in flames around 2 a.m. ...The 10 other turbines are being monitored before being started up again.
David Blittersdorf wants to erect two wind turbines on a Northeast Kingdom ridgeline in the 1,100-person town of Irasburg and produce enough electricity to power more than 2,000 homes.
Residents who attended came armed with questions, but over the course of 2½ hours, “We didn’t hear anything new,” said Liisa Kissel, a leader in the opposition to the project. There was one thing, though. Iberdrola Communications Manager Paul Copleman assured residents that if the town votes against the project, the company will abide by voters’ wishes.
The neighbors in Swanton will be just over 2,000 feet to the proposed turbines, which is more than 1,000’ closer to the project than any homes on Georgia Mountain. The proposed turbines in Swanton are also nearly 60’ taller than the ones here. So I think it’s safe to say that they have a very valid reason to be worried about their property values.
Developing that electricity system locally has proven a challenge. It's hard enough to get buy-in to string power lines or pipelines through the densely populated, educated and politically savvy Northeast. Building a dam or putting up a wind farm stirs even deeper antipathy.