Library from Vermont
The Caledonia County Democratic Committee recently passed a resolution seeking to have the State Democratic Committee call on the Vermont State Legislature and Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin to re-evaluate the state's energy policy and, in particular, protect areas of high elevation from wind development projects.
"We all support renewable energy, but it must be built in conformance with the existing standards intended to prevent stormwater pollution of our pristine streams. We cannot trade a wind project for our water quality. Our water is everything -- our wells, our water supply for fire fighting, our high elevation streams, our wetlands, our rivers. We cannot let our water be compromised so Gaz Metro and their cronies can make a buck."
In one case, as reported in the Sunday Free Press, the value of property was decreased by a whopping $50,000 from a price of nearly $410,000 because of proximity to a wind turbine. A homeowner saw a $700 reduction in the annual tax bill. Now that’s real cash gained because of financial harm — bona fide or perceived, it doesn’t matter. Though in terms of reducing enjoyment of property because of noise, altered views or flicking lights, this change is not exactly a favorable return on investment.
Horn said she is not suggesting that towns have veto power over the board’s decisions, but she does want the statute’s language changed to give towns an effective voice in the process. Communities have become concerned over the permitting process because of the impact some energy generation projects, such as the 21-turbine wind project on Lowell Mountain, have on the surrounding landscape.
When Melodie McLane of Georgia used to drive by the wind turbines in Clinton, N.Y., she says, she always looked at them with wondrous curiosity. But now, after four industrial wind towers were built near her home on Georgia Mountain Road, she dreads them. 'I had no idea it would be this bad,' she says, describing a constant noise she says makes it hard to sleep or go outside.
The department wants GMP to pay a penalty for several noise violations last winter that came from selected monitoring of four areas around the turbines. The department wants the PSB to enforce a $56,000 penalty against GMP to be used to do continuous monitoring. GMP at first resisted the idea of continuous monitoring, but then said it would research the idea.
Yet, countryside residents from Vermont to Massachusetts, and elsewhere, now claim not only environmental degradation but personal health problems from the imposing wind towers, which fans praise as emblematic of America’s clean energy future. Mike Nelson, of Albany, Vt., told WCAX-TV last November the resulting noise from the wind tower installments had cost him lost sleep and that neighbors were reporting headaches, symptoms of so-called “wind turbine syndrome.”
“If you get it wrong, bad things happen,” Nicholas Miller, a senior director at General Electric’s energy consulting arm, said about developing the grid in accordance with renewable energy growth. “Germany didn’t see 20 Gigawatts with a ‘G’ (of solar) coming in in 24 months. They got their interconnection rules wrong … and it’s costing them a quarter of a billion dollars to put the genie back into the bottle.”
The members unanimously agreed that the sound of the turbines-- any sound-- was enough. "It's a noise that's a constant sort of noise. I once described it as if you're on a coastline and way off in the distance, there's a freighter going by and you hear the engine going-- chug, chug, chug. That's the kind of noise that you experience," Vickers explained.
Minimum Generation Emergencies generally occur during temperate nights, when power demand is at an annual low. Blomberg said that when this happens, the first generators to be called off are those outside the region. The next generators ISO calls off are the “self-schedulers.” These are the generators that bid into the market at their leisure. Most, if not all, of New England’s renewable energy generators fall into this category of power producers because renewable power less predictable. ...It would be almost impossible for a renewable energy producer to participate in the day-ahead market because the risk is too high.
Taxpayers in Eden are getting a little something extra along with their property tax bills this month. The tax bill envelopes also include a two-page wind tower survey. The survey asks taxpayers to weigh in on wind power in Vermont, the nearby Kingdom Community Wind project, and a proposal to expand wind development on the ridgeline with six new towers in Eden.
An inspection committee found that noise emissions from the Georgia Mountain wind energy facility negatively impacted a residential property near the project. An excerpt of the decision can be seen below. The grievance decision to reduce the value of the property can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) on this page.
Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington and chairman of the Senate panel, cited the example of a man who told him he was trying to establish an organic vegetable farm in Addison County between a Vermont Electric Power Co. high-voltage power line and the route of a natural gas pipeline Vermont Gas Systems is proposing. Like many property owners affected by such projects but who can't afford to hire lawyers to represent them before the state Public Service Board ...He's nowhere" in terms of having an adequate voice in the process.
Smith, the head of VCE, said she has been receiving citizen reports for the past week, "noting that at least five of the western Sheffield turbines are off. Now apparently only one of the 16 are operating," she stated in an email Monday. "Inquiring minds want to know what's going on.
The town's select board has officially joined an appeal of the Vermont Public Service Board's recent approval for a Certificate of Public Good to allow four meteorological towers to be raised in Newark, Brighton and Ferdinand. The official appeal agreement was signed by the board after a vote last week.
If the majority - and most of these projects do seem to have majority support - are going to ask their fellow-Vermonters to pay a price - be it reduced property values, more traffic on the road, more noise or stench in the air, an uglier view from the living room window - that majority ought to be able to tell them (with a straight face) that theirs is a modest sacrifice in return for an undeniable public benefit.
GMP will also continue to follow its certificate of public good which requires voluntary curtailment of turbine operation during calm or nearly calm summer evenings when bats are out hunting. The agreement gave GMP a permit allowing a handful of bats to be killed at the wind project each year, with the understanding that more bats would be saved through the mitigation funding than lost at the wind project.
John Soininen, vice president of development for Eolian, which has pitched the project called Seneca Mountain Wind, said delays in receiving a permit to build the four meteorological test towers from the Vermont Public Service Board have held the company up in getting a proposal to the UTGs.
On the same day Entergy announced the Vermont Yankee closure, the Algonquin Citygate basis futures contract for the January 2015 contract rose 50 cents per MMBtu. The Algonquin Citygate is a key delivery point and natural gas trading hub in Boston. Entergy cited lower natural gas prices, a result of a glut in supply, in its decision to shut down its Vermont facility in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Proximity to industrial wind turbines is making people ill, and the state's program to increase the use of renewable energy sources is a "sham." That's the message a committee exploring the impacts of industrial wind projects heard ...The committee was formed by Northeastern Vermont Development Association following NVDA's July 2012 recommendation that all industrial wind development be suspended for three years until more is known about its impact on local communities.