Library filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
The bill halts wind turbine approvals for 45 days, to give the Public Service Board time to draft provisional sound standards that will apply through July 2017, the date by which the board must have adopted permanent rules on sound the structures produce. Those rules must allow sound from the turbines at levels no greater than the most restrictive permit the Public Service Board has yet granted.
Gov. Peter Shumlin has threatened to veto a bill that establishes sound limits for wind turbines and grants towns more say over renewable-energy siting. Legislators hope they can amend S.230 to satisfy the governor before the legislative session ends Saturday.
“If they come back and say, ‘We’re concerned about this retroactive date of April 15, and we believe you should make it upon passage, the effective date’ … we’d have to remove the April 15 date and the only way we could do that would be through a conference committee,” Klein said. “We are preparing for all eventualities.” The April 15 deadline ensures that a wind project proposed in Swanton would have to comply with the new standards, Klein said.
Senators plan today to vote on a bill proponents say will give Vermont towns a say in where the state’s renewable-energy generators get sited.
The more projects GMP builds, the more money CEO Mary Powell makes. ...People who live near an GMP's industrial wind project according to the Vermont Public Service Department will experience “a significant impairment of quality of life” who unlike the CEO of GMP will not be compensated by a higher bonus in their paycheck.
The bill now states that on or before Sept. 15, 2017 the Public Service Board “shall adopt” specific sound standards for industrial wind turbines. These standards, once adopted, would apply to any project application submitted since April 15. “That provision is huge,” said state Rep. Michael Hebert, R-Vernon. “It addresses in a substantial way the concerns of the people here. They may finally get relief.”
A House member is asking his colleagues to consider halting new large-scale wind turbine projects until the Public Service Board has established firm rules for how much noise the structures can produce. ...McLane said the current maximum sound level the board allows — 45 decibels outside — is too high.
After receiving dozens of hours of development and revision in Senate committees and on the floor, the ever-changing energy siting bill, S.230, appears to be faltering in the House Energy Committee. “As this goes on I’m getting more concerned that we are running out of time, and I don’t want to force something through that is not complete.”
Cheney said the scheme creates confusion and doesn’t provide “consistency and predictability,” both important principles of the regulatory process.
On March 22, Vermonters for a Clean Government delivered a 16-document packet to the attorney general’s office that provides ammunition for investigating “suspected misconduct” among top Vermont officials. One of the documents, an eight-page petition for a corruption investigation, cites potential ethics violations ranging from conflicts of interest and favoritism to influence peddling and collusion.
“The question here really is are we so distrustful of the Public Service Board — and for some in this room I'm sure the answer is yes — that the board can actually develop policies and behave in a way that does ensure people can have peaceful living if they happen to be located near a wind turbine,” Ashe said. In fact, the answer to that question was yes for the majority of the senators in the room, and the amendment passed.
“As far as what we know today, there is no so-called renewable project in this state that has not sold its RECs out of state,” IRA spokesman Michael Sanville told Vermont Watchdog. “That being (the case), there should not be any company within the state that’s advertising any of their energy generation as ‘renewable.’”
“Energy developers are running roughshod over our communities,” said Mark Whitworth, president of the board of Energize Vermont. “The result is an energy rebellion that has now spread to 128 towns.”
Backers of gas generation countered that renewables are benefiting from government-backed subsidies and long-term contracts that threaten to reintroduce government-mandated integrated resource planning. ...state policies are giving renewables undue advantage and undermining conventional generators’ investments in the market.
State Rep. Marianna Gamache, R-Swanton, noted that S.230 lacks a wind turbine component. “This passed without any reference to sound regarding the wind turbines,” she said. “I’m very disappointed because this is a real issue for people who are living under the blade. This will now affect those people going forward.”
State Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans, also opposed siting on prime-ag lands. “We have limited prime agricultural soil in the state of Vermont, and if we want to be environmentally responsible, we use that to grow food so we don’t have to ship in food from China or California,” he said.
Vermont gets virtually none of its grid power from wind or solar sources, according to a report Vermont Law School students presented recently to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
"To meet Vermont's ambitious renewable energy goals, we have to be able to count the solar and wind projects developed here in the state. The sale of RECs out of state makes that impossible," said Professor Kevin B. Jones, deputy director of the IEE and Energy Clinic. "Any policy that allows for such sales makes it harder and harder to achieve these legislated goals. And, in the meantime, more and more of the state's best solar and wind sites are being developed to meet the RPS [renewable portfolio standard] goals in Massachusetts and Connecticut."
"Subsidizing an overdependence on one foreign government-owned source of electricity will lead to lost jobs and soaring energy bills for decades to come," said Dan Dolan, the group's president....Hydro-Quebec would use increased U.S. exports to subsidize lower prices for its provincial customers, in turn costing New England ratepayers an estimated $20 billion over 25 years.
“The results show that we would need 42 new megawatts of wind, 10 new megawatts of hydro and 174 megawatts of solar,” she said. “When we first saw those numbers it took our breath away quite literally because the numbers seem so huge.” ...The state, in her view, does have the property available for such projects without encroaching on sensitive residential areas or environmental habitats.