Library filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
Legislators are in talks to convene a special session next week should Gov. Peter Shumlin bring out his veto pen for a bill meant to give communities more oversight over the location of energy projects.
Shumlin says he appreciates lawmakers’ efforts to give towns an opportunity to have more say in the renewable energy siting process. “The bad news is from my perspective, we have some real concern that it might put the brakes on the ability to build renewables.
The Shumlin administration and legislative leaders are questioning aspects of a renewable energy siting bill passed in the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session. The concerns may prompt Gov. Peter Shumlin to veto the bill, according to Rep. Tony Klein, the chairman of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
If Shap Smith wants to be lieutenant governor, he must provide Vermonters with a full explanation of the above relationship and the failure of the House to pass meaningful industrial wind and solar regulation over the past six years. He must clear the air of the perception of conflict of interest now hanging over his head.
“In my interpretation, what Vermont’s Legislature has just done is they have declared that there exists an ‘imminent peril to public health, safety and welfare from wind turbine noise,’” Smith said, quoting from the statute. Moreover, the emergency rule sound standards must not exceed an average 45 decibels outside a home and average 30 decibels inside. Smith claims those limits are not currently being met by many wind projects, including Sheffield Wind, a 40-megawatt, 16-turbine project in Sheffield.
Windham’s ban on large wind turbines is “based on the unique topography and settlement patterns of our town, our 10 years of research and knowledge and the support of the majority of our residents and property owners,” according to the town plan. Yet Iberdrola’s proposal has spurred intense debate as proponents and opponents debate the potential environmental and financial impacts. The project is expected to be the subject of votes in both towns this year.
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Lawmakers agreed to send a controversial renewable energy siting bill to the governor’s desk, but opinions on what difference the bill makes — especially with regard to wind turbine noise — are mixed.
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.”