Library from Vermont
It certainly wasn’t the biggest story to come out of last Tuesday’s election, but it was an important one nonetheless.
The two small windmills are subject of an investigation by the Vermont Public Service Board into whether Blittersdorf put them where he said he would. A neighbor has complained to the board that one turbine is too close to his cabin.
“This is David Blittersdorf and company, VERA (Vermont Environmental Research Associates), attempting to market wind power to Connecticut for no benefit to Vermont,” said Smith. “Why Blittersdorf is just fanning the flames of opposition and just infuriating people more, I don’t understand it.”
Although it cannot be stated definitively that wind energy was the deciding factor in Scott’s win over Minter, it is abundantly obvious that wind has been one of the most divisive issues in the state.
In Vermont, an ill wind blows for a once promising source of renewable energy. Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott was clear during the campaign: He wants to halt further development of wind turbine towers on Vermont’s widely beloved mountain ridges.
The two towns’ rejection of Iberdrola Renewables’ 24-turbine project was specific to that proposal — so much so that the company’s name was included in the ballot question. Iberdrola immediately pledged to stop work at Stiles Brook in the wake of Tuesday’s advisory vote. But spokesman Paul Copleman couldn’t rule out the possibility that his company could offer its substantial development work to a different developer.
In order to build the project, mountainous terrain must be blasted and graded to develop the roads to provide access of trucks and cranes to these high elevations. The natural hydrology is interrupted and redirected, with tens of acres of imperious cover created. To compensate for this change in the natural runoff patterns the Stiles Brook project would contain upwards of 50 plus structural storm water management facilities that would require maintenance in perpetuity. If these systems fail due to insufficient design or construction, lack of maintenance or poor siting, storm water runoff from the site will increase significantly.
The voters in Windham and Grafton said a loud “no” on Tuesday to the 24-turbine Stiles Brook wind energy project. Spanish renewable energy developer Iberdrola says it will honor the votes. ...
"As we've indicated, we plan to cease development of the project unless the communities at some point contemplate reconsidering their decision," Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman said.
(Editor’s note: VTDigger founder Anne Galloway writes about the heated debate over the proposed Stiles Brook Wind Project.)
Voters in Windham and Grafton will weigh in Tuesday on a 24-turbine wind project. Next Tuesday’s vote in Windham on a proposed wind project has become so controversial that the town plans to videotape the whole process — from voter check-in to ballot counting — in hopes of quelling concerns about fairness.
The coming vote in the small Windham County towns of Windham and Grafton about the placement of wind turbines in their towns ought to concern all Vermonters interested in the integrity of democracy and the continuing development of renewable energy. Till now, wind energy has had an important place in the mix of renewable energy sources in Vermont, but the tactics of the wind developer in Windham County have poisoned the cause.
New standards on large scale wind projects in Vermont will give towns a voice in where they are built, but opting out entirely won't be an option.
An economic committee in Grafton has analyzed supposed benefits of the Stiles Brook Wind Project and concluded that many residents will see no tax benefits, but ones that do typically have properties assessed at $300,000 or above.
Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos says he’s “greatly concerned” about a turbine developer’s monetary offer to registered voters in Windham and Grafton. Though the Vermont Attorney General’s office has said Iberdrola Renewables’ proposed “direct partnership payments” don’t violate election law, Condos asserts that the developer is “pushing the envelope in an attempt to influence the vote.”
Developers are demanding that residents who want a say in the Public Service Board hearings on the Swanton Wind Project be given two weeks to decide whether they will participate.
Windham Town Treasurer Peter Chamberlain has told the Windham Select Board that while Iberdrola’s latest offer, presented on Oct. 4, totals $1 million, most of it will not be available for the town to decide how to use.
Hutchins said studies conducted on bird collisions with aircraft provide insight to wind energy projects. What they find is that birds can see objects coming at them, but they don’t get the same chance to react with turbine blades turning during high winds at up to 175 miles per hour.
In the latest VPR poll, 67 percent say they “somewhat” or “completely” trust the Public Service Board, a three-member panel that issues state permits for energy projects. But in a second poll question, only 12 percent say the PSB should have the final say on where wind power generators are placed.
A wind-energy company is so desperate for federal subsidies, it will give part of them to citizens. ...Earlier this month, Spanish energy company Iberdrola announced that it plans to distribute about $565,000 per year among 815 registered voters in the two towns. The payments would continue for 25 years.