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Two Vermont utilities OK buying wind power

Slow to approve its own wind-energy projects, the state of Vermont is reaching out to projects in neighboring states to buy wind energy from them. The state Public Service Board has approved contracts under which Vermont's two largest utilities would buy power generated by Granite Reliable Wind's 33 wind towers in northern New Hampshire.

MONTPELIER -- Slow to approve its own wind-energy projects, the state of Vermont is reaching out to projects in neighboring states to buy wind energy from them.

The state Public Service Board has approved contracts under which Vermont's two largest utilities would buy power generated by Granite Reliable Wind's 33 wind towers in northern New Hampshire.

Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and Green Mountain Power Corp. will receive about 4 percent of their annual energy from the wind project for 20 years starting in two years, when the amount of energy the utilities receive from Hydro-Quebec starts to shrink, and the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant's current operating license is set to expire.

"We believe these contracts will provide an excellent blend of environmental benefits and relatively low-cost renewable energy," CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement Wednesday.

"These contracts are in keeping with our historic commitment to green energy, and they extend our portfolios of renewables."

CVPS will buy 30 percent of Granite Reliable's output, and Green Mountain Power Corp. will purchase 25 percent. Construction is expected to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

MONTPELIER -- Slow to approve its own wind-energy projects, the state of Vermont is reaching out to projects in neighboring states to buy wind energy from them.

The state Public Service Board has approved contracts under which Vermont's two largest utilities would buy power generated by Granite Reliable Wind's 33 wind towers in northern New Hampshire.

Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and Green Mountain Power Corp. will receive about 4 percent of their annual energy from the wind project for 20 years starting in two years, when the amount of energy the utilities receive from Hydro-Quebec starts to shrink, and the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant's current operating license is set to expire.

"We believe these contracts will provide an excellent blend of environmental benefits and relatively low-cost renewable energy," CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement Wednesday.

"These contracts are in keeping with our historic commitment to green energy, and they extend our portfolios of renewables."

CVPS will buy 30 percent of Granite Reliable's output, and Green Mountain Power Corp. will purchase 25 percent. Construction is expected to begin this summer in Coos County, N.H., near the Vermont border.

"We are pleased to have this opportunity to provide our Vermont neighbors with clean energy and to aid the state utilities in meeting their renewable energy goals," said Tom Swank, chief commercial officer of Noble Environmental Power of Essex, Conn.

Other out-of-state wind projects had submitted proposals, but Granite Reliable offered the best deal, CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said Wednesday.

The price was not immediately disclosed because the utilities are involved in other negotiations.

"When the price comes out, I think people will be very pleased with the deal we got, particularly from a renewable asset," he said.

The deal is the first out-of-state wind power contract for a Vermont utility, said Stephen Wark, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service.

Vermont utilities don't have an option for large-scale wind energy in Vermont, Costello said.

"We're interested in Vermont projects, no doubt. The big question is can they be both approved and built? And if they can be, we definitely are interested in talking to folks," Costello said.

The Vermont Community Wind Farm last month backed away from plans to build 45 towers in Rutland County, which would have been Vermont's largest wind project, because of uncertainty about the permitting process.

A 16-turbine project planned for the Northeast Kingdom town of Sheffield is being held up by opponents' challenge to its stormwater permit, said John Lamontagne, spokesman for the Massachusetts-based First Wind Corp., the developer of the project. The company still hopes to start construction this summer and plans to sell electricity to Burlington Electric Department, Vermont Electric Cooperative and Washington Electric.

GMP has proposed installing up to 24 wind turbines on a ridgeline in Lowell. The company plans to submit a permit application to the Public Service Board within the next month.

GMP's 11 turbines in Searsburg, installed in 1997, is the state's only operating commercial wind farm. Iberdrola Renewables, the Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of a Spanish firm, is seeking approval to build 17 wind turbines next to it, on two ridges in Searsburg and Readsboro.


Source: http://www.burlingtonfreepr...

MAY 20 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/26361-two-vermont-utilities-ok-buying-wind-power
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