Library filed under General from Vermont
“Everyone who gets a tax bill is going to get a vote,” said John Soininen, [Eolian] project manager. But not everyone agreed. “I’ve never heard of anything voted on in this state before where we let out-of-state landowners vote on town issues,” said state Sen. John Rodgers.
Seneca Mountain wind developers stuck their head in the lion’s den here Monday night, and the lion roared back.
The developer of a major wind project in the Green Mountain National Forest has been unable to reach an agreement to sell the power it would produce. The project’s state permit is contingent on a long term power purchase agreement with a Vermont utility.
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.
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.
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.
The 21 turbines at the Kingdom Community Wind farm in Vermont soar above Lowell Mountain, a testament in steel and fiberglass to the state's growing use of green energy.
Tuesday, Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia wrote to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has staunchly supported the proliferation of large wind projects in Vermont. "Your office guides the policy decisions that underlie this State's energy plans. I implore you to use your efforts to cease further construction of industrial-sized generating facilities in the Northeast Kingdom."
The project has considerable opposition from the town and resident Liisa Kissel hosted last week's meeting with Shumlin to express the disapproval many citizens are feeling. "We're very pleased that we had a chance to voice our concerns. We don't know if the governor was previously aware of how much concern there is in Grafton about this," she said in a telephone interview. "We wanted to tell the governor directly."
Liisa Kissel, a Grafton resident adamantly opposed to the wind towers and a regular attendee of Selectboard meetings, said Vermont state law allows for public comment so that citizens can speak their minds without limitation. She said rules can be established to avoid a meeting's delay but "the spirit of rules is that the public may not be silenced."
A representative of Iberdrola Renewables, which has erected testing towers in the two towns, said it will be 2014 -- at the earliest -- before the company has enough weather data to either pursue or abandon a potential wind project here.
The head of the Brighton Ridge Protectors, a citizen-led group fighting efforts to site a wind project in Brighton, Ferdinand and Newark, wants the Vermont Attorney General to rule on alleged violations of Vermont's Open Meeting Law. Island Pond resident Pam Arborio says the Board of Governors of the Unified Towns and Gores have committed violations of the state open meeting law in discussing possible financial terms and more with a wind developer in recent months.
Brighton recently adopted a newly amended town plan in which the town says it supports the regional planning agency's call for a moratorium on wind development until further study is done. Four members of the Brighton Planning Commission and the three members of the town's select board, signed a letter urging the CPG not be issued for the MET towers.
There were planning issues, aesthetic issues, things that people get concerned about when one of these type of projects shows up in their backyard, their neighborhood, so we really felt, and the Commission felt, that we needed to emphasize the planning process more first and also give the public an opportunity, a much longer opportunity to respond. Right now, there's a 45-day public notice period when an applicant is going to file with the board.
Marsha Blomberg, an ISO New England spokesperson, said the grid uses an "economic dispatch" method, which often gives the most expensive power source the temporary ax. But Johnson said cheaper sources could be curtailed if it keeps the grid safe.
Senate Bill 30 might have gotten the wind knocked out of it this session, but a revised bill - far from its original call for a moratorium on big wind projects - sailed through a second reading on the House floor Friday by a vote of 140-3. That does not mean, however, that some senators have ceased trying to pump the legislation back up.
Kim Fried, chairman of the Town of Newark's Planning Commission, which amended the Town Plan last year to ban industrial wind projects, a change overwhelmingly supported by residents, said "We are very disappointed and saddened. Neither SMW, the PSB or the state of Vermont appear to care about the concerns of Newark's citizens and I think this attitude towards small towns is beginning to bother many other citizens across the state, as it should.
The four wind turbines on Georgia Mountain, stationary for a week, are expected to spin back into action in the near future while technicians run safety checks, a company official said Thursday. A faulty electrical component at the site’s tie-in with power lines caused the turbines to shut down automatically, project manager Martha Staskus told the Burlington Free Press.
David Hallquist, CEO of the utility Vermont Electric Cooperative, publicly opposed any new utility-scale wind projects in the Northeast Kingdom because the ISO-New England, is ordering Vermont and New Hampshire wind projects to curtail electricity output to maintain grid stability. Hallquist said the co-op and its utility partner, Green Mountain Power, have already lost $1 million this winter on curtailment of Lowell Mountain's 21-turbine Kingdom Community Wind Project.