Articles filed under General from Vermont
While the commission was asked to include all kinds of energy generation projects in its review, it is wind turbines that have caused the most widespread controversy in Vermont. Although three commercial projects have been built, and a third is under construction, there has been rising opposition in towns where new projects have been proposed.
Judge Martin Maley has denied the request by the Lowell six wind opponents for acquittal of the jury conviction against them for trespassing or for dismissal of the charges. Maley's ruling Friday means that the Lowell six protesters will have to appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court to see their convictions overturned.
This is not the end of the hearing process. The PSB is still considering appeals over the stormwater runoff plans and water quality plans. The opponents said they will appeal. Green Mountain Power wants to have all of its 459-foot-tall turbines on the ridgeline operating by year's end to secure $44 million in federal production tax credits.
Newark residents voted 169-59 last month to amend their town plan to oppose "industrial scale generation and transmission facilities" in the community. The amendments also barred commercial structures taller than 125 feet, which would rule out Eolian's wind-measuring tower.
If Shumlin is indeed seeking the best interests for our state and not pandering to paid-for-political power, he can and should reflect upon industrial wind under the circumspection of the economic, ecological, and social damage caused by the broken promises from Yankee. There is a better, more thoughtful choice. A choice that begins with an immediate moratorium on industrial wind.
The Public Service Board will decide on the test tower application. But last week, the state Department of Public Service -- a separate entity -- made news by urging the board to reject Atlantic Wind's proposal because it is "wholly contrary" to Windham's town regulations. Specifically, Windham's town plan bans commercial wind turbines.
State utility regulators will hold a hearing to decide if Green Mountain Power should face financial penalties for shipping turbine parts across northwestern Vermont to the Lowell wind site without proper local approval.
The lingering public perception of gentle Dutch-style windmills in the countryside does not match wind’s stark reality, critics say. Turbines are industrial machines that can exceed the height of the Statue of Liberty, and they’re increasingly financed by subsidiaries of Big Energy giants such as BP and Florida Power & Light.
"It's the department's position that the board has to heed the town plan in a situation like this," Miller asserts, "Because the town has gone through a considered and deliberative process in coming up with this town plan to determine that it doesn't want commercial development in these regions."
The administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin is drawing fire from wind energy supporters for coming out in opposition to a possible wind energy project in the southern Vermont town of Windham.
From Randy Brock to Batman, protesters from all 14 counties came to Montpelier waging war on large-scale wind. "I hope that the governor wakes up and directs the Public Service Board and the Legislature to have a moratorium on wind development," said Lisa Wright Garcia of West Rutland.
They gathered outside Shumlin's office in Montpelier for a rally and to sign a "certificate of public harm," a play on the official certificate of public good that they hope won't be granted to any more large wind projects. "The destruction of our ridgelines is long-term."
The activists, many of whom are personally affected by proposed projects or wind turbines that have already been constructed, gathered on the Statehouse lawn to vent their frustrations. Over the course of an hour about 10 people spoke. The protesters said they felt they had no say in the process.
The state Department of Public Service is urging rejection of a proposal to build wind-testing towers here, saying such construction would be "wholly contrary" to the Town of Windham's regulations.
The Public Service Board will receive filings about Georgia Mountain Community Wind's alleged blasting violations this month, according to a schedule agreed to both parties and accepted by the PSB on October 4. This is the first step in addressing the wind project's violations of its certificate of public good, which the PSB granted in June 2010.
What do these wind turbines represent? Opportunism, for one. In return for investing in the wind project, GMP will receive $44 million in federal production tax credits over 10 years. Environmentalists pushed hard for those incentives, and you can't blame entrepreneurs for leaping at them.
Braithwaite said he was stunned when he saw the difference in the mountain's landscape from October to December. "It was pretty heart-breaking." "I hope the protest movement has dispelled any notion that the Northeast Kingdom would be easy pickings. ...Somewhere in the state power structure we don't count," Braithwaite said.
Jack Kenworthy, head of the company that wants to bring another major wind project to the Northeast Kingdom, once again promised to abide by the wishes of voters in Brighton, Ferdinand and Newark.
The heated debate over large-scale wind power development atop ridgelines is reason enough to take a second look at the process. Public Service Commissioner Elizabeth Miller agrees the current system might need to be updated. Miller told the Free Press, "It's not that the process isn't working now, but it was designed for far fewer projects at a different scale."
By a vote of 94 to 6, Hubbardton residents voted against the article on industrial wind, a measure by town officials to strenghen its position against the construction of industrial and commercial wind turbines on the ridgelines east of the town.