Articles from Vermont
GMP will also continue to follow its certificate of public good which requires voluntary curtailment of turbine operation during calm or nearly calm summer evenings when bats are out hunting. The agreement gave GMP a permit allowing a handful of bats to be killed at the wind project each year, with the understanding that more bats would be saved through the mitigation funding than lost at the wind project.
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.
Proximity to industrial wind turbines is making people ill, and the state's program to increase the use of renewable energy sources is a "sham." That's the message a committee exploring the impacts of industrial wind projects heard ...The committee was formed by Northeastern Vermont Development Association following NVDA's July 2012 recommendation that all industrial wind development be suspended for three years until more is known about its impact on local communities.
"The department continues to believe that the identification and correction of noise-related problems is of paramount concern," Commons stated in a brief submitted to the PSB this week. ... The lack of knowledge by GMP about snow impacts, along with Nelson's health concerns, raised the question for the department of whether there were more violations last winter, which prompted the department to seek a stiffer penalty than originally sought, Commons stated.
Geoff Commons is the department's public advocate. He said the board heard credible testimony from Shirley Nelson, a neighbor of the Lowell project, that the turbine sound was harming her health, even at levels produced below the state standard. ...We do get complaints about turbine noise, more or less regularly. And we think it would be appropriate to just basically get more information on the sounds.
David Hallquist, the CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, said the Eden Wind turbines would exacerbate the transmission bottleneck. Hallquist said expensive upgrades would be needed to accommodate the 18 megawatts from Eden. "...I can’t imagine any developer spending what could amount to be a hundred million dollars in investment just to put their project on line."
Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters For A Clean Environment, on Monday expressed disappointment in the response, saying "the governor's letter to the Therriens is tone deaf to the difference between public policy moving forward and public health issues occurring now." ..."Chris Recchia's study did harm to the Therriens and there are no ongoing discussions with the PSD.
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.
Guy Page is communications director for the Vermont Energy Partnership, said most Vermonters don't realize the scale of change to the landscape that's required to achieve just a 5 percent increase for in-state renewable sources. More mountain top wind projects - such as those that have stirred controversy in Sheffield and Lowell - would be needed to reach the goal, Page said.
David Hallquist, chief executive officer of Vermont Electric Cooperative, said Monday that VEC did a study for BNE two years ago that showed it would be cost-prohibitive to connect to power lines along Route 100. Hallquist did not know if BNE had talked to GMP about connecting to another power line farther south at Stowe, which he said would be even more costly.
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."
After personally hearing you tell citizens from Newark that no town should have to host an industrial wind facility that didn't want it, knowing the Northeast Kingdom already produces far more power than it can use, and knowing the Northeastern Vermont Development Association has asked for a moratorium, I hope you can understand my sadness.
For more than a year, small-town residents who oppose energy projects - like the Lowell Mountain wind site, the proposed Vermont Gas Systems pipeline in Addison County and other projects - have been clamoring to make the Public Service Board process more citizen-friendly.
The Public Service Department, the agency that represents ratepayers, said GMP should be fined up to $50,000. The department also wants the board to order GMP to conduct continuous audio monitoring of the Lowell turbines. But Kaliski, the utility's sound consultant, said that would be expensive.
Tensions ran high Thursday as the Vermont Public Service Board held a hearing to determine whether Green Mountain Power should be sanctioned for operating the 21-turbine Lowell Mountain wind project at above permitted sound levels. The quasi-judicial board called the hearing after GMP reported the wind project produced noise above 45 decibels outside neighboring residences. This is the threshold that the project is not permitted to exceed.
Many people realize that the grid operator had good reasons not to dispatch the wind power during the heat wave. ...The turbine owners have developed a serious case of entitlement. If the wind turbine doesn't get dispatched, someone is going to hear about it from the Governor.
Neighbors have complained to the PSB, the department and anti-wind groups about noise. The department is collecting that information. In some cases, GMP is working directly with neighbors to identify the causes of noisy conditions. ...Neighbor Shirley Nelson, who stated she is suffering illnesses caused by wind turbine noise, asked for the maximum penalty of $140,000 and also asked that GMP pay for more monitoring.
Vermont's largest electric utility knew the limits of its Lowell Mountain wind project and that it would be asked to keep electricity generated there off the grid from time to time, the head of New England's electric grid wrote in a letter to Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Green Mountain Power announced last week that it has reached an agreement with the state that would allow the utility to raise electricity rates by up to 5 percent over the next two years. A 2.5 percent rate hike that would go into effect in October 2013 would pay for upgrades to the Vermont and New England power grid system.