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Saying New England holds tremendous opportunity for wind energy development, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power today announced that it is teaming up with Vermont-based Vermont Environmental Research Associates (VERA) to explore potential windpark locations throughout the region.
UPC’s claims to the board and to the media, that they have worked with the community in making these changes, are a lie. They are attempting to divide and bankrupt the opposition with these tactics, and in so doing are undermining the 248 process by making it too expensive for a small poor town or opposing group to participate. If they are successful and get their foot in the door, they will surely try to put in more towers here in the future, and the rush of wind developers in the NEK will begin. Hopefully the board will see the arrogance and duplicity of UPC’s ploy, and dismiss this case as soon as possible.
Despite similar conservation ethics in their personal lives, Douglas and Parker disagree about each other’s competency to lead the state through the energy obstacle course that lies ahead.
Electric power has re-emerged as a significant issue in this year’s political campaigns, and will probably continue to play a large role in campaigns over the next few election cycles. In large part that is because the state is facing huge changes regarding where its power comes from and how much it will pay for it.
Three Public Service Board members and about 30 others drove along hilly, narrow dirt roads to view the Sheffield Wind Farm site Friday. Representatives from the Department of Public Service, Washington Electric Coop, UPC Wind and other interested parties met at the Wheelock Town Hall Friday morning for a multi stop site visit to areas thought to be impacted by the proposed wind utility. UPC’s proposed wind energy plant as it was revised last month calls for 14 wind turbines in Sheffield and two in Sutton on Norris Mountain, Granby Mountain and Libby Hill, down from 26 turbines as originally proposed.
The Free Press Editorial Board is asking candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and governor five questions about issues in their campaigns. Their answers will appear on the Opinion and Forum pages through this month. The series continues today with candidates for governor of Vermont. You can also follow the series online at www.burlingtonfreepress.com. Go to the Opinion page and click on "Where they stand."
The Vermont Public Service Board will visit the site of a proposed wind farm in the Northeast Kingdom on Friday.
To questions of environmental impacts, Gibbons said that there are very few, if any, renewable energy options that can meet the quick start, power capacity needs that the units are addressing. The generators will run only during peak usage — an estimated three percent of the year — and have the ability to start cold and be online within 10 minutes. This unique ability can help restore power during a blackout. Renewable energy such as wind, water or methane digestion, on the other hand, do not produce on the basis of need, Gibbons said.
This 20-year commitment to our townspeople never saw the light of day. It has never been discussed nor has it ever been voted on by the people of Sheffield. Without input or a final vote, it would be a half-truth to report that Sheffield voted for or against industrial wind — they have never actually been given that right. Sheffield’s newly formed Planning Commission recently released its own town survey. Sixty percent of residents, taxpayers, and landowners report they are “against” industrial scale wind development. Sadly, we may never know if Sheffield is “for” or “against” wind. But one thing’s for sure, its Selectboard likes it.
Sutton officials overspent $25,000 allocated for legal fees to fight the Sheffield Wind Farm, prompting a town spokesman on Monday to ask Lyndon selectmen to help pay for a new filing due in a week. Lyndon officials said they would look into it, but did not commit. Lyndon filed to intervene in the case shortly after UPC Wind in February petitioned for a permit for the project with the Vermont Public Service Board, but according to Bruce James, chairman of Lyndon’s select board, it was less an act of opposition than a request to stay informed.
Two very different versions of where Vermont is headed in environmental and energy policy were set out by Republican Gov. James Douglas and Democratic challenger Scudder Parker Monday night as the candidates met in their first debate centered on the environment. In Douglas’ Vermont, the state has made significant strides during his term in office in protecting the environment while easing the complexity of regulatory appeals. While not solved, the state is on its way to figuring out where it will get its electricity in the future, in Douglas’ view.
Under the agreement, ISO New England will project regional power needs three years in advance and hold annual auctions to buy power resources, including new and existing power plants. Incentives would encourage private operators to respond to power system emergencies, and operators that don't make extra capacity available would face penalties.
Part of the Department's ongoing mission is to provide the public with up-to-date information regarding Vermont's utilities. Utility Facts furthers this mission, providing utility data as it becomes available in an easy to access format. The report is divided into four sections, (electricity, gas, telecommunications and water) each of which contains tables, charts and references.
The group of executives at the state’s largest employers talked about the state’s energy future. The track record to date isn’t bad. Vermont has the least expensive electric power in New England, due to low-cost sources at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and Hydro Quebec. But there’s concern about what happens after Vermont Yankee’s license expires in 2012 and Hydro Quebec contracts expire after that. Chris Dutton, president at Green Mountain Power Corp., posed the question that dominated the meeting. “What are we going to do when we think about replacing our base load resources?” Vermont’s base load power from large sources that run 24 hours a day, like Vermont Yankee, provide mostly clean, non-polluting energy. The debate continues over how large a role that renewable sources, like wind power, could play in the future. The Business Roundtable says some, but not all.
SHEFFIELD – Town officials here say they applaud UPC Wind's recent decision to reduce the number of turbines for the proposed Sheffield Wind Farm, even though it means less money for the town, Selectman Chairman Max Aldrich said Thursday. "It seems good they are trying and making an honest attempt to address the issues and we are pleased by that," Aldrich said. The town would get less revenue than under the original proposal because the number of turbines that would be built in Sheffield has been reduced from 20 to 14. The agreement with the town calls for UPC to meet a number of conditions and provides the town with taxes and other payments.
We're a small town," Brouha said. "We don't have much money, but no matter how many spaghetti suppers we have to hold, we'll do whatever it takes to save our mountains." The Ridge Protectors asked the board to hold off acting on the petition until they could present the board with one of their own.
Facing strong opposition from neighbors and concerns from state officials, the developers of a large-scale wind project in the Northeast Kingdom have trimmed 10 of the wind turbines proposed for the site. The project, slated for the towns of Sutton and Sheffield, has met opposition from Gov. James Douglas and from neighbors, including the nearby private King George School. The down-sized project will leave the remaining wind turbines further from the school and neighboring houses, said Matthew Kearns, project manager for UPC Vermont Wind. “All of these changes are reductive. They have less impact,” he said.
Although scaling back - UPC Wind is asking the state for permission to build taller turbines that have greater energy production potential, to make up for the fact that there will be fewer of them. The new turbines would measure 420 feet tall.
Developers of a proposed wind farm in Sheffield and Sutton scaled back their plans from 26 towers to 16 Monday, but local opponents said the project remains too large-scale for its rural Northeast Kingdom setting...... “It’s like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic,” scoffed Greg Bryant of Sheffield, a spokesman for Ridge Protectors, an opposition group that claims 250 to 300 members. “You can’t hide an elephant behind a bush and you can’t hide a 420-foot tower on top of a mountain.”
[UPC] Vermont Wind will be filing revised testimony concerning a proposed project in Sheffield and Sutton with the Public Service Board today. Matt Kearns, project manager for UPC, would not be specific, but said it does have to do with the company’s plans to build a commercial wind farm in Sheffield and Sutton. “There are some changes,” Kearns said Sunday. “But that’s all I can say. We have to let the Public Service Board know first.”