Articles from Vermont
“Is this throwing more money at a project that should never have been built where it is, all at ratepayer expense?” asked Smith. “Regardless of the reason, the Lowell Wind project was built in a remote area with extraordinary ecological resources that had much greater value than the minimal amount of electricity being produced. It was well known at the time it was proposed that the area lacked adequate transmission capacity to handle the additional power. There is no excuse, more than a decade later, to saddle ratepayers with any additional costs.”
NORWICH — An Upper Valley solar company is proposing to build a 500-kilowatt solar array on a wooded hillside that was once part of a farm now bisected by Interstate 91.
ISO New England’s draft plan aims to strike a middle ground. While the grid operator’s working proposal eliminates the automatic price floor for subsidized resources, a similar calculation should still “be applied in certain situations,” ISO New England explained in a presentation to stakeholders in September. “In June, when we launched the effort to remove the MOPR from the capacity market, we made clear that we will do so in a way that doesn’t jeopardize either power system reliability or competitive pricing in the capacity market,” Matt Kakley, senior communications specialist at ISO New England, said in an email.
Dave Schilling, Danville Middle and High School principal, said in an email that he was surprised to find the noisy turbine not producing power when he arrived at the school in 2018. ...Schilling told the school board on May 4 that the cost of repairs needed to get an inverter working — between $4,000 and $11,000 — was not worth the small amount of power the unit could produce. In fact, it seems the system only generated a few hundred dollars of power to begin with.
Thomas Melone’s solar projects planned for the Apple Hill neighborhood in Bennington have so far generated more litigation than electrons.
In the Northeast Kingdom, the electric grid is out of balance. Several big local wind and hydro projects, plus power imports from Canada, mean the wires carry much more power than the region can consume. The imbalance has caused the regional grid operator to reduce the output from the wind generators. It's also led to the de-valuing of local generation and a two-year moratorium on new renewable projects in the Kingdom.
The business groups argue that halting the surcharges would provide some rate relief to both commercial and residential customers at a time when many are having financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. “We’re not looking to decimate these programs, but we are saying, ‘We’ve got to take a breather,’” said Doug Gablinske, executive director of the Energy Council of Rhode Island, which represents large energy users.
After nearly eight and a half years, Vermont Wind, developer and operator of the Sheffield Wind Project, has settled a noise complaint and resolved other legal claims with Paul and Carol Brouha, owners of an adjacent property in Sutton. ...“This complaint should have been resolved in 2012,” stated Mr. Brouha.
Vermont Wind ...expresses [its] "sincere regret that the operation of the Project may have caused Mr. Brouha and his family any inconvenience or annoyance, and further, Vermont Wind wishes to implement the agreed-upon operational protocols and other components of this Stipulation.”
Vermont has no major wind projects moving forward after plans for a proposed turbine just south of the Canadian border have officially ended. In an order issued earlier this month, the state Public Utility Commission upheld a request to conclude its review of a wind turbine proposed for a Holland dairy farm.
A bill that would make utilities buy more electricity from local, renewable sources has strong backing from Vermont’s solar industry. But some utilities and the Scott administration are concerned that the new requirements will lead to rate hikes, especially in the state’s poorest regions.
The conflict stems from the vacant-land myth: the notion that there’s plenty of unused land out there in flyover country that’s ready and waiting to be covered with wind turbines, solar panels, power lines and other infrastructure. The truth is that growing numbers of rural and suburban landowners are resisting these types of projects. They don’t want to endure the noise and shadow flicker produced by 500- or 600-foot-high wind turbines. Nor do they want miles of transmission lines built through their towns, so they are fighting to protect their property values and views.
But the bill’s call to double — from 10 percent to 20 percent — the amount of renewable energy that utilities would have to purchase from new Vermont sources like solar seemed to be a bridge too far for some senators. ...Officials from Vermont Electric Power Company, which manages the state’s electric power distribution, estimated it could cost $900 million to upgrade the grid with enough battery storage to handle the jump to 20 percent renewables.
“We opposed the project on the basis that it would significantly imperil or destroy wildlife habitat and bear habitat,” she said. “The Public Utility Commission did not, frankly, rule in the way that the department would have preferred. They issued a decision in which they approved the certificate of public good for the project. They found, based on our testimony, that there were 36 acres of bear scarred beech [trees] that would be removed as part of the project.”
Economics, politics and state and federal policies have combined to make wind development more difficult. Wind projects in Vermont have generated stiff public opposition over aesthetic, sound and environmental concerns.
Dairy Air Wind, the last remaining wind energy project being developed in Vermont, today announced the ending of all development activities surrounding the project. Project partner David Blittersdorf cited a current political environment that is hostile to wind energy as the leading cause for this step.
Dairy Air Wind, the last remaining wind energy project being developed in Vermont, today announced the ending of all development activities surrounding the project.
On a 95-66 vote during an all-day ballot Monday, residents approved the new town plan, which bans any large wind facility, and includes other planning updates. "We now have a town plan, after the Windham Regional Commission has given its final approval, that tracks the wishes of the voters and is compliant with Vermont laws and energy goals," said Liisa Kissel, a member of the Grafton Planning Commission.
Seven U.S. senators from New England on Monday urged ISO-NE to “return to the table with stakeholders” and more closely align its fuel security initiative with state policies seeking to speed the transition to renewable energy resources.
When Vermont policymakers discuss the state’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, the consensus is that the electric sector is doing pretty well.