Wind Power News: Vermont
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
“Please do not buy the power from this poorly planned project that we believe is fraught with procedural, technical, systematic and environmental shortcomings, and thus lend support to its harmful and unwelcome outcomes,” the letter says. “Our community is committed to fighting this project."
Senate Energy Committee Chair Christopher Bray, D-Addison, said around 98 percent of projects are approved under Act 250 after undergoing a community process that attempts to accommodate both proponents and opponents of a project.
Most of those who proposed changes in the plan also were vocal in opposing or criticizing the VCRD's Empower Pownal initiative, which focuses on projects by volunteers to help prepare the community to take advantage of economic or other opportunities emerging because of climate change. Some of the suspicion of opponents targeted the officials or energy industry experts the VCRD brought to Pownal from elsewhere in the state to assist the six volunteer groups with their projects.
A recent commentary, “Vermont’s Greenhouse Gas Mandate: Costly, Symbolic Environmentalism,” on reducing Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions by Jonathan Lesser has been broadly disseminated by various Vermont media outlets. Dr. Lesser is president of Continental Economics, and he makes the case that the numbers in the 2016 Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan don’t add up. Couple Lesser’s analyses with the fact that Gov. Phil Scott’s newly appointed Climate Action Commission is conducting a “listening tour” around the state during the next month, . . .
ST. JOHNSBURY – Four members of the newly-appointed Vermont Climate Action Commission heard from many people who packed the Kingdom Taproom on Wednesday evening. Peter Walke, chair of the commission appointed by Gov. Phil Scott in June, and also the Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, welcomed more than 100 people and introduced three other members of the panel. Also attending the event were Michele Boomhower, designee of the Secretary of the Agency of Transportation; Harrison Bushnell, U-32 High . . .
One community has become divided after the Vermont Council on Rural Development visited with its Climate Economy Model Communities Program, and now another is about to embrace the same controversial program. In April, the VCRD chose Pownal as the first test community to be transformed into a climate change model for the future. The program includes three community meetings to elicit community-driven improvements regarding energy, transportation and economic development, with an environmental theme for each proposal. Critics of the program . . .
Vermont, along with 19 other states, has a long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction mandate. The original mandate, signed into law in 2006, called for a 75 percent reduction below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. In 2011, then- Governor Shumlin raised the goal to a 90 percent reduction by 2050, something which the 2016 State Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) discusses in detail. Too bad the numbers don’t add up. Vermont’s mandate is much more than a requirement to supply consumers with . . .
Vermont has nowhere near the amount of solar and wind generators it will need to meet renewable energy goals written into law, but utilities are nevertheless fighting developers seeking to build more. That’s the backdrop for Vermont Electric Co-op’s recent announcement that it will oppose all new renewable projects in its service territory that exceed the size of a rooftop solar array. The utility’s service area covers much of northern Vermont, where land is cheaper than in many other parts . . .
The commission also wrote that its decision keeps with the spirit of Act 174, the state law passed in 2016 designed to give municipalities greater say in local energy siting. The commission said its order saves participants in this review process, especially dozens of community members from the towns surrounding Swanton Wind’s proposed site, from aiming for a “moving target,” in thecommission’s words, as the review process moves forward. However, the commission didn’t just deny Swanton Wind’s motion, but also a motion from the DPS, asking the commission to order Swanton Wind to complete a curtailment study as well.
Concern about the existing constraints on the electricity grid in northern Vermont is affecting proposed industrial wind projects. The Vermont Public Utilities Commission on Thursday refused to reconsider its rejection of the petition for a certificate of public good for Kidder Hill Wind, a two wind turbine project in Irasburg and/or Lowell, saying the application is incomplete without a study of how the project will impact the electric grid. The commission used the same argument in refusing to restart an . . .