Promising “a Vermont-scale” project, a company that wants to build a wind farm in the Northeast Kingdom submitted plans Monday for a smaller version of it.
UPC Vermont Wind, a St. Johnsbury subsidiary of Newton, Mass.,-based UPC Wind, filed an amended Sheffield Wind project plan with the Vermont Public Service Board in which it asked for permission to build 16 wind turbines in Sheffield and Sutton, down from 26 in the initial proposal.
The 420-foot tall turbines would provide less power _ 40 megawatts, as opposed to 52 megawatts in UPC’s original plan _ but enough to meet the electricity needs of half the Kingdom, according to Matt Kearns, director of development for UPC Vermont Wind.
The plan, which calls for 14 turbines in Sheffield and two in Sutton, eliminates the prospect of turbines on Hardscrabble Mountain, as well as the need for access to the site through the King George School property, according to the developers.
It also makes the $75 million project invisible from St. Johnsbury, Danville, Kirby and Walden, even though the size of the turbines _ 399 feet in the original proposal _ has been boosted to 420 feet, they said.
“We listened to the community and the agencies, we made changes, and the result is a Vermont-scale project and one that addresses the issues that have been raised,” Kearns said. “This project is an important first step in accepting wind. We’re asking Vermonters to take a second look at wind.”
In July, the Public Service Department said the company’s original project didn’t comply with a regional plan for the area and could harm business at a private boarding school and at a lakeside state park.
In addition, the Agency of Natural Resources had concerns about how the turbines would affect birds and bats.
A spokesman gave no indication Monday whether the new plan would pass muster with the state.
“We will conduct our analysis _ an independent analysis _ and meet the (Public Service) Board’s deadlines for submission of our information,” said Stephen Wark, a spokesman for the state Public Service Department.
Neither was it clear Monday whether the changes would be enough to appease critics of the project, who have said it would mar ridgelines without providing enough electricity to justify the visual blight.
A telephone call to Ridge Protectors, a non-profit Sheffield citizens group opposed to the wind farm, was not immediately returned. Greg Bryant, a spokesman, could not be reached for comment either; his home telephone was unanswered Monday.
On the Web:
Sheffield Wind: http://www.sheffieldwind.com
Ridge Protectors: http://www.ridgeprotectors.org
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding