On a beautiful fall day, dozens of people have come to the Northeast Kingdom, not to look at turning leaves, but to look at the possibility of a view with turning turbines.
This is the Public Service Board’s first tour of the proposed Wind Turbine Project in Sutton and Sheffield.
The three panel board will decide if UPC wind can build 16 turbines, each 420 feet tall on Libby, Norris and Granby Mountains. It could power up to 15,000 homes
“I think it’s important to see the area, you can see all the stuff on paper but it’s important to get out and ride the roads,” said Matt Kearns with UPC Wind.
State regulators check out the ridgeline from all different vantage points, including Crystal Lake State Park.
Also tagging along in the tour, supporters and opponents.
“I’m in favor of it, its renewable energy and it is a benefit for the town itself for the taxes and stuff they are going to pay us,” said Garth Chesley from Sheffield.
“They are going to stick out prominently, people have to realize these are large large industrial wind factories,” said Don Gregory from Sutton.
It’s an issue where people on both sides feel very strongly. While the tour was going on, someone driving by told the wind developer exactly what they thought.
“Do not build those things on my ridge,” the driver said to Matt Kearns.
Facing opposition like that, UPC wind filed new plans last month that scaled back the project from 26 to 16 turbines. They also moved them further away from homes, so the closest is now 1/2 a mile away.
“There are folks that are still opposed to the project. I don’t think that is going to change with the new layout,” said Kearns.
But UPC hopes the changes will be enough for the Public Service Board to give them the green light, after other wind projects have stalled or been denied.
State regulators are going to make another trip to the Northeast Kingdom next month. That’s when the wind developers are going to fly several special balloons here on the ridgeline to give everyone a better feel for how tall the turbines would be.
Kristin Carlson – Channel 3 News
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding