A wind turbine developer has proposed moving two towers from the town of Sutton to Sheffield, where they would be closer to 14 other planned towers.
The move by UPC Wind is designed to bring the project in line with what the state Department of Public Service advised in December – to put the turbines where they are more welcome. Sutton residents voted against the project; Sheffield voted for it.
“We’re responding to what we were asked to do,” said Matthew Kearns, director of development for UPC, which is based in Newton, Mass., and has an office in St. Johnsbury.
The prospect of moving two towers a few miles across the town line failed to win over opponents. “It’s going to impact the same communities,” said Greg Bryant, who lives in the village of Sheffield and represents a group called Ridge Protectors. “The project’s simply in the wrong place.”
UPC filed the revised proposal Tuesday with the Public Service Board, which is expected to hold hearings within a few weeks. The company hopes to receive a certificate of public good by May and start construction by fall, Kearns said. UPC would sell power the turbines generate to local utilities.
UPC would lease more land in Sheffield to move the two towers the company had wanted to put on Norris Mountain in Sutton, Kearns said. The change means the company would not have to build an access road up the mountain, he said.
The company had revised its original proposal in September, scaling the project back from 26 to 16 turbines while increasing the height of the towers from 399 to 420 feet. Tuesday’s proposal keeps the number of towers at 16, but clusters them more closely together, just over the Sutton town line in Sheffield.
With more towers proposed for Sheffield, the town would receive a higher annual payment – $550,000 instead of $400,000, Kearns said.
Bryant said the money’s not worth what the area would give up in aesthetics by having towers on the mountain ridges. “The size of these towers is unprecedented in Vermont,” he said. “They’re the size of buildings in Boston.”
Kearns said moving the two towers out of Sutton minimizes the sight of them from Crystal Lake State Park, which had been one of the criticisms of previous proposals.
Contact Terri Hallenbeck at 651-4887 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheffield wind project
WHAT’S NEW: Project developer UPC Wind filed a revised proposal Tuesday with the state Department of Public Service to shift two proposed wind towers from Sutton to Sheffield, where they would be placed near 14 other proposed towers.
WHAT’S NEXT: UPC seeks a certificate of public good from the Public Service Board, which will conduct hearings.
THE DEVELOPER: www.upcwind.com/
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