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Wind farm would be largest in state  

CASTLETON – A company thinking about putting a wind farm on Grandpa’s Knob introduced itself to the Select Board on Tuesday.

Representatives of Noble Environmental Power met with the Castleton board late Tuesday afternoon to answer questions on just what they were proposing to do. It was the company’s first meeting with the town.

The Connecticut-headquartered company has said it is looking at the ridgeline near the Castleton-West Rutland border as a possible site for a 25- to 30-turbine farm generating as much as 65 megawatts of electricity. That would make it the largest wind farm in Vermont.

Development manager Duane Enger and development consultant Rob Howland – both based in Vermont – stressed the preliminary nature of Noble’s efforts.

“Grandpa’s Knob is probably the closest thing we have to an actual project (in Vermont),” Enger said. “We’ve done preliminary studies and the majority of those studies indicate this would be a good site selection.”

Enger said the company is still working on environmental studies on the site, including one on bird flight patterns over the ridge that they expect to complete by the end of the year. The next phase would be a year of monitoring wind conditions at the site.

Enger said the company would lease land along the ridgeline, and has spoken with landowners in the area, not hearing any opposition. He said while the company has had opposition at other sites, he said many polls and studies – including one the company did in Rutland County – put wind power opponents in the minority.

Select Board Chairman Thomas Ettori said he had been contacted by some of the antiwind power activists from the northern part of the state who had volunteered to send him literature.

“That’s something that really irritates me,” Selectman Joseph Bruno said. “These special interest groups “¦ who follow you around and try to get people to not investigate projects when they don’t even live here. It’s not in their backyard. It’s down here in Castleton.”

Selectman William Mulholland asked how much noise the turbines made.

“You hear that refrigerator?” Enger asked, pointing to a minifridge humming quietly in the corner. “That’s the sound they make. We can have this conversation over it, easily.”

Enger said the board could expect to hear more from the company as the process continued, and promised to be available to answer any questions.

“We’re interested in developing a relationship with Castleton,” he said. “We’re definitely not strangers. “¦ We don’t have a lot of concrete answers, but we have a lot of pretty solid ideas about how things could move forward and we want to be partnered with Castleton to analyze those.”

By Gordon Dritschilo Herald Staff
Contact Gordon Dritschilo at gordon.dritschilo@rutlandherald.com.

February 7, 2007

rutlandherald.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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