WEST RUTLAND – A wind-energy developer wants access to about 50 acres of town land.
Noble Environmental Power, which is studying building what would be the largest wind farm in Vermont in the area around Grandpa’s Knob, went before the Select Board on Monday to inquire about buying an easement on the parcel that Town Manager Thomas Yennerell described as “near the ridge line.”
Yennerell said the company offered a base rate of $2,000-$3,000 a year, with additional payments based on electricity generated by wind turbines placed on the land. He said the board did not offer an immediate answer.
“They looked at it and said they’d discuss particulars at a future date,” he said.
Yennerell said the land is unused.
“It’s very isolated, just steep forested land,” he said.
The Connecticut-based company has begun approaching other landowners around Grandpa’s Knob in Castleton, according to Anna Giovinetto, vice president for public affairs.
“That’s not something we can discuss at length,” she said Wednesday. “We’re continuing our dialogue with the community and responses have been very positive.”
The company announced in February it was interested in constructing a commercial wind farm in the area, saying the site could support 30 to 35 turbines generating up to 50 megawatts.
Company officials also said at the time that the project was still in the earliest stages and that years of study would be required before a wind farm could be installed.
Giovinetto said the wind and environmental studies of the area were proceeding “on schedule” and the company hoped to put up a test tower this summer.
Giovinetto said she did not have a firm date for when the studies should be concluded, and that it was not unusual that the company was pursuing land access before the studies were completed.
“The whole assessment process takes months and months,” she said. “These are processes that happen in tandem. It’s all part of determining the overall footprint of the project.”
Brad King, manager of the Grandpa’s Knob project, said the tests are designed to assure the project has a minimal impact. He also said the company is opening an office in Rutland, in the Chittenden Building on Center Street.
“In about the next week or two we should be completely up online,” he said.
By Gordon Dritschilo
14 June 2007
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