READSBORO – A plan to study the impact of a proposed wind power plant on federally owned forestland has been approved with some conditions by the state.
In 2009, the Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good to Deerfield Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of the Spain-based Iberdrola Renewables, which has offices based in Oregon.
The project is proposed on Green Mountain National Forest land in the towns of Readsboro and Searsburg. While it’s been approved by the state, the U.S. Forest Service must still give its blessing, and a decision is expected this summer.
If built in full, the project would consist of 17 turbines split on either side of Route 8. It would generate 30 megawatts, powering the equivalent of about 14,000 homes.
The project would be a geographical extension of the Green Mountain Power-owned facility in Searsburg, which consist of 11 towers roughly 200 feet high. The Deerfield turbines would be close to double that height.
Part of the certificate of public good was that Deerfield Wind draft a plan to study the impacts on black bears, which live in the area. The PSB modified its original order a few months after giving it requiring Deerfield to conduct a multi-year study on the black bear impacts both before and after construction.
Paul Copleman, communications manager for Iberdrola Renewables, said the study will take place before any building occurs.
According to the PSB’s order, issued April 7, it approves a study plan submitted by Deerfield, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the Vermont Natural Resource Council. Deerfield will pay up to $500,000 to ANR for conducting a study using global positioning system (GPS) data to monitor the bears in the surrounding habitat.
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