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GMP, VEC to answer Irasburg questions  

Credit:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 22 April 2011 ~~

Irasburg selectmen and some residents have questions about the economic value of the Lowell wind project.

The utilities hoping to build Kingdom Community Wind on Lowell’s ridge line want to answer those questions.

Representatives of Green Mountain Power, which wants to raise 21 turbines on the ridge line, and its partner Vermont Electric Cooperative have offered to talk about the project at the May 2 selectmen’s meeting in Irasburg.

“We welcome the opportunity to speak with the Irasburg select board to answer their questions and to show the economic value of Kingdom Community Wind, both in terms of the price of the power and the broader economic benefit to the region,” GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said Thursday.

See orleansrecord.com for turbine photos

The invitation went out after Dr. Ron Holland, an Irasburg resident told selectmen Monday the utilities had not done their homework to justify receiving approval from state regulators.

The Vermont Public Service Board accepted testimony from Holland and others about the project. Hearings were conducted in February. The board is expected to rule on GMP’s request for a certificate of public good for the project sometime in May.

Holland questioned how GMP claims tax credits and renewable energy certificates and the capacity of the proposed project.

Selectmen, in a letter to the utilities written by Holland, said they are not “categorically opposed” to the project but question whether the permanent changes to the ridge line should be allowed if there are more cost-effective ways to secure alternative energy.

Schnure said GMP is happy to answer those questions.

“We will explain how the production tax credits and any sales of renewable energy credits benefit customers of GMP and members of VEC by lowering the cost of the electricity,” she said in a statement. “We will also clear up the confusion surrounding how much electricity is expected to be generated. While the Public Service Board will ultimately determine whether the project is economic and in the public good, we appreciate any opportunity to share our view of the benefits to Vermont citizens.

“We’ve looked at many other options, and the Kingdom Community Wind project is the most economical way we’ve found to produce renewable electricity in Vermont for the benefit of Vermonters now and over the long-term,” she stated.

Schnure also said GMP has issues with some simulations done of what the wind turbines would look like from Route 14 in Irasburg.

An example of a simulation by photographer John Matthews of Albany appeared in Wednesday’s Record.

That simulation showed turbine blades too large in relation to turbine towers, Schnure said.

The simulation was not a life-sized view from the center of Irasburg, she said.

“They way it is displayed, it’s as if you’re looking through a telescope” at the ridge line, she said.

Differing views of what the project might look like have been featured in the hearings and testimony.

Source:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 22 April 2011

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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