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GMP working on getting permits  

Credit:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, Caledonian-Record, via: energizevermont.org 10 June 2011 ~~

Green Mountain Power has received – with conditions – the most important permit for the Lowell Kingdom Community Wind project.

There are a slew of other state and federal permits that must be approved before the project can go ahead, however.

Among those are the critical storm-water discharge permits for the turbine sites and the transmission line upgrade.

A list of permits needed has been filed with the Public Service Board, according to GMP. All these permits are part of the 42 conditions that GMP must resolve before state regulators will give the green light.

The Vermont Public Service Board issued a certificate of public good for the 21 turbines of the Lowell wind project in late May to GMP and its partners, Vermont Electric Cooperative and transmission company VELCO.

GMP wants to begin construction this summer and have the project online by the end of next year to be able to qualify for federal tax credits that will keep the cost of the power generated by the project down.

There are two other important steps that have to happen before the project can go forward.

VEC must have a vote of the members over upgrading the transmission line and substation system to handle the wind project and for increased reliability.

Dave Hallquist, VEC chief executive officer, said that members will receive information in the mail about meetings and the pending vote.

And VEC, VELCO and GMP must secure easements for changes in the transmission line, a process that is already underway.

Other permits and their status, according to the schedule filed by GMP, include:

â?¢ GMP has applied for a storm-water discharge permit for construction and post-construction phases for the turbine sites on the ridge line. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation of the Agency of Natural Resources has crafted a draft permit and held hearings. The permit is under consideration, according to a DEC spokesman. That includes a permit for construction of the transmission line and upgrades and substations.

â?¢ GMP sought two permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbor Act, for impacts on the nation’s waters.

â?¢ GMP has sought two permits on wetlands and water quality from DEC. A hearing on those applications is set for 6 p.m. June 20 at Lowell Graded School.

The utility already has a permit to handle waste water and potable water at the construction sites.

Once the certificate of public good is issued, which GMP anticipates sometime this summer, GMP will seek two different permits from the AOT:

Curb cut modifications for a revised entry to the wind site.
Oversize load permits to ship the turbine parts, equipment and cranes to the sites.

GMP officials say they will file a slew of documents with the Public Service Board during the next two months to meet all the conditions to begin construction in August. Opponents who gained party status will have two weeks to comment on each of these filings.

The Lowell Mountain Group has indicated members, including abutters Don and Shirley Nelson, will appeal the certificate of public good. Other permits may be appealed, according to Energize Vermont.

GMP has been posting these documents on the Kingdom Community Wind website.

Source:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, Caledonian-Record, via: energizevermont.org 10 June 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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