The Sheffield wind development project has been years in the making and now construction is well underway. the projects neighbors, whether they like the idea or not, are preparing for a change in the landscape.
The sights and sounds of construction fill the air at the site of the new Sheffield wind development and homeowner Paul Brouha is not happy. “It’s going to look like the War of the Worlds,” he told Channel 3. Sixteen wind turbines will start going up at the site in three weeks. Each of the towers will be about 420-feet tall. Brouha says they’ll ruin the ridgeline view. “I was brought back here from the hospital and this has been far more than just a house, it’s been my home, my only home,” he said.
Brouha might not like it, but the roughly 90-million dollar project is on schedule to start producing power this fall. “We are working on the roads, building retention ponds for the storm water as you can see in the background the substation is moving along quite rapidly,” said David Ertz, First Wind’s Project Manager. Right now more than 100 workers are on site daily – about a third of them are from Vermont. “You have civil engineering, you have mechanical engineers, and you have people who have trades expertise to erect these turbines – they are very complex things to erect,” Ertz said.
The wind turbines will eventually feed into a substation which is still under construction. First Wind says once it’s complete, it should be able to provide power to about 15-thousand homes.
“I just think it is a great idea to use renewable sources for energy,” said Mike Breen, another of the projects neighbors. Breen lives in Sheffield and while he won’t be able to see the turbines from his home, he’s already seeing the benefits to the hundreds of thousands of dollars the project is slated to bring to his town every year. “I think it is going to help relieve the tax burden. We can start getting some better roads and stuff, schools can get improved – there’s dozens of ways we can use the money,” he said.
It’s not the kind of green Brouha’s looking for as he fears the towers will draw lots of attention to this picturesque piece of Vermont for all the wrong reasons. “There is nothing like them in northern New England, and most of the skyscrapers in Boston aren’t even that tall,” Brouha said.
Brouha and a number of his neighbors are challenging the project based on water quality concerns. His group is hoping the Vermont Supreme Court will consider hearing its concerns before it breaks for the summer. Meanwhile, over the next few weeks, the turbine parts will make their way from California to Vermont.
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