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Derby farms eyed as wind turbine sites

DERBY – Vermont companies are proposing to build large, single wind turbines on two or three farms in Derby Line.
For about two years, Bryan Davis of Grand View Farms was looking into attaining a large turbine on his farm. Currently he has a small turbine of about 100 feet, but the turbine does not generate enough power to completely run his farm.
Now Alteris Renewables and Encore Redevelopment have joined in on the idea. The land for the turbines would be leased from the farmers. The turbines would be made by Northern Power Systems, a Vermont company based in Barre.
The project is part of the Vermont Sustainably Priced Energy Development Program (SPEED), which was enacted by the Vermont Legislature and Gov. Jim Douglas in 2005 and revised in 2009.
The goal of the SPEED program is to promote the development of in-state energy sources, which use renewable fuels, and to benefit the Vermont economy. An additional SPEED goal is to generate 20 percent of Vermont’s load with SPEED resources by 2017.
The other proposed locations are the Smugglers Farm, owned by Jayne and Jonathan Chase, and perhaps the Phil Letourneau Farm in Derby Line.
There is a study underway to determine if the current infrastructure could support the possible three turbines. The companies are also waiting for a decision from the Vt. Public Service Board on the third farm.
The project also needs a Certificate of Public good in order to be built.
Each turbine would generate enough power for approximately 900 homes.
“This location really fits in to what we feel is appropriate for Vermont. The turbines would sit on small hills on agriculture land; areas that are not considered pristine,” explained Nils Behn, the wind business director with Alteris. “We feel we have struck a home-run with this project.”
The project has FAA approval and lights would be required. The lights are very sophisticated and would have a very narrow light path. The turbines would not have a gear box, which is where a great deal of sound comes from, Behn said.
There will be a public informational meeting on July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Derby Line Village Hall.