Vermont Electric Co-op’s (VEC) CEO, David Hallquist, says that if the VEC upgrade of the transmission line from Lowell to Jay is defeated by VEC members’ vote this month, the Lowell wind project will proceed anyway since GMP will use CVPS’ line instead. However, the CVPS line doesn’t have enough capacity and upgrading it would require a Public Service Board (PSB) review, taking months, making it impossible for GMP to meet their December 31, 2012 completion deadline for the Lowell project.
While VEC’s Hallquist says rates will be less than $.10 a kilowatt hour if the VEC line is upgraded, in reality the price of power VEC would buy from GMP is not capped but is tied to GMP’s actual project costs which are increasing. GMP provided information to the PSB acknowledging these are the noisiest of the three types of turbines being considered. Also, GMP has not provided any ‘real world’ performance data for these turbines when built on ridge lines in cold climates.
In Vermont, I feel government subsidies should go for on-site, small-scale energy, not to industrial wind farms on ridge lines where they are environmentally damaging and require miles of transmission lines. Solar is less environmentally damaging and quickly becoming more cost competitive.
VEC members can influence the outcome of this project through their vote this month on the VEC transmission upgrade.
Elinor Osborn, VEC member
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