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Developers to seek permit for Derby wind turbines  

Credit:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 13 September 2011 ~~

Developers of two proposed large wind turbines in Derby are prepared to file their first documents this week as part of seeking approval with state regulators.

And next week, Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment and other partners will talk more about their proposal at a special meeting in Derby Line.

The two proposed turbines, both 425 feet tall from base to turbine blade, are slated for two farms within view of Interstate 91 in Derby Line: Grand View Farm owned by the Davis family; and the Chase farm nearby.

The turbines would be visible from parts of Derby, including Derby Line as well as nearby Holland and Stanstead, Quebec.

The developers this week will file what’s called a 45-day notice of filing with the Vermont Public Service Board, Farrell said Monday.

The filing means that Encore Redevelopment would have 45 business days to present its proposal for reaction to the local municipality of Derby and to the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, which acts as the regional commission.

Then the developer can formally apply for a certificate of public good with the board. This is the same review process that the proposed new telecommunication tower for Nelson Hill Road in Derby is undergoing.

Farrell said he hopes to ask for support from area residents for a waiver of the 45-day notice period, so the developers can move faster to go through the regulatory hearing process. “It seems to be in the best interests of everyone to move ahead,” he said.

He will explain the project and the request for a shorter notice period at the Derby Line village hall Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.

Derby Line trustees requested the information meeting, Farrell said.

Encore Redevelopment and its partners will promote the meeting, in order to reach as many area residents as possible, Farrell said.

He hopes to be able to answer as many questions as possible about the project at the meeting.

Trustee Keith Beadle said Monday that the trustees set up the meeting to give the local community a chance to ask more questions about the project. So far, he said, there have been only a few critics.

He hopes anyone with questions, comments or concerns will attend this meeting before the project gets into the rigidly structured regulatory hearing process.

At the technical hearings before the Public Service Board, area residents who aren’t official parties in the hearings don’t get a chance to question projects. The Public Service Board does hold public hearings for large utility projects such as the Sheffield or Lowell wind projects.

The Derby Board of Selectmen has been invited to next week’s meeting, Beadle said. Chairman Brian Smith is expected to attend, he said.

Beadle also plans to alert Stanstead Mayor Philip Dutil and his council about the meeting.

Stanstead residents would have a significant view of the turbines.

The developers have said they intend to meet with selectmen to discuss tax payments to Derby. They said at their first official meeting with Derby area residents that they would discuss a “good neighbor” payment for other communities, along the lines of what Green Mountain Power said it will pay to communities that neighbor the Lowell wind project.

The two turbines would have the capacity to generate 2.2 megawatts, the maximum allowed under the state’s Sustainably Priced Energy Development program.

Developers got the green light last month when a feasibility study by Vermont Electric Cooperative showed that the local grid could handle the electricity generated by the two turbines, and even a third. However, a third turbine initially considered for the Letourneau farm was included in the SPEED program.

Unlike the large wind projects on the wooded ridge lines of Sheffield and Lowell, these are proposed for open farm fields.

Most at a July meeting said they supported the idea that farmers would see revenues from wind turbines on their hilltop fields.

Farrell said the partners are going over the last engineering and other studies they will need to file the 45-day notice with the Public Service Board.

They hope to have a certificate of public good in hand by January 2011, hire contractors and order turbines in the spring, and then build roads and erect the towers by the fall of 2012. They want the project online by the end of 2012 to benefit from federal production tax credits as well.

The $11 million project would have the capacity to generate enough electricity to supply 900 homes.

The developers have to have the two turbines operating by January 2013 to qualify for the SPEED program.

The Derby wind project would be the first wind project developed under the SPEED program, Farrell said.

Utilities are required to pay higher costs for renewable projects of a smaller size – of 2.2 megawatts of electricity or less – under the SPEED program.

Source:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 13 September 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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