CASTLETON – Contractors for the proposed wind project along the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline said they are working on finalizing data collection for the project and are hopeful they will have a complete application to present to the Vermont Public Service Board sometime next year.
Steve Eisenberg, managing director of Reunion Power out of Manchester, said it will depend on the results of the data collection and studies on the viability of the project.
“It really depends on the data behavior,” he said.
Eisenberg provided an update of the project’s progress at the Castleton Select Board meeting last week where he said impact study results should be available by the end of the month but more data collection are scheduled to be performed this fall.
“We have done testing and have been following the policies made in Vermont (about wind power),” he said at the meeting. “At this point, we have not found any show-stoppers that would not allow us to move forward.”
The proposed wind farm would touch the towns of West Rutland, Castleton, Hubbardton and Pittsford and consist of 15 to 20 turbines on the Grampa’s Knob ridgeline with a capacity of 40 to 50 megawatts of power. A rough estimate for the project is approximately $100 million.
“We are doing work on where the turbines might go and where they roads will go,” Eisenberg said. “They are efficient. We are capturing more wind than before. The blades may be a little longer than first considered.”
Other studies include a transportation study to determine how they will get trucks to the construction sites, especially with the larger blades, as well as determining exactly where they can construct the towers. TRC Engineering is assisting Reunion Power in the studies.
“There are several sensitive areas that we know we will have to avoid,” Eisenberg said. He mentioned wetlands, homes and locations for hand gliding as some locations they need to avoid.
Eisenberg said an electric utility company has already made an offer for an energy purchase agreement, but would not say who made the offer.
“We are in talks with instate utilities which is what we want to do,” he said.
As the project continues to move forward, Eisenberg believes public meetings with town residents will be scheduled next year for input.
Reunion Power, which also has an office in New Jersey, acquired the Grandpa’s Knob wind project from Noble Environmental Power in late 2009. The company recently completed a 122-turbine wind farm project in Idaho worth more than $400 million.
“We are leaning on moving forward on the project, because we have not found any reasons not to,” he said.
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