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GMP’s delays

Green Mountain Power’s (GMP) Lowell Wind Project, now under way, should have been stopped long ago before protesters ever became involved. GMP has caused their own delays of about a month and a half, far longer than any delays caused by protesters.

GMP told the VT Public Service Board (PSB) that the project had to begin Aug 1, 2011, to be operational by Dec 31, 2012, so they could obtain $47 million in tax credits; otherwise the project was not economically viable. Here are some instances of GMP’s delays:

1. Sometime before July 18, the landowner filled a wetland and a contractor cut trees. The state investigated. Actual construction did not begin until around Sept. 6, over a month past GMP’s own deadline. The project should have been stopped if that’s the kind of work that could be expected and since construction was behind schedule.

2. GMP started road building before storm water controls were in place causing heavy erosion. The state put on a stop work order Oct 5th. It was lifted on Oct 12th. GMP should not be using heavy rains as an excuse. Weather is uncontrollable and should be accounted for by having storm water controls in place before construction, and by incorporating extra time for weather delays into any construction project. Again the project should have been stopped if that’s the kind of work that could be expected and since construction was behind schedule.

3. This one should have been a long delay: A state scientist’s testimony to the PSB declared the project to have an “undue adverse impact” on the environment. So the PSB set a condition of a pre-construction mitigation plan that was agreed to by GMP and the state. Then GMP asked the PSB to waive that condition saying they could not get conservation easements in time to create a mitigation area. PSB agreed. The project should have been stopped at this point. Will mitigation ever be in place now?

Due to a rush job, this project had neither adequate planning nor adequate state supervision. It’s all about $47 million dollars.

Elinor Osborn

Craftsbury Common, Vt.