January 11, 2012

VEC backs Derby wind turbines

Robin Smith, Staff Writer, orleanscountyrecord.com 11 January 2012

Vermont Electric Cooperative wants the turbines to go up in Derby.

VEC is interested in every source of electricity that could be built within the co-op’s district, said Jeff Wright, VEC’s chief operating officer.

Wright spoke Monday evening during a public hearing by the Derby Board of Selectmen with the developers of the proposed two turbines planned for the farm hills above Derby Line on the border.

“I am here to express support for the project,” Wright said.

One of the benefits would be to extend a new transmission line from the existing Derby substation to the village of Derby Line, he said.

VEC is a partner in the Lowell wind project, where 21 industrial turbines are proposed with the capacity to produce 63 megawatts of electricity. A portion of the electricity generated by the Lowell wind project will be sold to VEC at cost.

VEC will buy the electricity generated by the Derby wind project at the rate set by state regulators for sustainable energy projects under a pilot program – if approved by the Public Service Board.

“Anything to do with generation in our system, we support it,” Wright said.

Joe Profera, Derby zoning and planning boards chairman, asked how much electricity the two turbines in Derby would generate.

The two turbines, at 2.2 megawatts each, have the capacity to produce quite a bit of the electricity needed in the town of Derby, developer Chad Farrell of Encore Redevelopment said.

VEC’s Derby substation can handle 3.5 megawatts and would push through the electricity produced by the Derby turbines, Wright said.

The Derby wind project is not a small generation project, when compared to some others, he said. The hydro-electric power plant on the Clyde River in Newport City generates 10 megawatts, he noted.

The wind resource on the Derby hills above Interstate 91 is excellent, Farrell said.

If the wind does blow often, as studies predict, the Derby wind turbines would do very well, Wright said.

“I wouldn’t say it would service the whole town, but it would put a pretty good dent in it,” Wright said.

Each turbine has the capacity to supply the electricity needs for about 1,000 homes, Farrell said.

VEC wants as many locally produced electricity projects as possible in its territory, if they are financially viable. VEC officials have said that much of the electricity generated by power plants in southern New England is lost in transmission by the time it reaches northern Vermont.

The Vermont Public Service Board regulates wind turbines, like other electricity generation projects, under Act 248. The process is highly technical, involving expert witnesses, attorneys and briefs and counter briefs throughout the hearing process.

The board would hold at least one public hearing to give residents a chance to comment on it.

Anyone who wants to be what’s called an intervenor in the hearing process has to apply and show a reason why they should be considered. State agencies such as the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Service, the state’s energy consumer advocate, are expected to seek intervenor status. Towns and individuals have to apply to participate.

Wright said that VEC would help any of its members to understand the Act 248 process. He invited anyone with questions about the regulator process to contact him at 802-730-4233.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/01/11/vec-backs-derby-wind-turbines/