March 14, 2012

Derby Line wind: New public hearing set for March 26

Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, 13 March 2012

DERBY – State utility regulators have rescheduled a public hearing on the Derby Line Wind Project to March 26.

The hearing before an attorney representing the Vermont Public Service Board will take place at 7 p.m. at the Derby Elementary School, said Susan Hudson, clerk of the board.

The public hearing had been scheduled for March 1 but was cancelled due to bad weather.

Hearing officer John Cotter and other officials who work for the board are also expected to conduct a site visit on the afternoon of March 26 at the two border farms hoping to host the proposed two large wind turbines in Derby.

Encore Redevelopment wants to erect two 429-foot-tall wind turbines on Grandview Farm and Smugglers’ Hill Farm on hilly fields between Derby Line Village and the town of Holland, within sight of Interstate 91 and the U.S. port of entry there and the town of Stanstead, Quebec.

Encore is seeking two certificates of public good for the two turbines, which are under the state’s program for small renewable energy projects. Encore wants to have certificates in hand by early summer to erect one turbine this year by the commissioning deadline for small renewable energy projects. But Cotter told Encore that those participating in the formal hearing process require time for due process.

Encore has offered to pay Derby $78,000-plus annually for the proposed 20-year life of the turbines. Offers of $15,000 each annually are being made to Holland and Derby Line.

Derby and Holland, plus the villages of Derby Line and Derby Center, have sought to become parties called intervenors in the hearings. The deadline for these towns and neighboring property owners to intervene was Wednesday.

A schedule for the technical hearings has yet to be set.

Encore is formally notifying Canadian municipalities within the 10-mile radius of the sites, as required by Cotter, according to Encore official Nick Richardson.

Encore is also notifying the owners of property in Canada which abut the two sites.

The owners of Canadian property have more time to apply to intervene, but Cotter warned that there is no guarantee that he would give Canadians party status.

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