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Wind developer to speak with RRPC

The developer of a proposed wind project on top of Grandpa’s Knob will go before the Rutland Regional Planning Commission tonight.

Steve Eisenberg, project manager with Reunion Power, said the presentation before the commission will include a summary and update of where they are in the process and a basic potential schedule moving forward. He said the presentation will be between 20 to 25 minutes long.

“We are not coming forward with a complete site plan but we are close,” he said.

The company, based in Manchester, with offices in New Jersey, is proposing a wind farm with approximately 15 to 20 turbines on Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline. The turbines would have a capacity of between 40 and 50 megawatts of power.

The proposal, which has been in the works since Reunion Power purchased the project from Noble Power in 2010, will affect the towns of West Rutland, Castleton, Hubbardton and Pittsford.

Grandpa’s Knob was the site of the first megawatt-scale wind turbine in 1941, which was discontinued due to several malfunctions and material shortage.

Earlier this year, the state Agency of Natural Resources said it was concerned the project could have negative environmental impacts because the proposed location is considered “a rare, irreplaceable natural area” by the state. At the time, Eisenberg said they were evaluating the on-the-ground conditions, natural conditions and living organisms.

Last month, residents in West Rutland voiced their concerns regarding the project and sought answers from developers.

Eisenberg said they have met with town officials from towns within a 10-mile radius of the proposed project site. He said they are scheduled to speak with the West Rutland Select Board on May 14, while they are in the process of firming up dates with town officials in Castleton, Pittsford and Hubbardton for the next several weeks.

“We are (also) doing small group forums, gatherings with neighbors next to any of the sites,” he said. “There will be at least one in each town.”

Also on the commission’s agenda, they plan to take action on a procurement policy and discuss the RRPC Strategic Plan. Under staff reports, the regional commission will listen to reports on executive/finance from April 10, regional issues, community issues, housing, energy, areawide citizen interest and ex-members. Consent items on the agenda include operating statements from March and minutes from March 20.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday on the third floor of the Opera House at 67 Merchants Row in downtown Rutland.