CASTLETON – In what could be the start of a chain reaction, officials in Castleton took a stand against the proposed wind project on Grandpa’s Knob.
The Select Board voted Monday night to oppose the wind turbine development on the ridgeline and not enter into a host town agreement with wind developer Reunion Power.
“It (the project) doesn’t seem to be the best fit for the town,” Select Board Chairman Thomas Ettori said after the meeting, attended by about 40 residents. “All of the meetings we have attended, we’ve seen there has not been any person speaking in favor (of the project).”
Castleton is the first town in the proposed project area to formally oppose the project.
Reunion Power, with offices in Manchester and New Jersey, has proposed the construction and management of an industrial wind farm with up to 20 turbines on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline.
The $100 million project could produce up to 50 megawatts of energy every year and distribute up to $1 million annually to the towns of West Rutland, Castleton, Pittsford and Hubbardton. Of that $1 million, $420,000 a year would be made in the form of state Education Fund payments, and the remainder would be distributed to the towns in the form of tax payments and host town agreements.
Approximately three to five turbines could be expected on the Castleton portion of the ridgeline, while nine to 11 could be in Pittsford, the largest number in a single town.
Last month, the project developer met with town officials and residents during special Select Board meetings to present information on the project and answer public questions and concerns. At each meeting, Reunion Power was faced with widespread opposition, which Ettori said led to the board’s decision to oppose the project.
During Monday’s meeting, Ettori sought a resolution that states the town of Castleton opposes wind towers on the ridgeline and prohibits their development in town. The resolution was passed unanimously by a roll call of the five-member board. It was met with a round of applause by the people in attendance.
The town’s Planning Commission is expected tonight to recommend amendments to the town plan to state the town’s opposition to wind development. They will meet at 5 p.m. at the town office.
Ettori said he does not know if other potential host towns have considered a decision or resolution similar to Castleton’s.
“This could be a domino effect,” he said.
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