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Select Board pens letter to PSB on wind

WEST RUTLAND – Town officials hope to block two wind measurement towers on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline from receiving an extension of their certificate of public good.In a letter to the Vermont Public Service Board dated Sept. 10, town officials asked the board to deny any extension to the certificate that was issued almost five years ago to the Grandpa’s Knob Windpark, now owned by Reunion Power.

Select Board Chairman Nick Notte said in an email that the letter to the PSB was a reminder that the certificate for the two wind measurement towers on Grandpa’s Knob would expire Dec. 12.

“We wanted to make sure that they took appropriate action to remind whoever is responsible for the test towers to get them down and remove them from the test sites,” Notte said.

West Rutland Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette said, “We want to make it clear to the Public Service Board that we don’t want the wind project and we want all activities regarding the project to not be allowed.”

She said the Select Board received a letter several weeks ago from Pittsford resident Derek Saari, who urged them to send a letter to the PSB regarding the project. She said the board discussed it for several weeks before deciding a letter was appropriate.

Saari, who owns property on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline, recently spoke out against developer Reunion Power. He had originally signed an easement for the project, but earlier this year pulled out.

Steve Eisenberg, managing director of Reunion Power, called the letter misguided and a prejudgment of a project that does not have an application before the state or even a site plan.

“The wind project is being completely prejudged,” Eisenberg said Wednesday. “It is another reflection of fear tactics (being used) on elected officials.”

The certificate of public good was issued in December 2007 to the Grandpa’s Knob Windpark, at the time owned by Noble Environmental Power. The state’s land use permit allowed for the construction and operation of two wind measurement towers in the towns of West Rutland and Hubbardton.

According to the PSB order, concerns were raised regarding wind farms and the development of natural areas in general, which the PSB determined did not raise significant issues for the temporary towers.

The 197-foot-high towers measure wind speed, wind direction, air temperature and other meteorological parameters frequently every day. The certificate of public goods requires the towers to be removed by Dec. 12.

Eisenberg said Reunion Power has not made a determination to seek an extension of the PSB order, but is leaning toward that.

“(The data) has been helpful,” he said. “It would preferable to continue to study them.”