As some residents around Lowell and Sheffield complain about noise from the turbines, interest continues to burble for a moratorium on wind projects in Vermont.
The Vermont Electric Cooperative’s board of directors will vote Saturday whether to call on the state to issue a moratorium, said VEC Chief Executive Officer David Hallquist.
The Vermont Senate is likely to consider a moratorium when the Legislature convenes in January, Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell said. He supports a two-year moratorium and said a growing number of senators do.
“I believe for two years we should look at what we expect Vermont to look like,” Campbell said. “I certainly don’t want to have my grandchildren and great-grandchildren see all the ridgelines filled with huge wind towers.”
House Speaker Shap Smith said he’s not in favor of a moratorium, nor does he see it having support in the House. Gov. Peter Shumlin also opposes a moratorium.
Smith said a moratorium is unneeded, as no new projects are imminent. He said the House will look at the recommendations of an energy siting commission the governor recently appointed and gauge the state’s overall picture for all types of energy generation, rather than singling out one type.
At Vermont Electric Co-op, Hallquist said the controversy surrounding commercial wind projects on Northeast Kingdom mountains has taken a toll on members. “We’re splitting our communities,” he said. “We just don’t like the tension it’s created.”
Some board members have questioned whether that strain is worthwhile as wind power doesn’t reduce the state’s carbon footprint much, Hallquist said.
VEC was a partner in the Lowell wind project built by Green Mountain Power Corp., with the co-op’s transmission line carrying power from the turbines in Lowell to Jay. Green Mountain Power helped pay for upgrades to the VEC transmission line.
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