A Memorandum of Understanding between Lyndonville Electric Department and a company hoping to develop a wind project in the Northeast Kingdom has been reached and was released on Monday by LED.
Ken Mason, manager of LED, which is publicly owned by the Village of Lyndonville and overseen by the Lyndonville Trustees, issued the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) a week before it is set to be voted on by the trustees.
Mason had been asked at a meeting of the Trustees on April 1 to consider releasing the MOU at least a week before the next Trustees meeting, April 15, to give the selectmen and planning commission in neighboring Newark time to review it.
Mason said he would take the four-page document to the April 15 trustees meeting at the Lyndon Municipal Building.
At the last two meetings of the board with LED, about a dozen residents of nearby towns have attended to ask questions of Mason about LED’s dealings and talks so far with the wind developer, whose initial project hopes spanned Newark, Brighton and Ferdinand.
The Seneca Mountain Wind project has been cut back by about a third in size, according to recent information before ISO-New England. The developers – who include Eolian Renewable Energy of Portsmouth, N.H. and Chicago-based turbine manufacturer Nordex, USA – appear to be focusing on Ferdinand, but have not officially said they are abandoning plans for either Brighton or Newark.
The project now is in its early stages, with an application still pending before the Vermont Public Service Board for a Certificate of Public Good to allow four meteorological towers to be installed, a precursor for an industrial wind project.
LED had recently entered into a Confidentiality Agreement with Seneca Mountain Wind and has taken some heat from opponents over that.
The MOU notes, “The potential use of LED’s Rights of Way and co-operation in permitting activities for a new transmission line to be used to interconnect the proposed Seneca Mountain Wind Farm to the VELCO Lyndonville Substation.”
LED is required by the Vermont Public Service Board, Mason says, to cooperate with an energy generator by rule 5.500, and trade secrets by Eolian/SMW led to them guarding parts of the agreements that have been hammered out since talks began with LED.
According to the MOU, “SMW, a Delaware limited liability company registered to do business in the State of Vermont, is developing a wind powered electric generation facility, parts of which are or may be located in LED’s territory, and which requires the design, permitting and construction of approximately 15 miles of electric transmission line in the VT Rte. 114 corridor, and other rights-of-way as may be needed, in order to interconnect the Project at the VELCO Lyndonville Substation.”
Eolian CEO Jack Kenworthy on Monday said, “As both SMW and LED have previously indicated, the MOU is a simple document that summarizes the common understandings of the parties based on limited conversation thus far and can act as a guide for moving forward with a more definitive agreement, if the parties decide to proceed further.”
The MOU between LED and the developer goes on, stating, “SMW has filed a large generator interconnection request with ISO-New England to study the interconnection of the Project to the 115kV transmission system at VELCO’s Lyndonville Substation.”
Under the first section of the MOU, “Project and Purpose,” the MOU states that LED and SMW “intend to enter into negotiations” regarding an agreement that will be struck should the project go forward, and that LED would be the one to file a petition to the Vermont Public Service Board for a Certificate of Public Good to allow LED to construct and operate a new generator tie line, including new utility poles, to connect the project to VELCO’s transmission system at the VELCO substation on Hill Street in Lyndon, and that SMW would reimburse LED “for all reasonable costs.”
A second section deals with the “understanding and intentions of the parties,” which again spells out that SMW will reimburse LED for costs involved with the design, permitting and construction of the generator tie, and what each party is and is not, responsible for, for example, “SMW is an independent power producer in the business of developing, owning and operating wind facilities, and is not in the business of owning and operating electric distribution transmission infrastructure,” it notes.
“It is potentially beneficial to LED for SMW to pay for the construction of new infrastructure in LED’s exclusive territory, which LED will then own,” the MOU states.
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