August 14, 2013
Letters, Vermont

Benning: A letter to the governor

Sen. Joe Benning | August 13, 2013 |

Dear Gov. Shumlin:

It is with great sadness, but no real surprise, that I read today’s news reports indicating the Public Service Board has granted permission for Seneca Mountain Wind to install MET towers in Brighton, Newark and Ferdinand. As you know, permission to install MET towers is the traditional first step in a two-step process that (more often than not) leads to construction of an industrial wind generating facility.

After personally hearing you tell citizens from Newark that no town should have to host an industrial wind facility that didn’t want it, knowing that Newark and Brighton have emphatically voted against such installations, knowing the Northeast Kingdom already produces far more power than it can use, and knowing the Northeastern Vermont Development Association has asked for a moratorium, I hope you can understand my sadness.

A year ago at a press conference I held up a VELCO map of Vermont showing transmission capacity in northern Vermont had reached its limits. Recently you received a letter from ISO-NE indicating Lowell’s wind plant production had to be curtailed to protect grid stability. Clearly the Northeast Kingdom does not have the infrastructure to support what we currently have, much less a new industrial-sized generating facility. Yet Seneca Mountain Wind marches on. Frankly, the process appears to be devolving from an exercise in futility to an exercise in stupidity.

Your office guides the policy decisions that underlie this State’s energy plans. I implore you to use your efforts to cease further construction of industrial-sized generating facilities in the Northeast Kingdom until actual need can be demonstrated and infrastructure limitations can be addressed.

Editor’s note: This letter was sent by Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, to Gov. Peter Shumlin on Aug. 13, 2013.

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