A proposed project calls for 500-foot-high wind turbines to be built in Swanton. The project has divided the community and Swanton is holding a vote to gauge how people feel. Tuesday’s vote in Swanton is asking the community if they support or oppose the wind project. Supporters are in favor of green energy and opponents argue the turbines don’t belong on the ridgeline and voters want their voices heard in Montpelier.
Seven wind turbines, 499-feet high sitting along a ridgeline in Swanton. The Swanton Wind project aims to bring wind power to the region.
“This is green energy. This is as good as it gets,” said Rita Dean, Swanton.
But the proposed turbines don’t have the support of everyone. Opponents say they will be loud and unsightly. Swanton held a vote asking the community if they support or oppose the wind project.
“This project’s not needed up here,” said Christine Lang, Swanton.
Not only is Tuesday’s vote on whether or not people support the wind turbines being built on this ridgeline visible from Route 105, but whether or not the town should have more of a say on big renewable energy projects like this.
“Energy projects are of statewide significance and statewide interest and we’re evaluating them. The towns certainly have a role to play and information to share, they just can’t just say no and have that be it. They don’t get the final decision, the public service board gets the final decision,” said Chris Recchia, Vt. Public Service commissioner.
But some lawmakers want towns to have more power.
“We are working on proposing legislation that will give more local control of siting of all facilities that are for electrical generation,” said Rep. Brian Savage, R-Swanton.
And voters in Swanton hope Montpelier hears them.
“Saying this is how the town feels about this type of project and this is how the town feels about what the state is doing as far as taking away the local control,” said Christine Lang, Swanton.
Recchia says he understands concerns, but he has not received an application from the Swanton Wind developers, so the possible project has a long way to go before state approval.
Swanton residents voted to oppose seven wind turbines on the Ridgeline in town with 731 people voting “yes” to oppose and 160 voting “no” keep support the project. They also voted by a similar margin to support the town having more local control.
Vermont’s Public Service commissioner says while the town has a role to play in the fate of future projects, the public service board has final say.
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