IRASBURG – Wind energy developer David Blittersdorf is intensifying his fight to avoid being found in violation of state regulations and being penalized for having a wind test tower without a permit on his Kidder Hill property.
Blittersdorf wants to put up two industrial-grade turbines on Kidder Hill, one of several projects he is considering in the Northeast Kingdom. A permit application for a “met” tower would have alerted townspeople that he was planning a wind project there.
This week, the Irasburg select board rejected an undisclosed offer by Blittersdorf that if accepted would have taken the town out of the hearings over the alleged violation.
And on Friday, Vermont Public Service Department was expected to file a motion for summary judgment, asking state utility regulators to find Blittersdorf in violation with the potential for penalties.
The law says you must get a certificate of public good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) to put up a test tower to get wind measurements for an industrial-grade wind turbine. Blittersdorf has argued that the test tower was for measurements for a small turbine and then he decided to do two large ones.
Blittersdorf is also involved in a plan for a single large turbine on a dairy farm in Holland and a 500-kilowatt solar project called Seymour Lake Solar in Morgan. The Holland turbine is still in the discussion phase, while Blittersdorf is waiting for reaction from the PSB on his Morgan project.
The motion for summary judgment is one of the developments in the Kidder Hill wind test tower case this week.
Irasburg officials and state agencies received requests for a slew of documents, including email, about the Kidder Hill property, the wind test tower, and other information. Blittersdorf wants the documents by July 15, some of which would be used to argue against a penalty if he is found in violation, according to his attorney, Leslie Cadwell.
The questions for the town and agencies would reveal how long they knew about the wind test tower and whether it was approved under a state grant program encouraging test towers by the state.
Cadwell wants to discuss the Irasburg grand list, which has added $34,000 to the property value of the Blittersdorf property for the wind test tower.
Other questions include the relationship between the board of selectmen and the Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance, and the content of all their meetings or their representatives, including minutes and documents.
Questions for the Agency of Natural Resources include site visits to the met tower location and what factors that the agency would ask be taken into account if the PSB finds that he is in violation.
Questions for the Department of Public Service include details about a grant program to encourage test towers.
Cadwell also wants to know what scope of authority the select board gave to Dr. Ron Holland, a founding member of the Alliance and Irasburg resident, who has represented the town in the test tower investigation.
On Friday, Holland said that he doesn’t fully understand what Blittersdorf is after in the depositions, and said it is unusual for such depositions in a clear-cut case.
Cadwell has asked that representatives of the town and the state agencies plus Holland meet in Montpelier to give depositions in front of attorneys beginning July 15.
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