IRASBURG – Vermont’s electricity consumer advocates want utility regulators to find wind developer David Blittersdorf in violation of putting up a temporary wind measurement tower on Kidder Hill without the proper permit.
The Department of Public Service says in its July 1 motion states that Blittersdorf has admitted repeatedly that he didn’t seek a certificate of public good for the so-called “met” tower he put up in 2010 and that’s enough for the Public Service Board to find him in violation of state rules.
Blittersdorf wants to erect two industrial grade wind turbines on his property.
“Mr. Blittersdorf also admits that data recorded by the met station was used to evaluate the wind resource available at his Kidder Hill property for construction of a net-metered facility … and for construction of a potential commercial wind facility on the property,” the department states.
He put up two small wind mills in 2012, and then analyzed the wind data to support the new plan for two industrial-grade commercial wind turbines, the department stated.
The department asked for a partial summary judgment from the PSB – leaving the issue of a penalty up for future hearings.
The department states that there are no genuine disputes of the basic facts.
The laws and regulations do not require that the PSB consider Blittersdorf’s intent when he put up the met tower or what mitigating circumstances might exist, the department states. Blittersdorf’s attorneys, in a request for information, asks the department to admit that the met tower is not temporary and admit that the department has no evidence that Blittersdorf intended to break the rules or even knew he would break the rules if he didn’t get a certificate of public good.
Blittersdorf’s attorneys also filed questions for the Agency of Natural Resources, asking whether the met tower harmed the environment, and asking ANR to admit that a site visit wasn’t necessary.
The attorneys also want to know what recommendations, if any, have been made by the department when it comes to penalties over met towers installed without a certificate of public good since 2006.
The town of Irasburg is also a party in the investigation about the lack of certificate of public good.
Seeking a certificate would have alerted the town of Irasburg that Blittersdorf was considering the potential for an industrial wind project on his property, not just for two small wind mills as he originally intended.
He first told townspeople last year about his plans. The town held a non-binding referendum that overwhelmingly shows opposition to the wind project.
The town has no zoning and is near the end of developing an interim draft town plan that would address energy projects. Wind opponents hope the interim partial plan would be sufficient to require the PSB to give deference to the town’s opposition to ridgeline wind turbines.
Last week, selectmen discussed whether the interim draft town plan should go before voters by Australian ballot for approval, not just approval by selectmen, according to the Chronicle. A vocal number of residents are opposed to limits on any regulation on private property use.
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