HOLLAND – An industrial-sized wind turbine on a Holland dairy farm is expected to have a positive impact on the local electricity grid, according to Vermont Electric Cooperative.
VEC, the regional electric utility, is studying the impact of a proposed 2.2 megawatt turbine on Dairy Air Farm owned by Brian and Kim Champney.
“My engineering team did say the siting was looking promising from a system impact perspective,” said Jeff Wright, chief operating officer of VEC.
“My initial thoughts are the area could benefit from the generator and the hosting farm would definitely benefit from any required VEC infrastructure upgrade,” Wright said.
The cost of connecting the single turbine to the grid is being studied by VEC.
The Champneys call the single-turbine project Dairy Air Wind and are working with renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, head of AllEarth Renewables, and Vermont Environmental Research Associates (VERA).
VERA is studying the impact of the single turbine on the environment, grid and neighborhood as part of the homework required before applying for a certificate of public good from the state utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board.
Blittersdorf wants to put up two similar sized turbines on property he owns on Kidder Hill in Irasburg and has applied for a 500-kilowatt solar project in Morgan called Seymour Lake Solar.
Dairy Air Wind was supposed to be the subject of a public meeting Thursday evening but the Holland select board unanimously voted on Tuesday to postpone it at the request of VERA official John Zimmerman.
Zimmerman told the select board on Tuesday that neither he nor fellow VERA representatives could attend the Thursday special meeting, according to the draft minutes of the select board meeting.
Zimmerman also expressed concerns about how the meeting would go.
“It is his feeling that it has turned into an anti-wind rally and there will not be anyone from VERA there to answer questions,” according to the minutes.
“He would also like to see a meeting where it is just Holland residents/land owners,” the minutes stated.
Zimmerman suggested that the Holland selectmen talk to Lowell selectmen, who have handled multiple meetings in the past about the Lowell wind project, called Kingdom Community Wind.
Lowell voters were overwhelmingly in favor of the 21 turbines that were eventually build on Lowell Mountain, but there were many hotly contested meetings before, during and after the project was built.
On Friday, VERA spokeswoman Marth Staskus said in an email statement that the studies have just begun, so it will take a little time before VERA will have more information to share.
“We appreciate the select board’s understanding that all interests will be best served by having a meeting when we can provide more complete information to Holland residents. We’ve promised to keep the select board informed about our progress,” Staskus wrote.
The postponement outraged at least one wind opponent, Vicky Lewis of Derby, who like several other people, arrived at the Holland school where the meeting was to be held only to discover a note on the door saying the meeting was postponed.
She said that the wind developer pressured the select board to postpone the meeting.
Lewis was one of a group of wind opponents who successfully fought another wind project in Derby four years ago, when several farmers in Derby and Holland wanted to erect two industrial-sized wind turbines on their fields.
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