MORGAN, Vt. – Governor Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, sees Vermont completely relying on alternative forms of energy by 2050, but some communities aren’t thrilled about projects coming to their area.
Many of the concerns with solar, wind or other projects have to do with how it’s going to affect the livelihood of the people that live nearby.
Steve Therrien told a gym full of Morgan residents that he and his wife had to abandon their home after noise from the nearby Sheffield wind project became too much to bear.
“And all you get back from them is, well, everything was operating normally,” said Therrien.
He says his complaints were pushed aside. It’s this kind of big-scale scenario people in Morgan do not want.
“Solar rays, wind turbines, and biomass at the residential size. We do not support commercial industrial development for alternative energy,” said Larry Labor, Morgan select board chair.
The gathering Monday night was advertised as an informational meeting about a possible wind turbine project, although Morgan select board members say there has not been a certificate of public good application for such a project yet.
“People want renewable energy. Vermonters want solar power, especially. But the way it’s being done is sort of what you’d call ‘shove it down their throats,'” said Annette Smith from Vemronter for a Clean Environment.
Smith says that around the state, big wind or solar projects are disliked because the developer often begins work without consulting the people next door.
“We’re using a highly legalistic process at a board that has no experience or qualifications to do land use is creating neighbor fights where they otherwise wouldn’t need to exist,” said Smith.
Of all the cases she’s worked on, Smith can only recall one project that was denied by a public service board. Many of the approved projects are planned to go on privately owned land.
“The state of Vermont has a goal of getting to 90 percent renewable energy and again, recent polling has showed, that is supported overwhelmingly by Vermonters and at the end of the day, we need wind, we need solar, we need other renewable energy to get to our goals as a state,” said Ben Walsh, VPIRG Climate and Energy program director.
But like in other parts of Vermont, Morgan residents want to know how proposed projects will affect their livelihood.
Again, there is no wind project in the works in Morgan but residents have strong reservations against something large scaled.
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