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Irasburg wind probe: PSB officer to Blittersdorf: answer the questions

IRASBURG – Wind developer David Blittersdorf did not fully answer questions in a sworn statement about whether his two small wind turbines on Kidder Hill are standing where he said they would be and how close they are to neighbors’ residences.

That’s according to a hearing officer for the Vermont Public Service Board, who’s conducting an investigation into accusations that Blittersdorf violated a certificate of public good in the placement of these turbines.

In an order this week, PSB hearing officer John Cotter directed Blittersdorf to file another affidavit by next Tuesday. Cotter told Blittersdorf to get specific about the proposed locations for the small turbines, the actual locations, how close they were supposed to be to neighboring buildings and how close they actually are, and to identify the number of residential structures that are a mile or less from the two turbines.

That includes a cabin on neighboring property owned by Robert and Nancy Garthwaite of Connecticut. They asked for the investigation because they say one of the turbines is too close to their cabin.

Blittersdorf received a certificate of public good for the two turbines in 2012. Since then, he’s also decided to erect two industrial-sized turbines on the property, which is in the mountain range where the 21 Lowell wind turbines are located. He is also seeking to raise one industrial turbine on a dairy farm in Holland.

In a case unrelated to the small turbine investigation, the PSB is probing why Blittersdorf did not get a certificate for a wind test tower, called a meteorological “met” tower, for the Kidder Hill property.

In response to Blittersdorf’s first affidavit about the small turbines, Cotter said that the Vermont Department of Public Service did not believe that Blittersdorf provided sufficient information to determine whether he is in compliance with his certificate.

The department has asked permission to question Blittersdorf about it under oath, and the Agency of Natural Resources concurs, Cotter said.

Cotter also decided that a site visit to the Kidder Hill property will be needed “to fully understand any differences between the proposed turbine locations and their as-built locations, as well as the proximity of the turbines to the nearest residences.”

Cotter did not agree with Garthwaite’s request to open up the investigation to other neighbors which would give them a right to intervene. He said this is a board action and there’s no cause to broaden the probe.

Blittersdorf has yet to file an application for either the two industrial turbines in Irasburg or the single Dairy Air Wind turbine in Holland. Studies are underway in both locations.