HOLLAND – Dairy Air Wind says there’s no reason to hold a hearing or delay granting a certificate of public good for a wind measurement tower on a Holland dairy farm.
The developer also says that he cannot be compelled to share the data from the meteorological “met” tower with the Holland Planning Commission.
Dairy Air Wind applied Oct. 3 with state utility regulators for a certificate for the met tower. Dairy Air Wind, financed by renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, has also filed the required 45-day notice that it intends to apply for permission to put up an industrial-sized turbine on Dairy Air Farm.
The met tower’s wind speed and consistency data will be used to help design the single turbine project, consultants have said.
Neighbors Hollis and Angela Thresher and the Holland Planning Commission asked for and are being considered as intervenors in the application for a certificate for the 200-foot-tall tower to be located just off School Road in Holland.
Several other neighbors and a group of local and area residents have sent letters to the regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board opposing the project. They did not send copies to Dairy Air Wind as required but could be added to the list.
Dairy Air Wind attorney Leslie Cadwell said in a letter to the board’s hearing officer that Dairy Air Wind does not oppose having the planning commission or the Threshers as intervenors.
However, Cadwell wrote that Dairy Air Wind opposes the request by the planning commission to see the wind data from the tower if it goes up. The commission wanted to see the information to help craft its energy siting section of the new town plan.
Cadwell wrote that the Public Service Board has no authority under the U.S. and Vermont constitutions to “take” the data from this met tower and give it to the planning commission.
“The board lacks authority to order such a taking, even if the Holland Planning Commission were offering just compensation for it,” Cadwell wrote.
Besides, she wrote, there is plenty of publicly available wind measurement data available through other resources, such as the Vermont Anemometer Program and the U.S. Department of Energy’s wind resources map. The Vermont Department of Public Service could have other resources to help the commission, she wrote.
Dairy Air Wind does not oppose the Threshers as intervenors, because they are adjacent land owners.
But the developer offered counter arguments to several of the issues raised by the Threshers.
Dairy Air Wind has an easement to the site for the met tower, Cadwell said, filing a document to support that. The Threshers said there was no easement.
The Threshers also argued that the developer Blittersdorf is under investigations for not getting a certificate for a met tower he has already erected on Kidder Hill in Irasburg and has not taken down a met tower near the Georgia Mountain Wind Project, even though it was supposed to come down in 2011. Blittersdorf wants to erect two industrial turbines on Kidder Hill.
The Threshers said Blittersdorf should not be allowed to apply for another tower until these problems are resolved.
Cadwell called that an unusual request that has no basis under Section 246 which governs met towers.
“These other installations, and any board proceedings involving them, are irrelevant to the standards applicable to the board’s review of Dairy Air Wind’s CPG application here,” Cadwell wrote.
Dairy Air Wind argues that the met tower is temporary and will not harm the aesthetics in the area as the Threshers claim.
And Cadwell dismisses the Threshers’ argument that the tower would affect their property’s value, since property values are not a criteria under the Section 246 process.
Cadwell asked the board to issue the certificate without a hearing or further proceedings.
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