HOLLAND – A large commercial wind turbine planned for Dairy Air Farm presents unique problems that state utility regulators must address, the Holland Select Board says.
In particular, the proposed location on flat farmland brings “the negative elements of noise creation and ice throw far closer to area residences, the school, town offices and roadways than most commercial scale wind-generation projects,” according to a critique of the Dairy Air Wind Project by attorney Cindy Ellen Hill on behalf of the select board.
Other wind projects in Vermont are located at higher elevations, she said, more remote from homes and roads.
“The town stands in stark opposition to the proposed project,” Hill wrote, citing the survey by taxpayers and voters showing overwhelming opposition as well. The vote was 314 opposed, 59 in favor and 44 undecided.
The select board is reacting to a formal 45-day notice by developer David Blittersdorf that Dairy Air Wind plans to file an application for a certificate of public good for the 499-foot-tall turbine with utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board. He could file the application as early as Thursday.
Dairy Air Wind recently applied for a certificate for a meteorological “met” tower to measure wind speeds and duration on the farm on School Road, about a mile from the school.
The proximity to homes, the school and road has the board concerned about ice throw, potential for fire, noise and other issues.
“The project proponent should be required by the PSB to specifically address these unique aspects of this project siting,” Hill wrote to the board.
“The project proposal is inconsistent with the town’s visual and cultural heritage, and presents significant risks to the health, safety and welfare of town residents, businesses and public infrastructure. …”
The town is asking the PSB to deny the application for a certificate for the wind turbine now, Hill wrote.
“Accepting an application for a CPG for the wind generation facility prior to finalizing the granting and conditions of a CPG for the met tower, however, puts the cart before the horse.
“Such an application should not be filed – and should not be accepted by the PSB – unless or until data from a met tower indicating project viability is publicly available,” Hill stated.
The Holland Planning Commission has asked for the data from the met tower to use in identifying other sites for wind energy in the town. The developer opposes sharing that data, calling it proprietary data.
Hill says the wind turbine would be inconsistent with the current town plan and regional plan. She also notes that the town is working as fast as possible on updating the town plan in keeping with Act 174, which would allow Holland to have a say on siting renewable energy projects.
In the meantime, the town opposes any commercial renewable development unless there’s a town vote of support and it would financially benefit the community, Hill wrote.
She also notes that the region is already generating more than its share of commercial energy projects.
Hill points out that the wind turbine would be within the approach patterns for a small airport in Stanstead, Quebec. Hill asks the PSB to require Dairy Air Wind to contact the airport operator and find out the impact of the wind project on the airport.
She also raises questions about the impact of the turbine construction on the watershed, which flows north into Quebec.
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