IRASBURG – The developer of the proposed two large wind turbines on Kidder Hill hopes to sell the renewable energy to Connecticut.
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection released a list of 25 relatively small-scale clean energy projects designed to help address New England’s electricity constraints, including the two turbines to be located on the Kidder Hill property of renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf.
Other projects on the Connecticut list include five 20 megawatt Ranger Solar projects and the proposed Swanton wind project, plus a Russell, Mass., wind project by Blittersdorf.
Blittersdorf’s proposed Dairy Air Wind single turbine on a Holland farm is not on the list of potential Connecticut purchases.
Power contracts with Connecticut’s two electric distribution companies still have to be negotiated and would need regulatory approval.
“Vermont needs far more local generation to improve our energy independence and renewable generation. We want the power from Kidder Hill to go to Vermont’s energy mix as Georgia Mountain currently does and Dairy Air Wind is contracted to do,” said Andrew Savage, spokesman for Blittersdorf.
“However, if our state’s regulatory rules and electric utilities don’t recognize the value of local generation at a time when we still import so much energy, the project will have to consider selling the power out of state to those who do. It’s a critical failure of the regulatory environment right now that must change,” Savage stated in an emailed comment.
Critics protest the selling of renewable energy outside Vermont.
Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, said Vermonters in Irasburg voted against the idea of the two turbines on Kidder Hill and will oppose this sale.
“Developing distributed generation to serve Vermont customers, even if it’s not counted as ‘renewable’ because the renewable energy credits are sold is one thing, but developing distributed generation to serve out-of-state customers while sticking Vermonters with the bill for utility system upgrades as well as the aesthetic and health impacts is quite another,” Smith stated in an email comment.
“It’s nothing short of mining the state’s beauty for the benefit of others,” Smith added.
“Much as there was outcry against second home development on ridgelines, now those same ridgelines are being colonized for the benefit of Connecticut.
“People living in the Irasburg area would get all the negative impacts which they have also resoundingly voted against. This is the best evidence we have seen yet of how crazy Vermont’s energy policies under Gov. (Peter) Shumlin are.
“Renewable energy’s benefits are to build next to load and use the power where it’s generated, serving the local community. If you want an example of how to do it wrong, David Blittersdorf is showing us the way,” Smith concluded.
Savage said Vermont is part of the regional grid “and relies on the region’s power to meet power needs and also our broader renewable energy goals to fight climate change.”
“In addition to the Kidder project boosting local tax revenues, exports are also good for our economy and sustainably harvesting local natural resources to create value-added products to sell to consumers is part of our working landscape,” Savage added.