IRASBURG – Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Cooperative don’t need the electricity from two industrial wind turbines proposed for Kidder Hill in Irasburg and Lowell.
Officials say they have told developer David Blittersdorf that they don’t want it.
And now, state utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board have told Blittersdorf that he can’t force GMP to buy it at this time either.
Blittersdorf filed official notice that he will petition the PSB for a certificate of public good for two 2.2-megawatt turbines on his property on Kidder Hill, in Irasburg, Lowell or one in both communities. He can petition at any time now.
Irasburg selectmen plan to fight the wind project. Lowell selectmen have said they would support it, but Irasburg officials say the siting will be close enough to the Irasburg town line to give Irasburg a say.
VEC board of directors voted in January not to buy electricity from Kidder Hill turbines, officials say.
VEC spokeswoman Andrea Cohen said the co-op doesn’t need any more renewable electricity. VEC already has enough renewable electricity until 2024, she said.
The co-op would still be required to connect the two turbines to the grid, she said. Then the developer will have to contract with whichever utility wants to or is forced to buy it, she said.
VEC board member John Ward Jr. of Newport City, who is VEC board treasurer, made the motion not to buy Kidder Hill power.
“We don’t need it,” Ward said.
“It would cause us to take less power from Hydro Quebec,” he added, noting that HQ’s electricity is much cheaper.
GMP doesn’t want to buy Kidder Hill Wind’s power for the same reason as VEC, according to GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure.
“We don’t need it,” she said, pointing out that GMP isn’t seeking to buy the power from the proposed turbines at Swanton Wind either.
GMP operates 21 turbines on Lowell Mountain called Kingdom Community Wind.
Meanwhile, the Irasburg Select Board wrote a letter Feb. 20 asking GMP’s CEO not to buy Kidder Hill wind power, just like VEC, not knowing that GMP had already decided not to buy it.
“We believe that a decision by both major local utilities not to enter into negotiations with Kidder Hill Wind would send a strong message to the developer and to regulators, as well as to the local community,” the Irasburg Select Board wrote.
Select Board Chairman Dave Warner stated he was pleased to hear that GMP was not interested.
Blittersdorf is seeking other routes to find buyers for Kidder Hill power.
He had put the project in line to be purchased by the state of Connecticut.
He also asked the PSB in a petition last fall to force GMP to buy the electricity in a long-term contract under Board Rule 4.100, which follows federal guidelines requiring utilities to buy power from qualified projects.
GMP opposed that. And then the PSB updated the requirements under this rule.
In a decision issued Friday, the PSB agreed with GMP and dismissed Blittersdorf’s request. The board stated that Kidder Hill is not considered “a qualifying facility” yet and dismissed the petition to force GMP to buy the power. The PSB left the door open for the developer to reapply once he can show it’s a qualifying facility under the new rules.
The situation with Kidder Hill is different than Blittersdorf’s other wind project in the Northeast Kingdom, Dairy Air Wind’s single 2.2 megawatt turbine proposed for a Holland dairy farm.
That one-turbine project is within a special program for small renewable projects, and all utilities in Vermont have to buy a portion of its electricity, Cohen said.
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