HOLLAND – State utility regulators have granted permission for a wind measurement tower on Dairy Air Farm on School Road, near where an industrial-sized wind turbine is being proposed.
On Thursday, the Public Service Board approved a certificate of public good for the 196.9-foot meteorological tower, called a “met” tower, to be erected about 300 feet from School Road.
The met tower will be used to evaluate wind resources at the Dairy Air Farm in connection with the 2.2-megawatt, 499-foottall turbine planned by Dairy Air Wind, a project by David Blittersdorf.
Dairy Air Wind applied for a certificate of public good for that wind turbine in late December. The PSB is in the midst of rescheduling a site visit and a public hearing and is collecting and considering applications to intervene in the review process for that wind turbine project.
The met tower will be in place for less than three years, and then will be dismantled, the PSB order states.
The PSB will not require the developer to share the wind measurements gleaned from the met tower with the Holland Planning Commission.
The commission requested the information to be better able to prepare its town plan to identify sites for future renewable energy projects, which the PSB would have to defer to in this case.
But the PSB noted that the planning commission can ask to see that wind measurement data during the discovery process for Dairy Air Wind.
The PSB agreed with its hearing officer, Lars Bang-Jensen, that neighbor concerns about the aesthetic impact are not sufficient to reject approval of the met tower.
The town of Holland and a group called Citizens for Responsible Energy in Holland expressed concern that the met tower could collapse on School Road. But the PSB did not consider that argument because the town and CREH did not provide specific information to back up their concerns.
The PSB disregarded other concerns about the impact of the met tower on property values, saying that is not among the criteria that can be considered when reviewing renewable energy projects.
CREH complained that Canadian towns weren’t invited to comment on this case because the site is one mile from the Canadian border. The PSB said it wasn’t reasonable to delay this case further and noted that Canadian towns are seeking intervention in the wind turbine project review.
Blittersdorf is also in the midst of considering two other large wind turbines for his Kidder Hill property in Irasburg and Lowell.
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