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Probe into Kidder Hill windmill siting will continue

IRASBURG – The investigation into the siting of two small wind turbines on Kidder Hill will continue even though the owner plans to take them down.

Renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, who owns a cabin on property on Kidder Hill, alerted state utility regulators that he intends to remove his two net-metered small turbines on or before Nov. 15.

A neighbor, Robert Garthwaite, had complained about the location of the turbines, saying one was closer to his own cabin than allowed. That prompted the Vermont Public Utilities Commission to launch an investigation that is expected to continue into the new year.

It’s the same property where Blittersdorf has wanted to erect two industrial sized wind turbines.

In a letter Oct. 18, Blittersdorf’s attorney David Mullet notified the clerk of the commission that Blittersdorf is voluntarily relinquishing his certificate of public good (CPG) for the two turbines and that he will take them down.

“This voluntary act on Mr. Blittersdorf’s part shall not be deemed to constitute any admission of CPG violation or compromise of his position that no such violation occurred,” Mullett wrote.

In reaction to the letter, commission hearing officer John Cotter issued an order Monday saying that the investigation will go on, even though the turbines involved will no longer be in place.

Cotter notes in his order that Blittersdorf has not asked for a change in the schedule for the investigation.

“I further note that Mr. Blittersdorf’s decision to surrender his CPG and remove the turbines does not resolve the question of whether Mr. Blittersdorf violated the terms and conditions of that CPG when he constructed the two net-metered wind turbines on his property – a question that this investigation was opened to address – and whether a civil penalty should be imposed …,” Cotter wrote.

Cotter directed the parties involved to proceed with the investigation under the current schedule.

The CPG for the two turbines was issued Jan. 5, 2012. Garthwaite filed a petition to revoke the CPG on April 7, 2016, which prompted the investigation. Meanwhile Blittersdorf filed a petition for two large turbines on the property, either on the Irasburg or Lowell side or both. The commission deemed the petition incomplete.

Blittersdorf also filed a petition for a CPG for a single 499-foottall wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm in Holland. That petition is under review.