HOLLAND – The town of Holland and Northeastern Vermont Development Association oppose a developer’s request to reduce the size of an industrial-grade wind turbine planned for Dairy Air Farm.
State utility regulators will decide whether Dairy Air Wind developer David Blittersdorf can change his standard-offer contract with Vermont utilities and also get more time to get permits and raise a wind turbine of 1.5 megawatts instead of 2.2 megawatts.
If the Vermont Public Utilities Commission denies that application, then Dairy Air Wind doesn’t have time to put up a turbine on Dairy Air Farm before a deadline next summer.
Dairy Air Wind sought to amend its standard-offer contract for preferential rates for a small renewable energy project in reaction to the commission hearing officer’s decision this fall to stay review of the project until the developer picks a turbine model.
Blittersdorf told the commission that the smaller turbine will also address noise and other concerns by neighbors, the town and other parties, plus be a better fit in an area that has electricity grid limits.
Holland and NVDA are asking for intervenor status to challenge the change in size and extension of the deadline.
The town and NVDA say Dairy Air Wind can’t make next summer’s deadline to provide electricity to Vermont utilities “because the project was ill-conceived.”
Holland and NVDA also say that the developer did not take steps to make sure that the turbine would meet state sound requirements.
“They further failed to reasonably assess the time for regulatory review given the intense community and regional opposition,” the town and NVDA state, saying it’s the developer’s fault that the project as is won’t meet deadlines.
Allowing Dairy Air Wind to change the turbine’s size by more than 25 percent would be counter to the 5 percent allowed under the rules, the town and NVDA state.
And the change would send the review of the project back to square one, they state, forcing parties to seek new testimony on the impact of the project and redo analysis of the developer’s testimony.
The town and NVDA ask to be compensated for any extra costs needed to continue challenging the project, saying they’ve already spent $100,000.
Dairy Air Wind opposes allowing Holland and NVDA to intervene in the review of the standard- offer contract and the size of the turbine.
Dairy Air Wind states that the commission should not have asked for applications for intervenor status in this case.
The Vermont Department of Public Service, which represents ratepayer and consumer interests, states that the Dairy Air Wind application for a smaller turbine is consistent with past decisions by the commission.
The department doesn’t want the commission to deny this developer a chance to change the size of the project to mitigate concerns because that could discourage other developers from doing the same thing.
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