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Oral arguments to be held over fate of Dairy Air Wind contract

HOLLAND – The state regulators on the Vermont Public Utilities Commission will hear oral arguments that could decide the fate of the Dairy Air Wind project.

The developer of a large wind turbine planned for Dairy Air Farm in Holland wants an extension on a deadline to raise the turbine in order to meet the requirements of a standard offer contract for preferential rates for the turbine’s electricity.

And the developer wants to reduce the size of the turbine from 2.2 megawatts to a 1.5 megawatt- capacity turbine, also requiring a change in the contract.

The developer cannot meet the contract deadline to raise the turbine this summer.

A hearing officer who shepherded the wind project through the petition process for a certificate of public good says the amendment to the contract allowing a smaller-capacity turbine and a much-extended deadline should be allowed – even though the developer’s reasons don’t meet the commission’s own requirements.

The hearing officer said the request for a contract amendment shouldn’t be rejected for technical reasons, but live or die on its merits in the review for a certificate of public good.

The town of Holland and Northeastern Vermont Development Association oppose that, saying the commission should follow its own standards and called the hearing officer’s reasoning illogical.

The town and NVDA also said that providing an extension of time and change in the project would add to their costs to respond to the project, and asked for a chance to present oral arguments.

There is also a dispute over whether all “intervenors” in the petition for the certificate of public good can also intervene in the contract amendment case.

The commission agreed with that idea, calling on Thursday for oral arguments.

The hearing is set for 11 a.m. Monday, July 1 at the commission’s hearing room in Montpelier.