Bennington Banner: Beaver Wood withdraws Pownal application

Apr 22, 2011 No Comments by

Reposted here from the Bennington Banner.

 

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

 

Thursday April 21, 2011

POWNAL — A proposal to build a 29.5-megawatt biomass and integrated wood pellet manufacturing facility has been dropped.

On Monday, Beaver Wood Energy LLC, of Maine, filed notice with the Vermont Public Service Board that it would be withdrawing its petition for a certificate of public good.

 

“There was no benefit to having Pownal sit there in limbo,” said Thomas Emero, managing director of development and operations at Beaver Wood.

 

“We have overwhelming support in Fair Haven,” he said.

 

Beaver Wood also filed notice that it will continue with its application for a similar plant in Fair Haven and will work to secure financing for completing an Act 250 application.

 

May reconsider

 

He said that if the market and public opinion change, Beaver Wood may reconsider Pownal, something opponents of the project are wary of.

 

“Beaver Wood is certainly not out of Vermont,” said Steve Dew, of Williamstown, Mass, who is a spokesman for the Bennington-Berkshire Citizens Coalition, which along with the Southern Vermont Citizens for Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Energy, opposed the project. “Their project is still active in Fair Haven.”

 

He said groundwork has already been done in Pownal and could provide an opportunity for the company to return one day. “We’ve said we will stay vigilant, and that’s what we’ll do,” Dew said.

 

The Public Service Board oversees projects under Section 248, which deals with electric generation facilities. It recently ruled that it does not have jurisdiction over the wood pellet companion facilities, which will need Act 250 and local zoning permissions.

Beaver Wood had argued the two operations were linked enough so the PSB had authority over both, and further stated that going through the two processes would be redundant.

 

The PSB disagreed and had the company notify the board by Monday what its plans would be.

 

The projects were unveiled in the summer of 2010. The Pownal plant would have been at the former Green Mountain Race Track site off Route 7. The proposal met with skepticism from residents who lived nearby as well as citizens and officials from Williamstown, Mass.

 

Language mandating that Vermont utilities would have to purchase a certain amount of base-loaded power from biomass also was dropped from a House energy bill, something Emero said is still an obstacle to overcome in Fair Haven. “We continue to look for contracts to sell our power,” he said.

 

 

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