This Week: RPS, Lowell Occupation, Speaker Series and more – 9/30/11

Sep 30, 2011 No Comments by

There are three Energize Vermont related events coming up, they are all free, and I encourage you to attend them. Click the links below to learn more. 

Please consider joining us at any of the above dates, they all promise to be highly informative. The big news this week is again out of the Lowell wind project. GMP has just started construction at the site and some of that construction includes blasting. In an effort to stop the blasting, concerned individuals have started camping on the mountain within a few hundred feet of the blast locations. This is all made possible because the PSB has allowed turbine locations within 196 feet of the neighboring property. This “camp-in” style protest was covered by the AP, and picked up in local papers as well and radio. Interestingly enough this news came out at the same time that Steve Wright had an opinion piece published in the New York Times about the project. He argues that building a project with that much destruction is not environmentally appropriate.

The Lowell wind project wasn’t the only Vermont wind project in the news this week. A Clipper turbine at the yet to be turned on Sheffield project leaked gear oil all over the site.The Burlington Free Press also covered this story. Concerns over the model of turbine used at the site have persisted since the project was proposed, so this didn’t exactly come as a surprise to many. Also in relation to this project, the Caledonian-Record wrote an editorial talking about how the state has created an inconsistent regulatory climate for how we judge the aesthetic impacts of different types of developments. This is an interesting look at how we allow energy projects to trump otherwise established and accepted methods for determining what is and isn’t appropriate in our communities.

Energy was in the news for other reasons this week as well. Several groups and lawmakers are pushing for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) during the upcoming legislative session. A true RPS in Vermont would be both good and bad for encouraging appropriate renewable energy development. Depending on how it would be implemented it could support renewable energy development at a smaller scale that helps us transition while mitigating impacts, or it could encourage increased large-scale projects with similar impacts to the Lowell project. Vermonters interested in energy issues should follow this one closely.

The Burlington Free Press also covered the draft of the Comprehensive Energy Plan, and how it might be altered to have a bit more teeth. The consensus on the plan at this point seems to be that it identifies the issues well, but doesn’t do a great job identifying solutions. This may be because many of the optional solutions are not without their controversy. This week VPR and VTDigger also did a great report on the history of the GMP/CVPS merger. We will be hearing more about that as it goes through the Public Service Board approval process.

Please consider coming out to Montpelier on Wednesday, or Burlington on next Wednesday to our Speaker Series events. We have done four of these across the state and have received great feedback. If you are interested in learning more about Vermont’s energy future and discussing our different options I encourage you to attend. Also worth noting Energize Vermont is sponsoring solar advocate Steven Strong’s visit and presentation at Green Mountain College on the 13th. It will be FREE to attend, and I’d love to see you there as well.

Have a great weekend and if you haven’t already done so consider “Liking” Energize Vermont on Facebook,

Luke

Sep 30, 2011 11:21 am | EV

Reposted here from VPR. John Dillon and Anne Galloway (Host) Shareholders of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation approved a proposed merger with GazMetro, the parent company of Green Mountain Power. The merger would profoundly change the utility business in Vermont. If regulators approve the deal, one company – Green Mountain Power – would soon serve …

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Sep 30, 2011 09:35 am | EV

Reposted here from WAMC. LOWELL, VT (WAMC) – Opponents are camping in tents at the invitation of neighboring property owners Don and Shirley Nelson, who own 600 acres of land adjacent to the Lowell Wind project. Shirley Nelson says they have always allowed hunters, trappers and campers to use their land. She opposes the wind project and is …

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Sep 30, 2011 09:30 am | EV

Reposted here from the Burlington Free Press. Two apprentice weatherization technicians with Fresh Energy squeezed orange insulating foam into cracks between boards and spaces around wires in the attic of unit 421 at Northgate Apartments in Burlington on Wednesday. The foam forms a barrier that prevents warm air from leaking from the lower-level living space. …

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Sep 29, 2011 04:25 pm | EV

We are very excited to be sponsoring Steven Strong’s visit and presentation to Green Mountain College in Poultney. He will be giving a presentation called, “Renewable Energy: Building the Bridge to the Post-Petroleum World.” Admission is free, and all are encouraged to attend.  When: October 13th, 2011 Where: The Gorge, Withey Hall, Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT  About Steven …

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Sep 29, 2011 03:54 pm | EV

Reposted here from the Caledonian-Record. Robin Smith Staff Writer   LOWELL — Opponents to the wind power project planned for Lowell Mountain’s ridge line have begun an occupation designed to halt blasting for the project. They have set up four tents at the edge of the wind project on land owned by neighboring property owners …

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Sep 29, 2011 03:49 pm | EV

Reposted here from the New York Times Op-Ed. BULLDOZERS arrived a couple of weeks ago at the base of the nearby Lowell Mountains and began clawing their way through the forest to the ridgeline, where Green Mountain Power plans to erect 21 wind turbines, each rising to 459 feet from the ground to the tip …

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Sep 29, 2011 03:49 pm | EV

Download the relevant pages of the Barton Chronicle. Coverage includes the Sheffield turbine oil spill and a letter to the editor about the Derby project.

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Sep 29, 2011 03:47 pm | EV

Reposted here from the Bennington Banner. DAVE GRAM Wednesday September 28, 2011 MONTPELIER — Some opponents of a wind power project planned for the ridge line of northern Vermont’s Lowell Mountain began camping out on nearby property Wednesday, hoping their presence will halt blasting for the project. Don and Shirley Nelson, who own 600 acres …

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Sep 29, 2011 03:43 pm | EV

Reposted here from the Rutland Herald.   By Thatcher Moats VERMONT PRESS BUREAU – Published: September 29, 2011   MONTPELIER — Renewable energy development will be at the forefront in the next legislative session as a key lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would force utilities to keep wind, solar or hydroelectric power in …

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Sep 29, 2011 03:16 pm | EV

Energize Vermont is proud to announce two additional dates to our Speaker Series entitled, “Wind Power in VT: What You Need to Know.” These events are excellent opportunities to learn more about Vermont’s approach to developing utility-scale wind and how it compares to other approaches towards Vermont’s energy future. Admission is FREE, and we’d love to see you …

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Sep 28, 2011 08:05 am | EV

Reposted here from the Burlington Free Press. Workers Tuesday were to complete cleaning up 55 to 60 gallons of gear oil that spilled Saturday from a wind turbine generator high on a ridgeline in Sheffield. The turbine is one of 16 recently installed by First Wind, a Boston company, which is constructing northern Vermont’s first …

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Sep 27, 2011 12:52 pm | EV

Reposted here from the Caledonian-Record. Amy Ash Nixon Staff Writer   SHEFFIELD — A turbine at the First Wind renewable energy wind farm on Saturday had an oil leak in a gear in the top of the windmill. Clean-up efforts to reclaim about 40 gallons of oil were continuing Monday, Sheffield-Wheelock Fire Chief Marc Brown …

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Sep 26, 2011 09:28 am | EV

Below is an editorial from the Caledonian-Record.   When Dick and Joan Downing erected a 24-foot cross beside their private chapel on Darling Hill, a handful of neighbors came unhinged at what they called a desecration of the view from their homes. After a series of hearings, the District 7 Commission of the ANR ruled …

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Sep 26, 2011 09:26 am | EV

Reposted here from the Caledonian-Record.   Robin Smith Staff Writer   LOWELL — Green Mountain Power has received a critical wetland permit that allows wetlands work on Lowell Mountain to prepare for 21 large wind turbines.   The wetland permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allows workers to enter wetlands to construct roads, …

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Sep 26, 2011 09:20 am | EV

Reposted here from the Rutland Herald. By Lucia Suarez STAFF WRITER – Published: September 24, 2011   FAIR HAVEN — Contractors for a proposed biomass plant and wood pellet manufacturing facility in Fair Haven said permitting applications for the project are back on track after Beaver Wood Energy closed financial deals to cover additional permit …

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