This Week: Mess in Lowell, Solar PR, Energy Plan Debate, Opinions & More – 11/18/1

Nov 18, 2011 No Comments by

There has been a flood of renewable energy news this week. The situation in Lowell has gotten even more heated. On Wednesday two students from Sterling College were arrested at the Occupation campsite and charged with criminal contempt of court. A statement from theMountain Occupation group indicated that they were surprised the arrests took placebecause individuals have typically been given the chance to leave the scene. The statement from group said they, “stand united…with these two individuals, and thousands of other Vermonters, against Green Mountain Power’s attempts to take our rights, damage our mountains and disrespect our communities.” The Vermont Supreme Court this week took a pass on hearing the Nelson’s appeal to overturn the preliminary injunction at the site, instead suggesting they exhaust their options in Orleans Superior Court first. ThePublic Service Board also said there was no violation of the CPG from blasting at the site, even though parts of rubber mats and fly-rock passed onto the Nelson property. The Occupation also held an Open House over the weekend, hosting over 90 people up the mountain to see the construction and campsite. These events of course led to lots of opinions, some of which we will cover below. If you want to follow the day-to-day at the Lowell site, read the Mountain Talk blog.

Solar made a lot of news this week as well. GMP’s efforts on solar got a feature article in the Burlington Free Press. The article quotes Mary Powell as saying, “We are really falling in love with the role solar can play.” News also came out that a site in Stamford was being eyed for a 2.2MW PV solar installation. The Valley Reporter ran a column form Steve Butcher of the Mad River Valley Energy Network (MRVE) talking about community solar in Vermont and the potential for a project in that area. The folks over at MRVE are asking anyone in Vermont who is interested in community solar to take a survey and let them know how you feel. If you have 3-minutes I encourage you to do so here.

There seems to be a couple of side debates going on right now in the state. First, the GMP & CVPS merger debate is heating up. Sen. Illuzzi keeps pushing to intervene over concerns of the future ownership of VELCOAARP came out and said ratepayers should be paid back for the higher rates they paid back when CVPS was in financial trouble in 2001All this is going on while the company has released a new combined logo, and continues to act as though the merger is a done deal. Which in this climate isn’t too surprising, because even the Burlington Free Press recognizes the current administration is pretty cozy with GMP. Another debate heating up is over the pending Comprehensive Energy Plan. Guy Page from VEP came out and said the energy plan would send the state, “backwards.”  The Associated Industries of Vermont also echoed that feeling, suggesting the plan puts climate change ahead of the state’s economy. Others expressed concerns that the energy plan was too limited to today’s technologies, and doesn’t do enough to recognize we may have more available options in the future.

Lot’s of opinions this week as well. Don Kreis from Vermont Law School reported back on his hike up the Lowell Mountains, saying that both the current interpretation of the law and the construction site were, “ugly.” Some went as far as to say Mary Powell, “deserves a trip to the woodshed.” A letter in the Rutland Herald called out VPIRG for defending corporate interests, and highlighted us as defending the people.  Another letter examines how project delays in Lowell are GMP’s fault. A Bennington Banner letter calls on Vermonters to, “support small local energy projects” and “oppose projects like Lowell Mountain.” Yours truly getscalled out for criticizing GMP’s activities in Lowell, and goes on to say we should, “consider ourselves lucky to have such a well-run company in the Green Mountain State.” Lastly, aletter questions why the only the “green in wind power is money.”

This week’s events made it very clear Vermonters are passionate about our energy future. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a chance to express themselves and I’d like to change that. We’ve set up a phone number where you can call, and leave your opinion about Vermont’s energy future. Each week I will compile the quotes, clips, and opinions from these messages and share them in this weekly email. Let us know anything, from your take on the news, to where you see a bright future. Give it a try, call and leave a message at 802-546-1212. We won’t identify you unless you leave your contact information and want us to. 

Do you support our efforts to advocate for responsible renewable energy solutions in Vermont? If so, consider giving to the cause today

Have a great weekend,

Luke
802-778-0660

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

Reposted from Caledonian-Record.   Protesters of the Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell say two Sterling College students are innocent despite being in a blast safety zone on the Lowell ridgeline, contrary to a court order. “As a group, the Mountain Occupiers do not believe these individuals were in violation of the court order and …

 

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

Reposted from Caledonian-Record.   Proof of turbine harm   To the Editor: Vermont is in the midst of a large government supported push for industrial wind turbines. While Governor Shumlin, the Public Service Board (PSB), and the Department of Health (VDH) claim that ridgeline wind projects in Vermont are being done ‘the right way’, reality …

 

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

Reposted from Caledonain-Record.   State utility regulators said this week they won’t order Green Mountain Power to stop blasting on the Lowell wind site. The Vermont Public Service Board Monday reacted to complaints that on Oct. 28, a piece of blasting mat and bits of rock flew outside the wind site and onto property owned …

 

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

Reposted from VTDigger.   Editor’s note: Donald M. Kreis is associate director, and assistant professor of law, at the Institute of Energy and the Environment of Vermont Law School. He also serves on the board of the Vermont Journalism Trust, parent organization of VTDigger.org. When vexatious public controversies arise, people often speak of battle lines …

 

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

Reposted from Orleans County Record. Sheriff’s deputies arrested two Sterling College students Wednesday morning for refusing to leave a safety zone during blasting at the Green Mountain Power wind project in Lowell. This is the first time that anyone has been arrested protesting the construction of wind turbines on the Lowell ridgeline. Trevor D. Ring, …

 

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

Reposted from Orleans County Record. The Vermont Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to overturn a preliminary injunction giving Green Mountain Power the right to police a blast safety zone for the wind project in Lowell. The high court denied an appeal for extraordinary relief from wind project neighbors Don and Shirley Nelson of Lowell, telling …

 

Nov 18, 2011 03:10 pm | alina

This week’s chronicle included  several relevant letters to the editor as well as coverage of Lowell Mountain wind protesters.  Download the relevant pages in PDF format.

 

Nov 17, 2011 03:29 pm | alina

Reposted from VTDigger.   STATEMENT ON ARRESTS AT LOWELL MOUNTAIN SITE Lowell Mountains Occupation   Wednesday, November 16th, 2011   Lowell, Vt.-Two members of the mountain occupiers group were on the mountain today for routine monitoring activities, and were arrested and charged with criminal contempt of court. As a group, the mountain occupiers do not …

 

Nov 17, 2011 03:28 pm | alina

Reposted from Vermontbiz.com. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is funding projects to harness wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power to reduce energy costs for farms and small business across rural America. Funding was also announced to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for …

 

Nov 17, 2011 03:07 pm | alina

Reposted from Caledonian-Record.   Sheriff’s deputies arrested two Sterling College students Wednesday morning for refusing to leave a safety zone during blasting at the Green Mountain Power wind project in Lowell. This is the first time that anyone has been arrested protesting the construction of wind turbines on the Lowell ridgeline.   Trevor D. Ring, …

 

Nov 17, 2011 03:07 pm | alina

Reposted from Caledonian-Record.   The Vermont Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to overturn a preliminary injunction giving Green Mountain Power the right to police a blast safety zone for the wind project in Lowell. The high court denied an appeal for extraordinary relief from wind project neighbors Don and Shirley Nelson of Lowell, telling them …

 

Nov 17, 2011 03:07 pm | alina

Reposted from Orleans County Record.   Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans, wants to have a say in the merger between Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power. Illuzzi filed a motion to intervene and protest Nov. 8 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC will conduct federal proceedings to review the proposed CVPS and GMP …

 

Nov 17, 2011 03:07 pm | alina

Reposted from Bennington Banner.   We need energy but not this project In the spring of 2010, Green Mountain Power Corp. (now owned by multi-national corporation Gaz Metro) submitted a 1,200-page petition to the Public Service Board for a certificate of Public Good to put wind towers on the top of Lowell Mountain in Northern …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

Reposted from Burlington Free Press.   COLCHESTER — Green Mountain Power’s recent drive to install lots of solar panels across Vermont was so successful it has people thinking that maybe solar energy is the state’s Next Big Thing. Then again, maybe not.   Mary Powell, president and CEO of the utility, said a goal established …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.   Staff Writer   STAMFORD — A plot of land off Sumner Road could play host to a 2.2-megawatt solar array. According to a notice filed with the Bennington County Regional Commission, Vermont Energy Parks, LLC, a company based in Southport, Conn., intends to file an application for a certificate of public …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

Reposted from Seven Days.   Powell Trip The attention Mary Powell deserves is a trip to the woodshed courtesy of her ratepayers [“Green Mountain Powell,” October 12]. Most do not realize she has effectively scammed them in the name of “renewable energy.” If the Lowell project gets built, it will cost GMP and Vermont Electric …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

Reposted from Rutland Herald.   Green Mountain Power has to shoulder the blame for any delay in their schedule on the Lowell industrial wind project. I attended the blasting meeting in Lowell on Aug. 18 where a spokesperson for Maine Drilling and Blasting described a project where the company removed ledge so a medical facility …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

Reposted from VTDigger.   With the state’s final Comprehensive Energy Plan in its last phase, industry groups are making a final push for cheap, reliable energy. In addition to submitting comments to the Department of Public Service, the Associated Industries of Vermont, the Vermont Energy Partnership and other business organizations held a press conference last …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

Reposted from Burlington Free Press Blog.   Fox44 News asked Gov. Peter Shumlin the other day about criticisms he’s faced, including whether he and Green Mountain Power Corp. are a little too chummy. Shumlin’s response: “It’s not on my mind.” Don’t buy it — it’s on his mind and under his skin. That same day …

 

Nov 16, 2011 01:25 pm | alina

Reposted from VTDigger.   Editor’s note: Guy Page is communications director of the Vermont Energy Partnership, a 90-member organization of labor groups, individuals, not-for-profits, development organizations, and businesses, including Entergy, owner of Vermont Yankee. State law calls for Vermont to ensure its electricity supply is reliable, sustainable, affordable and environmentally sound. Unfortunately, the Department of …

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