This Week: S. 30 Passes Senate, Solar Growth, Opinions & More…

Mar 29, 2013 No Comments by
Great news! S. 30 passed the Senate yesterday with a voice vote. The bill will now move on to the House. This is great news because the bill will:
  • Offer a structured venue to continue the dialogue about the impacts of renewable energy development on local communities
  • Study issues related to renewable energy development and inform future legislation
  • Provide a bridge from the Siting Commission’s recommendations to actual legislation for next session

Unfortunately, as many of you already know the bill doesn’t include everything it contained when it moved out of Committee. It will no longer create a time period where Act 250 criteria (including town and regional plans) apply to the largest types of elective renewable energy development. The Senate debated the bill for nearly four hours Tuesday morning. The debate included a tie vote and then a reversal to take these provisions out of the bill.

It was disappointing to see Senators from regions without utility-scale wind projects speak out against the Act 250 provisions and ultimately against a stronger town role in decision making. More work needs to be done for our elected officials to understand that the question isn’t whether we want renewable energy, but rather how to develop it while best protecting our communities and natural resources. Right now the balance is off – but we will get there.

highly encourage you to contact your Representatives in the House. Let them know you support S. 30 and that you agree we need to develop renewable energy but you want to do it in the best way possible.

S.30 wasn’t the only renewable energy news this week. Four solar projects made news as well:

There have also been a substantial number of opinions on renewable energy this week. Many of them focused on the role of Act 250 in energy development:

Lastly, the Siting Commission has announced they’ll hold a public hearing in Rutland on April 3rd from 5-7PM at the Rutland Intermediate School Auditorium. Please consider going and letting the Commission hear about your concerns.

Thanks for your support on S. 30 over the last couple of weeks – we are half way there. Let’s keep pushing so we can develop renewable energy while protecting our natural resources and communities.

Have a great weekend,


Lukas B. Snelling
802-778-0660
luke@energizevermont.org

 

Mar 29, 2013 09:26 am | EV

Reposted from the Burlington Free Press. MONTPELIER — The Senate voted Thursday to send the pared-down energy bill to the House without any of the fight that had surrounded the issue two days earlier. The bill, which started out as a moratorium on wind, has become largely a study of the effects and effectiveness of …

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Mar 29, 2013 09:24 am | EV

Reposted from VTDigger.org. A stripped-down version of S.30 sailed smoothly through the Senate on Thursday, and now it’s headed to a skeptical House committee. The controversial Senate bill, which initially proposed a three-year moratorium on utility scale wind developments, was gutted on Tuesday. The previous version of the bill would have given municipalities greater leverage …

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Mar 29, 2013 09:20 am | EV

Reposted here from the Times Argus. MONTPELIER — It’s too early to break into a chorus of “Good Day Sunshine,” but city councilors this week moved a step closer, approving the issue of a formal request for information to explore building a privately developed solar array on a yet-to-be-determined piece of municipal property. If all …

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Mar 29, 2013 09:18 am | EV

Reposted here from the Rutland Herald.  CHESTER — A Connecticut man who owns land in Chester might need to reconsider how he plans to shield his proposed solar farm from abutting landowners. Four residents spoke at Monday’s Public Service Board hearing regarding a 2.2 megawatt solar farm located on Route 103 and Trebo Road in …

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Mar 27, 2013 10:49 am | kate

Reposted from Burlington Free Press. MONTPELIER — Pro-wind-energy advocates won a closely fought battle on the Senate floor Tuesday by gutting a bill that would have altered the process for siting energy projects in Vermont and given local communities more say. “This is pretty clearly a victory for renewable energy,” said Paul Burns, executive director of …

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Mar 27, 2013 10:45 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. MONTPELIER — Legislation that began earlier this year as a three-year moratorium on new mountaintop wind-energy projects limped off the Senate floor Tuesday as yet another study, dealing a setback to environmental activists who had sought to halt development on Vermont ridgelines. In a four-hour debate that pitted the rights of …

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Mar 27, 2013 10:42 am | kate

Reposted from VT Digger. After four hours of back and forth, the Vermont Senate gutted a controversial bill on Tuesday that would have given municipalities more leverage over the permitting process for large wind and other energy generation projects. The senators then voted 24-6 to pass on the remains of S.30 for a third reading …

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Mar 27, 2013 10:28 am | kate

Reposted from WCAX. MONTPELIER, Vt. – Wind turbine construction and operation on the Lowell Mountains has led to debate, protest, and arrests. From the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County, says he stands by comments referring to the development as the rape of Vermont’s natural landscape. “I don’t know any word in the English …

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Mar 27, 2013 10:11 am | kate

Reposted from Vermont Public Radio. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is ready to break a tie vote in favor of legislation that has developed into one of the most contentious bills of the session: How to decide where to build energy projects.  Under current law, the Public Service Board can approve an energy project, even if …

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Mar 27, 2013 10:00 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. An open letter to the officers and directors of the power distribution companies of Vermont and neighboring states: Thank you. I offer my appreciation and gratitude for not entering a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project (NSSEP). Your choice demonstrates your concern for the forests of …

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Mar 27, 2013 09:55 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. The hue and cry over efforts to better regulate and evaluate renewable energy development in Vermont is revealing to many Vermonters a bully mentality previously seen only by those who live in areas where development has been occurring.  Ever since passage of the Sustainably Priced Energy Development (SPEED) legislation in the …

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Mar 25, 2013 09:54 am | EV

Reposted from VPR. The developer of a planned Northeast Kingdom wind farm has decided to scale back the project by a third to lessen the impact on the transmission grid. Seneca Mountain Wind had planned a 90 to 100 megawatt project with up to 35 turbines on ridgelines in Essex County and far northern Caledonia …

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Mar 25, 2013 09:15 am | EV

Reposted here from VTDigger.org. Editor’s note: This op-ed is by John T. Ewing, a former chair of the Vermont Environmental Board. For many years developers have complained about Act 250 and its review of major projects – saying that it places an unreasonable burden, unnecessarily inviting citizen participation, and making it difficult to move their …

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Mar 25, 2013 09:14 am | EV

Reposted here from VTDigger.org. Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Annette Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, based in Derby. The hue and cry over efforts to better regulate and evaluate renewable energy development in Vermont is revealing to many Vermonters a bully mentality previously seen only by those who live in …

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Mar 25, 2013 09:11 am | EV

Reposted here from the Rutland Herald. PAWLET — A solar initiative proposed for a property just north of town may be expanded to produce even more energy. Gene Bertsche, president of Northeast Community Solar, said the company is contemplating expanding the project from 150 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts. He said that could entice more investors …

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