This Week: S. 30 Passes House, Wind Health Testimony, Seneca MET Towers, Solar Projects, & More…

Apr 26, 2013 No Comments by
The big news this week is that S. 30, the bill introduced as a moratorium on utility-scale wind development,passed the House. The House version differs substantially from the Senate version. It calls for the Natural Resource and Energy Committees from both the Senate and House to meet over the summer to discuss the Siting Commission’s recommendations. Now leaders will try to reconcile the differences, potentially in a conference committee, so the bill has a chance to become law.

The passage of S.30 from the House is a victory for those concerned with sustainable energy siting. Many elected officials started this session without substantial knowledge of the problems with our siting process, and now some of those same legislators have stepped up in favor of creating a path to get them fixed. The bill’s status has been covered by VPR, the Times Argus, and others.

Also in the State House this week the Senate Health and Welfare Committee took testimony on the health impacts of utility-scale wind turbines. Testimony came from Doctors and citizens:

  • Dr. Sandy Reider – Audio – Written (Health impacts of turbine noise in VT)
  • Dr. Stanley Shapiro – Audio – Written (Health impacts of sleep deprivation caused by turbine noise)
  • Geoffrey Leventhall – Audio – Written (Infrasound from wind has no impact, paid for by REV)
  • Luann Therrien – Audio – Written – Video (Vermont citizen living near Sheffield wind project)
News of the testimony was carried by a number of outlets including WCAX and the Times Argus. After Leventhall’s testimony, REV Executive Director Gabrielle Stebbins apologized to the Committee for his dismissive behavior.

Public Service Board hearing officer has recommended that the Board approve Seneca Mountain Wind’s application for MET towers in Brighton, Newark, and Ferdinand. The  200ft test towers are often seen as a precursor to utility-scale wind development. The PSB hasn’t finalized the ruling, but would do so even in the face of Newark and Brighton’s votes against utility-scale wind. The company said they were, “encouraged” by the proposed decision.

Recent pictures of Lowell Mountain show the snow is melting. GMP has announced that they would start giving tours of the site in June. Before the company’s announcement, the Mountain Occupiers announced their “Mountaintop Open Houses” would start this Mayand run on the 3rd Sunday of every month from 10AM to 3PM. If you haven’t hiked Lowell mountain and seen the size and scale of wind development in Vermont first hand I highly encourage you to do so.

Vermont is in the midst of an explosion of solar PV throughout the state. This week the Rutland Herald reported that the town of Manchester is considering leasing land to a solar developer. In Rutland, solar company Same Sun has opened a new retail store downtown selling only solar produced goods. In Middlebury, Vermont Hard Cider reports they are installing a small solar project to help power their operation.

Also this week, construction has begun on the Montpelier heating district project. The $20 million dollar project will expand the heating system used by state government to serve public and private buildings. The project will be run by both the state and city.

Last week I didn’t send out an update, so I also wanted to mention that Seven Days reported Skip Vallee is running a new TV commercial on WCAX highlighting Sen. Sander’s support for utility-scale wind, its size, and impact on our natural resources. You can check out the ad on Youtube by clicking on the image above.

Want to see the news as it happens? Follow Energize Vermont on Twitter and Facebook.

Have a great weekend,


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

 

Apr 25, 2013 06:12 pm | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. FAIR HAVEN — Town officials will try to gather local support for a proposed biomass power generator and pellet-manufacturing facility. The Select Board recently discussed the direction it wants to take on Beaver Wood Energy’s plan to build the facility. Beaver Wood has proposed a 29.5-megawatt, wood-fueled biomass plant and a …

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Apr 25, 2013 06:05 pm | kate

Reposted from Boston.com. MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A lobbyist for an industry group supporting wind power apologized to a Vermont Senate committee on Wednesday after a witness she brought in called health concerns connected with wind power ‘‘hoo-hah,’’ nonsense and propaganda. Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, called the remarks of acoustics expert …

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Apr 25, 2013 03:29 pm | april

Reposted from VPR. Legislation that began with a proposed moratorium on wind development has been whittled down to a legislative review of how all electric generation projects are sited. The vote in the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee to approve the much-reduced bill was unanimous. And both sides in the fight over ridgeline wind …

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Apr 25, 2013 10:15 am | april

Reposted from WCAX. MONTPELIER, Vt. – Although no meaningful legislation on ridgeline wind development is likely to emerge this legislative session, that’s not stopping Vermont lawmakers from looking into its potential health impacts. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony from victims, researchers and doctors concerned about a combination of symptoms that may be …

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Apr 25, 2013 10:12 am | april

Reposted from the Times Argus. MONTPELIER — Opponents of mountaintop wind power development won’t get the three-year moratorium they sought at the outset of the 2013 legislative session. But advocates of the temporary ban say a compromise package being voted out of a House committee this week could at least bring more scrutiny of the …

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Apr 25, 2013 10:05 am | april

Reposted from the Times Argus. MONTPELIER — A lobbyist for an industry group supporting wind power apologized to a Vermont Senate committee on Wednesday after a witness she brought in called health concerns connected with wind power “hoo-hah,” nonsense and propaganda. Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, called the remarks of acoustics expert …

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Apr 25, 2013 09:58 am | april

Reposted from the Rutland Herald. The Legislature’s response to public concern about the proliferation of wind towers on Vermont’s mountaintops is lurching toward what may be a positive outcome. It has been a vexing controversy, dividing environmentalists, dividing communities. The peaks that define the horizon wherever you happen to be standing in the state are …

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Apr 23, 2013 12:02 pm | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. MANCHESTER — At their meeting tonight, the Select Board will be considering a proposed agreement to lease town land to a solar-powered electricity generation project. No details have been released about the proposal and town officials are not disclosing the name of the company proposing the project. Town Manager John O’Keefe …

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Apr 23, 2013 11:59 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. Philip and Marlene Allen rolled out the green carpet Monday afternoon as they officially unveiled their new retail store — Same Sun Choice — selling only solar-produced goods. The store is located at 53 Merchants Row and is, at the moment, mostly empty with some photographs of solar-producing companies lining the …

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Apr 23, 2013 11:57 am | kate

Reposted from VT Digger. Despite local opposition, the Seneca Mountain Wind Project received a preliminary green light to build four temporary meteorological (MET) towers in the Northeast Kingdom. A Public Service Board hearing officer recommended to the board that it provide permits for two MET towers in Brighton and one tower in Newark, where many …

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Apr 23, 2013 11:54 am | kate

Reposted from VPR News. Work has begun in Montpelier on a project to expand the heating system used by state government buildings to serve public and private buildings in the downtown. It’s part of a $20 million project that will expand the wood-fired heating system. It will be run jointly by the city and the …

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Apr 23, 2013 11:48 am | kate

Reposted from Fox 44 News. LOWELL, Vt. – Skeptics and supporters alike – will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Lowell Mountain wind turbines. Starting this June, tours will be given twice a week through August. Just one blade is nearly two hundred feet long… So seeing the magnitude of …

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Apr 23, 2013 11:41 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Hard Cider Company, maker of Woodchuck Hard Cider, is also growing its renewable energy use through a solar orchard in nearby Bridport. The solar project will produce approximately 210,000 kilowatts of electricity a year for the Woodchuck cidery. The project will cover approximately 10 percent to 15 percent …

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