This Week: VEC Worried About Wind, PACE in Cavendish, S. 30 in HNRE, Opinions & More…

Apr 12, 2013 No Comments by
Utility-scale wind continues to make news in the NEK as utility operators grapple with its implications. Last week, Vermont Electric Cooperative head David Hallquist said his utility would oppose further wind projects in the NEK because grid constraints are forcing operators to curtail operations at the Lowell and Sheffield wind projects. He said his position was because, “The more we put on, the more trouble we are going to have.” 

This week Lyndonville Electric Department customers raised concerns when the utility acknowledged it was contemplating signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the developers of the proposed Seneca Mountain Wind project. The developers are interested in the small municipal utility as a possible interconnection point for their project.

Jon Margolis from VTDigger wrote an excellent article digging in to the complex issue of whether or not utility-scale turbines actually reduce CO2 emissions in the state. Like others, Mr. Margolis finds that this question isn’t as simple as saying with every turn of blade there is a corresponding CO2 emission reduction. He concludes, “So does it or doesn’t it? The experts obviously do not agree.”

Also this week in wind news, one of the major landowners involved in the proposed Grandpa’s Knob wind project terminated their lease with the developers. The developers had missed several payments, but the landowner was quoted as saying, “I was not aware of the devastation on the mountain they were going to have.” The developer says the project is still viable.

The Rutland Herald ran an article covering Cavendish launching their Property Assessed Clean Energy district (PACE). The program is available to all towns in Vermont, but only 34 towns have activated it. PACE creates a financial incentive for homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and payback borrowed money over a long period of time (up to 20 years). Learn more about PACE here and consider working to bring it to your town. In similar news, Congressman Peter Welch announced legislation that would allow renewable energy developers to utilize a financial mechanism called master limited partnershipsto build projects, ultimately making it easier to get projects financed.

In legislative news, S. 30 continues to be discussed in the House Natural Resources Committee. The Committee has taken testimony from many people in the energy and environmental communities. We are hopeful the Committee will soon make a productive recommendation on how to move forward with the bill. Please, this weekend, call your, or any Representative you have a relationship with and encourage them to support S. 30. You can find out who they are here andtheir contact information here.

Check out this opinion by Heath Boyer from Windham. In it Mr. Boyer walks through why he, as someone concerned about climate change, opposes the development of utility-scale wind turbines in Windham.

We are working on a program to help bring solar to homeowners in the most affordable way possible. I’ll have more details soon, but in the meantime will you let me know if you are interested in affordably going solar at your home? I’ll make sure you get the news as soon as everything is set.

Lastly, you should know the Energy Siting Commission has one more deliberation session on April 16th in Montpelier. Take a look at the most recent draft packaging of recommendations and let the Commission know that the process needs to give towns and individuals a larger voice in the siting of energy projects in Vermont.

Don’t forget to send me renewable energy news as you see it so I can include it in my weekly letter. Also, do you want the news as it breaks? Follow us on Facebook andTwitter.

Have a great weekend,

Lukas B. Snelling


Apr 11, 2013 10:15 am | kate

Reposted from Brattleboro Reformer. WINDHAM — Last year, town officials failed in their bid to stop construction of meteorological-testing towers that may pave the way for a major wind turbine project. But two state senators have introduced a bill that, if approved, could ensure that wind turbines will not rise above Windham. The bill requires …

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Apr 09, 2013 10:39 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. CAVENDISH — Paying for energy efficiency projects in Cavendish is about to get easier. The town is implementing a Property Assessed Clean Energy district, which is a financial incentive program for home improvement projects. The program came into existence with the passing of the 2009 Vermont Energy Act and a provision …

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Apr 09, 2013 10:26 am | kate

Reposted from VT Digger. Editor’s note: This article is by Robin Smith, staff writer at the Calendonian-Record, where it was first published Friday, April 5, 2013. BARTON — Vermont Electric Cooperative will oppose any large new wind project in northern Vermont, including Seneca Mountain Wind, CEO David Hallquist says. That’s because existing wind projects have …

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Apr 09, 2013 10:19 am | kate

Reposted from Rutland Herald. PITTSFORD — Two more landowners have terminated their easement agreements with the developer of the proposed wind project along the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline. According to documents filed with the Pittsford town clerk in early March, Gardner Stone and his son Todd ended their relationship with Grandpa’s Knob Renewable Energy, the project …

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