This Week: Rendezvous Roundup, Seneca MET Towers, Net-Metering Dust Up, and More…

Aug 23, 2013 No Comments by
I had a great experience last Saturday at the Rendezvous in Irasburg. The event pulled together energy activists from all over the Northeast. The goal of the event was to start a new conversation about how we can live in concert with our natural resources. From my perspective the event was a huge success. The workshops were some of the best I’ve seen at an event like this. The weekend attendance was well over 500 people from all over New England and Quebec. I hope the organizers plan to have the event in the future and continue the conversation. Video and audio from the event should be posted on the website soon.

Last week the Public Service Board granted Seneca Mountain Wind a certificate of public good to install MET towers at locations in Newark, Brighton, and Ferdinand. The CPG comes even after the towns of Newark and Brighton voted against the towers. The decision was 81 pages long. The decision prompted Sen. Joe Benning to send a letter to Governor Shumlin asking him stop supporting the construction of utility-scale wind in the NEK.

Just nearby this past week news hit that the Connecticut firm BNE Energy would seek to build a utility-scale wind project at the southern end of the Lowell wind project in Eden. This news along with the Seneca Mountain Wind MET tower CPG comes at a time when the grid continues to be constrained in the area and significant questions persist about the technical feasibility of these projects.

The explosion of distributed solar continues throughout Vermont. Our very own Power Up Program will see its first installs this month. The significant increase in solar affordability has led to issues with some smaller utilities in Vermont hitting their legislated net-metering cap. Washington Electric Coop told customers that it would begin limiting residential net-metered solar installationsto 5KW or less over concerns that letting net-metering continue to grow would push costs onto other non-net metered rate payers. The utility got flack from other organizations for being “anti-renewable” and attempted to defend its position. This issue is likely to be one taken up with vigor this winter in Montpelier.

Green Mountain Power has not reached its net-metering cap and continues to promote solar development in Rutland. This week they announced they’d increase their goal for solar development in Rutland City and launched several other solar related initiatives. The explosion of solar is a hugely positive sign for the state, but as solar usage continues to grow developing siting standards will also become important.

There were two great opinion pieces in the news recently. Brett Anne Stanciu does a wonderful job describing how the Lowell wind project violated property rights and our sense of place. Pam Arborio talks about how wind towers threaten the future of the Northeast Kingdom. It is hard for someone driving on Interstate 91 north of St. Johnsbury not to agree with her.

We’re getting a run of Energize Vermont t-shirts made from 100% recycled fibers. Are you interested in one?Let me know so I can get a sense of numbers. Have yousupported Energize Vermont recently? Please make a tax-deductible donation today (every dollar helps increase our impact).

Have a great weekend and be well,

Lukas B. Snelling

Rutland Herald: GMP unveils plethora of Rutland energy projects

Aug 22, 2013 11:48 am | Kenny Soto

Reposted from the Rutland Herald. By Gordon Dritschilo. August 22, 2013. Green Mountain Power loosed a barrage of new initiatives Wednesday aimed at making more power in Rutland while using it better. Mary Powell, CEO of the state’s largest utility, joined local officials for a press conference at the Paramount Theatre, addressing a crowd of …

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Aug 21, 2013 11:43 am | Kenny Soto

Reposted from the VT Digger. August 20, 2013. Editor’s note: This commentary is by Brett Ann Stanciu, a writer and sugarmaker who lives in the Hardwick area. her writing has appeared recently in Seven Days and Taproot. In 1789, Seth Hubbel snowshoed eight miles along a wooded path into Wolcott, accompanied by an Indian guide …

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Aug 20, 2013 10:53 am | Kenny Soto

Reposted from VPR. By John Dillon. August 20, 2013. A Connecticut company wants to develop a new wind project on a Northeast Kingdom ridgeline just south of an existing wind development. But there’s growing concern that the transmission grid in the region is not strong enough to handle more large-scale wind generation. BNE Energy of …

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Aug 19, 2013 01:36 pm | Kenny Soto

Reposted from WCAX.By Cat Viglienzoni. August 17, 2013. IRASBURG, Vt. – Energy issues are a hot-button topic in Vermont. In Irasburg this weekend, different protesting groups are meeting to try to find common ground. The energy debate is often divisive in the Northeast and tensions run high. From arrests at the wind farm in Lowell …

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Aug 19, 2013 01:25 pm | Kenny Soto

Reposted from the Bennington Banner. By Elizabeth Conkey. August 17, 2013. BENNINGTON — Bennington Rotarians were treated to a presentation Friday by Executive Director of Energize Vermont Luke Snelling, who discussed the pros and cons of various renewable energy solutions. Energize Vermont, a 100 percent member-supported nonprofit organization, works to educate and advocate for establishing …

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