Phil Scott and the end of turbines on state’s ridgelines?

St. Albans Messenger, Editorial, 12/30/16

One of Gov. elect Phil Scott’s most vocal constituencies is the anti-wind coalition and he intends to heed their fondest wish by pursuing a moratorium on largescale industrial wind turbines proposed for the state’s ridgelines.

Mr. Scott recognizes the improbability the Legislature would agree with his proposal, having passed legislation last session that gave communities a greater say in where large-scale renewable energy projects should be placed. But it’s his intention to give the effort a profile high enough to make a difference.

If you were a developer interested in putting 500-foot turbines on any ridgeline in Vermont, you might consider another state. Continue reading

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I’m an expert in common sense and I’d oppose Swanton wind

Saint Albans Messenger; December 27, 2016

I grew up in St. Albans, graduated from BFA, left to “find myself ” and eventually retired from a successful career in federal law enforcement. I now live an enjoyable, retired lifestyle in sunny San Diego, CA.

A big part of my day is reading the San Diego Union-Tribune and the St. Albans Messenger. It is really interesting to compare life and news in the big city with life in my beloved, pristine, rural Vermont. So I have decided to appoint myself (without acknowledgement or permission from anyone) as the official foreign correspondent for The Messenger. I will occasionally submit comparisons to prove that life is not always greener on the other side of the fence, regardless of which side you live on.

I have closely followed the ongoing debate regarding “the Swanton wind thing” (for lack of better terms). I am not an expert and don’t pretend to understand “decibels”, “environmental impact” or other technical terms, but I am an expert in common sense. I’m all for alternative energy sources and I installed solar power in my home at considerable expense. I don’t know whether it will be cost effective or not, but I do know that it does not offend my neighbors, it is not ugly, it does not make noise and it does not interrupt the landscape. On the infamous I-15 corridor between San Diego and Las Vegas there are miles and miles of flat, uninhabited desert where the wind blows with gale force most of the time. There are huge wind farms with thousands of turbines along that corridor and they seem to go on forever, but they don’t interrupt anything except miles of blowing sand. In the winter, we go camping in the desert and explore the area in Jeeps and off road vehicles. These forays usually involve a ride “to the turbines” where we stop for lunch, ogle those huge propellers, make comments about how big and noisy they are and then leave when the constant noise/humming gets too irritating. Continue reading

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Wind conference approved

Saint Albans Messenger; December 21, 2016

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The town selectboard confirmed the details of an upcoming workshop regarding Swanton Wind, approved revisions to the municipal energy plan and announced the formation of a committee to interview candidates for the long-discussed economic development coordinator position at the board’s regular meeting Dec. 20. The selectboard also approved a motion to rename Aljon Street and discussed a protocol for use of Swanton’s new LED announcement sign in the park.

Selectboard chair Joel Clark announced the Public Service Board (PSB) approved the town’s request to host a prehearing conference regarding Swanton Wind in Swanton.

Selectboard chair Joel Clark reads from the Public Service Board’s fourpage decision to host a workshop regarding Swanton Wind at MVU the first week of January.

The PSB’s regulatory process will determine whether the proposed wind farm can be constructed on Rocky Ridge. The process begins in January with this prehearing conference, a workshop designed to offer anyone, including the general public, the chance to ask questions regarding the project. Continue reading

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Swanton wind turbines could be even larger than 499 feet

Saint Albans Messenger; December 17, 2016

The Kingdom Wind industrial wind turbines in Lowell, Vermont were proposed to be Vestas V90 or a comparable Siemens 2.5 MW model. The Vestas V90 is a 3.0 megawatt turbine that stands 449 feet tall. All the sound modeling, visual impacts, environmental impacts and all other impacts of the wind turbines were based on these turbine models. After the Public Service Board (PSB) approved a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) for the project the developer, Green Mountain Power (GMP), changed the wind turbine model to Vestas V112. This is a 3.3 megawatt model that is 459 feet tall. Continue reading

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Obviously noise standards for wind turbines aren’t accurate

Saint Albans Messenger; December 10, 2016

Thank you for the opportunity to respectfully respond to the article ““Scientist: No ill effects from turbine sound”. I was referred to as “irate” when holding firm to protecting neighbors. The first-time meeting with Dr. Chris Ollson was misreported.

The intent of PSB workshop was to discuss the wind turbine noise rule. There were two sides; one with several professionals advocating to keep the current 45 dBA noise limit and use prediction models to validate noise levels in lieu of measurements. Whereas, neighbors supporting lowering the noise limit to 35 dBA to minimize complaints. Each side presented international standards and guidelines supporting their position.

Unfortunately, neighbors were devalued by the discussions focusing on standards, procedures, and protocols, and not actual human responses. Instruments are not reliable indicators for annoyance, nuisance or harm. The PSB is confronted with a critical decision about how to control noise and minimize complaints from wind turbines. The current noise rule is not working as evidenced by high noise levels and maximum complaints.

— Steve Ambrose

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Swanton Wind: You can paint a pig any color, but still a pig

Saint Albans Messenger; December 7, 2016

After reading the article in Saturday’s Messenger concerning Swanton Wind, I was amused at the statements of Anthony Iarrapino, the lawyer representing Swanton Wind. It seems that the new mantra to try to shove this ill-advised project upon the citizens of Franklin County is to associate it to a “Working Landscape” as if that paints it as some great benefit to society. It is not.

Comparing it to dairy farms and timber harvesting is nebulas at best. Dairy farms and sustainable timber harvesting enhance the beauty of the state they do not take away from it, They are the reasons that Vermont is recognized around the country if not the world for its mostly unspoiled, beautiful landscape.

It is not surprising that Iarrapino can come up with all sorts of convoluted reasons that this project is warranted, as he is paid for it. Another one is trying to link it to “climate change.” Vermont’s landscape could be destroyed by thousands of these ugly turbines and it would not amount to a drop in the ocean and have virtually no effect.

It is much more valuable to the citizens of Vt. to preserve the natural ambience of the state for our grandchildrens enjoyment, rather than turn it into an industrial site for the monetary benefit of a few. Mr Iarrapino; you can paint a pig any color you want but its still a pig.!

Jeff B. Pignona, St. Albans

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Swanton holds hearing on energy

Saint Albans Messenger; December 7, 2016

Three towns discuss wind legal strategy

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Swanton Town Selectboard hosted a joint meeting with representatives from the Fairfield and St. Albans town selectboards Tuesday evening to coordinate legal efforts to oppose Swanton Wind.

After that meeting, Swanton’s selectboard held its regular meeting, which doubled as a public hearing regarding proposed changes to Swanton’s municipal energy plan.

Swanton selectboard chair Joel Clark announced the Town of Swanton committed $10,000 toward legal fees to “vigorously oppose” the Swanton Wind project at the selectboard’s Oct. 11 meeting. That means utilizing party status in the Public Service Board (PSB)’s Section 248 review, the regulatory process that will ultimately determine whether the project goes forward.

Town Administrator David Jescavage then reached out to the other two communities that would border the project’s proposed site of construction, Fairfield and St. Albans Town.

Fairfield Town Clerk Amanda Forbes attended the Swanton selectboard’s Nov. 15 meeting to inform the board that Fairfield’s own selectboard had voted to apply for PSB party status as well at its last meeting. Then, on Nov. 21, the St. Albans Town selectboard voted to do the same. Continue reading

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