New study ordered for Swanton Wind project

St. Albans Messenger, June 24, 2017

DEVELOPMENT
PSB requires system-wide impact analysis

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Public Service Board will not set any further dates for its regulatory review of Swanton Wind until the project developers file, “at a minimum,” a complete System Impact Study.

The board announced its decision in an order issued Thursday, responding to proposals to reschedule the board’s review process, which has bloated beyond the original timeline determined in October 2016.

The board’s decision concurs with assertions the Department of Public Service (DPS) made in a June 2 filing. The DPS asserted that Swanton Wind’s application for a “Certificate of Public Good,” essentially a permit to begin the construction process, does not contain necessary information regarding system stability and reliability and the project’s impact on Vermont utilities and customers.

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Objections mount to wind proposal

St. Albans Messenger, June 19, 2017

SWANTON
Intervenors oppose discovery limits

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — Parties filed responses to Swanton Wind’s motion to limit discovery questions for the remainder of the case on Friday.

The filings send a clear, and discernably bitter response: No way. And here’s why.

Swanton Wind filed the motion on June 7, after “recommending” the limitation of discovery questions in a late May filing concerning a new schedule for the project’s Public Service Board (PSB) review.

Christine and Dustin Lang fired back, filing an objection noting what they alleged were specific violations of PSB procedure, requiring a properly filed motion — which Swanton Wind’s counsel then filed.

The motion requests a limit for discovery questions — specifically, no more than 50. Those participating in the PSB review have now submitted more than 1,000 pages of discovery questions to which the PSB process requires Swanton Wind respond, just in the first round of discovery.

The PSB required responses to Swanton Wind’s motion by Friday, June 14.

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Given the scale of our wind power needs, we need a plan

Saint Albans Messenger; June 16, 2017; Letter to the editor

There seems to be a lot of naiveté on the part of those advocating for Industrial wind in Vermont.

Firstly: The eastern part of the United States has poor onshore wind resources. The areas with the best wind resources in this country are the mid-west and the mountain areas to the west. That is why Texas is often used as a shining example. Vermont is not Texas. To confirm this simply look at a map of the wind regimes of the United States.

Because of the increase in wind turbine size, to capture the light winds, rotational rates (revolutions per minute or rpm) and the blade pass frequencies (BPF) have dropped into the range of motion sickness identified in ISO 9996:2000, as occurring at 0.1 to 1 Hz and observed in naval research on motion sickness. ‘Naval studies identified acceleration oscillations in the range of 0.1 to 1 Hz as associated with motion sickness, with sickness strongest at about 0.2 Hz.

The association of acoustic oscillations to motion sickness was documented in studies of large wind turbine noise emissions by Dr. Paul Schomer.’ http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/ wp-content/uploads/2008/11/kamperman-james-1028-08.pdf These sound levels are very low (infrasound) and are not even measured for consideration in the siting of industrial wind turbines. The trend has been larger turbines in closer proximity to people. Swanton Wind exemplifies this with the largest proposed turbines (499’) located the closest to homes (1,877’) in the State of Vermont. This is why setbacks are so important.

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Board mulls over discovery limits

St. Albans Messenger, June 12, 2017

ENERGY:
Swanton Wind files motion
By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — Swanton Wind’s legal counsel before the Public Service Board (PSB) has now filed an official motion to limit discovery questions through the remainder of the board’s review process.

Discovery questions in the PSB process operate like discovery questions in the court process. The party being questioned must respond, under oath, to the best of their ability.

So far, Swanton Wind has been the party being questioned. In future discovery rounds, Swanton Wind will have the capability to question other parties officially participating in the case.

There are a total of 68 such parties. Swanton Wind’s most recent response to discovery questions filed by the citizen participants in the case, the bulk of whom are operating as one party, was 240 pages. There is no doubt Swanton Wind’s counsel and representatives face an enormous amount of questions.

The question now before the PSB is whether they face too many questions — the basic question that has sat at the base of Swanton Wind’s entire developmental process.

Swanton Wind filed the motion to limit discovery on June 6, but initially proposed the limitations as a “recommendation” with its May 24 schedule proposal, noting in the footnotes of that proposal that Swanton Wind will seek reimbursement for the time of its expert witnesses.

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Gone with the wind?

St. Albans Messenger, May 27, 2017
SWANTON

New rules would limit turbine projects

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

MONTPELIER — The Public Service Board (PSB) has submitted its proposal for the state’s industrial wind sound rules.

Advocates for industrial wind power, like Sarah Wolfe of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), said the new rules, if approved by the legislature, would destroy Vermont’s wind industry. The industry’s critics, like local resident Patty Rainville, said the new rules do not go far enough, or address the real issues.

The PSB has developed these rules over the past year. The passage of Act 174, a state law designed to increase residents’ say in local energy siting, required the development of these rules.

The PSB’s development process included multiple public hearings. The Messenger reported on one such hearing, in Montpelier, in December 2016.

That hearing illustrated a vast divide between scientists and industry professionals, who said peer-reviewed research proved even less-harsh rules than the state’s temporary sound limits would not have adverse health effects, and citizens and advocacy groups, who said personal accounts and non-peer reviewed research proved the opposite and called for stricter standards.

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Swanton Wind case drags on

St. Albans Messenger, May 25, 2017

ENERGY:
June 2018 earliest possible resolution

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — A Public Service Board conference to design a new timetable for the board’s Swanton Wind review did not accomplish as much as promised in Montpelier yesterday.

The board ostensibly scheduled the meeting to determine a new schedule for its regulatory review of the proposed wind project.

Several agency representatives and parties participating in the review attended the Wednesday afternoon meeting, as well as the project’s attorneys.

But rather than determine the schedule there, the board ordered schedule proposals and responses to Swanton Wind’s proposed schedule submitted by June 2, due to parties’ inability to agree on a schedule as of yet.

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Belisles facing possible fine

St. Albans Messenger, May 22, 2017

SWANTON WIND:
State recommends penalty for tower

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The developer of Swanton Wind could be fined $15,000 for the construction of a meteorological tower on his property, in violation of state statute.

Travis Belisle erected a 132-feet-tall, six-inch-diameter meteorological station on his property in 2012, “seeing if the wind on the ridge would be right for wind turbines that generate electricity.”

But because of such a project’s connection with a prospective grid-connected project — Swanton Wind — Belisle required a Certificate of Public Good, essentially a construction permit from the Public Service Board, before doing so. Now the Department of Public Service (DPS), not to be confused with the Public Service Board, has recommended the board impose a $15,000 penalty for the construction of that meteorological tower.

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