Saint Albans Messenger; February 28, 2017
Filing contradicts FAA findings
By TOM BENTON Messenger Staff Writer
SWANTON — The Vermont Army National Guard has filed to intervene before the Public Service Board in opposition of Swanton Wind.
The Vermont National Guard (VTNG)’s state judge advocate, Gonzalo Pinacho, filed the motion to intervene Feb. 23.
In the Public Service Board (PSB)’s regulatory process, formal participants beyond the petitioner — in this case, Swanton Wind, LLC — are known as “intervenors.” If a party’s motion to intervene is approved, that party may formally participate in the PSB process.
The VTNG’s motion outlines three core concerns motivating its opposition to Swanton Wind — basically, that the project “will significantly and negatively impact the operations of [the VTNG] rotary wing flights in the Northern Champlain Valley.” Continue reading
St. Albans Messenger Editorial, Feb. 24, 2017
The Northwest Regional Planning Commission this week said it would oppose the proposed Swanton Wind project, made up of seven 499-foot wind turbines, to be located on Rocky Ridge.
The NRPC was tasked the responsibility of figuring out how and where renewable energy projects could be suitability sited in Franklin County. It was a process that, as a consequence, included judgment as to whether the controversial Swanton Wind project would fit the group’s criterion.
It did not.
According to the regional planning group, it failed to meet the regional plan’s standards for its impact on natural resources, aesthetics and “orderly development of the region.” Continue reading
St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 23, 2017.
Motion cites natural resource, aesthetic concerns
By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer
ST. ALBANS — The Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) board of commissioners unanimously approved a motion Wednesday night to oppose Swanton Wind during the Public Service Board’s regulatory process.
The motion ratified a recommendation from the NRPC Policy and Project Review Committee submitted yesterday. The recommendation said the committee “found that the project does not conform with a number of the provisions in the regional plan at minimum with respect to impacts to natural resources, aesthetics and
Bakersfield resident Bill Irwin, left, chairs the NRPC Policy/Project Review Committee, which decided last night to oppose Swanton Wind. Above, Swanton Wind representatives present project studies during project representatives’ last appearance before the committee, in Oct. 2016.
TOM BENTON, St. Albans Messenger
orderly development of the region.” Continue reading
St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 20 2017
Letter to the Editor
On Thursday, Feb. 9th I went to the Swanton Municipal Building for the Swanton Wind Workshop. I sat for 4 hours listening to the public ask questions about their proposed industrial wind project and what I witnessed was very disturbing and frustrating.
The workshop (in my opinion) was an unprepared workshop with many avoided and unanswered questions. Throughout the evening we heard several times from the Swanton Wind lawyer and specialists that ‘we can’t answer that question because we don’t have the specifics yet’, referred the public to go online to their website and/or application to get their questions answered.
They had nothing set in stone of which turbine sizes would be installed or how many MW it would be producing for the residents having to live near the turbines. Swanton Wind knew well in advance that a workshop was going to be held for the public so why weren’t the specialists there including those for the bird habitat, economic and historical sites. The town selectboard chair asked several questions about the project, the people, the town benefits and if Vermont will get the power, and his questions were also unanswered. They evaded all the details and kept everyone guessing throughout the evening by barely answering any questions to the full truths that evening. Continue reading
Saint Albans Messenger; February 10, 2017
Four hour meeting kicks off PSB process
By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer
SWANTON — For more than four hours Thursday night, opponents of Swanton Wind got a chance to question the team behind the project.
The Public Service Board hosted an information workshop in the Swanton Village Municipal Complex designed so the public could garner information to be used in deciding whether to become a formal participant in the Public Service Board’s review process. But the several hours of questioning often veered into cross-examination, with the public no more satisfied with the answers than the Swanton Wind team with the questions.
An exchange three hours into the proceedings summarized that divide. Swanton resident Danielle Garrant said one of Green Mountain Power’s transmission lines runs 100 feet from her house. Garrant asked if the lines would now be transporting more power. Vermont Environmental Research Associates (VERA)’s Martha Staskus, who coordinated the project science team’s responses, said yes, there would be an increase. How much of an increase, she was not sure — Swanton Wind’s output has yet to be determined.
In fact, many aspects of the project are yet to be determined. The Swanton Wind team said these uncertainties are common in any largescale building project, especially large-scale wind — because industrial wind technology is so rapidly developing, it makes the most financial sense to wait until the last minute before deciding on, and purchasing, that equipment. But those uncertainties alarmed many members of the public who spoke last night. Continue reading
Attorney: Pending ruling could change project’s viability
By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer
ST. ALBANS — An attorney for the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) told the NRPC Policy/Project Review Committee Wednesday evening that a pending legal situation could force Swanton Wind “back to the drawing board.”
Attorney David Rugh gave NRPC members a broad overview of Swanton Wind’s application for a Certificate of Public Good, which, if approved, would allow the project’s construction. However, Rugh said another case before the PSB may prove more important: Swanton Wind’s pending power purchase agreement (PPA).
Rugh told NRPC members that Swanton Wind filed for a PPA prior to submitting its complete Section 248 petition, its application for a Certificate of Public Good. Under state statutes at the time of Swanton Wind’s initial filing, a PPA determined a fixed price an electricity purchaser would pay the electricity generator over a 30-year period. But the rules changed in Sept. 2016. Now a PPA determines a fixed purchase price over a seven-year period. Continue reading
St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 9, 2017
The following are excerpts from Lisa Linowes’ – U.S. Wind Energy Policy: Correcting the Abuse in 100 Days (Introduction) February 2, 2017.
“The Obama White House, in concert with Senate Democrats systematically pushed through regulations that dramatically raised wind subsidies, fasttracked project development, funded policy reports that benefited the sector, and generally placed industry interests ahead of public interests and assets.” These are the policies the Democratically dominated Vermont Legislature is still forcing on rural Vermonters.
“Public opposition to projects has significantly intensified as turbines standing over 500-feet tall were repeatedly sited near homes and sensitive natural habitats, still, the administration remained unequivocal in its advocacy.” This reflects what is happening in Swanton with 500 foot Wind Turbines being proposed 2000 feet from a family neighborhood. Continue reading