Public grills Swanton Wind representatives

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

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NRPC still evaluating project

SWANTON WIND:
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

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Tonight key meeting on Swanton Wind project – 5 p.m.

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

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Swanton Wind regulatory process begins

Saint Albans Messenger; February 8, 2017

Workshop to be held on Thursday

By TOM BENTON

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — With a long-anticipated public event concerning Swanton Wind set for Thursday night and the first batch of discovery questions submitted to the Public Service Board, the project’s briefly stalled regulatory process has begun.

The Public Service Board (PSB) issued a new scheduling order on Jan. 20, outlining the timeline for the PSB’s nine-month review of the controversial wind project.

Following Thursday’s workshop, the process begins with a round of written discovery aimed at Swanton Wind, the “petitioner.” The purpose of the PSB review’s written discovery process is identical to the purpose of written discovery in court: to ask the petitioner, in this case Swanton Wind, to bring forward documents in question. Continue reading

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Swanton Wind’s fate to be decided in fall hearings

St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 2, 2017

ENERGY
PSB issues scheduled for review

By TOM BENTON

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Public Service Board (PSB) has issued a revised schedule for its regulatory review of Swanton Wind.

The board also ordered the project’s representatives to respond to a motion alleging Swanton Wind did not use the most recent version of Swanton’s grand list to identify property owners adjacent to the project’s proposed construction site.

The PSB initially scheduled its review process in Oct. 2016. The PSB process begins with a public workshop, allowing attendees to directly question Swanton Wind’s developers and representatives regarding the project’s specifics and, in doing so, determine whether those attendees want to apply for formal participation in the PSB process. The PSB, and all currently recognized participants, initially agreed that workshop would take place on Jan. 3, but “inclement weather” forced its cancellation. That left the PSB’s original timeline for its review process up in the air, especially when disagreements between parties on a new date and location for the workshop further delayed its rescheduling.

The workshop is now scheduled for Feb. 9 in the Swanton Village Municipal Complex starting at 5 p.m. The PSB issued a revised schedule for its regulatory process at the same time it issued a rescheduling order for the workshop. The new schedule only delays the process by a matter of weeks, partially through reducing the amount of time those deciding to participate in the process have to apply to do so, from 11 days after the workshop to seven days after the workshop. Continue reading

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Town writes to governor about wind

St. Albans Messenger, Jan. 30, 2017
SWANTON:
Interim zoning administrator hired

By TOM BENTON

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Swanton Town Selectboard discussed next steps in its fight against Swanton Wind at its Jan. 17 meeting.

The selectboard also appointed an interim zoning administrator, after the resignation of former zoning administrator Darlene Marrier.

The Town of Swanton is reaching out for state support while continuing its fight against the construction of Swanton Wind. The selectboard has prepared a letter to Governor Phil Scott, asking if the governor plans to implement his campaign promise to ban ridgeline wind projects, and if so, when.

Clark read the letter aloud. The letter notes money spent by the towns of Swanton, Fairfield and St. Albans on legal fees for participation in the PSB’s process, a process the letter states “is costing the citizens of all three towns tens of thousands of tax dollars that could be better spent on other needs such as road and facility improvements.” The Town of Swanton alone has committed $10,000 toward legal fees to participate in the PSB process. Continue reading

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Workshop rescheduled to discuss Swanton Wind

St. Albans Messenger, Jan. 26, 2016
Developers will answer questions Feb. 9

By TOM BENTON

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — A “workshop” allowing the public to ask questions of Swanton Wind’s developers has been rescheduled. The workshop will be Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Swanton Village Municipal Complex, beginning at 5 p.m.

The workshop had previously been set for Jan. 3 atMissisquoiValleyUnion Middle and High School. The Public Service Board, which is conducting the workshop, rescheduled the event due to inclement weather. The board’s new scheduling order noted that “the possibility of another weather-related cancellation remains.” Continue reading

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