Monday, August 2, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, August 2, 2010

Hydro project in Vt. put on ice |
A proposal to revive a hydroelectric dam that once supplied power to a long-defunct tanning mill in Vermont has come to a halt.

Encore Redevelopment Founder Chad Farrell informed North Pownal officials this week that a feasibility study showed the project would generate 460 kilowatts of electricity instead of the original projection of 700 kilowatts.

Farrell, who proposed the project in 2007, told the Bennington Banner that newly revised estimates make it "a financially challenging proposition in terms of return on investment." One of the challenges with the site is that the silt collected by the dam is contaminated with PCBs.
Vt. hiking trails to reopen near peregrine nests |
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says hiking trails near peregrine falcon nests are opening again to the public.

The trails, which will be officially reopened on Sunday, are closed in the spring so people won't scare the nesting peregrines as they raise their young.

The state says a record 41 pairs of peregrines occupied Vermont cliffs, 32 pairs nested and 26 pairs produced at least 53 young.
Montpelier energy project moves forward | Times Argus Online
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, which has granted Montpelier $8 million to pursue a biomass district energy plant, will hold a public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 3 in Montpelier to speak with residents about the project.

The hearing comes as city officials and consultants continue to sort through the details of the complicated project, which is expected to cost roughly $23 million and could eventually reshape how government and private buildings in the Capital City are heated.

The Montpelier City Council this week took a step closer to putting a revenue bond on the ballot in November that would help fund the project. The bond, which would be repaid with revenue from heat and electricity the plant produces, would be combined with the $8 million grant to pay for the project. If the project ends up costing $23 million, the bond would be $15 million.
Welch's Home Star program included in Senate energy bill |
A scaled-back energy bill unveiled late yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) includes Rep. Peter Welch's Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019).

Passed by the House in May, the bipartisan Home Star program would create 170,000 jobs by helping three million families refit, renovate and insulate their homes. The two-year program provides direct incentives to consumers who install American-made, energy-saving products and conduct whole-home retrofit.