Monday, February 14, 2011

Vermont Environmental News, February 14, 2011

Gov. Shumlin endorses controversial Lowell Mountain wind project | The Burlington Free Press
Gov. Peter Shumlin on Friday endorsed a large-scale wind-power project planned for northern Vermont's Lowell Mountain, saying the state had agreed on land swaps and bear corridors with the utility developing the project.

The announcement means the state's Agency of Natural Resources will join with its second-largest power company to defend the Kingdom Community Wind project before the Public Service Board, which is weighing whether to grant it a license. The board has held more than a week of hearings, which are set to resume later this month.
Aesthetics metrics tested in Kingdom Wind project |
In the second of three weeks of Public Service Board hearings on the proposed Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell, lawyers and self-represented individuals have sparred with witnesses over issues of economics, impacts to wildlife, plans for the site after decommissioning, and other issues. On Tuesday, all parties seemed to find one thing they agreed on: 400-foot wind turbines cannot be hidden.

Almost the entire day of testimony was taken up in cross-examination of David Raphael, owner of LandWorks, a Middlebury-based firm that has been conducting aesthetic assessments of Vermont projects for more than 20 years.

Raphael defended his conclusion that 20 or 21 wind turbines, each over 400 feet high, on or near the ridgeline of Lowell Mountain, would not have an “undue, adverse impact” on the scenic beauty of the region. Raphael testified as a witness for Green Mountain Power, the project leader for the proposed wind farm.
Noise expert to testify in Vt wind project hearing | WCAX.COM
A noise expert will testify about the sounds created by windmills at a Vermont Public Service Board hearing on the proposed Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell.

Robert McCunney, retained by project developers Green Mountain Power Corp. and Vermont Electric Co-Op, will testify Thursday in Montpelier. State utility regulators are weighing plans for a 20-turbine wind project that was approved by Lowell voters last year but is now being challenged by a group of opponents.
Vt. company Seventh Generation names new chief | WCAX.COM
The Vermont company known for its marketing of environmentally friendly household products is getting a new president and CEO.

Seventh Generation of Burlington says that John Replogle will take over on March 7.

For the last five years, Replogle has served as president and chief executive officer of Burt's Bees, a natural personal care products company.
NH biomass future to be aired | WCAX.COM
Loggers, truckers, and others involved in timber harvesting are invited to a meeting to discuss the status of biomass-burning, wood-to-energy facilities and what's in store for the future of biomass in New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council is holding the informational meeting Thursday at the Bridgewater Town Hall. Recent market conditions have resulted in an uncertain future for the six independent biomass-burning power plants in New Hampshire, organizers of the meeting said. They collectively provide enough renewable electricity for 100,000 homes through the New England electric power grid.