Developers Push Derby Wind Towers, Holland Pushes Back

DERBY - Developers who want to construct two industrial size wind turbines just east of Derby Line applied earlier this month for two Certificates of Public Good (CPG) with the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Encore Redevelopment, with its partners, has filed for the CPGs for Grandview Farm, owned by the Davis family, and Smugglers Hill Farm, owned by Jayne and Jonathan Chase. The turbines would be more than 400 feet tall at the tip of the blade and are expected to generate 2.2 Mw of power.The project is under the state’s SPEED program.The project, referred to as Derby Line Wind, will be owned and managed by Encore Redevelopment of Burlington.The developers have requested an expedited review of the project by the PSB.Brett Farrow, chair person of Holland Select Board, sent a letter to the PSB stating concerns over expediting the review of the project. The letter states that the full select board does not have sufficient time to read and respond in time to effectively participate in a prehearing conference before the end of December. “…We request that no such conference be held until a reasonable time has passed allowing us to formulate our response,” the letter said.The developers hope to begin construction by the summer of 2012. Both turbines will be interconnected through Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC). VEC has already preformed a system impact study and found that the system could handle the power.The turbines would be visible from parts of Derby, Derby Line, Holland, and north of the U.S.-Canadian border.Although developers say the turbines would be quieter than other large turbines, the wind towers would still create sound heard in nearby homes and would create a shadow flicker. The Town of Holland has expressed serious concerns regarding the project. Mitch Wonson, chair person of the town’s planning commission, has been asked by the town to represent them in dealing with the proposed project. The town’s concerns include the potential for adverse impacts on health and quality of life from noise, including infra-sound. Impacts on property values are also of concern to the town.Wonson, in an interview, cited information from recent studies indicating adverse health effects, including nausea and insomnia, from living near a single large turbine.Although the project is not in Holland, one turbine would be located approximately a half mile from the town.Holland’s 2007 Town Plan recommends the adoption of a town policy on energy facilities and a policy was adopted in November this year. According to the policy, commercial energy facilities should “be constructed in scale with their surroundings with limited negative environmental effects and should provide a direct benefit to the town in the form of both tax base and direct energy availability."The following information is a portion of what is included in the plan:1.Commercial Energy Facilities (CEF) should not be highly visible as manmade structures from the majority of locations in town during both the summer and winter seasons.2) CEFs should not have a significant potential for adverse health impacts on the citizens.3) CEFs should not have a significant potential for adverse impacts on the general environment as they relate to wildlife, soil erosion, storm water runoff, etc.4) CEFs should not have a significant potential for adverse health impacts on livestock such as cows, horses, and other such farm animals.5) CEFs should not have a significant potential for negative impacts on community and private facilities such as roadways, flood protection, water supplies, wastewater disposal, etc.6) CEFs should not have significant potential for negative impacts on property values through such aspects as views, noise, health concerns, lighting, physical damage, etc.