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WIND ENERGY IN VERMONT Public Administration 306 - Marc Bilodeau - Erica Spiegel - Brendan Andrews.

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Presentation on theme: "WIND ENERGY IN VERMONT Public Administration 306 - Marc Bilodeau - Erica Spiegel - Brendan Andrews."— Presentation transcript:

1 WIND ENERGY IN VERMONT Public Administration 306 - Marc Bilodeau - Erica Spiegel - Brendan Andrews

2 ENERGY USES & SOURCES Seventy-one percent of Vermont’s electricity comes from two sources: Vermont Yankee Nuclear and contracts with Hydro-Quebec. Both contracts are set to expire within the next seven to ten years.

3 ENERGY USES & SOURCES Energy consumption has steadily risen over the past decade and is expected to rise at a rate of about two percent per year during the 2000-2010 period.

4 Vermont had the first commercial wind turbine in the nation. The Searsburg Wind Project, completed in 1997, was the first commercial wind farm east of the Mississippi River. The Vermont Electric Plan 2005 recommends that “Vermont should continue to encourage and promote development of net-metered renewable energy applications in appropriate locations.” WIND ENERGY IN VERMONT

5 THE POWER OF WIND The average household consumes 750 Kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. A 1.5 MW turbine generates enough electricity to power 500 average homes in Vermont. Costs of wind energy have declined eighty percent since 1980.

6 WORKING DEFINITIONS BIG WIND: - Commercial wind projects with turbines that are 200 to 300 feet in height and produce 1.5 MW at full capacity. SMALL WIND: - Single turbines under 120 feet in height with blade diameters of less than 20 feet that are designed for use by individual homeowners, schools, and businesses.

7 WORKING DEFINITIONS PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD: –The “quasi-judicial board” that regulates Vermont’s public utilities to ensure the “provision of high quality public utility service at minimum reasonable costs.” DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE: –State executive agency that acts as “an advocate” for the ratepayer in energy and telecommunications matters. CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC GOOD: –The “permit” issued by the Public Service Board if a project is determined to be in the best interests of the state.

8 WIND ENERGY IN VERMONT In 2004, the Commission on Wind Energy Regulatory Policy said that “there is no statewide consensus on the development of large wind generation projects in Vermont.” Among other things, the Commission noted the need for an “increase [in] public and local official education.”

9 DEFINING THE PROBLEM –State lacks diversity of electricity sources. –Ongoing debate about appropriateness of wind energy for Vermont. –Piecemeal approach to development. –Most town plans do not specifically address commercial wind. –Local officials need improved information to make better policy decisions.

10 INVOLVED ACTORS Department of Public Service Public Service Board Agency of Natural Resources Selectboards Regional planning agencies VT League of Cities and Towns Local residents Advocacy groups Developers The media

11 APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS 30 V.S.A. Section 248 is the regulatory process to determine if a proposed public utility project is in the public good. Town Plans are considered by the Public Service Board. Towns cannot outlaw power generation facilities outright and local zoning laws do not apply.

12 POLICY GOALS TO ACHIEVE Help state achieve goal of promoting renewable energy. Equip town selectboards and regional planners with information to modify their plans. Help towns establish clear, written community standards.

13 THE DELIVERABLE “Commercial Wind Development in Vermont: A Primer for Local Officials and Citizens” Contents: –Background of commercial wind –Technical issues Environmental, wildlife, siting, costs –Aesthetic issues –Legal and Regulatory issues –Sample Language, case studies, and precedents –Link to other resources

14 EXAMPLES OF PLANS Hinesburg – permissive town plan Middlebury – restrictive town plan Northeastern Vermont Development Association – regional plan

15 PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS The Public Service Board often cites town plans when it makes decisions about issuing Certificates of Public Good. –Middlebury case from 2000. –Charlotte case from 2001. Department of Public Service testimony also stresses importance of clear town plans.

16 CONCLUSIONS & SUMMARY Our guide provides an information tool to towns so they can articulate their feelings about commercial wind development. Helps promote orderly development and the state’s goal for renewable energy. Allows towns proactively to decide whether to welcome or to discourage a project.


18 “Vermont Windfarm” “Wind turbines are a beautiful part of our cultural landscape. They are beautiful in themselves – kinetic sculptures on the skyline” -- Sabra Field, Vermont Artist

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