S.30, energy siting bill, to get limited airing in House Natural Resources

Rep. Tony Klein. Photo by Roger Crowley

Rep. Tony Klein. Photo by Roger Crowley

A stripped-down version of S.30 sailed smoothly through the Senate on Thursday, and now it’s headed to a skeptical House committee.

The controversial Senate bill, which initially proposed a three-year moratorium on utility scale wind developments, was gutted on Tuesday. The previous version of the bill would have given municipalities greater leverage over the permitting process by applying criteria from Act 250, the state’s governing land-use law.

The draft that the Senate passed allocates $75,000 for a series of economic, environmental and health assessments associated with wind turbine projects that the Public Service Department would carry out. The bill would refine the structure of the Joint Energy Committee, and it would charge the committee with reviewing the studies and the findings of the energy siting commission, which was created by Gov. Peter Shumlin in response to issues raised with the current siting process.

The bill also makes clear that commercial construction, including that of electric power plants, is prohibited “within any state park or forest.”

Rep. Tony Klein, who chairs the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, was staunchly against the initial version of S.30. As the bill comes to his committee, he says his team will focus solely on the studies.

“We will be focusing in on what it is that’s going to be studied and what the tone is going to be,” he said. “My first impression of the read, and I intend to change that, is that it seems to be implying that renewables are bad, and I would rather change it to start with the premise that renewables are good.”

That means Klein’s committee will take limited testimony.

“It’s not going to be an open door policy because it’s a study and there are certain things that are being asked to be studied,” he said. “I don’t need to hear from neighbors.”

While no amendments were officially proposed to the bill, two were entertained in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee prior to the vote.

Sen. Tim Ashe crafted one of the amendments, which would have included electric and natural gas transmission lines in the proposed studies. Ashe’s amendment also tweaked some of the bill’s language, but did not propose any policy changes. He said his amendment stemmed from concerns he heard from Chittenden, Addison and Rutland county residents about the siting of transmission lines.

Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex Orleans, proposed the other amendment. His amendment would have required energy generation applicants to submit project plans to municipal and regional planning commissions six months prior to a permit request with the Public Service Board — rather than 45 days, as is current practice.

“I think there were a lot of important things that got stripped out of S.30,” he said. “If we’re not going to do anything to help those small towns have a voice in front of the Public Service Board, then at least give them a little bit more of a warning.”

While Rodgers was a strong proponent of the original bill, Ashe was not.

Sen. Bob Hartwell, D-Bennington, is chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, which approved the version of the bill with the Act 250 language. He said his committee asked the two senators to table their amendments so that S.30 could move to the House with strong support from the body.

Hartwell said that while the amendments were tabled, they might find their way into other bills later this session. He also said that he does not expect language from Act 250 to come back into play this session and a moratorium on wind projects is off the table.

“There is not going to be any moratorium language,” he said. “I’m not sure of everything, but I think I’m sure of that.”

Gabrielle Stebbins, director of the trade organization Renewable Energy Vermont, lobbied hard against the moratorium and the Act 250 criteria. She said she would not breathe a sigh of relief until the end of the session.

“We will certainly be keeping our eye out because that is still something certain senators are very much wanting,” she said about the moratorium and Act 250 language. “If you look at last year’s history on the Senate floor, we did see amendments like that.”

As far as the current version of S.30 goes, she said she doesn’t have any major qualms.

“I think it’s meaningful the senators want to continue to have this conversation and this debate because, realistically, we need to move forward together,” she said. “And if that’s continuing the conversation, then let’s do it.”

Andrew Stein

Comments

  1. I love how everyone from Chittenden County is so enthusiastic and supportive of IWT in the NEK.

  2. Lyle Edwards :

    Justin, you noticed that too? Isn’t there somewhere in Chittenden county for wind towers where the wind blows? How about Williston where Senator Ginny Lyons lives. She thinks they’re awesome. If not there, we could put them where Representative Tony Klein lives who said “It’s not going to be an open door policy because it’s a study and there are certain things that are being asked to be studied, “I don’t need to hear from neighbors.” I don’t know why a representative would need to do hear from neighbors, that’s not the job of a representative,is it?

  3. Bill Bevans :

    Lyle, how democratic is this?
    “It’s not going to be an open door policy because it’s a study and there are certain things that are being asked to be studied,” he said. “I don’t need to hear from neighbors.”
    Maybe “neighbors” is code for those people living in the Kingdom, where Vermont hides its landfills and windmills.

  4. Jim Barrett :

    Nothing positive about reducing the destruction of mountain tops will ever happen with Klein in charge. He has worked night and day to shut down VTY and wants only windmills and solar panels scattered all over Vermont. His radical position will forever change the landscape in Vermont.

  5. Will all these wind turbines sit there with the wind not blowing? Will they all require a $10-million-dollar “black box” facility (concealing, perhaps, convicts on treadmills) to make them appear to be working? Will they all get shut out of the grid, draining electricity all the while as they blink their red ‘eyes’ like a flock of giant bloodsucking vampires?

    If the answer to all of the above is yes, then what better proof could there be that these ‘farms’ are genocide-engines designed to destroy a people and a way of life. It’s not just about the money, or about pushing the new state religion of ‘climate change,’ which must take its place beside certain other self-aggrandizing, self-pitying cults whose “deniers.” Instead, wind farms provide a way to bring urban blight to what our Marxist social engineers view as the untrustworthy, gun-toting, Bible-thumping down-home Country. The Northeast Kingdom is simply too beautiful, and too much like the old America, to be allowed to live. We have too much freedom!

    “It’s not going to be an open door policy because it’s a study and there are certain things that are being asked to be studied,” he said. “I don’t need to hear from neighbors.”

    Read this again, and again, and again. The implications should leave you seriously frightened. (You really don’t what to know what else is going on under the shiny dome.) A study with no input is a rigged, worthless study; a study with foregone conclusions; in other words, a fraudulent misappropriation of $75,000 dollars. A drop in the moneybox, of course, for this administration.

    Ellin Anderson
    Brownington, VT

    • Jason Wells :

      Black Box Facility, Blood sucking vampires, self-aggrandizing, self-pitying cults, deniers Marxist social engineers and you wonder why your message does not get through?? Seriously though with that kind of language and rhetoric it makes me wonder just who is wearing the tin-foil hats!

      • Jason, please put your proof where your flapping gums are
        and let us know the results of the survey you have apparently
        taken which reveals how many people agree with Ellin’s
        insightful and very well-stated message, versus how many
        are suckered in by people who, lacking any ability for original expression, have to fall back on worn-out, demeaning jargon like “tin-foil hat wearing” in a desperate effort to try and derogate their betters.

        • Jason Wells :

          I think the words I quoted show enough. And if my writing skills or lack thereof are not “adequate for participation” why then are you participating with me? This should be a place to discus facts and not spew over the top rhetoric. I don’t see any pro-wind comments go into personal attacks like you have against me and every other wind supporter. I am a wind supporter so apparently that means I am also a blood sucking vampire, self-aggrandizing, a member of a self-pitying cult, and a Marxist social engineer. Words and vicious attacks like that do nothing to promote your cause further and do not provide for a rational discussion here. Just because someone has a different opinion than you does not mean we are all of the above things you say. That was some vile stuff and I am surprised your comment was even able to get through the moderation process.

          Blessings to you Happy Easter and please try to relax just a bit it does wonders to the body and mind.

          Signed: A Marxist Blood Sucking Vampire:)

        • Jason Wells :

          Richard,

          “a desperate effort to try and derogate their betters”

          More personal attacks so if anyone supports wind you are better than them. Thanks for clearing that up!

          • You started the personal attacks — not us — by suggesting that someone was insane, e.g., “wears a tinfoil hat.” A personal attack on someone you do not know personally.

            I was criticizing your communication skills — not you — since that is all of you that I can see.

            Your participation is valuable in that it provides us with a vehicle for transmitting information.

            What you wrote is not enough. You completely overlooked the salient points of my post: the deliberate genocide of poor, white, rural people, and a phony, predetermined, $75,000 study being finagled at taxpayer expense. Have you nothing to say about either of those issues?

            You signed yourself:

            “A Marxist Blood Sucking Vampire:)”

            I guess you still don’t understand what I wrote. I was referring to the TURBINES as “energy vampires,” that is, they drain from the grid when not in motion (which seems to be most of the time).

            And unless you are in charge of dumbing down our school systems, or are some self-designated state Czarina in charge of communizing the private property on our shorelines, or a network executive who is dumbing down society through TV programming, you are hardly a “Marxist social engineer.” You are simply a victim thereof.

            I wish everyone could have the benefits of the education I received. The rest is genetic, for which, nothing can be done.

            This will be my last post to this thread.

            Ellin Anderson
            Mount Holyoke College ’82
            Pingree School ’76
            Brownington, VT

          • Jason Wells :

            Ellin, Sorry its seems you overlooked the humor when I wrote “Signed: A Marxist Blood Sucking Vampire:)” notice the smiley face at the end? Trying to lighten to mood that has become pretty nasty here. I still think its a bit funny.

            Tin Foil Hat, well ya my bad. (my most sincere apologies)

            Victim of Marxist Social Engineering, Well next time your at an anti-wind rally with the Bread and Puppet folks think about this. Every year they have a “resurrection party” what is this about? who is being resurrected you may ask? Well it is none other than Karl Marx himself! And I am the Victim?? Hardly

            And thanks for updating your excellent education credentials as well implying you are genetically superior.

      • “Energy vampire” is a term that is often used to describe appliances that drain electricity when they are not actually in use. For example, printers and copiers.

        Additionally, since the wind turbines are adorned with red lights, I think “red-eyed” is a particularly vivid and descriptive term to describe them.

        The unfortunate thing about social media is that not everyone has writing skills, or reading comprehension skills, that are adequate for participation. With that in mind, let me help you.

        You wrote:

        Black Box Facility, [Refers to any structure, or process, that is invisible or not readily observable; e,g., the actions of certain substances within the body, or within a facility that will surely be off limits to the public]] Blood sucking vampires, [see above] self-aggrandizing, self-pitying cults, deniers Marxist social engineers [what you have written makes no sense, here, so I cannot critique it] and you wonder why your message does not get through?? Seriously though with that kind of language and rhetoric it makes me wonder just who is wearing the tin-foil hats! [Further comments below.]

        Your grasp of punctuation and capitalization is miserable.

        Your own grasp of language and rhetoric are nil. I’ve been told I have the gift of gab, which I also apply to my writing (chiefly translations and poetry).

        “Tin foil hat” is a cliche. Could you think of something more imaginative, i.e., “nuclear-powered brain-wave enhancer”?

        “Makes me wonder who is wearing the tin-foil hats!” Now, based on what you just wrote, wouldn’t that be me who is wearing a tin-foil hat? You obviously do not comprehend what you read; likewise, you have a difficult time expressing what you wish to say.

        “…and you wonder why your message does not get through?” Excuse me, I see my message RIGHT THERE. With one exception: There is a serious flaw in the vtdigger blog, which is that it is impossible to correct a typo in a post. The word “with” should replace the word “whose,” in my previous post, above.

        You did get one thing right: When you can’t argue with the message, attack the messenger. That is the method of the mob. Apparently you have the ability to learn some things by rote.

        Goodbye, Jason! and happy Easter. I hope you have enjoyed your free literacy lesson. I wish I could wave a magic tinfoil wand and give you the education you deserved, and the intellect that would help you see, with painful clarity, the message I have successfully transmitted via Vermont Digger.

        Ellin Anderson
        Brownington

    • Randy Koch :

      Quothe the Shiny Pate ‘neath the Golden Dome
      “Ye pesky neighbors, just stay home!
      It’s for us to study, for you to sleep
      For us to grin, for you to weep.
      We’re here to do the people’s biz
      To know somehow just what it is.”
      Have faith in Tony, he’s our man
      If he can’t do it, no one can.

  6. Thank you, Rep. Klein – your statement that you don’t need to hear from neighbors is really helpful to anyone who questions what’s going on with those who wield power in the Statehouse. Mr. Klein, you’ve achieved the clarity which normally eludes constituents(also known as “neighbors”).

    I hope your neighbors, who put you in office, will consider just how meaningless you are to Tony Klein.
    And of course, there’s the Kleincentric view of his world which has also been revealed. HE doesn’t need to hear from neighbors & has no further thought that perhaps NEIGHBORS need to be heard.

  7. I thought I saw a picture on the Renewable Energy Vermont web site, of a supposedly totally random photograph of the Vermont House floor, with guess who in the middle of the picture? You got it Rep. Tony Klein.

    Now, I can no longer find that photograph. Has anyone else seen it ? Was it removed by REV? Or am I suffering from some form of Post Traumatic Wind Turbine Syndrome causing me to have nightmares with Tony Klein in them?

    Really, did anyone else see such a photo?

  8. Don Peterson :

    Overlooked fact:
    When I bought my first set of solar panels in 2006, the wholsale cost was $5.12 per watt. I am replacing those panels now for $0.75 per watt. WInd energy has not gone down in price at anything like the same rate.

    Even on flat ground, wind makes no sense economically. Add in the value lost by Vermonts trademark viewscape, and you begin to think the inmates might be running the asylum.

    Time to get new inmates!

    • Steve Comeau :

      Don,

      How come you only got seven years out of those panels? Even if the new panels are better and cheaper, is it worth replacing them so soon?

    • Jason Wells :

      Don, Have to call your bluff on this one .75 per watt?? Please post a link I need some more also I cant find any “decent quality” panels for anywhere near that price. And if you truly are finding a price that good you had better be sure its not cheap china junk!

      For some prices here is a link. And please keep in mind when you buy some no name cheap china panel and it fails or under performs 3 years from now youl find the company to have vanished when its time for a warranty call!

      http://www.wholesalesolar.com/solar-panels.html

  9. Hilton Dier :

    Just to answer the question in the first comment: Do a Google image search for “wind map of Vermont.” Pick a map and notice the legend. It will probably have wind resources categorized 1 through 5. The Champlain Valley is all Class 1 and 2, insufficient for economically viable wind power. It would be a lot cheaper and more convenient to put wind turbines down there, but pointless. Likewise Montpelier (where Tony Klein lives) because it is in a river valley plus in the wind shade of theWorcester range.

    The strong, smooth wind is at high elevations. Small differences matter. The power in wind goes up by the cube of the speed. Double the speed and you get eight times the power. Much of the year the wind speed down in the Champlain Valley is so low that any commercial turbine wouldn’t spin.

    So no, it’s not hypocrisy or some scorn for the NEK that causes people to propose wind turbine sites up there. It’s the high N-S ridge lines that present to the strongest WNW winds. They have also been proposed for high elevation (but not too high – icing) sites in southern VT. Just physics.

    • Eric Rosenbloom :

      According to the NREL’s 80-m wind map, the Green Mountain Ridge in Chittenden County from Buels Gore to Underhill has much better wind resources than in the Northeast Kingdom, even at the lower elevations. Furthermore, most of the Champlain Valley has the same level of resource as Georgia Mountain in Milton, where David Blittersdorf has forced in a wind turbine facility. There are many “low-wind” turbine models available. Imagine the result of 2500 3-MW (~500 feet high) wind turbines from Shoreham to Shelburne and from South Burlington to Hinesburg!

    • Hilton,
      “The strong, smooth wind is at high elevations. Small differences matter. ”

      Ridge line winds entering a 373-ft diameter Lowell rotor vary in speed and direction, id est, the rotor has a higher starting speed and the rotor does not produce as much energy as it would, if the wind were smooth, as in the Great Planes and offshore.

      As a result capacity factors on ridge lines are closer to 0.25 than to the 0.336 used by GMP, as proven by 5 years of Maine ridge line production results.

      http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-energy-capacity-less-estimated 

      Causes of Lesser Capacity Factors: The lesser, real-world CFs are likely due to:

      – Winds entering 373-ft diameter rotors varying in speed AND direction under all conditions; less so in the Great Plains and offshore, more so, if arriving from irregular upstream or hilly terrain. 

      – Turbine performance curves being based on idealized conditions, i.e., uniform wind vectors perpendicularly entering rotors; those curves are poor predictors of ACTUAL CFs.

      – Wind testing towers using anemometers about 8 inch in diameter; an inadequate way to predict what a number of 373-ft diameter rotors on a 2,500-ft high ridge line might do, i.e., the wind-tower-test-predicted CFs of 0.32 or better are likely too optimistic.

      – Rotor-starting wind speeds being greater than IWT vendor brochure values, because of irregular winds entering the rotors; for the 3 MW Lowell Mountain IWTs rotor-starting speed with undisturbed winds is about 7.5 mph, greater with irregular winds.

      – IWT self-use energy consumption up to about:

      up to 4% for various IWT electrical needs during non-production hours; 30% of the hours of the year in New England due to wind speeds being too low or too high, and due to outages. This energy is drawn from the grid and treated as an expense by the owner, unless it is a utility-provided freebie.

      up to 8% for various IWT electrical needs during production hours; power factor correction, heating, dehumidifying, lighting, machinery operation, controls, etc. 

      Note: In case of the 63 MW Lowell Mountain, Vermont, ridge line IWT system, a $10.5 million synchronous-condenser system to correct power factors was required, by order of the grid operator ISO-NE, to minimize voltage variations that would have destabilized the local rural grid; self-use energy about 3% of production, reducing the IWT CF of about 0.25 or less, to about 0.2425 or less.

      http://windfarmrealities.org/u-minn-and-vestas-reality-check/
      http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/53258/examples-wind-power-learn
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronous_condenser

      – CFs declining up to 2%/yr, based on UK and Denmark experience, due to aging IWTs having increased maintenance outages, just as a car.
      http://www.nrel.gov/wind/pdfs/day1_sessioniv_04_shermco_alewine.pdf

      – Reduced production for various other reasons, such as:

      * Curtailment due to the grid’s instability/capacity criteria being exceeded
      * Curtailment due to excessive noise; nearby people need restful sleep for good health
      * Curtailment due to excessive bat or bird kill
      * Flow of an upwind turbine interfering with a downwind turbine’s flow. As a general rule, the distance between IWTs:

      – in the prevailing wind direction should be at least seven rotor diameters
      – perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction should be at least three rotor diameters.

      Note: In case of the 63 MW Lowell Mountain, Vermont, ridge line system, 21 IWTs, with 373-ft diameter rotors, are placed on about 3.5 miles of 2,500-ft high ridge line. Construction drawings indicate the spacing varies from about 740 ft to about 920 ft, or 1.96 to 2.47 rotor diameters.

      New England ridge line directions are from SW to NE, as are the prevailing winds. Significant wind flow interference, increased noise, increased wear and tear, such as rotor bearing failures, and lesser CFs will be the result.

      GMP opting for the greater diameter rotor, to increase the CF, worsened interference losses, i.e., likely no net CF increase, but an increase in lower frequency noises that are not measured with standard dBA testing. 

      http://www.wwindea.org/technology/ch02/en/2_4_1.html
      http://www.windpowerengineering.com/construction/wider-spacing-leads-to-greater-farm-efficiency-says-cfd-study/
      http://www.nrel.gov/wind/pdfs/day1_sessioniv_04_shermco_alewine.pdf

      Note:
      US bird kill = 1 bird/day x 39,000 IWTs x 365 days/yr = 14,235,000 birds/yr.
      US bat kill = 2 bats/day, or 28,470,000 bats/yr, for a total of 42,705,000 animals/yr.
      http://www.cfact.org/2013/03/18/wind-turbines-kill-up-to-39-million-birds-a-year/

      The net effect of all factors shows up as real-world ridge line CFs of 0.25 or less, instead of the vendor-predicted 0.32 or greater, i.e., much less than estimated by IWT project developers to obtain financing and approvals. 

      Note: Irregular air flows to the rotor cause significant levels of unusual noises, mostly at night, that disturb nearby people. Details in this article.
      http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses  

Comments

*

Annual fundraising appeal: If we had a dollar for every comment, we could end this annual fund drive now. Donate now.
Comment policy Privacy policy
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "S.30, energy siting bill, to get limited airing in House Natural Reso..."