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

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

Leave a Reply

21 Comments on "S.30, energy siting bill, to get limited airing in House Natural Resources"

1000

Comment Policy

VTDigger.org requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation.

Privacy policy
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
3 years 8 months ago

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

Lyle Edwards
3 years 8 months ago

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?

Bill Bevans
3 years 8 months ago

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.

Jim Barrett
3 years 8 months ago

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.

3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Jason Wells
3 years 8 months ago

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!

3 years 8 months ago

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
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Jason Wells
3 years 8 months ago

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!

3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Jason Wells
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
3 years 8 months ago
“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… Read more »
Randy Koch
3 years 8 months ago

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.

3 years 8 months ago

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.

3 years 8 months ago

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?

Don Peterson
3 years 8 months ago

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
3 years 8 months ago

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
3 years 8 months ago

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

Hilton Dier
3 years 8 months ago
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.… Read more »
Eric Rosenbloom
3 years 8 months ago

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!

3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "S.30, energy siting bill, to get limited airing in House Natural Reso..."