Lowell wind opponents accept $1.3 million from Green Mountain Power for farm

The state’s largest utility reached a $1.3 million settlement Monday with two Lowell landowners in a property line dispute over construction of a ridgeline wind farm.

Don and Shirley Nelson, two vocal opponents of Green Mountain Power’s 63-megawatt wind turbine project on Lowell Mountain, own a 580-acre farm abutting the project. GMP will purchase the Nelsons’ farm and allow the landowners to stay in their home for two years, according to the settlement.

The Nelsons in 2011 allowed protesters of the project to camp near the construction site along a disputed property line. The project was completed in 2012, but the landowners and the utility remained in a legal dispute over the location of the property line.

The landowners will keep 35 acres in Albany, but the Nelsons plan to move away from family farm that has been in the family for 72 years, according to a statement.

“They made the decision that they would not remain in their Lowell Mountain hill farm in the shadow of the turbines,” a statement from the family reads. “The Nelsons intend to move from their farm to a location well away from the turbines.”

GMP said in a statement the company supports the settlement.

“The agreement meets the needs of the Nelsons as well as those of our customers,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We believe that this settlement represents an opportunity for both to move forward and we are pleased to have reached agreement.”

John Herrick

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46 Comments on "Lowell wind opponents accept $1.3 million from Green Mountain Power for farm"

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Annette Smith
2 years 7 months ago
The headline would be more appropriate if it read “Lowell Wind Neighbors…” The Nelsons have lived on their farm which borders 1.5 miles of GMP’s industrial wind project for decades. The nuisance came to them. They were right to oppose it, but that is irrelevant to the settlement. The Therriens did not oppose First Wind’s Sheffield wind project. The headline will not read “First Wind Opponents…” when they eventually get a buyout. In both cases, the neighbors’ health, property values and quality of life have been destroyed by the wind turbines. Whether or not these neighbors opposed them or supported… Read more »
Wayne Andrews
2 years 7 months ago

Now this seems like a more reasonable ending with the whole parcel going to GMP rather than the VELCO case where the landowner got a judgement for the value of the parcel ( although labelled differently) and still could keep it.

Annette Smith
2 years 7 months ago

Neither of these cases are reasonable. Corporations behaving badly have no place in Vermont. Neither GMP nor VELCO should be destroying neighbor properties to achieve their goals which assure large profits at the expense of others. Their Boards of Directors should take note that the public perception of these important corporations is trending closer to Entergy’s unethical practices than socially responsible businesses.

Vanessa Mills
2 years 7 months ago
Having hiked Lowell Mountain to witness the destruction/construction; having stood in the Nelsons’ yard, sensing their frustration & loss, speaking with them around the lump in my throat; having listened to much live and recorded testimony by Shirley Nelson; having followed the story of Chris Braithwaite and of the Occupiers; having stood in Montpelier with the Nelsons and other Vermonters who believe in doing renewables in a way that doesn’t threaten the very things it proposes to save & who believe in standing up for the value of one’s own land and one’s own home; I find this very bittersweet,… Read more »
2 years 7 months ago
The fault is entirely with the DPS approval process, which borders on malfeasance in office, resulting in a major bane for nearby residents, to say the least. Such large, 3 MW, wind turbines should have at least 2 km (1.25 mile) of distance from the PROPERTY line of any abutter in flat landscape, a greater distance in hilly landscape, as in Vermont, because the sound is funneled/magnified by the valleys. Lowell sits on 2700 acres, but should have had at least (3.5 miles of ridge line + 2.5 mile), length x 2.5 m, width x 640 acres/sq m = 8,125… Read more »
Rob Roy Macgregor
2 years 7 months ago

Mr Post,

How many of these cookie cutter posts will you make before you acknowledge that no amount of energy efficiency efforts will ever create a single kilowatt? Where is the electricity supposed to come from?

Conservation and efficiency by all means, but you have to generate it somehow….what’s your better plan to eliminate fossil fuels?

2 years 7 months ago

Roy,
The lowest cost and most effective way to reduce CO2 from fossil fuel is energy efficiency. That means DESIGNING for least energy use.

All is explained in this article.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46652/reducing-energy-use-houses

Rob Roy Macgregor
2 years 7 months ago

Evading the question much?

2 years 7 months ago

Rob,

Electricity will need to be generated while energy efficiency efforts are underway, but the quantity of electricity will become less and less, until it has some minimal value.

That minimal value will be generated with renewables.

Regarding EE, the US uses about 2 times the energy per dollar of GDP than Denmark and Japan, i.e., the US has a long way to go with EE.

Please read my referenced article.

Wayne Andrews
2 years 7 months ago

Most of you nay sayers in these and other posts keep eluding to “other ways of doings things…” Well maybe J.Q. Public doesnt endorse Annette Smiths, William Posts Garden of Eden style of thinking. Some of us want our town’s to grow and not have the neighbors but into our business.

2 years 7 months ago

J Q Public isn’t expecting “Gardens of Eden”.

They’re expecting common sense, honesty and fairness with industrial development.

The fact that a court ruled against VELCO to the tune of $1 million and GMP elected to pay $1.3 million for the Nelson’s farm highlights the heavy handedness of Vermont’s utilities’ behavior and lack of common sense, honesty and fairness in their initial dealings.

Most Vermonter’s are reasonable people until they begin to get stepped on by bullies and ignored by the state agencies charged with protecting them, realities that have recently occurred all to frequently in this state.

2 years 7 months ago
Peter, So-called planet savers are out to get as much subsidies as possible , as quickly as possible, for their expensive, ineffective RE projects. Heavily subsidized SPEED is a prime example producing mostly variable, intermittent energy at 3-4 times grid prices. Here are some numbers from the DPS website. Projects 2.2 MW or less, Standard Offer The Standard Offer part of the SPEED program has a capacity target of 127.5 MW installed by end 2017. The SPEED program, with help of subsidies from the Clean Energy Development Fund, produces expensive energy. Adding more money to the CEDF would worsen a… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 7 months ago

Willem,
“Solar SPEED is compensated at an outrageously high 27 c/kWh for ALL energy fed into the grid…” You know this is false because I’ve pointed out to you before. Yet you repeat it here again.

Why?

2 years 7 months ago
John, The rate was reduced from 27 to 25.7 c/kWh, still outrageously high, compared to Hallquist, CEO of VEC, estimated cost of 17 c/kWh for 1000 kW systems and up. Lowering the rate is one thing, but it will take a long time before having a budgetary impact. In January 2014, 16 PV solar SPEED projects, capacity 18,711 kW, produced 1,080,322 kW; owners were paid $302,884.89, or 0.2804/kWh, per DPS website, so my $0.27/kWh is actually an understatement!! For ALL SPEED projects less than 2.2 MW, the average compensation was $0.1775/kWh and 0.1918/kWh, in January and February 2014, respectively. That… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 7 months ago

Willem,

You didn’t answer my question.

Why do you keep repeating as factual a figure which you’ve just acknowledged is wrong? Since this isn’t the first time you’ve acknowledged it either, the answer cannot be that you didn’t know it was wrong when you said it here.

So once again, why?

2 years 7 months ago

John,

Just to clarify, I used the 27 c/kWh for calculation purposes. It turned out my estimate was too low, as I noted in my response to your comment.

Tom Sullivan
2 years 7 months ago

Hey Wayne, the “other ways of doing things” is code for more nuclear, more hydroelectric, and the endorsement of clean coal technology.

Kathy Nelson
2 years 7 months ago

Wayne, if you’re so set on living in an urban dump crowed with big box stores then by all means move to New Jersy.

Wayne Andrews
2 years 7 months ago

And the farmers that sold out to and/or eminant domain their land to the State of Vermont for the Interstate were bullied too? I am sure they did not receive compensation for the hay they lost forever and ever.Seems like thats acceptable as long as your sorry bunch uses the highway or power your laptops with energy from the high transmissions lines circa 1950’s.

2 years 7 months ago

So Wayne, you say”…….as your sorry bunch…”.

Now maybe you can tell us about your exceptional pedigree that prompts you to think you’re justified in making such a statement.

Tom Sullivan
2 years 7 months ago

Wayne, I couldn’t agree with you more.

2 years 7 months ago
Towns need not “grow” into rural slums, especially when economic changes are afoot. Burlington is being called “a high tech hub,” while Newport is adding jobs faster than other, larger cities nearby. No one expected the Route 128 high-tech mecca in Massachusetts to grow as fast as it did. No one expected about 15 acres of formerly ‘worthless’ farmland in Massachusetts to go for two million dollars. http://stoneridgeproperties.com/listing/71368581/18-sullivan-court-west-newbury-ma/ One point I am making is that I am no tree-hugger. I used to market “Luxury Retirement Living” in Northern New England. On my travels, I have seen upscale condominiums built into… Read more »
Wayne Andrews
2 years 7 months ago

Ellin: You make the location sound optional. The towers must be built where the wind is present for an acceptable period of time. A portion of your comment is akin to building a hydro dam in a dry spot.

2 years 7 months ago
Wayne, GMP/PBS basically misrepresented, aka lied, about Lowell capacity factors to get the project built as quickly as possible and to get the subsidies before deadlines. They lied not a little, but a lot. Actual 2013 CF 0.206 GMP misrepresentation to get a CPG, accepted by the PSB as truth, CF 0.3587 (“with the bigger rotor”), an overstatement of 0.3587/0.206 = 74%!!!!!! Yikes. Even RE aficionado Klein has stated, there likely will not be another wind turbine facility on Vermont ridge lines for at least 10 years. Here are the other grossly underperforming wind turbine facilities in Vermont. Sheffield….. 40… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 7 months ago
Willem, You’ve repeated this allegation many times: “GMP misrepresentation to get a CPG, accepted by the PSB as truth ….” PSB decisions are all issued in written form with full explanations about every step of the process. So please be so kind as to show us exactly how and where you believe the Board “accepted” this “as truth” or withdraw your allegation. *** And by the way, there is no “DPS approval process.” Approvals are issued (or denied) by the PSB, not DPS. It wouldn’t be worth pointing out here, except that you accompany your ignorance of the process with… Read more »
2 years 7 months ago

John,

GMP has to submit its spreadsheets to the DPS, because it administers the SPEED program.

GMP’s CFs used in those spreadsheets were reviewed and either approved or not objected to by the DPS.

GMP testified about its CFs to the PSB, and the PSB did not object, i.e., accepted them.

John Greenberg
2 years 7 months ago
Willem, 1) “GMP has to submit its spreadsheets to the DPS, because it administers the SPEED program.” What judgments about capacity factor, if any, does the SPEED program require (or even allow) DPS to make? “GMP’s CFs used in those spreadsheets were reviewed and either approved or not objected to by the DPS.” How exactly? Does VT law give DPS the right to reject a SPEED RFP on the basis of its capacity factor? If so, please explain. If not, how does GMP’s providing spreadsheets equate to a “DPS approval process?” 2) “GMP testified about its CFs to the PSB,… Read more »
2 years 7 months ago
Vermont’s Wind Energy Scam: Excerpt from: http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/332911/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-vermonts-economy Vermonters are the victims of a grand scheme to promote heavily subsidized, expensive wind energy on ridgelines, primarily to schlep as much federal subsidies to Vermont as possible. Reports were written about the abundance of wind on ridgelines, and it being a great renewable energy source for Vermont, and leading to energy independence, and creating jobs. No more reliance on those dirty fossil fuels and that dangerous Vermont Yankee. The CEA report was written for Vermont utilities to guide them towards renewables. CEA based its analyses on CFs = 0.33, quoting “Vermont sources”.… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 7 months ago

Willem,

Now that you’ve vented about the vast Vermont renewables conspiracy, how about answering the questions I asked you?

Wayne Andrews
2 years 7 months ago

Peter: My personal life has nothing to do with making comments. Most of my thinking is good ole Vermont Yankee common sense which is obviously not recognized by you and your ilk and that is the problem here.

2 years 7 months ago

Now Wayne:

Here you go again saying: ” ….recognized by you and your ilk …”

What does this mean by this? Is it some sort of slur?

2 years 7 months ago
There is a very sinister undercurrent in the debate over industrial-scale wind in the Northeast Kingdom. It surfaces from time to time in words to the effect of: “People can do what they want with their own land.” The folks making these comments are almost exclusively men. Is it also acceptable to say: “I can do what I want with my own wife.” How about: “I can do what I want with my own child.” Think about that. A forest or mountain ecosystem is a living thing, separate from one’s selfish ‘ownership’ or intentions. The comparison between pristine land and… Read more »
Matt Fisken
2 years 7 months ago

I appreciate Ellin for observing the patriarchal chauvinism which is certainly at the root of our maniacal buildout of wind and wireless towers on most mountain and hill tops in Vermont.

It’s so sad that we’ve lost our ability to see beauty in its natural form, without erecting phalli everywhere we go.

Richard Ratico
2 years 7 months ago

Ellen and Matt,

You do feminism a great disservice with your perverse, nonsensical comments. A feminist CAN THINK as well as emote. “Not in my back yard” is no longer an option.

Jason Wells
2 years 7 months ago

Wow turning this into woman’s rights issue. What’s next the race card?

Matt Fisken
2 years 7 months ago

Just because men are more likely to exert their dominance using their financial and political might doesn’t mean women are the only ones who are negatively affected. Everyone (and thing) pays dearly.

Kim Fried
2 years 7 months ago
I want to get the subject back to Don and Shirley Nelson. These are two of the most courageous, decent citizens of Vermont. They stood up to an international corporation, GMP, and GMP’s friends in Montpelier, the DPS, PSB and the Governor and many other Montpelier interests. The Nelson’s are true Vermont heros and will never be fairly compensated for the pain and stress they’ve endured over the past years, let alone having to leave thier home behind. GMP and the others that have abused this family so badly should apoligize and if their was fairness in this present system… Read more »
Annette Smith
2 years 7 months ago
Thank you, Kim, for recognizing what the Nelsons have been put through by GMP. There is some evidence that GMP’s officials do recognize what they have done to the Nelsons. At the Jan. 8 PSB public hearing on the sound standard investigation, they were approached by the newly-hired Kristen Carlson (formerly of WCAX TV) when I was standing with the Nelsons, and they were also approached by Robert Dostis of GMP. Both of them seemed to be expressing concern for the Nelsons. Shirley Nelson’s noise diaries, which I continue to receive and which are very painful to read, seem to… Read more »
Tom Sullivan
2 years 7 months ago

Hi Annette,
Maybe your correct in saying that more neighbors of Lowell need to be compensated and reach a similar settlement. But how do you delineate the legitimate claims from the illegitimate? Do you set a radius in proximity to a wind farm and compensate everyone that falls within that area? Or do you take it case by case basis? In your opinion, what’s the best method to reduce fraud along with a potential feeding frenzy of personal injury lawyers?

Jason Wells
2 years 7 months ago

I wonder if the Nelson’s agreed to a gag order as part of the deal?

2 years 7 months ago
A green-energy grab has been discussed in relation to the Bundy ranch standoff in Nevada. The Nelsons may recognize themselves in these stalwart folks from Nevada, who have been under armed assault: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/04/16/why-is-us-senator-harry-reid-so-concerned-with-local-nevada-rancher/ “It has been pointed out by journalists intent on covering for [Democratic U.S. Senator] Reid that a $5 billion Chinese solar project backed by Reid was recently shelved. But what they forgot to mention is Reid’s involvement in multiple solar and wind projects across the Nevada desert. Only days ago, Senator Reid was featured in a photo at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new solar project. Where… Read more »
Jason Wells
2 years 7 months ago

Agenda 21 look it up!

Moshe Braner
2 years 7 months ago

“only 35 miles away” – so? And what has that got to do with Bundy owing the BLM a million dollars in grazing fees, while he gets rich by overutilizing and degrading public land?

Richard Ratico
2 years 7 months ago

Ellin,

You ask, “Who benefits from that vision?”.
Short answer, anyone who has an interest in the natural world we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

You ask, “Who stands in the way of that vision?” Short answer, republican donors who run poisonous energy companies. Read up on the Koch Brothers and learn just whose fingers are where.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/who-are-the-koch-brothers_b_5165995.html

2 years 7 months ago

Thanks, I know all about the Koch brothers.

A ‘choice’ between the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson on the one hand, and George Soros on the other hand, is not much of a choice at all.

Richard Ratico
2 years 7 months ago
Ellin, It would appear Mr. Soros primarily invests in fossil fuel industries as do the Koch brothers. http://beta.fool.com/insidermonkey/2013/05/31/george-soros-5-favorite-energy-investments/35770/ The difference between them might be primarily political as the Kochs are extremely right wing vs. Soros as quite liberal. I don’t understand the point of your comment as it seems to have nothing to do with renewable energy or “the green energy grab” as you call it. Traditional fossil fuel and nuclear interests DWARF the size of the renewable energy industry. The “black energy grab” seems to me far the greater danger to our health and wealth than renewables if one… Read more »
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