Last Vermont wind project ceases development

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Last Vermont wind project ceases development

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:39am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Dairy Air Wind, the last remaining wind energy project being developed in Vermont, today announced the ending of all development activities surrounding the project. In a statement issued Thursday, project partner David Blittersdorf cited a current political environment that is hostile to wind energy as the leading cause for this step. Dairy Air Wind was intended to be a single-turbine project sited in a cornfield on the Champney family’s 450-acre dairy farm in Holland, VT. 

“In 2012, there were over a dozen wind projects in development. Now there are none. This is truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont,” stated David Blittersdorf. “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We must combat the carbon emissions crisis and move to a renewable energy based future. We simply can’t do this without wind energy as part of the mix. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the science, or is lying.”

Under the current governor, Phil Scott, zero wind projects have been approved, two wind projects had previously folded, and now the last remaining project, Dairy Air Wind, has come to a halt as well, Blittersdorf said. Governor Scott made opposition to renewable wind energy a part of his campaign platform in 2016, and following his election he appointed a vocal wind energy opponent as Chair of the Public Utility Commission, he said.

Dairy Air Wind had received a state standard offer-power contract to sell the project’s electricity in Vermont in 2016, but has been stalled in permitting ever since.  Dairy Air Wind has been in the process of applying for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG), but given the current regulatory and political environment, project leadership no longer believes that acquiring a CPG is possible. Prior to today’s announcement, Dairy Air Wind was the last wind project still being developed in Vermont.

“If Vermont is saying no to a project like Dairy Air Wind, we are really saying no to everything,” said Blittersdorf. “We are in real trouble as a state if we can’t build a single wind turbine in a flat cornfield, hosted by a dairy farmer that wants the project built to help keep the farm going. A vast majority of Vermonters know that in the face of mounting threats from climate change, we cannot afford to slow down on expanding wind energy.  Governor Scott has gotten away with a de facto ban on wind energy without paying the political costs. It is time for Vermonters to step up and demand real action on climate change. Until we change the laws and move toward being powered by 100% renewable energy, good renewable energy projects like Dairy Air Wind will continue to fail in permitting.” 

David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables, is a passionate renewable energy advocate.  Over the past eight years, he has led three separate partnerships in building two 2.2-MW community scale solar farms in South Burlington, as well as the 10-MW Georgia Mountain Community Wind project, which was recently acquired by Greenbacker Renewable Energy. Last year he completed construction of the two-turbine Holiday Hill Community Wind Project in Russell, MA.  Developed with broad community support, the project is now producing clean, renewable energy for the town of Russell and surrounding communities.

Source: WILLISTON, VT—AllEarth Renewables 1.16.2020