GEORGIA — The head of a company developing a wind project on the Milton-Georgia line in Vermont says the first turbine is up.
David Blittersdorf is the chief executive officer of AllEarth Renewables.
The Georgia Mountain Community Wind project is located on the Georgia mountain. The plan is for two wind turbines in Milton and two in Georgia.
The Burlington Free Press reports (http://bfpne.ws/SZZ4q5) some neighbors have fought the project, with legal action developing earlier this year when some opponents sought to camp in the project’s blast zone.
BURLINGTON — Burlington is getting a $400,000 “Smarter Cities” grant from the philanthropic arm of IBM that will be used to streamline energy efficiency efforts. The ideas will be shared across Vermont.
Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the grant Wednesday.
The money will bring a global team of IBM analysts to Burlington for three weeks in 2013 to look for broad patterns about the city’s energy use.
Weinberger says IBM’s expertise could help transform the economy in ways that can’t yet be conceived of.
The Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/SplvEe) says Burlington is the smallest city in the U.S. to receive the grant, and the second-smallest in the world.
PUTNEY — Leaders of a solar project in Vermont are hoping to attract investors.
The SunFarm Community Solar project has leased a vacant field in rural Putney to construct 624 fixed solar panels over an acre. That would produce as much as 150 kilowatts of power.
The Eagle Times reports (http://bit.ly/QDIlwA) project leaders are offering 1,500 shares for purchase to Green Mountain Power customers in order to receive credit on their utility bills over an extended period of time.
SunFarm founder Nick Ziter comes from a line of entrepreneurs in Windham County, with ties to the Putney Inn and A Vermont Table in Putney, and the old Ziter’s Market in West Brattleboro.
SunFarm hopes to start construction before the end of the year.
CONCORD — An official with the Vermont company that owns the state’s electrical transmission grid says vandalism to a line that runs from Quebec to Massachusetts cost New England ratepayers about $1 million.
Vermont Electric Power Company Vice President Kerrick Johnson says that cost was to buy replacement power while the line in the Northeast Kingdom town of Concord was shut down for repairs. Replacing the shot-out insulators cost about $250,000.
The transmission line is capable of carrying 10 percent of the electricity used throughout New England.
The damage was discovered last Friday and took two days to repair.
The Caledonian Record reports 167 insulators were shot out. The case was reviewed by state and federal authorities to determine if it was terrorist-related, but it’s being treated as vandalism.
Photo by Chris Gandin
Rusty Johnson of Rutland at work in New London, Conn., Saturday morning (Nov. 3). Rusty is one of more than 70 GMP lineworkers and support staff who headed for Connecticut on Thursday morning to help restore power to communities blacked out by Hurricane Sandy.
MONTPELIER — A special Vermont state panel that has the authority to spend money when lawmakers aren’t in session is set to vote on nearly $8 million in funding to help low-income residents heat their homes this winter.
It would be the second year in a row that the state has had to step up to fill in where the federal government has left off in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or Liheap.
The Vermont Emergency Board is set to meet Wednesday to approve about $7.9 million in state funding for the program, to alleviate concerns that while federal support is being level-funded, heating fuel costs are rising.
The Emergency Board is made up of the four legislative money committees, as well as the governor.
Officials are seeking public input today and next month on how to implement a goal of getting 90 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2050.
Tonight’s meeting in Colchester is the first of four across the state. Others are in Rutland, Windsor and Montpelier.
The forums aim to update Vermonters on what’s happened so far on implementing the state’s latest comprehensive energy plan; solicit guidance on current and proposed implementation strategies; and offer concrete ideas for communities, such as home weatherization projects and the addition of more park-and-ride spots.
“This event will focus largely on the conservation of energy in our homes and in our travels,” said Kevin Schwenzfeier, of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, in a news release. “The aim is to offer the public information and tools they can use to address the issues at the individual, household and community level.”
The forums will occur:
Today, 6 to 9 p.m., Colchester High School cafeteria.
Nov. 1, 6 to 9 p.m., Rutland Free Library.
Nov. 5, 6 to 9 p.m., Windsor High School auditorium.
Nov. 15, 6 to 9 p.m., Montpelier at the National Life building.
More information is available at www.vecan.net.
MONTPELIER — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and key lawmakers say they want the state to add $8.8 million to the Low Income Home Heating Assistance Program to help low-income residents stay warm this winter.
In addition, Shumlin says his administration is changing the way benefits will be paid to clients and fuel suppliers. In the past clients had to wait a month or two for heating help. Now it will be paid faster.
The state says more than 28,000 low-income Vermont families rely on fuel assistance to help pay a portion of their winter heating bills. Heating oil is expected to be up 13 cents a gallon over last year.
Shumlin is planning to meet with the Legislature’s Emergency Board next week to ask for approval for the additional funds.
SHEFFIELD — The owner of a commercial wind project in Vermont has been issued a special permit allowing for possible fatalities of bats, some of which are endangered species in the state.
The permit was sought by First Wind, which has a 16-turbine wind development project in Sheffield.
The Caledonian-Record reports ( http://bit.ly/VurKxe) the permit issued by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources allows for fatalities for a maximum of four little brown bats, one Northern Long-Eared Bat, one Tri-Colored Bat and on Eastern Small-Footed Bat.
The permit issued requires the company to limit the operation of its turbines during the times of year when bats are most likely to be injured.
The company had been issued another permit earlier this year to monitor migratory bird mortality.
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday rejected a series of appeals filed by opponents of a wind-power project under construction on Lowell Mountain.
In its decision, the court rejected a series of claims by the towns of Albany and Craftsbury and a citizens group called the Lowell Mountain Group that the utility-regulating Vermont Public Service Board ignored evidence that the 21-turbine project would generate noise levels that could be harmful to neighbors and that it would despoil what was once a pristine area.
“Generally speaking, the board found that the project, consistent with the expressed intent of the Legislature, would help meet the region’s need for renewable energy, provide an economic benefit to the state in the form of jobs and tax revenues, and provide (Green Mountain Power) and (the Vermont Electric Cooperative) with a long-term source of stably priced power,” said the decision, written by Chief Justice Paul Reiber.
“The board explained that it had approved the project based on these economic benefits and because the addition of a renewable source of power in the region was consistent with the state’s legislated policy goals,” the decision said.
Construction on the project began a year after the board issued the final permit for the project, which is owned by Vermont’s largest and dominant electric utility, Green Mountain Power. The project is expected to be generating electricity soon.
Opponents argued the project despoils a natural area and creates human health risks.
But the Supreme Court rejected those claims. The decision said conditions imposed by the board are adequate to protect the public.