The prior evening in Grafton (video here), Iberdrola denied any knowledge that VT utilities are uninterested in buying what the corporation’s selling. After one crowd member told Iberdrola that she called Green Mountain Power just hours before, to confirm that the utility is not buying anymore Big Wind, a Iberdrola rep responded that they were “unaware” of this development (despite having been reported in several VT newspapers).
Liisa Kissel, of Grafton Woodlands Group, noted the Iberdrola / Meadowsend computer-simulated photos of the potential project were misleading and unrealistic, while Annette Smith, anti-wind activist with Vermonters for a Clean Environment, pointed out the facts of the unprecedented size and number of the turbines that would be cited within a little more than a half-mile from homes.
A Rutland Herald article on the meetings requires a subscription, but excerpts are reprinted below. Watch the Grafton and Windham town meetings discussed above, at our Videos page.
Southern Vt. wind cluster would be biggest in state
By Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald
WINDHAM — The largest commercial wind facility in Vermont could be built on high-elevation ridgelines in Windham and Grafton.
The project would include 28 towers containing the largest turbines — 3.46 megawatts — that have ever been installed in Vermont.
Twenty of the towers and turbines would be in Windham, the other eight would be in Grafton.
Iberdrola, a Spanish energy conglomerate, has been studying the ridgelines and 5,000 acres owned by Meadowsend Timberland Ltd. for several years. This week’s sessions in Windham and Grafton contained the most concrete information about their plans.
Iberdrola officials said they would seek townwide votes in Windham and Grafton in about a year, and if the towns rejected the plans, the project wouldn’t be built.
Signs opposing wind development dotted Windham Hill Road on the way to the Windham Meeting House.
Iberdrola officials were asked more questions about the potential health effects from the towers — noise and the possible effects of light “flutter” — than about anything else.
The company was peppered with questions about the types of sound, and the long-term health effects of such sound on nearby residents.
While the company encountered what many described as hostility from a crowd of 120 Grafton residents the night before, the capacity crowd gathered at the Windham Meeting House asked questions about taxes, the health impact of noise from the turbines, as well as visual impacts on the small rural town.
Iberdrola has built smaller wind facilities in two southern New Hampshire towns, but nothing so far in Vermont. Briot said construction on the smaller Deerfield Wind project, which would be built in the Green Mountain National Forest in the towns of Readsboro and Searsburg, would begin next year.