Eden Gauges Residents' Opinion On Wind Towers

Oct 8, 2013

Taxpayers in Eden are getting a little something extra along with their property tax bills this month. The tax bill envelopes also include a two-page wind tower survey. The survey asks taxpayers to weigh in on wind power in Vermont, the nearby Kingdom Community Wind project, and a proposal to expand wind development on the  ridgeline with six new towers in Eden.

Before Green Mountain Power's Kingdom Community Wind project was built on Lowell Mountain, taxpayers in the host town of Lowell voted in favor of the project at Town Meeting. However, state law does not currently require community-wide votes when a wind project is considered by the Vermont Public Service Board, and officials in Eden aren't sure if they'll get that chance. So the survey, which is also posted on the town website, is intended to inform town officials on taxpayers' sentiment.

The six towers in Eden are being proposed by a Connecticut company called BNE Energy. The proposal is for an area in Eden called the Bigelow Basin Forest, along the same ridgeline as the existing 21 turbines in Lowell. If built, the power from the Wind Eden project would be sold to power customers in Connecticut, not Vermont.

Eden Select Board member Leslie White writes a town news column for the News & Citizen newspaper, and her columns are also posted on the town's new website. She first addressed the Wind Eden project in a column dated August 16. She said it was her understanding that there is not an adequate transmission system in place to carry the power on the electric grid.

Dave Hallquist , CEO of Vermont Electric Coop informed me that BNE Energy did pay over $5000 in 2011 to conduct an interconnect study. BNE Energy wanted to know that if they erect the 6 wind turbines, could the power generated connect to the existing transmission line and if that connection was feasible. VEC did the interconnect study and found that it was indeed NOT feasible. 

White also pointed to transmission issues that arose last summer, when the operator of the New England electric grid ordered several wind projects in Vermont and Maine to reduce power at a time of high electric demand. Despite these transmission concerns, BNE Energy is going forward with its proposal, and White's latest posted column encourages Eden residents to fill out the wind power survey. Results of the survey will be posted on the town website after November 15, which also happens to be the day the first installment of Eden property taxes are due.