On April 1, 2015

Lawmakers hear pros and cons of wind/solar siting policies

By John Herrick, VTDigger.org

More than 150 people attended a State House hearing Tuesday night, March 24, which was designed to help lawmakers draft policy to address concerns over the siting of the growing number of wind and solar farms in Vermont.

The amount of wind and solar energy generated in Vermont has increased tenfold from about 20 megawatts of capacity in 2010 to more than 200 megawatts either installed or permitted today, according to the Department of Public Service.

Some residents say these projects harm Vermont’s aesthetic character and towns. Others warned lawmakers not to slow progress on curbing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Sen. Chris Bray, D-Addison, chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, said he has received up to 20 letters from constituents on the issue. “I’ve had everything from ‘I don’t want to see any development in our county’ to ‘New Haven ought to be proud that it may be leading the state in the amount of renewable energy generated there,’” Bray said. He said his committee will set up a working group over the summer to help inform legislation for next year.

Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier, chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, said he will pass legislation out of the House this year to address siting. He said it may give towns with clear siting standards a stronger say in the location of projects. He also said it may include incentives to build projects in developed areas such as gravel pits and landfills.

Solar installers say there are already constraints on where projects can be located.

“It’s a long process,” Duane Peterson, co-founder of Waterbury-based SunCommon, said. “Town-by-town regulations, with hundreds of towns, would add to the challenge.”

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Vermont Legislature adjourns after a contentious 2024 session

May 15, 2024
Session was shaped by debates over property taxes, housing shortages, flood recovery and public safety By Sarah Mearhoff and Shaun Robinson/VTDigger After a tumultuous day of dealmaking on housing, land use and property tax measures, the Vermont Legislature adjourned its 2024 session in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m.…

New data shows first decrease in Vermont opioid deaths since 2019

May 15, 2024
Overdose deaths in Vermont have decreased for the first time since 2019. According to the Dept. of Health’s newly released Annual Fatal Overdose Report, opioid-related overdoses resulted in the death of 231 Vermonters in 2023, a 5% drop from 2022 when 244 Vermonters died. The overdose report includes data on Vermonters who died of any drug…

Safe bet

May 15, 2024
After a week of long days and late nights, the regular session of the 2024 Vermont Legislature adjourned early Saturday morning just after 2 a.m. My best guess in the annual adjournment pool was 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, which turned out to be way too optimistic. When the Legislature finishes its work for the session,…

A lot accomplished this Legislative session

May 15, 2024
Vermont’s 2023-24 Legislative Biennium ended in the wee hours of Saturday morning May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m. and the House about 2 a.m. This has been a hard session. It was begun in the wake of a natural disaster, with a state recovering from terrible flooding. Despite these challenges we managed…