Vermont Public Service Board Rules In Favor Of Lowell Wind Project

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The Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) has ruled in favor of Green Mountain Power's (GMP) proposed 63 MW wind facility, which is planned for Lowell, Vt.

In its ruling, the PSB said, ‘We also find that the proposed project will provide an economic benefit to the state of Vermont in the form of jobs and tax revenues, and, because it will not be merchant-owned, but would rather be the first large-scale generation facility proposed by one of Vermont's investor-owned regulated utilities since the Searsburg wind project was approved in 1996, it will also provide GMP and [Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC)] with a long-term source of stably priced power. These economic benefits, coupled with the fact that the addition of a renewable source of power in the region is consistent with the state's legislated policy goals, have led us to conclude that we should approve the proposed project.’

The project will consist of 21 turbines on Lowell Mountain and is expected to generate enough electricity for more than 20,000 homes. The project is also expected to provide an economic boost to the Northeast Kingdom communities near the project resulting from new jobs and economic activity during the construction phase, as well as provide ongoing benefits that include property tax payments to the town of Lowell, tax payments to the state education fund and a Good Neighbor Fund to support five surrounding communities, according to GMP.

GMP plans to complete construction by December 2012 so that its customers and VEC members will benefit from more than $40 million in federal production tax credits. Because this is a utility-owned project, the tax credits flow through to customers, lowering the cost they pay for the power, according to GMP.

The PSB decision includes numerous conditions that GMP will be required to meet, such as obtaining required outstanding stormwater permits and meeting PSB sound standards. The company intends to work with all parties to meet all conditions necessary to complete the project.

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