Wind industry mogul claims to be giving up on Vermont

All Earth Renewables CEO David Blittersdorf has been the biggest name in industrial wind in Vermont for decades, but changes in the state’s regulatory and political environment have led the green-energy mogul to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

“It’s been a confluence of factors. Certainly, some of the neighboring states seem more open to making wind part of their energy portfolios,” All Earth Renewables communications manager Nick Charyk told True North on Wednesday.

As reported Monday by WCAX, Blittersdorf said developers are “being slowed down due to the rules and the present administration that wants to see that some things don’t happen.” He also said new sound rules were having a “chilling effect” and that Vermont’s wind energy policy is “going backward really, really fast right now.”

Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance

THREAT AVERTED: Irasburg residents who opposed the Kidder Hill Community Wind project said 500-foot turbines would reduce property values and create unhealthy noise for nearby residents.

One of the recent projects abandoned by Blittersdorf is Kidder Hill Community Wind project in Irasburg. Had the project been completed, it would have put two 500-foot turbines within a mile of 37 people.

Blittersdorf still has one more Vermont project in the cue, the Dairy Air Wind Project in Holland, Vt. That 500-foot turbine is still in the planning stages.

Charyk said the company is not going to rule out any new projects down the road, but the “current environment” with the Gov. Phil Scott administration has all but halted industry expansion.

That doesn’t mean there’s no possibility if the current environment were to change.

“He’s a life-long Vermonter,” Charyk said. “I think David will plan something down the road. … It’s too early to speculate.”

Another factor wind developers must consider is the implementation of Act 174, which gives towns more say on energy projects during the planning process. “Certainly, some of the plans have an anti-wind bias,” Charyk said regarding recent town plans being advanced under the law.

Charyk said what drives wind developers is a desire to reduce dependence on carbon-based energy and to meet the state’s renewable energy goal of 90 percent renewable by 2050.

“We have set commitments, and frankly, these cannot be done without wind as part of the solution,” he said.

Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, a group opposed to industrial-scale wind energy, said she’s not convinced Blittersdorf is through with Vermont.

“He’s still torturing the town of Holland, and there are all kinds of reasons why it’s a bad project, [but] they are proceeding, pouring money into it,” she told True North.

The single-turbine proposal in Holland already has local residents worried about turbine noise and other potentially negative impacts.

Smith added that Blittersdorf has been “his own worst enemy in terms of how he has been operating.”

“He has all kinds of violations at the PUC [the Public Utilities Commission], he’s been a bad neighbor already with Georgia Mountain, he put up a MET tower without getting his CPG [certificate of public good], and there are two net-metering turbines he’s engaging in a settlement agreement about,” she said.

Regulatory hurdles Blittersdorf faced with his proposal for wind turbines in Irasburg include the need to conduct a system impact study that examines the project’s compatibility with the local grid. Smith said the regulations slowed development.

“He filed the Irasburg project with the PUC and it was woefully deficient,” she said. “It didn’t have the system impact study and many other things, so they kicked it back and said it’s not complete. This is on David being a bad applicant.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance
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6 thoughts on “Wind industry mogul claims to be giving up on Vermont

  1. It’s horrible that local people are driven from their homes by the noise or watch their property values decline but you also have to consider the damage to the environment :
    Since the year 2000, industrial wind turbines have overtaken all other causes for mass mortality events for bats in North America and Europe. Millions of bats are killed each year at a time when mosquito populations are skyrocketing. Approximately twice as many bats are killed as birds, since bats are killed even if they only come near the blades due to rapid pressure changes. In the US, a conservative estimate of bat mortality indicates that at least 4 million bats have been killed by wind turbines since 2012. Bats are one of nature’s primary natural defenses for keeping mosquito populations in check. One bat can catch up to 1,000 mosquitoes in just one hour, likely several thousand in a night when mosquitoes are abundant. Scientists estimate that 90% of the hoary bat population could be lost to turbines in the next 50 years.
    Industrial wind turbines provide an unreliable and fluctuating source of power that is expensive to store . In South Australia, electricity costs have soared to over $0.47 per kilowatt hour because of industrial wind turbines. That’s about four times the average cost of electricity in the US.

  2. What I don’t understand is how these dreamers in Montpelier justify forcing Green Mountan Power to buy back excessive juice created by the private sector through heavily subsidized solar/wind systems at a premium compared to te open market thus causing the utility to raise rates to the common folks to pay for these premiums. Other than giving thease tree huggers a very warm feeling, I can’t fathom the rationale. Am I missing something???

  3. Based in the latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update 1990 – 2013, issued July 2017, it appears there has been an increase in CO2eq emissions from 8.378 million metric ton in 1990 to 8.745 MMt in 2013.

    The numbers for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 likely were about the same as 2013. See table 1.
    http://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents/_Vermont_Greenhouse_Gas_Emissions_Inventory_Update_1990-2013.pdf

    NOTE: It is truly amazing Germany, with a hugely more complex economy than Vermont, has up-to-date CO2eq data for 2017, but Vermont only manages to come up with 2013 data in July 2017.

    If the CO2eq of wood burning is added, the CO2eq becomes about 10.0 MMt in 1990 and 10.8 MMt in 2013.
    If Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry are subtracted, the CO2eq becomes 5.2 MMt in 1990 and 6.350 MMt in 2013.

    The CO2eq sequestering of the forests has decreased, because of:

    1) Less forest acreage, due to encroachments and development.
    2) Increased clearcutting, roads, and other development within forests, which reduces sequestering, CO2eq/acre.
    3) About 50% of standing timber being of low quality and suitable only for burning.

  4. Bye Now, don’t let the door hit you on the butt on your way out.
    Having been involved in Nuclear power way back when it was deemed the least expensive and reliable power available (it still is) the thought of using wind farms and solar panels to generate power was laughable. The little plant (360MW) VT Yankee plant put out as much power as if half the state was covered in windmills. But the wind and solar energy folks decided it was going to blow up and turn every one blue.
    Since most industry has left VT., our power needs are reduced. So now we have ‘tourism’ to replace it. Unfortunately, most tourists aren’t going to drive up to look at wind turbines and solar panels. SO, where to next???

    • VT Patriot,

      VY rated output is 620 MW.
      620 MW x 8766 h/y x 0.9 = 4,891,428 MWh/y, at less than 6 c/kWh, not variable, not intermittent, CO2 FREE, 24/7/365

      Vermont total draw from the NE grid is 6,000,000 MWh/y

      Self-serving Shumlin and his politically hounding VY for at least a decade, basically engaged in form of economic treason perpetrated on Vermonters.

      He left a 6-yr legacy of damage to Vermonters

  5. Thank you, Annette.

    You are way more beneficial to Vermonters than self serving Blittersdorf, who is, in many ways, unwilling to play by the rules.

    Good thing his buddy Shumlin is gone and Scott is in, because B would be creating social havoc, with his 450 ft tall COMMUNITY wind monsters and destroying pristine ridge lines.

    Almost all of New England’s wind monsters are in northern Maine, which has good winds, and almost no people.

    The electricity of Maine wind monsters is just as good for whatever purpose, as if had been generated in Vermont.

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