Boston, Massachusetts [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] UPC Wind announced yesterday major progress on its proposed 40-megawatt (MW) Sheffield Wind Project in Sheffield, Vermont. With the promise to provide revenue and new jobs for the surrounding area, the project has received its Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board.
“We are pleased that the Public Service Board has recognized the value of this proposed project in providing clean and affordable energy for Vermont,” said Paul Gaynor, President and CEO of UPC Wind. “We listened closely to the public and agency comments on the project and have made multiple adjustments. These changes reflect the input of the surrounding community and several state agencies.”
UPC Wind worked with a number of Vermont agencies and communities over the past 18 months to minimize the size and environmental impact of the Sheffield Wind project. With a focus on balancing all interests, the location of the project has been adjusted three times and different wind turbines selected to optimize the output from fewer turbines. The proposed location for the project is a relatively low-lying ridgeline in Sheffield, not far from Interstate-91. It will be located on lands that are under active forest management.
“We greatly appreciate the support of agency officials in helping pioneer this process,” said Matt Kearns, UPC Wind’s Project Manager. “We also appreciate the support that officials and citizens of the Town of Sheffield have demonstrated for this project; modifications to our original design based on their input have contributed to a better project.”
Building on this most recent milestone, UPC Wind will now move forward with opening an office in the Town of Sheffield and focus on finalizing construction plans. UPC Wind will also closely watch the Vermont legislature’s deliberations over tax incentives for renewable energy projects.
“While the Certificate of Public Good is a significant milestone, clarifying state legislation regarding the tax rate on renewable energy projects remains a key component to this project becoming a viable part of Vermont’s energy portfolio,” added Kearns. “Passage of legislation supporting wind farm development will put Vermont on track as a leader in renewable energy.”
UPC Wind also worked with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to address potential issues with birds and bats that are unique to wind energy projects. UPC Wind has already completed several studies and is committed to operating the project in a manner which should further reduce potential impacts to birds and bats. In addition, 2,700 acres surrounding the project will be conserved as bear habitat.