"This wind farm project is different than many that have been proposed, in that GMP and VEC customers will benefit from utility-owned generation and in the way we included the community in a broad discussion of the benefits of the project."
Town officials reported that 456 of 581 registered voters cast ballots in the voter-approved Australian vote, including more than 200 absentee ballots.
David Hallquist, chief executive officer of Vermont Electric Cooperative, said, "The large voter turnout in Lowell showed that people thought carefully about the benefits of this project and wanted to express their opinions. We are so pleased that the voters — all members of VEC — believe that this is a project that should move forward."
The proposed wind farm will be located on Lowell Mountain in the town of Lowell, and will have associated transmission and substation upgrades in Lowell, Westfield and Jay. It will be located on private land and consist of 20-24 wind turbines with a rated capacity of 2.5 to 3.0 megawatts ("MW") each and a maximum capacity of up to 63 MW.
The final number and capacity of the wind turbines have not yet been determined, and will depend in large part on the results of on-site wind resource assessment, environmental and other studies. The site could potentially provide enough locally-generated, carbon-free renewable electricity to meet the annual needs of 20,000 average Vermont households.
Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Cooperative have met frequently with local townspeople to ensure that they fully understand what is being proposed, including meeting in neighbors’ homes and going door-to-door to answer questions.
"We have set a new standard for how wind plants should be developed in Vermont," said Ms. Powell. "We have demonstrated that by communicating openly and regularly and ensuring local benefits, Vermonters can support wind power in their communities. We appreciate the trust the community has placed in us and we will do our best to make Kingdom Community Wind a project they can be proud of," she added.
Mr. Hallquist said, "We really appreciate how the people of Lowell took the time to meet with us and learn about the project, including accompanying us on day-long trips to see an operating wind farm in New Hampshire. Many, many people have been very thoughtful in considering what a wind farm will bring to their community."
Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Cooperative have said that they would only move forward with the project if the host town supported it. Now that the vote results are in, the companies will begin the process of applying to the Vermont Public Service Board for a Certificate of Public Good.
"We look forward to the full exploration of this project in the Vermont Public Service Board review process, and hope to receive approval so that we can bring this resource to our customers," Ms. Powell and Mr. Hallquist said. "We believe this project will bring economic benefits to the Northeast Kingdom," they added.
Green Mountain Power transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.