FAIR HAVEN — Town officials have called a special meeting next week to consider a resident’s request to act proactively on the future of renewable energy and development in the town.
Ron Adams, a former Select Board chairman, recently approached the board with what he called his vision to help advance the biomass project proposed by Beaver Wood Energy. He said the project is “dead in the water” at the moment.
He urged the Select Board to send a questionnaire with three pointed questions on renewable energy to Vermont’s top officials, including Gov. Peter Shumlin and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, and major corporations, including Green Mountain Power and IBM. The questionnaire would also be sent to town officials across the county and the results would then be published publicly.
“Send it to every politician in the state. This is our issue,” Adams said. “Let’s make these people take a real stand, publicly. … Someone has to lead here, folks. This is us. The little town of Fair Haven needs to lead.”
The questionnaire would ask respondents:
If they support renewable energy as part of the state’s future energy sources.
If they support wood biomass energy as part of the state’s future energy sources.
If they support Beaver Wood’s biomass and pellet-manufacturing plant in Fair Haven.
“They (the state) have stayed on the fence (on Beaver Wood),” Adams said. “The governor has not publicly said he supports our project.”
He called the issue “a future financial emergency” for Fair Haven and said that if the project fails to take root in town, it will set the community back a generation, maybe two, in terms of economic development.
“We need an anchor and the rest will follow,” Adams said. “This is make-or-break-it time.”
Beaver Wood Energy has proposed the Fair Haven Energy Center that includes a 29.5 megawatt wood-fueled biomass power plant, a pellet manufacturing facility. The center, which would be located on Exit 1 off Route 4, might also include a large-scale greenhouse heated by the power plant’s excess thermal heat.
The company has filed for a Certificate of Public Good with the Vermont Public Service Board under the Section 248 process. The process has been delayed, but the company recently said it continues to pursue the project.
Fair Haven officials were receptive to Adams’ proposed questionnaire, but said they wanted to consider it some more before making a decision. Select Board member Claire Stanley also wanted to make sure the questionnaire would not be detrimental to Beaver Woods plans.
The board has scheduled a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
“This is a suggestion to the Select Board,” Adams said. “I am trying to rally the troops. We have to have a backbone. … You are the people that can rally the county.”
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