is an opportunity
The five solar arrays proposed by Winstanley Enterprises and its corporate partners for their industrial zone land in North Springfield are not likely to generate opposition from area residents.
In contrast to their fatally flawed biomass proposal, this cluster of solar arrays should be quite benign and could prove beneficial to the global environment.
It is important, however, that the location and appearance of the entire five-part project be presented to residents in easily visualized graphics in a public forum. The developers decision to submit five separate small projects to the PSB could result in some parts not being presented before other parts are done.
Now the developers want the town to participate by entering a long-term contract to buy power from them. The town attorney says such a contract may require a vote of the town, while developers say it is not required in other Vermont towns. (Rutland Herald, August 13, 2014).
The apparent need by the developers for town participation presents the perfect opportunity to require a proper local review of the total project. The town charter may or may not require a townwide vote, but the Select Board can always choose to submit such an issue to the voters.
If the board carefully reviews the financial effect for the town and wishes to pursue this deal, they can require full graphics and maps be presented. Also they can require full public disclosure of financial support for the project including tax credits, subsidies and, especially, the sale of Renewable Energy Credits. When those requirements are met, the board should only then schedule a townwide vote on entering a long-term power purchase contract.
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