Friday, February 13, 2009

Cavendish Update 2/13/09 VELCO/Movies/H2O

This issue of the Cavendish Update is made possible by the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA), a non-profit membership organization that is dedicated to the conservation of land and natural resources and to the preservation of historic sites within the context of sustainable economic growth. FMI: PO Box 605, Cavendish VT 05142 or 802-226-7736

The Cavendish Update Contains
1. Cavendish Water Filtration Project
2. Cavendish Business Directory
3. Cavendish in the News
4. Movies in Cavendish
5. Black River Good Neighbor has a Website
6. Coolidge Connector: Approval Given by PSB

1. Cavendish Water Filtration Project
At the Feb. 9 Select Board Meeting, Richard Svec, town manager, provided an update on the water filtration project. He anticipates that the system will be on-line by spring, with subsequent flushing of lines and takes. If all goes according to plan, clean water should be coming from the tap by late spring. The secondary well has not been brought on line yet, as they are waiting for water test parameters from the state. Svec said they would hold an open house in the spring so people can learn more about the system.

2. Cavendish Business Directory
An interim edition of the Cavendish Business Directory, produced by the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS), is being prepared for the Feb. 28 New Homeowners evening, sponsored by the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA) and CHS. If you are a Cavendish/Proctorsville resident and are a business owner, or operate a business in Cavendish, please send the information you would like included in the directory to by Feb. 20.

3. Cavendish in the News
Cavendish Planning Commission to Survey Town (Vermont Journal 2/10/09)

• Velco Power Line Still a Concern –Select Board Meeting (Vermont Journal 2/10/09)

4. Movies in Cavendish
February 13 (Friday): Black and White Film series at Cavendish Elementary School. The Hustler. Starts at 7pm. Donations welcome. FMI: 802-226-7187 or 226-7503

February 20 (Friday): Black and White Film series at Cavendish Elementary School. The Grapes of Wrath. Starts at 7pm. Donations welcome. FMI: 802-226-7187 or 226-7503

February 21 (Saturday): Cavendish Library Dinner and Movie, Murder on the Orient Express, 1 pm. The menu is English high tea with Earl Gray tea, scones, cookies and tea, sandwiches and trimmings. This is a free event made possible by a grant from the Cavendish Community Fund. FMI: 226-7503

5. Black River Good Neighbor has a Website
To learn more about Black River Good Neighbor, which provides a variety of services to the Okemo Valley, including Cavendish, check out their new website at

6. Coolidge Connector: Approval Given by PSB
On February 11, despite public opposition, and the Cavendish Select Board’s request for a moratorium, approval was given by the Vermont Service Board for CVPS and VELCO to construct 51 miles of transmission lines between Vernon (Vermont Yankee) and Cavendish. The $264 million project is expected to break ground in May. Embattled Power Project Looks to Spring Beginning Rutland Herald February 13, 2009

The Select Board reviewed this issue at Monday’s meeting as it was brought to the their attention for several reasons. At the end of January, Windham County legislators wrote to the Public Service Board (PSB) asking for a two year moratorium on the project. A 1/31/09 Rutland Herald article identifies the following reasons for this action: a drop in energy, due to economy and conservation measures; the line would be obsolete before it came on-line because of rapidly changing technology; and President Obama’s call for “smart grid” technology and emphasis on alternative energy.

In addition to the legislators letter, the Southern Loop Awareness Project (SLAP) , sent information to the Select Board, asking them to take action against this project. SLAP represents residents throughout Vermont, as well as ratepayer advocates, environmentalists, and energy and efficiency experts. Their goal is to inform the public about practical alternatives to the Coolidge Connector. The specific concerns of this group are as follows: ….the Bush/Cheney Energy Policy Act gives transmission line owners new authority to pass on higher rates to consumers for building and operating new lines. So although the Coolidge Connector would give CVPS and VELCO a boost, here's what it would do for Vermont: raise utility rates; bring down residential property values in dozens of towns; encourage Vermonters to consume more power, even though efficiency and conservation measures have leveled off the growth in demand for electricity; contribute to deforestation, erosion, and the spread of invasive species, and destruction of Vermont’s famously scenic landscapes.

SLAP proposed the following alternatives to the project, More efficiency and conservation is possible: A 2007 state report says Vermont could reduce its electric usage by 19 percent within seven years. If we also pursued distributed generation, we could build a series of small, preferably renewable power generators throughout the state to move the state away from an antiquated, centralized system (think mainstream computers), to a more secure and up-to-date system (think personal computers connected by networks). We can make upgrades to our existing power lines with smart grid technology, including usage sensors, advanced metering systems, and digital controls. Velco could simply replace the 1960s-era conductors (cables) on the existing lines with state-of-the art aluminum/carbon-fiber to give the lines much higher current-carrying capability. Under high rates of power flow, these conductors sag less because of their greater strength and lighter weight. In addition, they are more corrosion resistant and have a longer service life.

For more information on the various viewpoints, listen to the February 5, Vermont Public Radio interview of Brattleboro Representative Sarah Edwards and David O'Brien, the head of the state's Department of Public Service about the two sides of this issue.

What became clear during the SB discussion is that this is a very complex project with considerable documentation, information and application. As one audience member commented, “I can’t wade through it, but when the legislators are asking for a moratorium, then it’s important that we take a look and slow things down.”

Audience members discussed a variety of issues, including significant reductions in their own electrical bills by as much as 60% just by changing all of their light bulbs to CFLs. LED lighting, which is expected to be affordable and without some of the CFL concerns (better color and no mercury) has the potential to halve energy use again. Changing technology has resulted in computers, appliances and other items now using considerably less power.

It was also mentioned that many Vermont towns have Energy Committees, which are networked through Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN), VECAN is a network of statewide Vermont organizations helping communities across the Green Mountain State to reduce energy costs and climate impacts through conservation, increased energy efficiency and conversion to renewable energy sources. There are approximately 35 Energy Committees in the state working on a variety of projects. While Cavendish does not have such a committee, there are meetings taking place to discuss sustainable issues, and there are projects being planned that would provide power back to the grid from this area.

On Monday, Winstanley Enterprises announced plans to build a $150 million, 25-megawatt wood-fired power plant next to its building in the North Springfield Industrial Park. The plant would supply electricity for 25,000 homes and provide jobs about 150 jobs. For more information about this project

While not mentioned at the SB meeting, an important consideration is what will be the source of power for the Coolidge Connector. Whether voting takes place this session or not, Vermont lawmakers will soon have to decide whether the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant can continue operating past 2012. In addition, Vermont’s contracts with Hydro-Quebec are set to phase out by 2016.

According to Energy Information Administration, Official Energy Statistics from the US Government, Total energy consumption in Vermont is the lowest of any State in the Nation. Nuclear power accounts for about three-fourths of the electricity generated within Vermont, a higher share than in any other State. Vermont is one of only two States in the country with no coal-fired power plants. Vermont’s hills and mountains cover most of the State and offer wind power potential, while dense forests in the State's northeast offer biomass resources for home heating and electricity generation.

On Wednesday, the Douglas administration stated that they haven’t been convinced that the Vermont Yankee deserves state approval for another 20 years. In filings with the Public Service Board, officials from the Department of Public Service said without a power contract between Entergy Nuclear and the state's utilities, there wasn't enough economic incentive in favor of its continued operation. The department said the so-called revenue sharing agreement between Entergy Nuclear and Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power, which kicks in if the plant is re-licensed, has too many uncertainties in it. Rutland Herald Feb. 12

Additional information
Yankee Radiation Review Begins: Rutland Herald 2/13/09

Does a Big Economy Need Big Power Plants? By Amory B. Lovins, chairman and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute. New York Times Blog Freakonomics 2/909

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