PSB denies permit for North Springfield biomass project


The Vermont Public Service Board rejected a proposed wood-fired electric plant in North Springfield on Tuesday.

The 25-35 megawatt North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project was announced in 2009. Winstanley Enterprises LLC of Concord, Mass. developed the project.

The board ruled the project was not the best way to meet current and future energy demands; it would interfere with regional energy development plans; and it failed to meet greenhouse gas emission standards.

Last year, a hearing officer on the case recommended the project be denied unless conditions were set on the permit to reduce truck traffic. The board's final order states the adverse impacts of hauling wood chips could not be mitigated.

The Toxics Action Center, a public health and environmental nonprofit, and the North Springfield Action Group (NoSag), were among the groups opposing the project.

"We've been saying all along that clean energy doesn't come out of a smokestack," said Naomi Leary, community organizer with Toxics Action Center. "This proposal is out of line with Vermont's clean energy future, and we commend the PSB on their decision."

The state has two wood-fired biomass electricity plants, the Joseph C. McNeil Generating Station, a 52-megawatt plant in Burlington; and SUEZ Energy North America's 20-megawatt plant on the Connecticut River, known as the Ryegate Power Station.


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