Connecticut officials reject BNE Energy's proposal to build 3.2-MW wind farm, which would have been state's first; residents fought project, saying turbines would be too close, while developer says vote contradicts state policy
May 13, 2011
– Connecticut officials rejected the state's first proposed wind power project Thursday, citing the visual impact of the project in Prospect.
The Connecticut Siting Council, which is responsible for ruling on sites for power facilities, transmission lines and hazardous waste facilities, rejected the proposal to build the wind turbine with a 6-2 vote.
A group of residents fought the project, which would have produced 3.2 megawatts of power. Opponents said it was too close to residential neighborhoods, reducing home values with the noise from the blades and the flicker of sunlight.
Paul Corey, chairman of BNE Energy Inc., which proposed the wind turbines, said the project would have been far from residences. He says the decision is anti-business and bad policy.
"We feel that it's a sad day in Connecticut when the Siting Council would reject a wind project just because some people might see wind turbines off in the distance," he said.
Arguments by opponents that the turbine is too close to homes are "completely baseless," he said, adding that it's on undeveloped land.
Tim Reilly, a Prospect resident who opposed the wind project, said he supports proposed state legislation that calls on the Siting Council, Department of Public Utility Control and Department of Environmental Protection to adopt regulations for the siting of wind turbines related to setbacks, tower height and distance from neighboring properties and other issues.
"I don't think wind is dead in Connecticut," he said. "Projects like this are dead because they're not well thought out."
Corey said more regulations are not needed. He said his company followed all legal requirements, and the rejection is particularly hard to accept because state policy is to promote renewable energy.
"It's just another example of Connecticut sending the wrong signal to business," he said.
BNE Energy has another wind power project in Colebrook that will be decided by the Siting Council in June. Corey said he will not make a decision on the Siting Council project -- whether to challenge it in court or resubmit a revised plan -- until the Colebrook project is decided.
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