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Creating Statewide Precedent on Biomass Electricity

In 2009, a developer announced plans to construct the North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project, a 35-megawatt wood-fired electricity generating plant. Because of the scale of the project, VNRC intervened in the case, along with National Wildlife Federation, to ensure that the proposed project would safeguard forest health, use our forest resources efficiently, and not unduly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

In February 2014, the Public Service Board (PSB) issued a precedent-setting decision denying a permit for the proposed project. In the decision, the Board ruled that the expected greenhouse gas emissions of the plant (448,714 tons of CO2 per year), in tandem with the project’s low level of thermal efficiency, would not promote the general good of the state.

The Board’s ruling helped to create statewide precedent and provide a roadmap for the sustainable and efficient utilization of woody biomass. Any proposed future project for electricity generation will likely have to perform carbon accounting and demonstrate how it meets Vermont’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction target goals, in addition to implementing adequate wood procurement policies to address forest health.

Our Victories

Advancing the Global Warming Solutions Act

Removing Derelict Dams

Supporting and Strengthening Act 250

VNRC has been very effective in creating change in this area.

Fighting PFAS and Toxic Contamination

Protecting the Land and Views at Exit 4

Guiding Municipalities to Implement Act 171

Forming and Supporting Energy Committees

Protecting the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetlands

Ensuring Clean Streams at Jay Peak

Promoting Statewide Dam Safety

Preserving Downtown Bennington

Convening the Forest Roundtable

Protecting Black Bear Habitat at Parker’s Gore

Securing Clean Water Funding

Maintaining Current Use

Banning Billboards

Declaring Groundwater as a Public Trust