Dairy Air Farm’s efforts to host a single-turbine wind project have taken a step forward with the Vermont Public Service Board’s recent order authorizing Vermont Electric Power Producers, Inc. (VEPPI), to award Dairy Air Wind, LLC a “Standard Offer” program contract. Under the contract, the project will supply Vermont utilities with approximately 6,000,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year. The energy will be generated by a single wind turbine surrounded by the cornfields of the Champney Family’s 450-acre Dairy Air Farm in Holland, Vermont.
In 2015, dairy farmer Brian Champney contacted Vermont-based VERA Renewables, Inc. for assistance in realizing his longstanding vision for generating wind power on his farm. The successful “Standard Offer” bid for a single turbine project is the result of that collaboration.
Brian welcomed the news, stating “I am excited that our piece of the working landscape can help contribute to Vermont’s renewable energy economy and reduce Vermont’s reliance on dirty out-of-state fossil fuels. At the same time, this project also helps achieve another important Vermont goal—keeping small farms like ours afloat in the face of low milk prices. I’ve had positive responses from many of the people I’ve talked to in our community, and I look forward to gathering more input and continuing to answer questions about our proposal as we move forward to make this dairy farm a wind farm too.”
Under Vermont law, the Standard Offer Program enables small-scale renewable energy projects like Dairy Air Wind to secure long-term, stably-priced contracts with Vermont’s electrical distribution utilities in a competitive bidding process overseen by VEPPI. The power is then allocated to each of Vermont’s utilities based on their pro rata share of Vermont’s retail electricity market. Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated by Standard Offer Projects belong to the Vermont utilities buying the renewable energy and will qualify for their Tier II Renewable Energy Standard requirements under state law.
In response to the news, Vermont renewable energy entrepreneur David Blittersdorf, who is partnering with Dairy Air Farm and VERA Renewables to develop the project, stated “This is an exciting opportunity to help local landowners sustain their family-run dairy farm by generating renewable energy in a low-impact setting while contributing substantial tax revenue to the town, and fueling the state’s growing renewable energy economy.” The single-turbine project “will create local clean energy and pay local taxes and state education taxes—it’s a wind win-win,” he added.
The Standard Offer program’s purpose is to encourage development of renewable energy resources within Vermont, as well as the purchase of renewable power by the State’s electric distribution utilities. Vermont law directs the Public Service Board to administer the Standard Offer Program to help the state achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals.
The project will require Certificate of Public Good approval from the Vermont Public Service Board before it can be built. The project team is in the early stages of gathering data to inform the design and permitting process and will be out in the community early in the summer.