Deerfield Wind Plans First Wind Farm in National Forest

July 28, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Deerfield Wind LLC (Waterbury Center, VT) announced plans to build up to 30 of the turbines in the Green Mountain National Forest in southern Vermont in what would be the first-ever wind power project on US Forest Service land. The project would produce enough electricity to power 14,000 to 16,000 homes. The Forest Service is expected to take up to 18 months to decide whether to approve the project by Deerfield Wind.

Environmental groups, such as the Green Mountain Forest Watch, have strongly opposed moves to open more federal lands to people who want to extract energy from them; however, wind energy, a relatively benign and pollution-free way to make electricity, is seen as a promising idea and the group has yet to take a position on the proposal, despite concerns regarding whether the project will disrupt the habitat of black bears or migratory birds in the forest. The Forest Service currently does not have well-developed protocols on wind power development.

The National Forest ridges where Deerfield Wind wants to build its wind towers are next to a privately owned tract where Green Mountain Power Corp. built the first utility-scale wind project east of the Mississippi. Green Mountain Power's 11 towers are more than half as tall as the ones proposed by Deerfield Wind and have been well received by area residents.