COLCHESTER, VT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 01/02/2012 -- Green Mountain Power (GMP) has announced that it will conserve more than 2,700 acres of land in the Northeast Kingdom. The land is being protected as part of GMP's Kingdom Community Wind project on Lowell Mountain that will produce enough electricity to supply 24,000 homes.
"GMP has protected more than 2,700 acres to mitigate the 159 acre impact of the project," said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. "The conserved land provides for important habitat to offset the overall project effects and provides connectivity to other conserved lands. This level of mitigation is unprecedented in Vermont."
When the Public Service Board approved the 21 turbine Kingdom Community Wind project in May 2011, it included a condition that GMP obtain easements of "adequate size and location" to address fragmentation of habitat caused by the project. In an order entered on December 23, 2011, the Board approved GMP's proposal to conserve 1,662 acres of wildlife habitat on two parcels in Eden, VT.
The Eden parcels are "the most important that we could identify for maintaining ecological connectivity and addressing the fragmentation impacts of the wind project," said Vermont Agency of Natural Resources attorney Jon Groveman in a letter filed with the Public Service Board. The conserved land, on either side of East Hill Road, helps maintain the ecological and landscape connectivity that currently exists between the Lowell Mountain Habitat block and Green River Reservoir habitat block. The Agency of Natural Resources has asked the Vermont Land Trust to hold the Eden conservation easements.
In addition to the two parcels just approved for conservation in Eden, GMP has also conserved approximately 1,070 acres on Lowell Mountain. Of these acres, 778 acres will be conserved in perpetuity and another 292 acres will be conserved for the life of project plus 25 years.
"We heard loud and clear that Vermonters want renewable energy, including projects like Lowell wind, built in Vermont," said Powell. "While the construction of any new electrical generation has environmental impacts, Green Mountain Power worked hard to minimize the impacts in building Kingdom Community Wind. Where these impacts could not be avoided we worked closely with wildlife specialists to forever preserve natural habitat and wildlife corridors."
In its order approving the connectivity easements, the Public Service Board noted that the primary purpose of the easements is to conserve and protect ecological and landscape connectivity between the Lowell Mountain and Green River reservoir habitat blocks. The easements will also allow production of sustainable forestry resources; sustainable management of soil resources, conservation of scenic and natural resources, improving the quality of life for Vermonters, and maintaining the essential characteristics of the VT countryside for the benefit of future generations.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in Vermont and is a leader in wind and solar generation. It serves more than 96,000 customers. www.greenmountainpower.com