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Iberdrola Reduces Number Of Turbines As Windham Heads Toward Vote On Wind Project

Howard Weiss-Tisman
Peter Chamberlain, in foreground, and Bill Dunkel, both of WIndham, look over a map of the new layout for a proposed wind development.

Developers who want to build Vermont's largest wind project say they're willing to reduce the number of turbines in Windham, and increase annual payments to town residents.Representatives from Iberdrola Renewables were in Windham Tuesday night talking about the new details.

Company spokesman Paul Copleman said the number of turbines proposed for Windham has dropped from 20 to 16.

Additionally, each registered voter can opt in to receive an annual payment of at least $1,162, on top of the money paid to the town in taxes and supplemental payments, Copleman said.

The company has been meeting with people in Windham, and the four turbines that were taken out of the original plan were closest to the center of town.

Other turbines were moved farther back on the property, away from homes.

Iberdrola has been meeting with people in Windham and Grafton for four years, and Coleman said the new plan was put together after hearing from nearby residents about concerns over sound.

"This new plan is a representation of the conversations that we've been having locally and the input that we've been having as part of this open process to engage the community," Copleman said. "We think that this is a reflection of the feedback that we've gotten in the community to make the project smaller and to deliver more economic benefits for the community over  the long term."

Under the new proposal Iberdrola will pay $395,000 in property taxes, about 58 percent of the municipal budget.

Another $105,000 would be paid to the town, with an additional $150,000 earmarked for community use such as for local charities or educational purposes.

The company says it will reveal changes to the plan in Grafton at a special meeting Wednesday.

Full-time Windham residents will vote on the project on Election Day.

The company says it won't move ahead with the project if voters reject the plan.

Updated 8:07 p.m. 10/6/16 to clarify who would receive annual payments under the plan proposed by Iberdrola.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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