Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dunkiel Saunders Celebrates Opening of First Wind’s Sheffield Wind Project

In the distance, the Sheffield turbines
salute the project's completion.

A unique celebration took place last Wednesday on the top of Granby Mountain and Libby Hill in Sheffield, Vermont as the Sheffield Wind Project, developed by First Wind, was inaugurated with a ceremonial ribbon cutting attended by the Governor, state legislators, utility representatives, Sheffield residents and numerous others.  The project, which began officially operating at full power in mid-October, has a capacity of 40 megawatts and is expected to generate about 115,000 megawatt hours a year – that's the equivalent of meeting the needs of all 15,000 homes in Caledonia County.
 
Dunkiel Saunders has been involved in the project for more than six years, providing legal counsel and strategic advice to First Wind since the project's earliest development stages in 2005.  Over the course of the project, our attorneys assisted First Wind on a wide range of regulatory, litigation, permitting and finance-related issues, including obtaining the project's overall state approval -- Certificate of Public Good (CPG) -- from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB), as well as state and federal environmental permits, municipal approvals, and host town agreements. The PSB's original order approving the project is available here.
 
Dunkiel Saunders also successfully represented First Wind before the Vermont Supreme Court in defending against an appeal of the Public Service Board’s CPG; in federal court in appeals related to FAA lighting and NEPA compliance; before the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont Environmental Court to obtain stormwater permits for the project; and in a final appeal of the construction stormwater permit to the Vermont Supreme Court.  Litigation over the project ended last week when opponents formally withdrew their final appeal at the Vermont Supreme Court, after construction of the Project was completed and Dunkiel Saunders moved to dismiss the case on the basis of mootness.
 
For First Wind and Dunkiel Saunders, as well as the many other individuals who contributed to the completion of the project, the ceremony marked the culmination of several years of hard work and the recognition of their success.
 
First Wind has put together a nice video on the development of the project and its contribution to the local economy:



More news on the ribbon-cutting is also available here and here.

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