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Vermont Green Line rekindles interest in Ferrisburgh

FERRISBURGH — After about a year and a half of silence, financial talks might be ready to resume between the town of Ferrisburgh and the Massachusetts companies — Anbaric Transmission and National Grid — proposing a $650 million, 400-megawatt power line that in part would run underground along Ferrisburgh roads.
The companies, now doing business as Green Line Infrastructure Alliance, filed in October an application with the Vermont Public Service Board to run the 60-mile power line from Beekmantown, N.Y., to New Haven.
The power line, called the Vermont Green Line (VGL) is proposed to carry wind and solar energy, mostly generated in northern New York; run under Lake Champlain; resurface at Kingsland Bay; and make its way from there to a New Haven converter station that would prepare the power for transmission to the larger New England grid.
Company representatives were set to meet with Ferrisburgh’s VGL committee early this Monday, April 10, and town officials believe money will be discussed.
“It sounds like a big meeting on the 10th, we think,” said Ferrisburgh Selectboard Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence after the topic was discussed at last week’s board meeting. “We’re talking about moving forward with the Host Town Agreement.”
As well as compensation to the town for allowing work in its road rights-of-way, that agreement will include such items as design details, including how the work will handle culverts and where the line will cross town roads; construction techniques; restoration of affected land; and easement language.
Some of those issues have been resolved, or at least discussed, in the past year. But the VGL companies have not said anything of substance on how they plan to pay Ferrisburgh for working in the town’s road rights-of way since November 2015.
That’s when in a public meeting Green Line Infrastructure Alliance representatives suggested they would pay the town at least $350,000 a year for 20 years, on top of an estimated $150,000 a year in local property taxes the project would generate. They also left the door open for further talks that have not occurred.
In Ferrisburgh the VGL is proposed to run underground in a two-foot-by-four-foot concrete box along Kingsland Bay, Sand, Little Chicago and Botsford roads to Tuppers Crossing, and then along that short town road to Route 7. Junction boxes, about 120 square feet, would be needed along the roads about every 2,500 feet to hold line splices.
The town’s VGL Committee has worked out some technical details with the Green Line Infrastructure Alliance, which also agreed to spend $40,000 to support Ferrisburgh’s research efforts on those details and on fees for lawyers and technical experts.
In part, VGL companies might have put those talks on hold first because they were finalizing a deal in New Haven and then trying to win a sales contract for power in southern New England — a deal that fell through.
The companies did strike a deal with New Haven, approved by that town’s voters last spring, that will bring the town payments of $1.4 million per year for 40 years, $4 million to build a new fire station and town garage, and $1 million in compensation to abutters. New Haven won those concessions mostly because it would host the massive and noisy converter station.
As for the larger status of the project, National Grid Director of U.S. Business Development Joseph Rossignoli recently told the Independent the VGL companies are working on deals to charge the renewable energy producers at the other end of the proposed power line to carry their power to the New England market. Rossignoli said the companies remain confident in the project.
At the Ferrisburgh selectboard meeting last week, the board also appointed road foreman John Bull and VGL Committee chairman Craig Heindel as Ferrisburgh’s designated representatives to any Public Service Board hearings.
According to the PSB website, the process for the Green Line Infrastructure Alliance to obtain a needed Certificate of Public Good for the project is moving forward, but no hearings are scheduled yet. Rossignoli told the Independent that VGL developers expect the project to have made its way through the Public Service Board by late 2017 or early 2018.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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