(Host) Members of Vermont Electric Co-operative have approved an upgrade to a transmission line between Lowell and Jay.
The upgrade was controversial because some members saw the vote as a referendum on a wind project proposed for Lowell Mountain by Green Mountain Power.
VEC CEO Dave Hallquist says the turnout was two and a half times higher than previous cooperative elections.
(Hallquist) "This vote, I think was a test of how well do we know the will of our membership and it clearly with an 80 percent margin, this thing was passed."
(Host) Hallquist says the vote shows that a majority of members do support wind power and are concerned about rate increases.
Hallquist says the construction will start on the project as soon as easement issues are resolved with landowners:
(Hallquist) "We started out with about 118 landowners that didn’t want to give us an easement, and we’re down to about a dozen, we’re trying to negotiate what we can but we expect that that will have to go through the public process, to go through condemnation."
(Host) Hallquist acknowledges that some members are still opposed to the wind project and says he would like to keep cooperative members involved in energy issues moving forward.
Members also voted to support an agreement to purchase power from Hydro-Quebec.