The electric power plant Vermont Energy Park Holdings (VEPH) proposes to build in Rutland will be a large 1080 MW natural gas- fired facility. As shown on the map below, the plant will be located along the City of Rutland / Rutland Town boundary at the southwest corner of the city and near the southern intersection of highways US4 and US7.

The site will include some sixty acres with the main building covering an area of some hundreds of feet per side. Photographs of a similar-sized plant now operating in Oswego, NY, give some idea of the scale of the proposed facility.

Rutland Photomap

Some aspects of this proposed plant that need to be considered and evaluated are the following:

Plant Size   At ~90' high (9 stories), with stacks ~200' tall (20 stories) the plant will be an overwhelming presence in the city and town. It will also be the first thing travelers will see entering Rutland from the west (Route 4) and south (Route 7).

Otter Creek    The proposed site lies within or adjacent to the Otter Creek floodplain. How might this affect plant construction, operational safety? The site also apparently includes wetland along the creek (including oxbow ponds and/or marshes). How are these, and the creek itself, going to be protected / conserved?

Water   VEPH claims that there will be sufficient water available for plant cooling purposes, but this has been questioned. The plant is projected to use an average of 5 million gallons a day for cooling. Some of this water will come from the Rutland sewage treatment plant. The remainder will need to come from other sources, probably groundwater. How will the plant's water needs affect streamflow, groundwater supplies, city water availability?

Air Quality    Natural gas is the cleanest of hydrocarbon fuels, but is not pollutant-free. Burning massive amounts of gas generates corresponding massive amounts of air pollution. Vermont at present puts negligible amounts (< 20 tons) of CO2 and pollutants into the atmosphere by generating electricty; this one plant alone would put Vermont on the air pollution charts. **

Emissions   Rutland occupies a valley bounded by hills to the east and west and which narrows to the south. How will plant emissions - stack gasses and cooling tower water vapor - behave within the microclimates generated by this topography? **

Noise   Power plant operation generates constant, considerable noise, far more than plant operators usually like to admit. At what distances from the plant and under what conditions will this noise fade to acceptable levels? **

** See Guldberg comments on these issues.

Copyright © 1999 by Vermonters for a Clean Environment
Updated: October 9, 1999