June 2, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 6:46 pm

First CT wind farm officially approved

The Connecticut Siting Council on Thursday officially approved the state's first commercial wind farm, in Colebrook, mirroring an unofficial straw poll the members took on May 25.

The council also tentatively approved the state's second commercial wind farm, taking a straw poll in advance of an official vote on June 9.

Both projects are proposed for Colebrook and come from West Hartford clean energy developer BNE Energy. The projects will put three 492-foot turbines at two separate locations in Colebrook.

In officially approving the Colebrook South wind project, the council voted 6-1 with two members recusing themselves because conflicts, according to Linda Roberts, the Connecticut Siting Council executive director. In the straw poll for Colebrook North, six council members were in favor, two recused themselves and one remained undecided.

The siting council has the sole authority to approve power generation projects in the state, ranging from nuclear to natural gas plants.

The approvals of the Colebrook projects came after the siting council denied a previous BNE proposal to put wind turbines in Prospect. That project was rejected because council members thought the turbines would be unsightly on the landscape.

All three BNE proposals met heavy resistance from the Prospect and Colebrook communities. The co-chair of the Connecticut General Assembly's Energy & Technology Committee - State Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect - proposed legislation placing a moratorium on all wind projects until further regulations could be put in place.

That legislation still is pending before the state senate; but even if it passes into law, the bill won't impact the Colebrook turbine approvals.

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