NH News
7:47 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Wind Farm Builder Makes Pitch To Skeptical Crowd

Iberdrola operates two other wind farms in the state. One in Lempster began operating in 2008, and was the first such project in New Hampshire, and one in Groton, pictured here from the banks of the Baker River in Rumney, is just coming online now.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Advocates and opponents to the latest proposed wind-farm got to ask questions of Spanish renewable developer Iberdrola last night at a town-hall meeting in Grafton. Though opponents were by far the most vocal in attendance.

This was the first of three meetings this week that Iberdrola has scheduled presenting a proposal to build 36 wind turbines a ridge between the towns of Grafton, Alexandria, and Danbury.

It was a full house and many in the crowd, like April Dugan, came to let Iberdrola know that they did not like the idea of 454 foot turbines in their back yard.

Dugan: We all live in the meadow because it’s a beautiful pristine wilderness and we love that.

Many residents asked pointed questions about the need for the project, where the profits go, and what the impacts to the ridgeline, the watershed, and property values would be.

Many opponents to the project turned out, including anti-wind activists from other towns, but the most pointed questions for project manager Ed Cherion came from Grafton residents.

Resident: American tax-dollars going to iberdrola in Spain, tell us how we make money on that?

Cherion: Well if you do some research you’ll find that the tax-code subsidizes every source of energy in this country

But not everyone in the crowd was opposed to the plan, including Katherine Mulholland, a state representative for the district.

Mulholland: I was somewhat disappointed that Grafton was so adversarial, I think it’s a very much more interesting project to be curiosu about and find out that the facts about than to come in swinging.

Cherion says it’s going to be a long process to get the wind project approved, and Iberdrola will work with communities to minimize any impacts.

Cherion: it’s not likely that we can build or have the approval to build it if the town in general is not supportive of the project, we’re not going to force it on you.

Meetings will continue in Alexandria and Dunbarton Wednesday and Thursday. The permitting process will likely take more than a year, if Iberdrola pursues it.