Wednesday the New Hampshire House of Representatives will take up a bill proposing a moratorium on wind turbines and electric transmission projects.
The Science, Technology, and Energy Committee voted 13 to 6 to recommend killing this bill, which failed to make it to the House floor last year, but the politics surrounding wind farms and Northern Pass have become volatile.
Wind power developer Iberdrola Renewables has signed a contract to sell power to four Massachusetts utilities, and has included in that contract a proposed wind farm in New Hampshire that has yet to submit its application for construction.
Opponents of Wind Farms and of Northern Pass are backing an effort to explicitly require the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to consider effects on view sheds, home values, opinions of town governments and other factors, when permitting new energy projects.
One bill also includes an amendment that tacks on a one year moratorium on new projects while these changes are implemented.
A group that opposes wind development in New Hampshire says another wind farm is in the works for New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Members of New Hampshire Wind Watch say that a subsidiary of a German company, called Juwi Wind, has signed a lease for 1,300 acres of land Groton, for the purpose of building a wind farm.
For the first time New Hampshire has rejected an application to construct a wind farm. The Site Evaluation Committee, which decides whether or not new power plants and transmission projects can be built, has rejected Eolian Energy’s 10 turbine Antrim project.
There’s a third wind farm in the works in the Newfound Lake Region. Portuguese Wind company EDP renewables is studying wind potential in the towns of Groton and Alexandria. The zoning board and selectmen in Groton have voted to allow EDP to install a meteorological tower, which is one of many steps on the road toward proposing a wind farm.
Bob Piehler – part of a group of activists from around Newfound lake opposes any new wind project in the region – says EDP showed a mockup of where the potential turbines could be placed.
A proposed wind farm in the Newfound lake area has once again raised familiar themes in New Hampsire: A desire for the Granite state to use more clean energy, versus local concerns over property values, as well as impacts on the environment and tourism. We’ll re-examine these arguments in light of this new proposal.
Lempster hosts the oldest operating wind farm in the state, which has 12 turbines. The most recently proposed operation would have three times as many turbines, and be located in Alexandria, Grafton, and Dunbarton
The towns of Alexandria, Danbury, and Grafton are weighing if they want a 36 turbine wind farm along their ridgelines.
It’s a contentious decision the town of Lempster approved in 2007. That project has been operating for four years, and it's the closest thing New Hampshire has to an analog for the decision these three towns are now facing.
When representatives from the Spanish energy company Iberdrola Renewables meet with people in Alexandria, Grafton and Danbury, it gets pretty heated.