"We warned everybody two years ago that this is a big pot of money that is ripe for the plucking, and that's exactly what happened," said David Juvet, the organization's vice president.
Indeed, the raid happened without any real debate at all. In fact, the only other RGGI-related proposal - backed by Republicans - was to take even more money from the fund.
Concerns about the safety of birds and bats were voiced at a state hearing yesterday on a proposal to construct a wind-energy park in Coos County. ...A subcontractor for the developer conducted a study of the birds and bats in the project area, but Don Kent, a member of the site committee and the Natural Heritage Board, said it was inadequate.
As Northeast Utilities and Hydro-Quebec begin seeking state and federal approval for the construction of Northern Pass, a $1.1 billion dollar project that would bring 1,200 megawatts of energy from a dam in Canada to southern New Hampshire, environmental groups say that it's too early to tell if the project will end up being truly "green." ...About 50 miles of the power lines will be in new territory, and 130 miles will use existing paths. In the new territory, a path of about 150 feet would be cleared to accommodate the power lines.
A Connecticut company testing for wind power potential and impacts on the 24,000-acre Phillips Brook property in Coos County said it is looking at developing a 100-megawatt windpark by 2009. The 33 to 67 turbines - each about 400 feet high - would be spaced just over 1,000 feet apart.
Meanwhile Tillotson Corporation, owners of The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, is looking at a smaller field of wind turbines to the north of Phillips Brook on its North Sanguinary Ridge, said Richard Harris, spokesman.
"The primary interest is in being self-sufficent," said Harris.
In June, the state approved its first wind turbine facility in Lempster, near Lake Sunapee. It will produce about 24 megawatts of power for the firm Iberdrola.
"Let's just pose the question, can wind power make a substantial contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions?" Luce told the assembled crowd. "This is my answer: in the mid-west, maybe. In the Eastern US absolutely not, the wind resource is just not here. Except if off-shore wind turns out to be economically, technically, environmentally feasible."
As tensions around a proposed meteorological tower on Tuttle Hill boiled over Tuesday, the property owner spoke out about the divisiveness of the issue. ...Resident Mark Schaefer echoed the caveat of all other abutters and residents in opposition to the tower by saying he is entirely supportive of renewable energy, but not in a rural conservation district.
"I've raised four children under that ridge," said Schaefer, who said he moved to the area 25 years ago specifically for its rural appeal. "It would take away everything we've moved up here for."
Antrim Wind Energy has offered the town $40,000 as recompense for a proposed wind farm's visual impacts to the Gregg Lake area. The caveat is the state's Site Evaluation Committee has already denied the application.
More wind farms may start cropping up across New Hampshire, but questions remain about how profitable they are.
A new state law pushes energy companies to use more renewable energy, including wind. But how affective turbines are remains largely untested. ...Iberdrola surveyed the Lempster site for five years before building and hopes to be making power by the end of the year.
Even then, it may take a little longer for the wind farm to cut electricity bills.
Detractors argue the technology is unproven and say the money and manpower would be better spent on weatherizing homes and funding other forms of alternative energy such as tidal power.
Less than 2 percent of electricity in Maine and New Hampshire is currently derived from wind farms.
Last month, New Hampshire state lawmakers quietly introduced a bill that would suspend further wind project development in the Granite State. More than a month later, that proposal is gaining considerable attention from both state representatives and local residents, some of whom claim that wind turbines have damaging effects on tourism and property values.
The Portuguese company that previously received permission from the Zoning Board to build a meteorological tower to determine whether it then wants to build a fullscale wind farm, was back before the board on Thursday evening for a rehearing.
Power generated from a proposed wind park in Coos County will not be designated to stay in the North Country, but could be used just about anywhere in New England.
Granite Reliable Power LLC spokesman Pip Decker said the power would go directly into the New England grid -- it could run a dishwasher in Lancaster or a traffic light on Boston's Boylston Street.
The town of Lempster’s education taxes increased by $317,722 the year after the wind farm went online – although other economic variables may also have played a part in the increase. That cost, in addition to the $186,137 the town paid in additional county taxes after the wind farm arrived, means that Lempster residents have not experienced the windfall they may have hoped for. Richards says that while the town’s tax rates decreased for one year after the wind farm opened at the end of 2008, they rose above pre-wind mill rates the following year
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.
Group members say the loss of scenery has a financial cost in an area that relies heavily on tourist dollars. Property values in the area would also decline, they said.
"New Hampshire's ridge lines are not renewable," said Denise Schneider, one of the group's organizers. "All of the beauty of our area would disappear."
The Site Evaluation Committee included ongoing studies on the migratory bird populations among the conditions it placed on the project. Iberdrola appealed that condition among others to the committee but lost that argument, Iacopino said.
Dr. Kent also said he believed it would be important for the state Fish and Game Department and scientists from the Appalachian Mountain Club to verify - ground-truth - the condition of the 1,700 acres that would be set aside as a mitigation package to compensate for habitat loss on Mt. Kelsey and Dixville Peak.
"We need to know the details, what's really on the ground, to understand if it's "tit-for-tat" - that is, the same spruce-fir habitat that will be lost on those ridgelines," Dr. Kent said. "No evidence has been presented."
Ed Dekker, member of the New Ipswich Planning Board, said Timbertop's move to bypass the towns is intended to thwart the will of the people who voted overwhelmingly to pass tight restrictions on wind farms in their communities.
"The will of the people of New Ipswich was made clear by their votes, and it's inappropriate for the state to override the people of New Ipswich," Dekker said.
LEMPSTER, N.H. --Construction on New Hampshire's first commercial wind farm project is expected to begin by the end of the summer now that the developer has received final state approval.
After three years of planning and permitting, developer Iberdrola received the last of the required state approvals this month. The company hopes to begin producing electricity sometime next year, said project manager Ed Cherian.