Articles from New Hampshire
The operators of the New England grid are restricting the amount of electricity being accepted from the three operating wind projects in the Northeast Kingdom and the North Country of New Hampshire. And there's no indication that the restrictions, called curtailments, will end anytime soon.
County administrator Jennifer Fish said a payment of $495,000 is due, and Brookfield has paid $249,175, with a deadline of February 1 to pay the remainder. "Brookfield notified the county on December 3 that the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) should be $249,175, based on the amount of megawatts that they were allowed to generate," she said.
The problem is the electricity network gets out of synch if the turbines produce more power than is being used at any one time. So ISO issues an order to ramp back power. It's called curtailment. "We are seeing those interconnect issues with other wind projects. As we've seen the Dixville project in New Hampshire was curtailed about 50 percent," Hallquist said.
Is wind part of the answer to our need to diversify our energy sources? Yes. Is the Tuttle-Willard ridge the best place for wind power? No. There's too much at stake. Our insatiable appetite for energy shouldn't be a tradeoff for healthy forests and wildlife habitat. As the SEC discusses Antrim Wind Energy's plan, the wind will be blowing on Tuttle Hill. Let's hope the wind keeps blowing through that spruce.
Dalton selectmen were told by a Public Service of N.H. official that the utility feels it has a favorable legislature and court system and most communities are too financially stressed to be able to put up a credible defense. The message being put out by utilities is the communities do not have the resources to withstand the "onslaught and should settle for whatever terms are offered".
But Brookfield is arguing the PILOT payment is based on what Granite Reliable Power is permitted to produce. The company said ISO-New England, which manages the power grid, curtailed its output to 45.835 megawatts. At $5,000 per megawatt, Brookfield said it owes the county $249,175 for its 2013 PILOT.
A disagreement has broken out between the Coos County Commissioners and Brookfield Power-which owns the Granite Reliable Windpark--over what was expected for that payment. The County was expecting a payment of $495,000, while the windpark only submitted $249,175.
In 2008 three Coos County Commissioners approved a deal under which - instead of taxes - the county expected to get payments of about $495,000 each year for a decade. But now Brookfield says it only owes the county half of that, says Jennifer Fish, the Coos County Administrator.
Tax dollars fund large portions of these projects in several ways (through grants and loans, subsidies, and tax credits), so in essence WE THE PEOPLE are paying to destroy the natural beauty that not only we enjoy, but we're throwing away the income generated by the tourists who CHOOSE to come here because of our scenic lakes and mountains.
Luce said Northeast states are being sought out by wind-power developers looking to capitalize on old and inadequate renewable energy standards. "These are simplistic standards that are grossly slanted toward large, stealth wind-power projects like the ones proposed here," said Luce, who was the guest speaker of New Hampshire Wind Watch at Newfound Memorial High School.
"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."
A group opposing several wind power project proposals in the Lakes Region will host a public meeting tonight featuring a pro-wind power speaker who doesn't think the proposed farms, or any wind farms, make sense in the mountains of New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Wind Watch will host "Issues with Wind Power in New England," a presentation by Benjamin Luce.
Both boards last week amended their original approvals to allow Jericho Power to put up three turbines at a total height, including blades, of 500 feet. The approvals require Jericho Power to execute a decommissioning plan that will include removal of the towers, foundations, and utilities and returning the site to pre-existing conditions should the project cease.
Several basic issues, though, such as a fear of declining property values, concerns about the aesthetic impact of turbines proposed to be 472 feet high and worries that the town doesn't really have a say in whether the project moves forward, continually pushed to the forefront of the conversation. "We've been living it every day since the project was announced," said Sean Frost, who, unlike his mother, said his mind is firmly made up. "If the people don't have a voice in an issue of this magnitude, that's a problem."
State Rep. David Borden, D-New Castle, said key among them will be working to formulate a new 10-year energy plan for New Hampshire. Also on the committee's horizon are bills to revamp the state's involvement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, establishing a moratorium on wind turbines, strengthening the state's renewable energy portfolio standards and banning ethanol in gasoline.
The court found that not only had the NRC followed proper procedure in overriding the ASLB, but that the representations by SAPL and the others in support of the possibility of wind power replacing nuclear power "proved to be untrue."
Hundreds of residents at various meetings have expressed opposition to the wind turbines, he said. "They're ruining the aesthetics of the area here with these wind mills. The only thing they're benefiting is some foreign company to come in here" and hurt the views, Reilly said. "It's not giving New Hampshire anything but a headache."
In averting the "fiscal cliff"' last week, Congress also extended tax credits for wind energy development for the next year, but while the news is good for the industry, several developers say they aren't the deciding factor when looking at New Hampshire projects.
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.
Top executives from Northeast Utilities repeatedly promised a full route announcement by the end of the year. They failed to deliver. This not only hurts their credibility in the markets but calls into question whether Northern Pass has a viable route at all."