Library filed under Energy Policy from New Hampshire
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests filed a motion asking the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to suspend its review of the Wild Meadows project. "Now is not the time to push through an important project. It’s time to step back, wait for the process to be fixed and then move forward. We’re not objecting to the project itself."
New Hampshire's House is starting the New Year with votes on legislation that would put limits on energy projects like wind turbines and Northern Pass. ...The committee also issued a split recommendation on a bill to establish a moratorium on wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects. A committee majority recommended killing the bill since the process to site projects is being reviewed. Supporters say a moratorium is needed until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan.
Tuesday night in Plymouth the state’s Office of Energy and Planning held its last public hearing on possible changes to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee - which is responsible for approving utility projects ranging from wind farms to Northern Pass - and the theme was that the SEC needs a significant and wide-ranging overhaul before it can be trusted.
This week the public has a chance to weigh in on the future of the state’s Site Evaluation Committee. The SEC reviews major utility projects, including proposed wind farms and the Northern Pass project. The concerns of opponents of those projects prompted Governor Hassan to sign Senate Bill 99.
Rep. Harold "Skip" Reilly of Bristol was cheered at an Alexandria selectmen's meeting Tuesday when he said he is bringing last year's House Bill 580, which would establish moratoriums on wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan.
What’s more, while the state has okayed three industrial scale wind-farms, the state committee that approves power development denied a project in Antrim in February. Opposition to wind power has also grown steadily in the legislature. Last week at an industry-organized “energy summit” senate majority leader Jeb Bradley said he would fight “tooth and nail” against wind development on New Hampshire’s ridge-lines.
NH WindWatch is also worried that the problems of other states could occur in New Hampshire. Stories of health problems in other states include that of Luann Therrien, a neighbor to the Sheffield, Vt. wind project, who says her family has been suffering health problems - headaches, nausea, sleep disruption - from the noise of the project's turbines for about a year.
In two years, PSNH could not get even 150 customers to pay more each month to buy electricity from "green" sources. These programs raise utility bills by an average of 30 percent, according to NHPR. That is a steep premium to pay so your house can be powered by wind or solar instead of coal or nuclear power. That is why activists try to get governments to force people to go "green."
Regulators have given Public Service of New Hampshire, the state's largest electric utility, permission to phase out its EarthSmart Green rate, which allows customers pay more to support renewable energy. PSNH asked for relief from the program because just 148 customers are signed up; that's about .04 percent percent of their customers.
You'd think proponents of wind power and those passionate about America's pristine lands would walk hand-in-hand on the issue of renewable energy. You'd assume each side would see the value of a united front. And you'd hope they'd want to avoid the tedious process of appeals and litigation that only serves to maintain the status quo.
The bill requires the Site Evaluation Committee to adopt new rules to clarify siting requirements. The bill originally called for a moratorium on new energy projects until the study was complete. A moratorium would have prevented the Northern Pass transmission project as well as several wind farms proposed on ridges around Newfound Lake from seeking the site committee's approval.
This testimony, prepared by Lisa Linowes, examines the Class I RPS market in the State of New Hampshire. Aggressive policies in the New England region have resulted in New Hampshire RECs migrating to other states. This testimony was submitted in reference to the Timbertop wind energy proposal, a 15 megawatt project proposed to be built in the state. A portion of the testimony is shown below. The full testimony can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee kicked off a summer's worth of work to reform the way the state evaluates proposals for new power plants Tuesday. They heard a whole day's worth of testimony about wind energy.
Instead the Senate voted 23-1 to establish two study committees to review the state Site Evaluation Committee's ability and capacity to do its job and the criteria for siting wind farms.
"We didn't want to make a blanket decision to stop all SEC applications," said Prescott. "We made a decision to stop the filings for wind energy because there are many imminent issues. They are right on our doorstep. The decisions are going to be made soon.
Recently the New Hampshire Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources amended Senate bill 99, placing a moratorium on new wind electricity generation projects for one year. That's a nice start, but it doesn't go quite far enough. What's needed is a repeal of the New Hampshire renewable portfolio standard mandate. Why? Because ratepayers are being forced to buy extremely expensive electricity when cheaper alternatives are available.
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.
However, some members wanted to see the program repealed, including House Republican Alliance co-chair Rep Pam Tucker, R-Greenland. ...Over the past two years, the House voted to repeal RGGI, while the Senate wanted to modify the program. Two years ago, the bill died when the Senate failed to override former Gov. John Lynch's veto.
With project proposals popping up with increased frequency, supporters of the idea said a step back would be a thoughtful move. "This is not about thumbs up or thumbs down on any specific project, it's looking at the process by which we approve them," said Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford.
After a long day of testimony, Senator Bradley introduced an amendment that stripped the language having to do with transmission lines out of the bill and replaced it with a one year moratorium only on new wind farms. The bill would create a committee to study and recommend updates to the siting rules for wind farms.