Library filed under General from New Hampshire
Antrim Wind Energy officials announced recently that they’ve filed an application with the state agency to build nine wind turbines on the Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain ridge line.
Antrim Wind Energy has until Jan. 24, 2016, to submit its next full application to the committee, which will have the final say on whether the farm can be built and, if so, what mitigation might be required.
A sub-committee of the state’s SEC has voted 5 to 2 that this was enough of a change to get a second-hearing. However, in its order, the committee writes “whether the differences in the proposals are material enough to require a different result …cannot be determined” until they see the company’s application.
On Friday morning, the state’s Site Evaluation Committee voted 7-2 to take jurisdiction of the proposed wind farm, which means the state and not the town will decide whether the turbines can be built and what mitigations might be required.
Regulators decided Tuesday to put that decision off until late July. Only after that is when the state or the town will begin ask the big question, is New Hampshire still willing to build wind farms of this size? For instance, there’s still theoretically a big project on the horizon for the Newfound Lake Area.
The state’s Site Evaluation Committee has finished taking testimony on whether it should take jurisdiction of an oft-debated wind energy project in Antrim. Its final decision, however, will not be handed down until the end of the month.
One matter remains from one public intervener in the case, Mark Watson of 35 Stone Glade Lane in Groton, who wants a full explanation of how the state and Groton Wind settled on the $160,000 payment meant to mitigate the company’s decision to relocate its operations and management building without obtaining proper permits.
The board voted 6 to 1 Tuesday to ask the SEC to take jurisdiction of the proposed Antrim Wind project, located on the Tuttle Hill ridgeline and Willard Mountain. The board has declined to take an official stance on the project.
Brookfield Power has three wind turbines about 400 feet high that are along one of the ridgelines. Mill said they are in agreement with Brookfield on a plan to develop side by side and making good progress on state permitting.
Voters in Orange overwhelmingly voiced their opposition in a 117-7 Town Meeting vote this month. Orange voters also approved an article to require companies proposing to build wind facilities in the town to post a bond sufficient to cover costs of removing and disposing of the facilities and remediating the landscape if they were to close. Similarly, Dorchester voters expressed their opposition to the project in a 36-3 vote at their Town Meeting this month.
“(Nemeth's) remarks appear to be a standard wind industry tactic to try to quiet an increasingly vocal, well-educated and well-informed opposition. The voters couldn't be more clear in our message to (EDP): Your 29 50-story turbines are not wanted here. Not this year. Not next year, not ever.
Residents at Town Meeting this week expressed overwhelming opposition to a proposed wind tower project near Cardigan Mountain. Orange residents voted, 117-7, on Tuesday to oppose the so-called Spruce Ridge Wind Project.
Although needed approvals for the project will come from state and federal reviews, the town is busy seeking to influence the process. One ballot item in Orange would, simply, oppose the project. Another would extend a thumbs down to “the development of an industrial wind turbine project along the mountain ridge lines visible from the Town of Orange, and any such project located within the Town of Orange or surrounding towns.”
Eolian is seeking Site Evaluation Committee approval again
“We got a pretty strong response,” [planning board Chairman Steve] Spafford said. “We will likely add some wording on this for the master plan, and now we have something to tell the SEC when (EDP) files for this new project. According to our vote, the town is against more wind projects.”
Antrim Wind Energy is hoping to resurrect a plan to build a wind farm in Antrim, nearly two years after the project was rejected due to aesthetic concerns.
The Spruce Ridge project hasn’t yet been formally submitted to the committee, according to Timothy Drew, an administrator with the permitting unit of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, who sits on the SEC. This will be the first major project considered by the SEC since it was reformed in June by Senate Bill 245, an act of the state Legislature.
The SEC does not normally regulate projects smaller than 30 megawatts, but the town of Antrim petitioned the state to take jurisdiction of the decision saying it did not have the "requisite expertise" to evaluate the project.
Believing the county commissioners were not looking after the best interests of Millsfield residents in supporting the Granite Reliable Power wind farm, Millsfield residents Luc Cote and Wayne Urso said the property owners individually signed agreements with the Granite Reliable Power to protect themselves from huge property tax increases.
Under the agreement, GRP — so long as the Pilot with the county is in place — agrees to pay the property owners not less than $2,500 and not more than $5,000 per year; the property owners in turn agreed to “fully support and cooperate with the developer in the permitting, development and operations of its Wind Farm ...” and also to maintain confidentiality.