Library from New Hampshire
The new ordinance, if passed, gives approval to all projects providing residential power and requires a minor site plan review for business and commercial applications. Commercial wind farms will not be permitted in any district under the new ordinance.
ANTRIM — There are always two sides to a story.
Too often we’ve seen towns taken by surprise by developers seeking to locate alternative energy projects and, without the guidance of ordinances that address them, those plans can run counter to the wishes of a community. The public hearing process is a chance for voters to offer input on the future of alternative energy systems in town ahead of voting in March. We hope residents will take notice of this opportunity and use it wisely.
Companies designing projects to bring clean electricity to southern New England say they’re grateful Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have finally made a request for proposals to carry that power to the region. But meeting the region’s longer-term goal of expanding the use of renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectricity will require more transmission capacity than the states requested, said Edward Krapels, the CEO of Anbaric Transmission, which is proposing one project in Maine and another Vermont.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, which has led opposition to the hydroelectric transmission project for the past five years, filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Coos County Superior Court, seeking to block the path of the line through a conservation area the society owns in Clarksville, near the Canadian border.
Washington -- Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity -- virtually all of it in the form of solar projects -- are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released 2015 Regional System Plan.
“There is a detailed record chronicling multiple issues owing to Iberdrola’s failure to build the project according to its state (certificate of operation),” Wind Watch said in a statement Thursday. “After a lengthy enforcement proceeding, the Site Evaluation Committee accepted a settlement agreement ...The settlement does not erase the fact that Iberdrola evidently violated the terms of its (certificate), and in doing so abused the public trust.”
The application includes a new project cost estimate of $1.6 billion, up from $1.4 billion, due mostly to the project changes announced in August. Those changes included burying an additional 52 miles of the 190-mile transmission line, which increased the cost, and reducing its size from 1,200 megawatts to 1,090 megawatts, resulting in some offsetting savings.
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
New Hampshire Wind Watch, which opposes new wind projects in the area, said EDP should have learned from votes taken at area town meetings in recent years that overwhelmingly opposed the plant.
The network was formed as wind power companies from Spain and Portugal propose new wind power plants near Newfound Lake. Communities in the area, which voted overwhelmingly to oppose such projects, found that they had little or no control under state law, as the authority over large energy projects belonged to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.
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.
“It's a 24-mile right of way through Bayroot land, from the Dixville-Stewarstown line, down to Dummer,” said Will Abbott, vice president for policy and land management at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “The lease agreement between Bayroot and Northern Pass appears to bind the two parties together for a joint venture of developing a new wind project up in Northern Coos County on other land owned by Bayroot.”
Developing that electricity system locally has proven a challenge. It's hard enough to get buy-in to string power lines or pipelines through the densely populated, educated and politically savvy Northeast. Building a dam or putting up a wind farm stirs even deeper antipathy.
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.
The EIS is required to assess the potential environmental impacts of the plan to bring hydroelectric power from Quebec into New England on high-voltage power lines through New Hampshire. The draft, subject to public input, is expected to contain approximately 2,000 pages of material.