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North Country wind project financing questioned by state

Hearings set for next month on a $275 million wind project for the North Country could be halted under a request filed by the counsel for the public. Peter C.L. Roth, a senior assistant attorney general for the state, filed the request to suspend the hearings, set to begin March 9, saying there was inadequate financial information to determine whether the Granite Reliable Power's proposed wind electric generation park will be viable.

CONCORD - Hearings set for next month on a $275 million wind project for the North Country could be halted under a request filed by the counsel for the public.

Peter C.L. Roth, a senior assistant attorney general for the state, filed the request to suspend the hearings, set to begin March 9, saying there was inadequate financial information to determine whether the Granite Reliable Power's proposed wind electric generation park will be viable.

In an objection filed yesterday before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, Granite Reliable said plenty of information would be available in a Feb. 23 anticipated filing for the committee to make that determination.

The company acknowledged the tough economic climate that has put on hold some other projects.

"There have been significant disruptions in international capital markets which have impacted the availability of debt, tax equity and equity, all of which will be sources of finance for this project," wrote Doug Patch, attorney for Granite Reliable Power.

Pointing to the stimulus package being debated before Congress, Patch noted that... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CONCORD - Hearings set for next month on a $275 million wind project for the North Country could be halted under a request filed by the counsel for the public.

Peter C.L. Roth, a senior assistant attorney general for the state, filed the request to suspend the hearings, set to begin March 9, saying there was inadequate financial information to determine whether the Granite Reliable Power's proposed wind electric generation park will be viable.

In an objection filed yesterday before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, Granite Reliable said plenty of information would be available in a Feb. 23 anticipated filing for the committee to make that determination.

The company acknowledged the tough economic climate that has put on hold some other projects.

"There have been significant disruptions in international capital markets which have impacted the availability of debt, tax equity and equity, all of which will be sources of finance for this project," wrote Doug Patch, attorney for Granite Reliable Power.

Pointing to the stimulus package being debated before Congress, Patch noted that legislation "should positively impact the availability of capital for renewable" power projects, and the hearings should go forward as promised.

Granite Reliable Power LLC, a subsidiary of Noble Environmental Power, has proposed construction of 33 wind turbines strung along 15 miles of ridge from Odell to Dixville Peak in central Coos County. The turbines could produce up to 99 megawatts of power annually from the wind, enough to power 33,000 homes.

The state has created an expedited permit process for renewable power projects and accepted the application of Granite Power on July 15. By law, it needs to have an answer, up or down, by April 6.

Roth, in his Feb. 5 motion, asked to "suspend this proceeding until such time as the applicant, Granite Reliable Power LLC, can make an adequate showing of financial capability."

Patch said the law only allows for the suspension of a process that has not begun. He argued that Roth, who has a title in this process as counsel for the public, rebuffed multiple offers to meet with Granite's chief financial officer, and instead, chose to file the request to halt the process.

Roth said an immediate hearing is necessary to determine whether the company has the financial fortitude to go forward.

Roth said the materials in the record "do not make a prima facie case that the applicant can meet its burden to show financial capabilty," and that it would be an unnecessary exercise to have hearings which brought in witnesses and took state department heads away from their work.

While North Country officials have expressed general support for the project, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Appalachian Mountain Club have indicated concerns about the siting of a number of the towers in areas, which may have a negative impact on rare alpine habitat. Of particular concern is habitat for the rare pine marten, Bicknell's thrush, Canada lynx and the three-toed woodpecker.

Noble Reliable Power owns more than 11 wind parks in New York, Texas and Vermont and is licensed to produce 282 megawatts of power.

No hearing on Roth's motion has been scheduled.


Source: http://www.theunionleader.c...

FEB 10 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18991-north-country-wind-project-financing-questioned-by-state
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