Articles from New Hampshire
Work is underway at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport to reposition solar panels on the roof of an airport parking garage, a $1.9 million correction that keeps glare from the solar panels out of the eyes of air-traffic controllers. Shortly after the panels were installed in the summer of 2012, air traffic controllers started complaining about early-morning glare from the panels.
One of the biggest questions of this legislative session is how New Hampshire lawmakers will tweak the rules for how the state approves Energy Projects, in a body called the Site Evaluation Committee? Critics of the Northern Pass and wind farms have converged on this issue as one area where they might get something through the statehouse, and they’ve even found common ground with some project developers, who think the SEC process is unwieldy.
"We are encouraged by the tremendous progress we have made during this past year. Today's vote reflects new found awareness and support," said New Hampshire Wind Watch in a statement."The time will no doubt arrive soon when the state will respect and fully recognize the rights of towns and communities in New Hampshire to democratically self-determine," the group said in a statement.
Given the stakes for New Hampshire’s future, it seems reasonable to ask project developers to wait a few months so a better process can be put in place to judge projects that once built will impact New Hampshire citizens for generations. The House should pass HB 580 and give us all a chance to make the best decisions for our state.
While going through his list of concerns, Levesque addressed the two districts in question with this ordinance. He said the purpose of the rural conservation district is to protect the mountain area of the town. The town has 11 mountains and hills within its rural conservation district, including Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain. Levesque said the proposed ordinance does not amend the purpose of this district in a way that would allow the construction of wind farms.
“The Legislature and governor last year agreed that changes are needed in our energy policy and siting rules. In the required citizen workshops held this fall, the vast majority of all participants support linking siting rules to a new policy and more public participation. It is just common sense that with this overwhelming support for change that new projects be held until those changes can be put in place."
In New Hampshire, "wind fails the cost-benefit test. Wind is a high-cost form of intermittent energy that can only deliver power around 30 percent of the time, generally when the grid least needs it seasonally. It will never replace a single fossil fuel or nuclear plant anywhere in New England."
The energy company that wants to put 23 wind turbines in central New Hampshire needs more time to complete an application for the project, according to a letter written to state regulators. Iberdrola Renewables has proposed the Wild Meadows wind energy project in Danbury and Alexandria.
A bill passed by the House on Wednesday directing the state's Site Evaluation Committee to "give preference" to burying electric transmission lines as it considers Northern Pass and other projects will go directly to the state Senate rather than a House committee.
House Bill 569 would not mandate that the lines be buried, as a pending Senate bill would. It tells the state Site Evaluation Committee that the burial of transmission lines is "the preferred, but not required, option for locating all new electric transmission lines" with towers more than 50 feet in height.
Opponents argue that wind can never completely replace other power generators, is too expensive and will harm the state’s scenic beauty and wildlife. ‘‘The problem with wind is it’s not a reliable source of generation and it has to be built in places where we traditionally would never build power plants. That means much more transmission is required.’’
Larry Goodman, a member of New Hampshire Wind Watch, “but you can’t convert coal to wind.” He says because wind is intermittent, new wind farms won’t result in fossil fuel plants shutting down, and the massive towers will spoil the state’s natural beauty. He says he favors other renewables that can be “dispatched.”
Iberdrola Renewables, the Spain-based wind power giant that is proposing a new wind farm facility in Danbury and Alexandria, is taking a lot of heat, in some very unfriendly terms, for its responses to state officials' questions about its Groton Wind farm. ...Groton Wind "refuses to acknowledge that it has done anything wrong, it mischaracterizes the Committee's orders in ways to suit its position … and it denies plain reality…"
"We believe Environment NH, the wind industry and now, evidently, Rep. Backus are misstating the purpose and intent of the bill before the Legislature," Wind Watch said in a statement. "HB 580 aims to protect NH's environment and our unique scenic landscape from the apparent reckless placement of wind energy facilities by allowing the time needed to develop proper siting guidelines.
Iberdrola officials said if we didn’t want them, they’d leave. They were sent here to win the hearts and minds of the locals. They’ve failed. ...Iberdrola needs to realize this is a losing cause. To throw additional money at these projects is to do a disservice to its shareholders. You [Iberdrola] made your case. It was rejected. Cut your losses. Keep your promise. Leave.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter C.L. Roth has backed complaints that Iberdrola did not get proper authority to make changes to its operations and maintenance building and turbines plan as the law requires. Instead, the company sought approval from the Department of Environmental Services, he said. The Fire Marshal’s Office was not notified of the changes, so it did not inspect the building plans, nor were other state agencies that regularly inspect new building plans for violations.
“Missing wildlife studies, incomplete descriptions of business relationships, inadequate information for water, fire and historical resources. These are not NIMBY objections. These represent the failure of a company to follow the rules. Businesses have a right to state their case. Iberdrola has, and it has been found wanting.”
As a result of the meeting, the board changed the language of the proposal. "The board does not wish to regulate the mom and pop' backyard residential variety, nor do we wish to take over the job of the SEC. We are strictly looking for the citizens of Columbia to have an input." The proposed warrant article now reads that "no commercial wind turbines or test towers to determine suitability of terrain for development of wind turbines shall be sited, constructed, installed or operated in the Town of Columbia."
Portsmouth-based Antrim Wind Energy LLC, which hopes to bring a large-scale wind farm to the Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain ridgelines, wrote the zoning petition to adopt standards for wind farms in town.The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the petition article at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Town Hall.
Antrim Wind Energy officials confirmed Monday that the Seacoast-based developer helped craft the proposed wind energy ordinance, submitted by petition, that will go before town voters in March. While the ordinance doesn’t specifically call for the development of a wind farm in the area of Tuttle Hill and Willard Pond, it is seen as a process that will create the right conditions for a project.