Articles filed under General from New Hampshire
There's a biomass renaissance going on in New Hampshire and Vern Waters, like other timberland owners, loggers and foresters, hopes to benefit from it. ...Biomass, according to SPNHF Spokesman Jack Savage, is "positive on any number of levels, but first, from a simple forest management perspective, this is essentially like weeding your garden and doing a biomass harvest is going in and pulling the weeds and instead of tossing them you're taking them and you're turning them into electrical power that ideally is replacing fossil fuels."
With no regional solution in sight, New Hampshire should establish a commission to take charge of expanding electric transmission capacity in the North Country, a state senator said Tuesday. Without more transmission capacity, development of renewable power is largely stymied in New Hampshire, Sen. Martha Fuller Clark told a Senate committee. Clark said her bill would create a single entity to develop a plan to pay for the expansion. ... So far, the upgrade has not won support from ISO New England, which manages power for the region and would decide if all New England electric users would benefit and consequently should share in its cost.
Hopes for a renewable energy park to be developed appear to be dashed, at least for now. The partnership hoping to open the park, which had three options on land in town including a 50-acre parcel owned by the school district, has pulled the plug on those options this week. The reason, Levine said, is the transmission lines in the North Country are not able to accept the level of power that would be generated from the venture, which had already been given the name Groveton Renewable Energy Park. Levine said the project is in line behind two wind generation projects in the approval process as well as for connecting to the power grid transmission system in the region.
A batch of good news will be revealed to Goshen residents at a public informational session at 7 p.m. Thursday in the town hall. Financing to purchase a new fire truck is in place and the town will also be receiving two large monetary settlements from the Lempster Windfarm project. Neither one will require formal approval by Goshen voters. ..."We have a contractual agreement to receive $30,000 by Dec. 28 to cover Goshen's legal expenses on the windfarm presentation before the state hearing along with background work," Carrick said. The $30,000 will replace funds Goshen actually spent with this effort. He said an agreement has also been worked out with Lempster Windfarm to provide an additional $50,000 in the future when the project first comes on line.
A way to open up the state's logjam in building renewable energy projects could come out of a proposed 10-state regional greenhouse initiative. According to the Public Utilities Commission, the North Country needs a power line upgrade in the $200-million range to help developers build hundreds of megawatts of future wind farms and biomass electricity plants. Those could meet most of the state's goal of producing 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Until they win approval or drop out, those projects at the head of the line are blocking plans for a 600-megawatt gas-fired plant somewhere in Rockingham County. The would-be developer is unidentified on the Web site of the ISO-New England electric grid. The federal approval process accepts applicants on a first-come, first served basis.
George Gantz, a Unitil vice president, unveiled some company dreams this past week to reinvent the big regulated utility. He told Rep. Naida Kaen, D-Lee, and other stakeholders for "distributed energy" that Unitil would like to work itself out of business as a traditional energy retailer. Distributed energy, a new buzz word, is made by small generators scattered across the electric grid, often remote from the big power plants. ...Under existing law, that would be like McDonald's buying burgers from its patrons. But everybody would win if Unitil could claim the renewable energy credits a business or homeowner can earn under a new state law also sponsored by Fuller Clark. It rewards sustainable energy sources.
Several new North Country energy projects are in the works, but questions remain on how to transmit to homes and businesses the power they would generate. Experts at an ad hoc energy stakeholders meeting held Oct. 16 at the State House in Concord generally agreed that construction on several proposed wind farms and wood-fired power plants in Coos County will take three to four years - and perhaps longer if New Hampshire hopes to convince other New England states to cover 90 percent of the costs. ...Donna Gamache of PSNH said the hard part is guessing which players are serious and have the stamina to wait out the regulatory approval process. She said what she called "the California model" would may be "the easiest way to absorb the risk." In California, a regional electric grid underwrote the cost to transmit new solar and geothermal power to the populated coast in the hopes that future developers would pay their share as they hooked into the lines. If PSNH tackles a project like that without state help, experts fear ratepayers would eat the stranded costs if too few plants came on line.
A decision by the Zoning Board of Adjustment to deny an appeal for a permit to erect three wind turbine generators at 22 Hickory Drive has landed the board in court. ... At issue is whether the town's zoning ordinances prohibit the windmills.
Small windmills will likely start popping up around the Seacoast as Unitil Corp. tests new ways to produce energy. The local power company installed its first windmill two weeks ago off Route 101 near Hampton Beach as part of a pilot project to assess the effectiveness of wind energy. The company is now looking to place as many as 10 to 15 additional windmills atop utility poles around the Seacoast and in Massachusetts, said Unitil CEO Robert Schoenberger.
"Are you ready for a windmill in your neighbor's backyard? They're coming," Planning Director Karen White said at a recently Planning Board workshop.
The lack of necessary infrastructure means that Coos County won't see ground-breaking anytime soon on hundreds of megawatts generated by proposed wind farms and wood-fired power plants. According to Public Service of New Hampshire officials, the utility's big loop of transmission lines from Littleton to Berlin and back can handle only 100 megawatts more of production before somebody has to pay big bucks to boost the capacity. Nobody knows who will fund that infrastructure, and the uncertainty has thrown off the financing for some of the dozen New Hampshire power plants lined up for future review by the state Public Utilities Commission.
Because the Unitil turbine will be relatively small, Diener said he doesn't feel it will be visually intrusive. He insisted any wind turbine project considered by the town should be on a small scale. "I don't see large wind farms happening in Hampton. I think it would be too massive a project for this area," he said.
HAMPTON -- Unitil is planning to construct a single wind turbine in town in hopes of "offsetting" the company's energy costs, according to Senior Vice President of Customer Service and Communications George Gantz.
A Connecticut company testing for wind power potential and impacts on the 24,000-acre Phillips Brook property in Coos County said it is looking at developing a 100-megawatt windpark by 2009. The 33 to 67 turbines - each about 400 feet high - would be spaced just over 1,000 feet apart. Meanwhile Tillotson Corporation, owners of The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, is looking at a smaller field of wind turbines to the north of Phillips Brook on its North Sanguinary Ridge, said Richard Harris, spokesman. "The primary interest is in being self-sufficent," said Harris. In June, the state approved its first wind turbine facility in Lempster, near Lake Sunapee. It will produce about 24 megawatts of power for the firm Iberdrola.
LANCASTER - Initial test results are favorable for plans to create a 100-megawatt wind farm at the Phillips Brook property. Noble Environmental Power officials presented an update on their project to the Coos County planning board Wednesday night. "The indications from the data collected so far are very good," said Martha Staskus, vice president of Vermont Environmental Research Associates, which is consulting on the project. Pip Decker and Charles Readling of Noble provided an overview of the company and outlined the project proposed for the 24,000 acre Phillips Brook tract owned by GMO Renewable Resources. Readling said the project will likely consist of 33 to 67 wind turbines with a maximum height of just under 400 feet. The company erected two wind measuring towers earlier this year and has permits to put up two more this summer. In addition to evaluating the wind speed and direction, data is being gathered on birds, visual impacts, wetlands, and other environmental impacts. "We're not done collecting all the data," said Staskus.
LEMPSTER, N.H. --Construction on New Hampshire's first commercial wind farm project is expected to begin by the end of the summer now that the developer has received final state approval. After three years of planning and permitting, developer Iberdrola received the last of the required state approvals this month. The company hopes to begin producing electricity sometime next year, said project manager Ed Cherian.
Legislators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic passed a number of bills applying to the electric power industry, with several states committing to emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other states making broad organizational changes to their regulatory processes.
LEMPSTER, N.H. --New Hampshire is a step closer to getting its first commercial wind farm. A 14-member committee representing environmental, forest, economic development, health utility and other interests, approved the project in Lempster on Thursday.
AMHERST - In March, 1,444 voters agreed with people in more than 160 other New Hampshire towns that reducing greenhouse gases is a good thing. That was the theory. On Tuesday, the town's zoning board will face the reality in the form of solar panels and wind turbines, both of which face big legal obstacles. "The fact that it's alternative energy doesn't make any difference," said town planner Charlie Tiedemann. "The zoning (laws) are still in effect."
A bill that originally would have allowed Public Service of New Hampshire to build a wood-burning plant in the North Country has morphed into fast-track legislation for all small renewable energy projects. Now a House committee is grappling on how fast that process should move and whether environmental safeguards will remain in place. Senate Bill 140 would give the Site Evaluation Committee - the multi-agency task force that sites energy plants - 120 days to make a decision on renewable energy plants, such as those that are powered by geothermal sources, wind, solar, and biomass.