Library filed under Technology from New Hampshire
Vermont Public Power Supply Authority based in Waterbury wants to build three turbines on an old Air Force radar base in East Haven. The project would provide renewable power for approximately 4,000 homes.
State and regional regulators acknowledge the hurdles - especially in northern New Hampshire - but don't have ready solutions. A bill before the New Hampshire Senate would have the state be ready to act if no regional solution is forthcoming. ISO New England, which manages power for the region, is considering changing rules so more of the costs of transmission upgrades could be shared regionally. But as things stand now, backers of projects generally must pay for upgrades needed to connect them to the system. "None of this is a real speedy process," acknowledges Michael Harrington, senior regional policy adviser for the state Public Utilities Commission.
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.
Unitil's wind turbine sits atop pole near Hampton Beach, NH.
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
PORTSMOUTH - A proposal to capture electricity from tidal energy in the Piscataqua River has been filed with federal energy officials and calls for 50 to 100 underwater turbines to be submerged throughout Rockingham and Strafford County stretches of the river and up into York County.
The head of New England's biggest natural gas utility promised yesterday that homes and businesses across the region will face no shortage of gas for heating this winter.