Wind Farms - Issue Summary

Should New Hampshire approve more wind farms?

wind farmsBy: LFDA Editor

Three electricity-producing wind farms operate in state of New Hampshire:

• The 12-turbine Lempster Wind Power Project, which opened in 2008

• The 33-turbine Granite Reliable Power site in Coos County, online since late 2011

• The 24-turbine Groton Wind Farm, which got cranking just after Christmas 2012 


The wind farms in Lempster and Groton are each managed by Spanish wind energy company Iberdrola Renewables, while Vermont's Northeast Wind manages the Coos County site for owner Noble Environmental Power, based in Connecticut.

In late 2013 the state Fire Marshal and others filed complaints with the state Site Evaluation Committee, charging that Iberdrola failed to get proper approval for changes to the Groton Wind Farm construction plan.  Iberdrola argued they followed state law by filing the changes with the Department of Environmental Services.  In April the Fire Marshal and Groton Wind Farm reached a compromise; Iberdrola agreed to upgrade fire safety equipment.  The Site Evaluation Committee is investigating the complaints and could still choose to suspend the operation license for the Groton Wind Farm.

In December 2013 Iberdrola Renewables also filed an application to build a 23-turbine wind farm in Alexandria and Danbury.  The project faced opposition from local residents and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  In May 2014 Iberdrola announced they were abandoning that application due to a hostile regulatory and political climate in New Hampshire.

Another proposed wind farm, a 30-megawatt, 10-turbine wind project that would have spanned the ridge line of Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain in Antrim, was rejected by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee in 2013. The committee was concerned about the "unreasonable adverse (visual) effect" the wind farm would have on the New Hampshire Audubon's Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary.

Arguments in Favor of Wind Farms

Wind power supporters argue that wind farms are a clean, sustainable alternative to burning fossil fuels.  Wind farms can also boost the local economy by creating jobs and providing tax revenue.

Supporters challenge reports that the noise from wind turbines is harmful to human health.  In December 2009, the American Wind Energy Association released a report claiming the sounds generated by wind turbines are not harmful to human health.

Arguments Against Wind Farms

Critics argue that wind farms are ugly, cause destruction of many acres of mountain top forestation, and disturb the natural habitat in those locales.

There are also concerns wind turbines cause physiological harm to residents living nearby. Some people have reported sleep deprivation, headaches and vertigo.

2014 Legislation

Rep. Robert Cushing (D-Hampton) sponsored HB 1312, a 2014 bill to study off-shore wind farms.  Gov. Hassan signed that bill into law July 17, 2014.

Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) was the prime sponsor of SB 281, a 2014 bill that would set limits on large wind farms.  For example, SB 281 would limit the height of turbines to 250 feet.  That bill passed the Senate, but the House voted May 7 to table the bill.

Rep. David Murotake (R-Nashua) sponsored HB 1456, a 2014 bill that requires the Site Evaluation Committee to deny any proposed energy facility with "unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety," and to consider the views of town governments in any decisions.  The House killed the bill in March 2014.

In late May 2014 the legislature resurrected wind farm guidelines as an amendment to HB 1602.  The bill now requires the state Site Evaluation Committee to address scenic impacts, sound impacts, fire protection plans, and more when evaluating wind farm proposals.  Gov. Hassan signed HB 1602 into law August 1, 2014.

2013 Legislation

A piece of legislation, HB 580, was introduced in the 2013 session to establish "moratoriums on the construction of wind turbine plants and on electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan." The House killed that bill in January 2014.

In June 2013 Gov. Hassan signed SB 99, which requires a study of the Site Evaluation Committee criteria for siting of wind farms and other electricity-generating facilities.  That study is ongoing.

The following video is a panoramic view from atop a Stetson Wind Turbine in Danforth, Maine.


Do you think the state government should be promoting the use of wind farms? Let us know what you think...

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If you are interested in wind farms and want to take action here are some choices:

  • If you are new to contacting your government, please visit our page on  How to Take Action.
  • Contact one of the organizations listed in Learn More. These groups represent the pro or con positions of issues.
  • Contact a government official as follows:

1. Contact members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives or the New Hampshire Senate.

2. Contact the Committee chairperson or members of the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee or the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – these are the committees that oversee this issue.

3. Contact the head of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee or the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.

4. Give your opinion to Governor Maggie Hassan

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Learn More/Take Action

Should NH approve more wind farms? Whatever your thoughts are, we urge you to make your voice heard. See the "Learn More/Take Action" section on this page for more information.

Issue Status

SB 99, requiring the site evaluation committee to direct a study of site evaluation criteria and establishing a committee to study the criteria for siting of wind farms and other electricity-generating facilities, was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on June 27, 2013.  That study is ongoing.

In late May 2014 the legislature proposed some of their own wind farm siting guidelines, through an amendment to HB 1602.  The bill requires the state Site Evaluation Committee to address scenic impacts, sound impacts, fire protection plans, and more when evaluating wind farm proposals.  Gov. Hassan signed HB 1602 into law August 1, 2014.

Rep. Robert Cushing (D-Hampton) sponsored HB 1312, a 2014 bill to study off-shore wind farms.  Gov. Hassan signed that bill into law July 17, 2014.

News

September 26, 2014
Concord Monitor: New Hampshire Wind Watch raises opposition to Odell’s nomination to energy siting committee
September 24, 2014
Union Leader: Wind foes decry Odell nomination to site committee
September 18, 2014
Concord Monitor: Hassan names Odell, Merrill to committee that permits Northern Pass, wind projects
September 3, 2014
Concord Monitor: New Hampshire given recommendations for new 10-year energy strategy
Union Leader: NH report lays out energy efficiency recommendations
NHPR: State releases 10-year energy strategy
July 22, 2014
Union Leader: Settlement reached between Groton Wind and state AG's office
July 17, 2014
Union Leader: Alexandria won't approve permit for wind-power developer
July 6, 2014
Seacoast Online: Region faces major spike in cost of energy
July 1, 2014
Nashua Telegraph: Panel discusses energy solutions in New England as extra winter costs are tallied
Seacoast Online: New England leaders take on impending electric crisis
June 27, 2014
Union Leader: Company behind Groton wind plant promotes emergency plan
June 25, 2014
Seacoast Online: NH devising new energy plan
June 24, 2014
Nashua Telegraph: With a murky energy future, where should New Hampshire go?
Union Leader: Spanish explosives distributor to lease Alexandria land to wind farm developer
June 19, 2014
Union Leader: Wind company encounters opposition in Alexandria
June 13, 2014
Union Leader: Groton Wind makes progress on fire marshal's complaints
June 6, 2014
Union Leader: Wind farm opponents set to hold victory parties over Iberdrola withdrawal
June 5, 2014
Union Leader: Lawmakers OK fuel pre-buy protection, Fish and Game enforcement, wind farm criteria measures
May 29, 2014
Concord Monitor: Ibredrola abandons Wild Meadows wind farm, raising questions about future of wind power in NH
May 28, 2014
NHPR: Developer pulls plug on wind farm proposed for Newfound Lake area
Union Leader: Spanish wind company Iberdrola pulls out of Newfound area project
Concord Monitor: NH wind project nixed amid concerns over 2nd plant
Concord Monitor: Committee combines bills on PSNH divestiture, wind farms
May 20, 2014
Union Leader: Fire investigators to check on Groton wind farm’s progress
April 22, 2014
Union Leader: Latest Groton wind farm fight: Snow plowing
April 20, 2014
Union Leader: Groton Wind farm operator agrees to meet state demands
April 17, 2014
NHPR: Groton Wind and state reach agreement on turbine fire safety
April 16, 2014
NHPR: Public counsel: Hearings on widening road to wind turbines should be held in Coos
April 9, 2014
NHPR: Wind farm owner OK with expanding ski slopes at Balsams if safety isn't an issue
April 7, 2014
Union Leader: Third wind farm company withdraws leases for Newfound-area project
April 4, 2014
Union Leader: Legislator calls for closing of Groton wind farm
April 2, 2014
Concord Monitor: NH Legislature considers new guidelines to regulate state wind energy
March 14, 2014
Union Leader: Senate passes standards for wind turbine siting
March 13, 2014
Concord Monitor: Danbury voters block wind energy developments with new ordinances
Union Leader: AMC objects to proposed test tower in Cardigan Mountain area
NHPR: NH Senate set to vote on bevy of energy bills
March 12, 2014
Union Leader: 3 NH towns vote for local control over wind farm projects
NHPR: Newfound area voters again show distaste for wind power at town meeting
March 10, 2014
Union Leader: Portuguese firm's wind-speed tower request creates concern
March 7, 2014
NHPR: Tension and suspicion between wind farm host towns and neighbors
March 6, 2014
Union Leader: Hebron voters to decide on wind-power projects, budget Tuesday
March 2, 2014
Seacoast Online: Rep. Cushing: Move to explore wind power is 'win-win'
March 1, 2014
WMUR: Independent power supplier customers get sticker shock
February 26, 2014
Union Leader: Iberdrola must file new application for Wild Meadows project
February 24, 2014
Union Leader: Wind farm firm puts application on hold to address safety issues at Groton site
February 23, 2014
Union Leader: Surging demand strains power grid's reliability
February 22, 2014
Citizen of Laconia: Wild Meadows wind project put on hold
Nashua Telegraph: NH wind farm plans on hold as owner faces questions over existing wind farm
Concord Monitor: N.H. wind project put on hold
NHPR: Wind developer puts Newfound project 'on hold'
Union Leader: Spanish wind farm company 'pauses' Newfound-area proposal
February 21, 2014
Valley News: N.H. Wind Project Put on Hold
February 20, 2014
Union Leader: Newfound Lake-area voters to weigh in on wind projects
Union Leader: Groton resident settles with wind farm company
NHPR: Energy developers critical, environmentalists hopeful on SEC reform
February 16, 2014
Seacoast Online: Senators unite to improve energy siting process
February 12, 2014
Nashua Telegraph: Every wind turbine in NH (well, the big ones) on one map
NHPR: Reforms to energy siting rules begin to take shape
February 6, 2014
Concord Monitor: New England power plant closings pinching supply
February 4, 2014
Seacoast Online: Bill to study off-shore wind received well
February 3, 2014
Union Leader: House vote on wind moratorium based on geography, not politics
February 1, 2014
Seacoast Online: Advocate touts wind energy bill
January 30, 2014
NHPR: No decision on Groton wind farm certificate until December
Eagle Tribune: N.H. House nixes moratorium on new energy projects
Citizen of Laconia: NH House kills moratorium on new energy projects bill
Seacoast Online: N.H. House kills moratorium on new energy projects
Union Leader: Moratorium fails for wind, other projects in NH House
WMUR: House kills wind turbine moratorium
January 29, 2014
Valley News: N.H. kills wind turbine moratorium
NHPR: House kills proposed moratorium on wind farms, transmission line projects
NHPR: How North Country voted on the moratorium on wind and electric transmission
Concord Monitor: House passes bill allowing keno, rejects moratorium on wind turbines
January 27, 2014
Valley News: Moratorium on wind killed in House
Union Leader: Bill calling for energy plan moratorium up for a vote
Union Leader: Critics fault Environment NH's report on wind farm plans
NHPR: House voting on moratorium on new energy projects
January 25, 2014
Nashua Telegraph: NH group seeks delay in wind plan
Citizen of Laconia: NH wind project needs time to complete application
January 24, 2014
Valley News: N.H. wind project wants more time for application
January 21, 2014
NHPR: N.H. House to take up wind, transmission moratorium
January 20, 2014
Union Leader: Wind power company criticized for response to state regarding Alexandria proposal
Union Leader: Wind power supporters plan to release report on benefits
January 17, 2014
Union Leader: State to hear complaints about Groton Wind farm
January 16, 2014
Union Leader: State to hear complaints about Groton Wind farm
January 15, 2014
Union Leader: State has questions on Iberdrola wind farm application
Union Leader: Antrim board to hear petition on wind farms
Citizen of Laconia: Wind application returned; delay bid denied
January 13, 2014
Union Leader: Iberdrola comments gets cool reception in Danbury, Alexandria
Union Leader: State: Alexandria, Danbury wind farm application 'incomplete'
Union Leader: Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forest petition: Hold off on wind project
January 11, 2014
Citizen of Laconia: Group seeks a delay in wind plan
Eagle Tribune: N.H. society group seeks delay in wind project
January 10, 2014
Union Leader: Developer says foes won't deter wind power project
Union Leader: AMC will intervene in Wild Meadows wind project
Concord Monitor: Forest preservation group seeks delay in wind plan
January 9, 2014
Union Leader: Alexandria selectmen vote to oppose wind farm proposal
January 7, 2014
Union Leader: Alexandria, Danbury residents to weigh in on wind energy plan
January 2, 2014
Union Leader: Man says Groton Wind turbine project turned his dream house into a nightmare
January 1, 2014
Union Leader: Antrim zoning ordinance would allow wind farms
December 26, 2013
NHPR: When siting utility projects those who want local control admire Colorado where a town can say "No!"
December 23, 2013
Union Leader: Wind project foes call on state to suspend it
December 20, 2013
Union Leader: Groton Wind turbines slated to start turning again shortly
December 19, 2013
Union Leader: Plymouth hosts hearing on bill for tougher scrutiny of power projects such as Northern Pass
December 18, 2013
Union Leader: Firm applies to build wind turbines in Danbury, Alexandria that could power 30,000 homes
NHPR: Public hearing: Site Evaluation Committee needs major changes
December 12, 2013
Seacoast Online: Maine Audubon attacked over report on wind farms
December 10, 2013
Union Leader: State: Fire Marshal can suspend Groton Wind turbine project
December 7, 2013
Valley News: For wind power, government extends permits for killing eagles
December 3, 2013
NHPR: Evaluating the Site Evaluation Committee
December 1, 2013
Foster's Daily Democrat: Offshore wind project faces deadlines
November 23, 2013
Valley News: Wind energy firm guilty in eagle deaths
November 22, 2013
NHPR: SEC public meetings: Should citizens have a role in approving utility projects?
November 10, 2013
Union Leader: Berlin sees drop in county tax as a result of wind farm valuation
November 7, 2013
Union Leader: Lawmakers see another chance for wind farm reform
Union Leader: A tough crowd turns out for wind farm meeting in Alexandria
November 6, 2013
Union Leader: Groton wind farm issues prompt state to set hearings
October 31, 2013
Valley News: Grafton cut from wind farm; project scaled back, has fewer turbines
October 21, 2013
Union Leader: ABC: 'Wind Turbine Syndrome' blamed for mysterious symptoms
October 7, 2013
NHPR: Wind developer Iberdrola will sell energy to Mass. utilities
Union Leader: Deal struck to sell NH wind farm power to Mass.
October 4, 2013
Union Leader: Iberdrola starts advanced development of 76MW, $150M Wild Meadows wind farm in New Hampshire
October 3, 2013
Concord Monitor: Hot topic: Windmills - Ugly? Lovely? (Or is that beside the point?)
September 9, 2013
Union Leader: New England anti-wind farm groups oppose development
August 21, 2013
Union Leader: Tensions flare at Coos County Commission meeting over Granite Reliable Power wind farm
August 16, 2013
Union Leader: Unincorporated towns fear tax hike leap due to wind farm valuation
August 15, 2013
Berlin Daily Sun: County commissioners promise Millsfield resident it will mitigate tax increase due to Granite Reliable Power wind farm
August 13, 2013
WMUR: Conference scheduled for issues with Groton wind farm
Union Leader: Wind farm approvals remanded back to zoning board
Union Leader: Coos County appeals state's valuation of wind farm to N.H. supreme court
August 12, 2013

Berlin Daily Sun: Wind farm approvals remanded back to zoning board
August 11, 2013
Foster's Daily Democrat: Connection is wind power's challenge
August 9, 2013
Valley News: Wind power can't reach customers
July 17, 2013
Union Leader: PSU study: Residents more responsive to wind farms if involved in process
July 11, 2013
Keene Sentinel: State rejects Antrim wind project again
July 10, 2013
New Hampshire Lakes and Mountains: Coos commissioners appeal DRA's equalized valuations in wind-farm UPs
Monadnock Ledger Transcript: Denial of wind project upheld
July 2, 2013

WMUR: New Hampshire residents have mixed feelings on wind farms
Keene Sentinel: Antrim selectmen agree to payment deal on proposed wind farm
Jun 26, 2013
Union Leader: New New Hampshire law changes criteria for site evaluation of energy projects
June 25, 2013

Keene Sentinel: Antrim resident again debating payment deal with wind farm developers
June 13, 2013
Union Leader: Governor to get bill to study changes to way Northern Pass, wind farms are sited
June 6, 2013
Union Leader: Ratepayers association opposes Cape Wind project
Union Leader: No permits filed with state for Wild Meadows wind project
Keene Sentinel: Antrim Wind Energy suggests more conservation land, one fewer turbine
June 5, 2013
Union Leader: No permits filed with state for Wild Meadows wind project
Union Leader: State won’t intervene; New Ipswich wind farm scrapped
March 29, 2013
NHPR: Senate opts for study on Northern Pass and wind farms
Concord Monitor: Senate rejects moratorium on wind farms and Northern Pass
March 24, 2013
WMUR: Capital Beat: Renewed push at State House for a moratorium on wind farms
March 19, 2013
Citizen of Laconia: NH bill would 'pause' wind-farm projects
March 18, 2013
Union Leader: Wind farm foes in Newfound Lake area have say during voting at town meetings
March 16, 2013

Union Leader: Groton voters OK one wind farm article, reject another
March 12, 2013
NHPR: Newfound voters reject wind farms
Union Leader: Wind farm proposal loses in Grafton
March 6, 2013
NHPR: Another wind farm eyes the Lakes Region
March 4, 2013
Union Leader: Wind farms inspire email blast to NH lawmakers
February 19, 2013
NHPR: Wind farm moratorium proposal splits environmental community
February 18, 2013
Union Leader: Wind farm opponents: Slow down
February 13, 2013
Concord Monitor: State rejects Antrim wind farm proposal due to concerns from abutters
February 11, 2013
Union Leader: State rejects Antrim wind farm project
February 10, 2013
Union Leader: Wind farm giant tilting at windmill 'myths'
February 8, 2013
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: Committee rejects Antrim wind project
January 25, 2013
NHPR: Wind farm owner and Coos County wrangle over payments
January 20, 2013
Union Leader: Wind farm expert says projects hold little benefit for NH
January 18, 2013
Union Leader: Group opposing wind power offers info forum
January 2, 2013
Union Leader: Wind farm developer asks for state to take over case
December 26, 2012
Sentinel Source: Decision date set on Antrim wind farm
December 10, 2012
Union Leader: Petition challenges 37-turbine project near Newfound Lake
February 4, 2012
Sentinel Source: Wind farm files for OK in Antrim
November 9, 2011
Sentinel Source: Antrim voters reject wind energy rules
Union Leader: Antrim nixes wind farm restrictions
September 28, 2011
Union Leader: Opinion: A NH Solyndra? Wind farm gets fed loan
September 13, 2011
NHPR: Wind Turbine Project Closes Roads To Hunters
March 24, 2009
NHPR: The Public Gets Its Say on Wind Farm