Should New Hampshire approve more wind farms?
By: LFDA Editor
As of the beginning of 2013, three electricity-producing wind farms were operating 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.
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.
Iberdrola Renewables now plans to file an application to build a 23-turbine wind farm in Alexandria and Danbury. In October 2013 the company signed an agreement to sell electricity from the wind farm to Massachusetts. Critics question how the wind farm will benefit New Hampshire if the power goes to Massachusetts. Iberdrola says the wind farm will benefit all of New England by decreasing the reliance on fossil fuels, thereby decreasing pollution and electricity rates. The project must still be approved by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee.
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. In December 2009, the American Wind Energy Association released a report claiming the sounds generated by wind turbines are not harmful to human health.
Rep. Robert Cushing (D-Hampton) has requested a 2014 bill to study off-shore wind farms.
Rep. David Murotake (R-Nashua) and Rep. Laurence Rappaport (R-Colebrook) have requested a 2014 bill "relative to the issuance of certificate for energy facilities by the site evaluation committee." The details of that bill are not yet public.
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 bill was retained in the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee and may be voted on by the full House in 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.
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...