Wind Power Restrictions

LFDA Editor

Four electricity-producing wind power plants operate in state of New Hampshire:

The wind power plants 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.The Berlin project is managed by Massachusetts-based firm Solaya. 

Controversy in Groton

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 closed its investigation into the Groton facility in June 2015.

Canceled Projects

In December 2013, Iberdrola Renewables also filed an application to build a 23-turbine wind power plant 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.

Current Proposals

Another proposed wind power plant, 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 project would have on the area. Developer Eolian Renweable Energy submitted a revised plan for a nine-turbine, 28-megawatt plant in December 2014. 

Legislative Developments

In 2013, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed 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 turbines and other electricity-generating facilities.  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 on August 1, 2014.

 

 

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

By LFDA Editor

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.

"Against" Position

By LFDA Editor

Critics argue that wind power plants 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.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Killed in the House

Permits a representative of a municipality affected by a proposed energy facility to be a member of the Site Evaluation Committee for the sole purpose of voting on an application affecting his or her community.

Killed in the House

Requires a certificate for an energy facitility to contain monitoring procedures and "reasonable terms and conditions" that the Site Evaluation Committee deems necessary.

Killed in the House

Establishes a committee to study offshore wind energy production.

Killed in the House

Requires an energy project to receive public approval anywhere the project's structures are visible.

Killed in the House

Places a moratorium on all wind turbine and transmission line projects until the state develops a "comprehensive energy plan."

Killed in the House

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.

Signed by Governor

Givies the Public Utilities Commission the power to force PSNH to sell its power plants. This bill also requires the state Site Evaluation Committee to address scenic impacts, sound impacts, fire protection plans, and more when evaluating wind farm proposals.

Signed by Governor

Establishes a committee to study offshore wind energy production and other ocean power technology.

Tabled in the House

Sets limits on large wind farms, for example limiting the height of turbines to 250 feet.

Killed in the House

Requires an economic impact analysis for future energy projects to determine what they will mean for jobs and incomes in local communities.

Signed by Governor

Establishes a state energy council to develop an energy strategy.

Signed by Governor

Requires an evaluation of the Site Evaluation Committee, which is responsible for approving new energy projects like the wind farm in Antrim.

Should NH restrict further wind power development?

FOR
REPRESENTATIVES

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UNDECIDED
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AGAINST
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Comments

Ananta Gopalan
- Hampton

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 8:45pm

In the early 1960s, Rachael Carson wrote a book entitled "Silent Spring" which chronicled how the use of DDT in particular was endangering the population of raptors, such as eagles, hawks and others because of potential genetic mutation of their eggs and campaigned for the ban of DDT.  DDT up until that point had been (and still is) the most efficient, effective and safe means of destroying mosquitoes that are responsible for a host of diseases for many hundreds of years.  The US and the Western Europe had wiped out malaria and yellow fever in the 1940s and 1950s.  In 1973, DDT was banned.  The UN banned its use in Africa.  Many of the populous countries in Asia did not go along with the ban and eliminated malaria using DDT.  The result of that ban in the last 40 years had been the untimely deaths of 50 million African babies due to malaria.  DDT substitutes had not been effective at all.  Years of research have proven that DDT is quite harmless to humans and its connection to mutation of eggs of the raptors could not be proved scientifically.

In 2013, the Obama administration has provided a 30-year approval to operate the giant windmills even though there is incontrovertible evidence that those windmills kill eagles, hawks, falcons, bats by the hundreds.  The windmills represent the most backward thinking technology that can never be viable because they require gathering energy from a diffused source which is unpredictable.  Windmills produce less than 1% of US energy while depleting the populations of some of the protected species of the birds.  So, where are the Audubon Society, World Wild Life Foundation people and the Sierra Club?  Where are their lawyers filing law suits in courts to save the eagles, our national symbol?  Their disgusting silence reveals their true colors.

How about criminalizing the coal power plants by those same groups because they emit immeasurably small quantities of mercury?  While they are busy shutting down the coal fired plants because of immeasurable mercury, they are applauding the use of the same mercury at 100 times the level of coal emissions in each of the CFL bulbs which contain 0.3 grams of the toxic substance. They are all in favor of the stupid law enacted to ban the safe incandescent bulbs.  Imagine that.  In America, in the land of the free, we can not even choose our own light bulbs.  FDA even warned us a few years ago not to eat tuna fish because of comparatively very low dosage of mercury.  Where are the self proclaimed guardians of environments protesting the introduction of millions of mercury laden bulbs in our homes?

By the way, the Sierra Club tried to shut down the huge coal-fired power plants operating on the tribal lands of the Hopi people in Arizona by sending demonstrators and agitators there.  The Native people threw them all out.  They can not stand to see poor Native American people wanting to prosper using their lands and resources. 

The so called environmental activists such as Sierra Club, WWF and Audubon Society are all hypocrites.  They all serve to promote the anti-capitalistic agenda.  They don't really care about environment and elevation of people all over the world from famine and disease.  Their goal, it appears judging from their actions, is to advance collectivism and invalidate individual property rights.

Ananta Gopalan
- Hampton

Sun, 05/05/2013 - 9:56pm

The recently posted article about licensing issues with the wind farms in New Hampshire bemoans how siting delays are affecting the deployment of wind power.

It highlights aesthetics as the central issue in licensing. That may be at the level of bureaucracy deciding on approval.  However, the article failed to mention all the birds the wind farms are killing. It mentions about the California wind farm set up by those pioneers from UMass operating in New Hampshire. It fails to mention the hundreds of eagles being destroyed by wind farms there. All of a sudden, we don't hear a peep out of the environmental organizations who don't seem to be reluctant to be unruly at every other energy source! Imagine that in a state that reduced irrigation water in the most productive San Joaquin valley because of small fish called Delta smelt being threatened.

In addition to killing birds by the hundreds, being unsightly and producing unacceptable sound and vibrations, wind power produces when it can (and not 24/7) measly amounts of usable power. All that for so little power produced!!!. 

Wind power can never be viable because it is not in concentrated form and available whenever needed. Think about it.  We used to use sailing ships (wind power) to get to England and it used to take anywhere from four to six weeks or longer. Steam power replaced sailing ships and cut the time to one week.

Ability to control the energy and to have power any time at any level is the advancement that cannot be duplicated with the wind power. Electrical energy produced by wind turbines is no different. 

Wind operates a generator instead of providing motive power through sails.  There is no way to store electrical energy in massive quantities. When the wind dies (and it is often) that energy delivery to the grid goes down with it requiring another form of generator to pick up the slack.

You need an equivalent generating source that is reliable, available and on line, waiting.  In fact, Scottish Wind farms have reported about only about 15% of nameplate rating delivery sustainable in the years they have been in operation.  So, you need to install turbines over-sized by about seven times making it capital inefficient. Those fundamental facts of physics can not be overcome no matter which politician and environmental group favors wind power.

The government steps in and subsidizes (through tax payers or rate payers) not only the construction but also the cost of the electricity to make wind power a political choice.  People have to pay for it one way or another. Without government subsidy throughout its life at every stage of its installation and operation wind power can never make it.

The state of New Hampshire must get out of the power generation business. 

Bettina DeCosta
- Campton

Sun, 11/30/2014 - 9:18pm

As a resident near Plymouth, I continued to feel sad and frustrated by the present of the Wind Turbines that scar our beautiful landscape. I know this is old news to most and do not want to repeat what others have already commented on. I do feel it is important to express my thoughts as we as taxpayers and residents have the right and duty to others in our community to live in the best environment possible. I have so often walked the back roads, hiked through the woods, floated down the river or on one of the pristine lakes while gazing out at the beautiful mountains. I have climbed to the top of rattlesnake mountain and looked out over what used to be a spectacular view. 

Now I am saddened and depressed to see the scarred mountainside that the Wind Turbines dominate. What used to help me relax, feel calm and at peace now have the effect of a sick feeling inside. Two of my children have majored and minored in environmental studies, and both have stated the negatives of the wind turbines far outweigh the positives. The emotional effect of looking at the extensive damage to our beautiful mountains is bad enough, but that fact that they destroy our wildlife, have minimal impact on our carbon footprint, and potentially can cause extensive fires, to name a few of the negatives, brings me to the conclusion the only path is to remove the turbines before more damage is done.

BrianDunn's picture
Brian Dunn
- Henniker

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:32pm

I work for a man who owns 109 acres high up on a mountain side in New Hampshire. I can assure you it is constantly windy at this location. It got us to debating what we could do with that land. I had the idea to lease a portion of the land for a wind farm. I have heard from local firefighters that the town and towns people would not support it, that the neighbors do not want to hear the whooshing of turbines and it infringes on their peace. In my life experience almost every person I talk seems not to be in favor of wind farms.

 

I am a Libertarian. I believe property rights are one of the most sacred and important rights we have in this country. The American dream is owning your own land, building your own home and raising your family there. We all pay property taxes and this is where it ends. Your privately owned land is just that, your land. The man I am speaking about bought the land within the last few years. I advised him that if his neighbors wanted any say about what goes on, within his 109 acres that they should have bought the property. They did not, he did. It is his right to develop his land and not be bothered by the back seat drivers who were not ambitious enough to buy the land for themselves. I am currently waiting to hear back from potential companies to gauge is there is an interest in building turbines at this location.

 

Oil is a fossil fuel. Oil is finite and will run out. At some point we are going to have to begin invest in alternative energies for the future of this country. I am of the mind we need to begin actively doing this sooner than later. In 2014, Germany has successfully adapted 40% of its power supply to renewable weather powered energy. If bureaucrats refuse to let us frack and drill our own reserves than we can not be dependent on international resources. If fracking, drilling and offshore drilling are removed from the table, investment in domestic alternative energies is our only solution.

Claude Roessiger
- Wolfeboro

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 10:44pm

I am just returned from New Mexico, where a discussion with persons involved in some development projects led me to understand that New Mexico has some very wise legislation regarding mountain summits and ridge lines: nothing may be erected upon them. When we consider what we are doing to our once lovely state with wind power’s monster towers, and to our once dark country nights with lines of red blinking lights, and that we are doing this for a power source that is uneconomical and inefficient—save for the money it earns some well-to-do landowners, through subsidies paid by us—we must ask what legacy we intend in our names?

 

The corruption that is the inevitable metastasis of subsidy now extends beyond the pockets of wealthy landowners to the towns they have bought off in pursuit of their object: the lower taxes offered by the payments from the wind power installations all but assure the perpetuation of the racket, until the people themselves are suborned. But let us make no mistake, for the source of the ill is the subsidy, and that is firmly on the heads of our legislators: knaves if they know what they do, and fools if they do not. For our once lovely countryside and mountains, a tear.

 

Claude Roessiger

Wolfeboro, NH

 

#scenicNH  #windpower  #preserveNH  #nhenergy

johns97's picture
John Sullivan
- Methuen

Mon, 04/02/2012 - 11:06pm

It doesn't take an eye-popping trip to the filling station or an onerous home heating bill to get even the most retro, fossil-fuel-loving American to begin contemplating energy alternatives. Nukes? Wind?

Anyone relying on New Hampshire's own Seabrook Station nuclear power plant as the hope of green energy's future has to have been chastened by last week's chastisement of the plant by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant, never a favorite among environmentalists, was chided over failing concrete and its dim prospects for long-term operability.

According to the Hampton Union, the nuke plant is safe for now, but inspectors reiterated concerns -- first raised in a 2011 inspection -- over "potentially problematic conditions, including a large amount of groundwater infiltration and calcium carbonate deposits, corroded steel supports, base plates and piping, corroded anchor bolts, pooling of water, and cracking and spalling of concrete." 

Not exactly Three Mile Island-level stuff, sure, but the potential for radioactive havoc makes wind farms look more and more sensible, right?

Well, it depends who you ask. Live Free or Die Alliance member Claude Roessiger recently fired off a cri de coeur in which he bemoaned the "landscape desecrated by windmills."

And opponents of a possible wind farm in Antrim launched a Facebook page last June in an effort to "stop indiscriminate wind farm development in one quite well-populated area!"

But the antipathy toward wind turbines isn't restricted to aesthetics. In an article for The Spectator, essayist Matt Ridley decries what he sees as wind power's legacy of "killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine."

And the payoff? "To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero," he writes.

Granted, others are far more optimistic about wind turbines' role regarding the Granite State's economy and energy needs. However, it's clear that a fossil-fuel-free future for New Hampshire and the rest of America is a long way off.

paulr's picture
Paul Roden
- Morrisville

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 10:07pm

Wind energy is not the only source of renewable energy.  Wind is the fastest source of renewable energy.  Everybody must get a hold of the Nov. 2009 issue of Scientific American, where two scientists, Dr. Mark Jacobson at Stanford University and Dr. Mark Delucchi lay out a plan to power the Earth with existing technology without fossil or nuclear fuel.  Nuclear power and natural gas or oil extracted with fracking will produce more wastes than any wind turbine, photovoltaic array will ever produce.  In the Marcellus Shale, the drinking water of 15 million people for generations to come will be effected by the chemicals from fracking that are toxic, carcinogenic, endocrine disruptor, and can't be separated from the water once used.  Tailings from both nuclear power and fracking drilling have to be kept out of the biosphere for ever.  I sincerely doubt the rare earth elements needed for wind turbines and solar photovoltaic will produce any where near the volume of wastes produced world wide by nuclear and fossil fuel extraction.  The burning of the fracked gas produces carbon dioxide, a green house gas which we don't need.

The solution is a mixture of solar, wind, tidal, hydroelectric, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electricity sources, geothermal, biomass alcohol and methane, smart grids, more mass transit, upgrading appliances and machines at our factories.  Restructuring towns and cities with less traffic and more mass transit.

I have a petition on the Whitehouse.gov Website to request that the US Department of Energy, investigate and publish a comprehensive plan to convert the country to 100% renewable energy by 2030 with existing technology and report their plans to the American People.  The url is

http://wh.gov/vmC3  We have until March 22, 2013 to gather 100,000 signatures for Obama to respond.

Joseph Settipane
- Wolfeboro

Sun, 07/22/2012 - 12:37am

I am amazed at how many intelligent people have been conned by windpower. Here is an energy source that makes no economic sense without huge government (taxpayer) subsidies, produces tiny amounts of unreliable energy, and destroys our environment.

We willingly sacrifice the beauty of our mountains, the pride of NH, as we skin our mountain tops to replace trees with 400 foot high industrial propellers (do people realize how tall that is?). Suddenly, we don't seem to mind killing birds, and making such a noisy racket that people can't live near these power plants, and certainly hiking in their area will end. Moreover, since they are mechanical monsters, they will require lots of maintenance, i.e., truck traffic running around our mountain tops, adding to their lack of long term competitiveness. Since they consist of a large number of small power plants, they require tons of wires to connect them all together and into the grid, the production and installation of which are all negative to the environment. And most importantly, they do not replace power plants using other fuels. Since the wind is so unreliable other power plants have to be built anyway, and turning them on and off to jibe with the fickle wind has a more negative impact on the environment than running them continuously.

Everyone in the state seemed to rise up against Northern Pass, which was all about towers ruining our natural land, but the poor people of Groton who object to this fiasco have been thrown overboard.

Finally, in an economic era when we endlessly complain about taxes, deficits, and family incomes, we support an energy source that eats away at our income, causes higher taxes, and adds to our fiscal deficits, at home, here in NH and in our national governement.

If it is the 150 jobs that caught your interest, there are plenty of way to create uneconmic taxpayer funded jobs, let's just start hiring people to sweep the streets. They would be better jobs that burdening our citizens with the long term economic and environmental devastation of wind power.

Where are our economists, where are our environmentalists, where are our home rule advocates? What am I missing Granite Staters?

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Issue Status

Developer Eolian Renewable Energy submitted a revised proposal for a nine turbine, 28-megawatt wind farm in December 2014. The project is currently being considered by the state Site Evaluation Committee, with a final ruling expected sometime in September 2016. 

A full breakdown of the SEC schedule can be seen here

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