in News Departments > Policy Watch
print the content item



Last month, New Hampshire state lawmakers quietly introduced a bill that would suspend further wind project development in the Granite State. More than a month later, that proposal is gaining considerable attention from both state representatives and local residents, some of whom claim that wind turbines have damaging effects on tourism and property values.

This week, the legislation was debated at a hearing held by the New Hampshire House of Representatives' Science, Technology and Energy Committee. According to local media outlet WMUR, hundreds of local residents showed up for the hearing to support the wind energy moratorium.

Wind energy proponents obviously have a different view of the bill, which would also place a temporary ban on the development of electric transmission line projects in the state. The New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, for one, says it opposes the legislation because it “sends a dangerous signal that New Hampshire is against a proven source of clean and renewable local power.”

According to statistics from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), New Hampshire has approximately 125 MW of wind energy capacity online and another 256 MW of wind projects in the queue. Despite the state’s relatively modest installed-capacity total, New Hampshire has ample potential for development, as the state harbors a wind resource of about 2.135 GW, according to AWEA.

One developer that has been active in New Hampshire is Iberdrola Renewables, which has two operating wind farms in the state: the 48 MW Groton project and the 24 MW Lempster project. According to Iberdrola spokesperson Paul Copleman, a wind power moratorium would only hurt the state’s economy.

“We think the moratorium doesn’t make sense for New Hampshire, in large part because of the tremendous local economic benefits that wind farms provide,” he explains, adding that the projects provide millions of dollars in state and local tax payments and created hundreds of construction jobs during difficult economic times.

Even without a moratorium, New Hampshire already has one of the most challenging regulatory environments for developing wind projects.

“We’ve found that the current permitting process in the state, as led by the state Site Evaluation Committee - which brings together the input from a variety of state agencies - is one of the more challenging and thorough processes we’ve undergone anywhere in the U.S.,” Copleman tells NAW. “Of course, any development effort also incorporates local and federal collaboration and oversight, too.”

Iberdrola anticipated opposition to the Lempster project, as it was the state’s first utility-scale wind farm, Copleman says, adding that the company engaged local stakeholders and interested parties to rectify concerns early in the development process.

A New Hampshire wind energy moratorium has the potential to affect Iberdrola, as the company currently has an 80 MW project under development in Merrimack and Grafton Counties.

The wind-moratorium bill has eight sponsors in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, all of whom are Republican. Therefore, it may lack the critical bipartisan support needed to advance.

As a result of the November 2012 election, the balance of power in the State House shifted in favor of the Democrats, who generally oppose the bill. Meanwhile, the State Senate holds a 13-11 Democratic majority, and recently inaugurated Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has expressed her support for clean energy and environmental initiatives, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The legislation is due out of the committee by March 7.

Photo: A turbine spins at Iberdrola’s 48 MW Groton wind project, located in Grafton County, N.H.
Credit: Iberdrola Renewables




Trachte Inc._id1770
Latest Top Stories

Could New Desert Plan Spell The End Of California Wind Energy Development?

The California Wind Energy Association says it is disappointed with the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which was recently released by state and federal agencies.


New U.S. House Bill Includes Wind PTC Extension

U.S. representatives have introduced the Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act of 2014, which would extend the production tax credit (PTC) and other provisions through 2016.


Utility-Scale Wind And Solar Keep Getting Cheaper

A new study measures the levelized cost of energy from various technologies and suggests that the costs of utility-scale wind and solar power are catching up with those of traditional sources, even without subsidies.


The Song Remains The Same: Ontario Seeks More Science Before Lifting Offshore Ban

The Ontario government says the nearly four-year-old offshore wind moratorium will remain in place until the province fully understands the technology’s impact on the environment.


Why States Should Adopt A Renewable Portfolio Standard

A new study analyzes the potential benefits of state renewable energy mandates, as well as recommends what such policies should include.

Canwea_id1984
Renewable NRG_id1934
UnitedEquip_id1995
Future Energy_id2008