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March 13. 2014 7:29PM

Senate passes standards for wind turbine siting

CONCORD — The state Senate Thursday adopted legislation setting up specific standards and requirements for the siting of wind turbines in New Hampshire. Passage came on a voice vote.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said SB 281 provides the state Site Evaluation Committee with criteria for siting wind turbines to “protect those who may be negatively impacted.”

“It sets up the process and criteria for the SEC to judge applications, which is something we do not have today,” he said. “This language will give guidance to the SEC overall above and beyond” broader legislation that was passed last year.

“It is not intended to block projects, but it’s meant to allow for the protection of neighbors of wind projects,” Bradley said.

Under the bill, the SEC must consider “the visual impact” of wind turbines at least in a 10-mile radius of the facility, as well as the “cumulative impacts to natural, scenic, recreational and cultural resources.”

The SEC must consider “set-back requirements to protect property owners from undue health and safety impacts such as noise, shadow flicker and ice throw.”

The bill says the SEC must also come up with standards for sound generated by the facility and must weigh impacts on plants and other natural resources and wildlife. It must also ensure the applicant has a fire protection plan.

The SEC must also ensure the prospective project has developed a “site decommissioning and restoration plan” before it receives approval.

And, under the bill, the SEC must ensure “mitigation measures” are in place to minimize “aesthetic, ecological, health and property value impacts.”

The Senate adopted an amendment removing a provision of the original bill that would require a developer to provide a “property value guarantee” to nearby property owners.


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