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December 19. 2013 11:09PM

Groton Wind turbines slated to start turning again shortly

GROTON — The blades on the 24 wind turbines at Groton Wind have come to a halt because of a power pole problem.

Rumors have spread around town since the power-generating windmills stopped turning at the end of last week. Some thought the state had shut the operation down, as state officials are considering whether Groton Wind should have its operating certificate suspended or revoked.

But it's actually a shutdown due to some power pole problems, and the blades will soon be turning again, said Ed Cherian of Iberdrola Renewables, the company that built and runs the plant.

"We are doing some work on some power line poles at the Groton Wind Farm," Cherian said. "That work requires the project to be de-energized."

Groton Wind's 48-megawatt wind energy company was granted an operating permit in May of 2011. The facility was built and went online last December.

There have been complaints and concerns raised against Groton Wind from residents, the state fire marshal, and the neighboring town of Rumney. The state's Site Evaluation Committee, the permitting authority for such projects, will schedule hearings in late January on the complaints.

Because of alleged violations in building codes and fire safety concerns about parts of the Groton Wind plant, the SEC will be deciding whether to close the plant and remove its operating certificate.

Cherian and other Iberdrola officials have said they are in compliance with state codes and conditions for the plant, and say they are responding and have responded to the complaints and concerns raised.

Right now, Groton Wind just has a power pole problem to fix.

The stoppage of operations was done "in accordance with standard industry safety practices," Cherian said.

"The Federal Aviation Administration, ISO-New England, and Public Service Company of New Hampshire were all informed, as is standard operating procedure."

"The recent extreme weather, the cold and snow, has caused the work to take longer than anticipated but we expect it will be completed very soon. It was expected to be completed this week, although the snow (Tuesday) delayed some work."

dseufert@newstote.com


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