State has questions on Iberdrola wind farm applicationBy DAN SEUFERT
Union Leader Correspondent
January 14. 2014 9:32PM
The state has deemed incomplete the application from Spanish wind farm company Iberdrola Renewables for its proposed 23-turbine Wild Meadows Wind Farm in Alexandria and Danbury, and has given the company 10 days to file new information.
In Monday’s ruling, the Site Evaluation Committee also denied a motion from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to suspend the Wild Meadows application process until a review of the SEC’s operations is complete. It also ruled two motions filed by local groups opposing the project out of order.
The SEC, the state’s authority for permitting new energy projects, received the application for the 75.9 megawatt wind farm project on Dec. 12. Various state agencies were sent the application, and three — the Department of Environmental Services’ Water Division, the Division of Historical Resources and the state Fire Marshal — asked for more information, SEC attorney Michael Iacopino said.
DES officials said the application needs more specifics regarding wetlands mitigation, Iacopino said. The historical resources division said the application lacked the required archaeological inventory forms; the fire marshal wants the wind turbines to have onboard fire suppression systems, he said.
In addition, SEC vice-chair Amy L. Ignatius found the application lacked specific information about the New Hampshire Audubon Society’s ongoing survey of raptors.
Iberdrola “may supplement the application with the missing information within 10 days of receipt of this order or may thereafter file a new application containing the missing information,” the SEC said.
Iberdrola officials said they will comply with the requests.
“We recognize that the SEC wants to give this project a very high level of scrutiny and ensure maximum coordination between all state agencies and local government,” said Iberdrola’s Paul Copleman.
The rejection of the Forest Society’s motion, which asked for a delay in the consideration process as state officials are studying the SEC for improvements, was necessary because Ignatius found no public interest in delaying the project “for new rules next year, which are unknown to us now,” Iacopino said.
The Forest Society is considering its options, said Jack Savage, vice president for communications and outreach.
Two other motions, from New Hampshire Wind Watch and the Wild Meadows Legal Fund, were ruled “out of order” because they urged the SEC to find the application to be incomplete. The motions “were filed with less than six days left in the period in which completeness must be reviewed by the committee truncating the period of time for any effective response by the applicant,” the SEC said.
Wind Watch’s Scott Piehler thanked the SEC, saying it “has done a commendable job in its review of the Wild Meadows project.
“The proposal was deemed ‘incomplete’ by Chair Ignatius and the rest of the SEC recognized Iberdrola’s proposal for what it was: a hurriedly assembled document intended to beat the deadline imposed by a tax credit that ended at the end of the year.”
“Missing wildlife studies, incomplete descriptions of business relationships, inadequate information for water, fire and historical resources. These are not NIMBY objections. These represent the failure of a company to follow the rules. Businesses have a right to state their case. Iberdrola has, and it has been found wanting.”
Wild Meadows Legal Fund’s Peter Silbermann said his group will look into its options, and is pleased the SEC concluded Iberdrola’s application is not complete.