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January 19. 2014 7:46PM

Wind power supporters plan to release report on benefits

An environmental group, two wind power company representatives and a state legislator will conduct a conference call with New Hampshire reporters on Tuesday, in what some say is an attempt to scuttle House Bill 580, which calls for a state moratorium on new wind projects.

"As the New Hampshire State House considers legislation impeding clean and renewable wind power, environmental groups, wind companies, and elected officials join with Environment New Hampshire to release a new report that documents the environmental benefits from the growth of wind and discuss the future of wind energy development in New Hampshire," read the press notification from Environment New Hampshire.

The report will reveal wind power's impact on air pollution and predicts "emission reductions and water saved through 2018 if wind energy development isn't stymied by short-sighted policies," Environment New Hampshire said.

The report "is being released as state lawmakers consider legislation that would halt wind development in New Hampshire and just weeks after Congress failed to extend critical federal incentives for wind energy."

Taking part in the phone call will be N.H. Rep. Robert Backus, District 19; Jack Kenworthy, CEO of Eolian Renewable Energy and a manager of Antrim Wind; a representative from Iberdrola Renewables, which operates Groton Wind and which is proposing Wild Meadows Wind Farm in Alexandria and Danbury; and Madeline Page, federal field associate for Environment New Hampshire.

Asked about a 2012 study by Dr. Benjamin Luce of Lyndon State University, which showed that New Hampshire would reap little benefit from wind energy, Page said there is still benefit to be had.

"New Hampshire doesn't have as much capacity as some places, and there is only so much wind, of course, but there is still a lot of potential in New Hampshire, and we think wind is an important part of New Hampshire's future," she said.

New Hampshire Wind Watch, a watchdog group that opposes Iberdrola's proposed Wild Meadows project, said the environmental group is serving wind development interests over the wishes of New Hampshire residents.

"We believe Environment NH, the wind industry and now, evidently, Rep. Backus are misstating the purpose and intent of the bill before the Legislature," Wind Watch said in a statement.

"HB 580 aims to protect NH's environment and our unique scenic landscape from the apparent reckless placement of wind energy facilities by allowing the time needed to develop proper siting guidelines. We agree with the Forest Society, AMC and a host of other environmental and citizens groups that New Hampshire should not be permitting new large-scale wind projects before these guidelines are in place."

dseufert@newstote.com


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