Bill calling for energy plan moratorium up for a vote
Groton Wind LLC, a 24-turbine, 48-megawatt wind -energy company, was built in 2010 and 2011 with the state's approval. (COURTESY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE WIND WATCH)
They failed to muster enough votes for a similar bill last year.
The vote also comes about a month after Iberdrola Renewables submitted an application for its proposed 23-turbine Wild Meadows Wind Farm in the towns of Danbury and Alexandria. Both towns have gone on record opposing the project, as has the Appalachian Mountain Club, New Hampshire Wind Watch and several other organizations.
Reilly said many opposing the moratorium say wind power is “green,” while what’s really at stake is money.
“It can’t hurt to wait; those who can’t wait are talking ‘green,’ when the only green they are waiting for is cash,” he said.
Rep. Glenn Cordelli, R-District 4, said the moratorium makes “common sense.”
A sore spot among opponents of the Wild Meadows plan is the lack of local control. The company proposing the plant has secured leases with private landowners, and the Site Evaluation Committee is the permitting authority. The towns are guaranteed some input in the form of “a seat at the table” in the committee’s process, but town votes and decisions are in no way binding.
Backus said he isn’t opposed to Wild Meadows.
“We should look carefully at it, but we need to look at it,” he said. “Wind power brings us renewable energy without all the toxic waste you get from other forms of power.”
As to the residents in towns around Newfound Lake and Cardigan Mountain who worry about what they see as ugly 492-foot lighted wind towers lining their scenic vistas, Backus said that sentiment may be overstated. He said worries expressed by opponents that the towers may drop property values and hurt the area’s tourism economy are questionable.
Iberdrola Renewables’ Paul Copleman said his company opposes a moratorium.
“The idea that the Legislature is considering a moratorium creates uncertainty when companies are considering significant long-term investments in the state,” Copleman said.
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