Towns vote against new wind-power projectsBy DAN SEUFERT
Union Leader Correspondent
March 16. 2015 7:07PM
ALEXANDRIA — Four of the five towns chosen by a Portuguese developer for a proposed new wind energy facility voted for restrictions on new wind facilities or expressed their outright opposition for the project.
The towns of Alexandria, Canaan, Dorchester, Grafton and Orange await a proposal promised by EDP Renewables of Portugal, which filed plans on Nov. 5 with the Federal Aviation Administration for 29 wind turbines standing 499 feet in height in the five towns as part of its Spruce Wind project.
The state’s Site Evaluation Committee — not the towns themselves — has the authority to approve or disallow new large energy projects, such as wind power plants. EDP Renewables has not filed a plan with the state yet. An EDP Renewables representative told the New Hampshire Union Leader last fall the company would be approaching the towns in the first part of this year, but the towns say they have not yet been approached by the company.
A group opposing “industrial wind” plants in New Hampshire said EDP Renewables officials, who did not return calls Monday seeking comment, should take notice of the votes.
“EDP’s industrial complex spanning five towns has been overwhelmingly rejected by the voters of all towns except Canaan, which has yet to vote,” said Lori Lerner, president of New Hampshire Wind Watch. “The signal is clear. The message is simple. Your 50-story turbines are not wanted here, not now, not ever.”
In Dorchester on Saturday, voters overwhelming opposed new “industrial” wind facilities in Article 13, which is non-binding but is an advisory vote to the selectmen. The vote was 36 in favor of opposing new wind facilities, with three supporting the idea.
In Alexandria last week, residents voted on a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance to prohibit “wind resource extraction,” including exploratory data collecting activities. The ordinance passed 280 to 118.
In Orange last week, residents voted on a warrant article to oppose the wind project and the vote was 117 in opposition to the project, with seven supporting it.
In Groton last week, the town planning board’s Large Scale Wind Energy Ordinance passed 104-42. The ordinance sets new rules on wind projects and grants the planning board the authority to require preliminary review of site plans and to review and approve or disapprove site plans and issue authorization for the construction or operation of large wind energy systems, including meteorological towers.
Canaan did not have any warrant articles dealing with wind power on its ballot.
“When will Canaan residents be provided an opportunity to voice their position on industrial wind?” Lerner asked.