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Company won’t build test tower in Alexandria


ALEXANDRIA — The Portuguese windpower developer planning a project on the ridgelines of the Newfound Lake area has withdrawn a plan to build a test tower in town.

Whether that means that EDP Renewables — formally known as Energias de Portugal — has abandoned long-term plans for its proposed Spruce Wind project was not known Wednesday as company officials could not be reached for comment.

But a statewide group opposed to “industrial wind” projects that played a role in the decision by a Spanish wind company’s decision to scrap a similar plan in 2014 said Wednesday it believes the Portuguese developer is now listening to area residents.

At town meetings in recent years, voters have repeatedly expressed opposition to new wind-energy plants in the region. Opponents of such plans say “wind farm” projects would ruin the scenic character of the region and crush the area’s tourism industry.

“We believe Energias de Portugal finally did the right thing in Alexandria,” said Larry Goodman, a spokesman for Alexandria-based New Hampshire Wind Watch. “Voters in all nine regional Newfound/Cardigan/Mascoma towns, including Alexandria, have resoundingly rejected any and all new industrial wind plants in this region, including the massive 50-story turbines complex proposed by Energias de Portugal.”

EDP had been proposing a $140 million, 60-megwawatt, 15- to 25-turbine windpower project. Company officials met with town residents at board meetings in 2014, only to find most in attendance opposed to their plans.

Company officials told the Union Leader at the time that the project was still going forward, however.

At Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, it was announced that EDP had withdrawn a financial commitment — a bond — for a meteorological tower in Alexandria, which was planned to help the company decide if it should continue with the project, company officials said.

Jennifer Dostie, Alexandria’s administrative assistant, said the town is not sure of EDP’s intentions going forward.

“For us, it just means that without the bond, the company would be in violation of the law if it were to build the tower,” Dostie said. The amount of the bond was not disclosed in company communications, she said.

In 2015, citing “the current political and regulatory climate in New Hampshire,” Iberdrola Renewables of Spain, which successfully built the Groton Wind plant in 2012, scrapped its plan for its proposed $150 million Wild Meadows wind facility in the Newfound Lake/Cardigan Mountain region. New Hampshire Wind Watch was among the groups leading the opposition to that project.

dseufert@newstote.com