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Project manager says Spruce Ridge Wind Farm proposal likely to return

Union Leader Correspondent

April 24. 2017 10:16PM
From the southern end of Newfound Lake in Bristol, the turbines of the Groton Wind windfarm seem far away, but several groups are keeping their eyes on a proposed farm that would put 29 turbines across the western and northern ends of the lake. (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)

ALEXANDRIA — Interconnection Queue, a representative of Energias de Portugal (EDP), said the proposed Spruce Ridge Wind Farm — which calls for as many as 29 turbines in the Newfound Lake/Cardigan Mountain region — is not dead and will likely return.

Through its subsidiary, EDP Renewables of Houston, Texas, the company wants to build wind turbines in the northern and western portions of the Newfound Lake watershed in Alexandria, Canaan, Dorchester, Groton and Orange.

In March, the company withdrew a bond for the construction of a meteorological tower in Alexandria. The tower would have helped EDP determine the project’s overall viability as well as the optimal siting for the turbines.

The action generated speculation that Spruce Ridge was in trouble, something that received more weight when on April 10 EDP gave up its place on the ISO-NE Interconnection Queue. The Spruce Ridge Wind Farm was the 390th request out of 640 in the queue.

Jeffrey Nemeth, who is the Spruce Ridge project manager, said during a telephone interview on Monday it was premature to say Spruce Ridge was dead, and that it was “very possible that they (the five proposed siting communities) will see the company again.”

There was no time-frame yet for EDP to return to the communities, said Nemeth, who downplayed the significance of what opponents such as the New Hampshire Wind Watch said was Spruce Ridge’s demise when it was taken out of the ISO-NE queue.

“If you’re familiar with the ISO-NE process, you need to hit certain milestones to continue with the process” of having an energy project connected into the New England power grid, Nemeth said.

While not saying what the milestones were or the reason for the failure to achieve them, Nemeth said “getting back into the queue process would be just having us submit an interconnection request to NE-ISO.”

Larry Goodman of NH Wind Watch said Spruce Ridge’s return is not that straightforward.

For starters, voters in each of the siting communities have voted overwhelmingly against the Spruce Ridge project, said Goodman, who added that “Once a company withdraws from the ISO-NE Queue it costs time and money to get back in and start from scratch.”

Nemeth’s saying that Spruce Ridge will be back doesn’t answer the questions of why it was pulled from the ISO-NE queue, said Goodman, or why the meteorological tower was scrubbed.

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee wants the data from the tower, he continued, but so far, the committee has only negative endorsements for Spruce Ridge from the siting communities as well as four abutting towns.

“There is not a community here that wants their 500-foot turbines,” said Goodman, who wondered why EDP Renewables would “voluntarily start over again on a wind plant that has been resoundingly rejected by voters. The community sentiment only gets stronger, and the resolve to reject and fight this industrial blight, as most voters evidently see it, only gets stronger.”

Energy Alexandria

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