ANTRIM — Residents who live close to the Antrim Wind Project near Gregg Lake say the project is out of compliance with state guidelines, and that they have not been given a chance to weigh in on the problems.
Antrim Wind, a project owned by Canadian utility company TransAlta, is made up of nine wind turbines spread out across 1,700 acres in Antrim. The project was approved by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee with limits on the amount of noise the turbines could generate, as well as limits on the lighting on the turbines.
“They are out of compliance with the SEC ruling,” said Rich Block, who lives close to the turbines. “And the SEC seems to have forgotten that Antrim exists.”
The project was completed last summer and the owners went before the SEC for a hearing in November, where the committee was set to go over the post-construction issues. Block said the SEC never properly notified Antrim residents about that hearing. It was during that hearing that TransAlta was given a waiver on the noise testing it is required to do on site.
“I think people in Antrim are getting pretty outraged by this,” Block said.
He said he sees flashing lights nearly 24 hours a day, whereas the turbines were only supposed to flash lights when airplanes approached. Some residents who live close by say their windows shake at the noise of the turbines, he said.
Residents Barbara Berwick and Janice Longgood, along with Lisa Linowes from activist organization Industrial Wind Action Group, filed a motion for a rehearing after the Nov. 23 SEC meeting because they say they were never notified. Longgood and Berwick have filed previous noise complaints about the project, and have brought their complaints to the SEC over the past year. They say they would have testified at the November hearing if they had known about it.
A January letter to the SEC from state Sens. Jeb Bradley, Bob Giuda, Ruth Ward and Rep. Michael Vose demanded a new hearing on the noise issues as well as other concerns.
“The Committee took a decision at the meeting after having heard from only one side of a disputed matter,” the letter states. “This is astonishing, and frankly inexcusable.”
The SEC has scheduled a meeting this week via video to discuss the November decision, though TransAlta is objecting to the request for a rehearing, stating in a motion before the committee that there is no good cause for a rehearing.
The meeting is Thursday at 2 p.m. and can be accessed via the agenda posted to the SEC’s website at https://www.nhsec.nh.gov/