Policy: Environment & Energy

NH wind project nixed amid concerns over 2nd plant

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News,Business,New Hampshire,Energy and Environment,Wind Energy

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A proposal for a 23-turbine wind farm in central New Hampshire is dead because of an unfavorable political and regulatory climate in the state, the project's developer said Tuesday.

Iberdrola Renewables said it will abandon the Wild Meadows project in Danbury and Alexandria. In February, Iberdrola had said the $150 million project was temporarily on "pause" while it worked on outstanding issues at a 24-turbine farm in Groton. At the time, company spokesman Paul Copleman said the company remained committed to Wild Meadows.

"While we continue to make significant progress resolving various outstanding issues at our Groton wind farm, our experience with that situation combined with the current political and regulatory climate in New Hampshire leave us no choice but to end our efforts to develop and invest $150 million at the potential Wild Meadows wind farm," Copleman said Tuesday in a prepared statement.

Wild Meadows had called for 492-foot-tall turbines. New Hampshire officials tout such projects as important steps toward generating 25 percent of the state's energy from renewable sources by 2025.

The project was opposed by some groups that say wind power is not an economical answer to the region's power challenges and would ruin the state's natural beauty.

At the Groton plant, questions arose over whether the state's Department of Environmental Services had the authority to allow a change in the location of a building and some turbines and if the state fire marshal should have been given building, site and fire protection plans before or during construction. The fire marshal also said automatic fire suppression systems should have been installed in the turbines.

Iberdrola also operates a similar wind farm in Lempster.

On Jan. 13, the state's Site Evaluation Committee said the Wild Meadows application was incomplete because, among other things, it didn't contain the results of an ongoing study into the effect the turbines would have on birds and bats. The company said at the time it would address the questions from the committee but later missed a 10-day deadline to submit new information.

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