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New NH law changes criteria for site evaluation of energy projects

June 26. 2013 10:31PM

CONCORD — The state's site evaluation process will come under scrutiny and new criteria developed under Senate Bill 99, which Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law Wednesday.

Lawmakers want changes in the criteria of the site evaluation process which governs energy facilities such as wind farms and large transmission projects like Northern Pass.

"To create jobs, reduce energy costs, and strengthen our clean energy sector, we must pursue ways to strengthen our system for evaluating energy projects, especially to incorporate the evaluation of relative economic value and impact, while also recognizing and respecting the time, energy and investment that many businesses have already made in submitting proposals for new energy projects in our state," Hassan said in a statement.

She said SB 99 will provide resources to help state efforts to plan for its energy future.

The bill requires a review of the state's energy siting law and process, including the role of the public and municipalities, funding and staffing needs of the Site Evaluation Committee, and the use of transportation rights of way for energy infrastructure.

The bill requires the Site Evaluation Committee to adopt new rules to clarify siting requirements.The bill originally called for a moratorium on new energy projects until the study was complete. A moratorium would have prevented the Northern Pass transmission project to bring Hydro Quebec power to New England along a line stretching from the Canadian boarder to Londonderry as well as several wind farms proposed on ridges around Newfound Lake from seeking the site committee's approval.

Instead the bill was changed to call for the study and development of new criteria for deciding on applications.

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