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Wind project foes call on state to suspend it

Union Leader Correspondent

December 22. 2013 8:32PM

BRISTOL — New Hampshire Wind Watch is calling on the state to suspend a proposal for the 75.9-megawatt, 23-turbine Wild Meadows project until a study of the Site Evaluation Committee and its process of siting of energy facilities is complete.

Iberdrola Renewables, the Spanish energy company headquartered in Portland, Ore., submitted an application on Dec. 13, to the SEC to build the Wild Meadows Wind Farm in Danbury and Alexandria, promising huge amounts of tax dollars to both towns.

If approved by the state, Wild Meadows would build 15 wind towers in Danbury and eight in Alexandria. Company officials say it will produce enough clean energy to power approximately 30,000 average homes each year and 90,000 homes at peak production, with the energy going to the regional power grid.

Iberdrola officials say estimated economic benefits include first-year payments of $695,000 to the town of Danbury, $370,000 to the town of Alexandria, up to $565,000 for New Hampshire's general revenue fund and $280,000 to local landowners, according to state officials.

Wind Watch officials said the project would negatively affect the "viewshed" of the Newfound Lake-Cardigan Mountain area, reducing tourist dollars and property values. At town meetings last March, both communities voted overwhelmingly against the proposal. At meetings on the project in the fall of 2012, Iberdrola officials told residents they would not build the project if residents didn't want it.

"Newfound Lake communities have made it very clear to Iberdrola that yet another Newfound Region Wind Facility is not wanted ... Iberdrola is going back on its word that they would not try to site here if the people did not want them," officials of Wind Watch, a 2,000-member group, said.

Meanwhile, Iberdrola's existing wind farm in Groton is being investigated by state officials. The SEC will announce hearings in January on complaints from residents in Groton that the company has not lived up to its agreements.

Iberdrola officials, who are under threat from state officials to lose their operating certificate for the Groton plant, say they have met the state's requirements in Groton. Company officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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