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Third wind farm company to approach Alexandria

Union Leader Correspondent

June 16. 2014 8:39PM

ALEXANDRIA - The last of three companies proposing to build a wind farm in the Newfound Lake-Cardigan Mountain region will come before selectmen tonight to discuss its permit request for a meteorological tower in town.
Officials from EDP Renewables of Portugal will be at the meeting at the request of the selectmen, town officials said, to give the town an update on its plans for the half-mile-tall “met” tower, which would help determine whether the company’s proposed Spruce Ridge project is viable.

But also planning to attend the meeting are members of New Hampshire Wind Watch, the Wild Meadows Legal Fund, and Citizens of Alexandria Rights Effort, who hope to question EDP officials about the company’s planned $140 million, 60-megwawatt, 15-25 turbine project.

The Wild Meadows Legal Fund, which was formed to fight another wind power project, Iberdrola Renewables’ Wild Meadows project, was among the many groups claiming victory when Iberdrola announced that it was withdrawing from that $150 million project because of “the current political and regulatory climate in New Hampshire.”

A Wild Meadows Legal Fund representative will be at the meeting, said the fund’s Peter Silbermann, “to demonstrate clearly to EDP that the local residents are united and committed to defeating the Spruce Ridge industrial wind-power project.”

“We plan to make it clear to EDP that we will use all means to challenge them every step of the way through the permitting process and that we are well-funded and prepared to battle them legally at every opportunity, as we did to help successfully defeat the Wild Meadows project by Iberdrola,” Silbermann said.

Another company, Alpine Ridge Wind Farm, LLC, headquartered in Boulder, Colo., pulled out of its lease agreements in April with landowners in Alexandria, Groton and Hebron for its proposed wind power project without giving a public explanation.

EDP, which says it has developed more than 4,000 megawatts of wind power in the United States and has built wind power plants in Maine, said it needs to build test towers in Alexandria and Groton to get data to determine the economic viability of its proposed project.

If permitted by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, the project would be built on a single landowner’s leased property that stretches across the towns of Groton, Alexandria, Hebron and Orange.

Wind Watch members will be at the meeting to ensure that EDP knows residents in the towns have repeatedly voted against new wind power projects in the area. Opponents to the projects say they are not against wind power, but the three projects proposed are in clear view of Newfound Lake and Cardigan Mountain hikers. They fear the projects would hurt tourism and decrease property values, among other things.

“The town votes overwhelmingly rejected industrial wind in our region. We will remind EDP Renewables that our area opposes any further industrial wind generation,” said Wind Watch President Lori Lerner.

“Citizens want EDP to hear, and see, that our area residents do not want them to build here,” said Jen Tuthill of Alexandria. “It is felt by many that this company has not seen and heard the protests that Iberdrola has, and we want the EDP representative to get the message first-hand.”

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