The negative feedback project manager Jeff Keelen has heard about the possible Lempster wind mill farm is subjective, he said. Most of the major concerns he has faced involve the visual or noise effects the wind mill farm could create.
“It’s hard to tell somebody that they should think the windmills are beautiful,” Keelen said.
Citizens will have an opportunity to become better informed about the project at a public information hearing at 7 p.m. tonight at the Goshen-Lempster Cooperative School.
If the state Site Evaluation Committee approves the location, the wind farm would be the first commercial-scale project in New Hampshire, he said. Having this wind farm in Lempster will provide education and serve as an example for the rest of the state, Keelen said.
The project developer, Community Energy Inc., wants to install a dozen 200-foot turbines on private property on Lempster Mountain. The location is one and a half miles from the school and no houses are below the wind farm, he said.
“It’s (been) a pretty positive reception from the town,” Keelen said.
Tim Drew, administrator for pubic information and permit at the state Department of Environmental Services, has heard mixed reactions.
The public hearing is just one more step in the process, Drew said. The hearing is the first presentation of the project as a whole to the public, he said. The technical review will follow the hearing. A decision, by law, has to be made by the SEC within nine months of the Aug. 28 application.
Lempster was chosen for the wind farm project based on three criteria: proven wind source, private property available for lease and a connection to a power system, Keelen said.
Keelen is hopeful the SEC will make a quick decision since the 24 megawatt project doesn’t have clean air issues, water pollution concerns or hazardous waste, he said.
“We believe that the project will be approved and we believe it can be done very quickly,” Keelan said.
If the SEC approves the project, construction will begin in the spring or summer of 2007 and finish by the end of the year, he said.
At the hearing, the applicant will present their project and studies, the committee will ask questions and the public’s statements or questions will be given.
The hearing tonight is the first but not the last time citizens can give input, said Mike Iacopino, counsel to the SEC committee.
By Elizabeth Martin
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