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Will wind power be a breeze in Coos County?  

A Connecticut company testing for wind power potential and impacts on the 24,000-acre Phillips Brook property in Coos County said it is looking at developing a 100-megawatt windpark by 2009. The 33 to 67 turbines – each about 400 feet high – would be spaced just over 1,000 feet apart.

Meanwhile Tillotson Corporation, owners of The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, is looking at a smaller field of wind turbines to the north of Phillips Brook on its North Sanguinary Ridge, said Richard Harris, spokesman.

“The primary interest is in being self-sufficent,” said Harris.

In June, the state approved its first wind turbine facility in Lempster, near Lake Sunapee. It will produce about 24 megawatts of power for the firm Iberdrola.

Harris said current enviornmental impact studies are under way on the Balsams ridge and that turbines would not be noticeable from Route 26 or the hotel. There are more than 15,000 acres in two separate parcels owned by Tillotson Corp. in Dixville Notch.

“We have radar set up on site checking to see the bird and bat migration to see if there is any impact there,” he said.

Watching its own bird and bat meters over several ridges is Noble Environmental Power of Essex, Conn.

“It is feasible and we are very excited,” said Pip Decker, project manager. Noble is majority-owned by JP Morgan Partners, a fund managed by CCMP Capital. It announced in late June that it obtained $500 million in financing and approvals to build three windparks in western New York, each about 100 megawatts.

The land Noble is looking at in Coos County is adjacent to the Nash Stream Forest just east of Groveton near Stark, and includes property in Odell and Dummer. The land, currently owned by GMO, is managed for wood production. Noble has entered into an agreement with GMO.

The land has been used for years for hunting and snowmobiling; Decker said all current uses could continue, with public access allowed.

The Coos County windpark would be able to produce enough energy to power 16,500 homes a year if 33 turbines are built and up to 33,500 if 67 turbines are built.

Decker said the company now has 15 to 20 people hired and working full-time on studies from bird migration patterns, to bat habitat to potential sound impacts. Horizon Engineering of Littleton has been hired to work on engineering for the project.

The Coos County Planning Board gave approval for the test site location and the state’s Site Evaluation Committee will hold a hearing. Decker said he is as yet unaware of any opposition to the project and has been doing a lot of outreach work to let local groups know what is planned.

By Paula Tracy
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

unionleader.com

26 July 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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