NEWARK – A tower to measure wind speeds is coming to Hawk Rock – a landmark feature here on Packer Mountain.
If, that is, plans proceed as scheduled by a joint wind project between a New Hampshire wind developing company known as Eolian Renewable Energy and a turbine manufacturer, Nordic USA, whose headquarters are in Kansas City, Missouri.
Calling its project Seneca Mountain Wind, the developers plan to erect four test towers, roughly 190 feet high, to measure wind conditions in three Northeast Kingdom towns: Brighton, Newark and the Unified Towns and Gores (UTGs).
According to Kim Fried, chairman of Newark’s planning commission, two towers are planned for Brighton and one each for the UTGs and Newark.
No application has been made yet to the Public Service Board (PSB), the regulatory agency that must approve any new electrical generating project.
But in a document that developers are calling their 30-day pre-application notice, the towns have been put on notice of a commercial wind project that developers say on their website could be “capable of producing 100 MW of power” – which is more than twice the 40 megawatts of power the 16 turbines at Sheffield are said to be capable of producing.
According to the Seneca Mountain Wind’s website, the project expects to use 2.5 MW turbines, or the same size turbines employed at Sheffield.
Notice of the project is “a little overwhelming” for a small town like Newark, said Mr. Fried Tuesday, speaking over the telephone.
“It’s a very compressed time frame,” he said in light of the 30 days the town has to react to the planned filing by developers to erect the four towers.
The measuring (MET) towers have to be approved by the Public Service Board, but approval has been pretty much a formality for other commercial wind projects in the state.
Mr. Fried said the Newark Planning Commission is going to respond with a letter to developers, expressing concern about the impact the project will have, and perhaps expressing dismay that a tower might be placed on Hawk Rock.
“It’s a sobering experience,” he said, recalling his reaction to the news that big wind may be coming to Newark.
But he vowed the town would be a participant in the pending proceedings.
“We’re going to be involved as a planning commission,” he said.
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