ANTRIM – A state committee has refused to give an alternative energy company a second chance on its application to build a wind farm in the northwest part of town.
The N.H. Site Evaluation Committee denied requests by the town of Antrim and Antrim Wind Energy LLC to rehear a case regarding a proposed wind farm on the ridgelines on Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain.
Antrim Wind Energy, a subsidiary of Portsmouth-based Eolian Renewable Energy, has spent the past couple of years working on a plan to build a 30-megawatt facility with 10 wind turbines, each nearly 500 feet tall, on privately owned land in the area. But in February, the committee denied the project, citing unreasonable adverse effects on the region’s aesthetics, especially on the Willard Pond area.
In an effort to keep the project alive, Antrim Wind Energy offered to eliminate turbine 10, the one closest to Willard Pond, and take out all the road and electrical infrastructure beyond turbine 9. That would reduce the project’s scale by 10 percent, from 30 megawatts to 27 megawatts.
The company also offered to increase the amount of conserved land and highlighted its agreement to give the town of Antrim a one-time payment of $40,000 should the project be approved. The money was intended to improve the Gregg Lake area as compensation for any perceived damages to the scenery.
In asking for a rehearing, Antrim Wind also argued that the committee unfairly imposed new standards on Antrim Wind Energy. The company said that the Antrim project met all the visual aesthetic standards that were required of already-approved projects, such as the ones in Groton and Lempster.
On Wednesday, the Site Evaluation Committee voted against the motions to rehear the case because committee members felt they had not overlooked any facts or issues of the case in their original decision, said Michael J. Iacopino, attorney for the committee. The committee, which oversees large energy projects in the state, also decided there wasn’t enough new evidence to reopen the case, he said.
Antrim Wind Energy representatives could not be reached this morning, but the company now has the choice to appeal the decision to the N.H. Supreme Court.
After a written order is issued by the committee within the next three weeks, Antrim Wind has 30 days to appeal to the state Supreme Court, Iacopino said.
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