NEW CASTLE – Local fishermen concerned about the implications of offshore wind turbines, members of the public who support the concept of offshore wind in the state and other interested residents are invited to a public hearing in New Castle Oct. 14.
A legislative offshore wind energy development committee was formed earlier this year to explore the possibility of positioning wind turbines off the coast of New Hampshire. According to chair Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, the group has met five times with a variety of public and private entities and officials from Maine. Now they want to hear from residents.
According to Cushing, committee discussion at this point is veering toward a regional approach to offshore wind. He said both Maine and Massachusetts have discussed sitting turbines as close as Boon Island in Maine and Cape Ann, Mass. “but no one has taken a look to see if we can connect the dot between the two. I assume the wind is still good in between as well,” he said.
Among those who are expected to attend the public hearing is Eric Anderson, the president of the New Hampshire Commercial Fisherman’s Association, and a lobsterman. Anderson was invited to attend at the request of another committee member, Rep. David Borden, D-New Castle.
Anderson said the commercial fishing community has a lot of questions about any offshore wind proposal – particularly the potential consequences to the fish and lobster population from transmission lines from the turbine to shore.
Fishermen are concerned about the potential of electromagnetic noise from the lines, and the effect it could have on the environment of the ocean floor. “Will it change migration patterns? Will the fish stay away? I’ve searched and searched for answers and I haven’t found them yet.”
He said fishermen have also raised issues about the location of any turbine platforms, and whether that area will be considered a no-fishing zone.
“We have some reservations, and we want to know what it will mean to us,” he said.
Cushing encouraged all members of the public to attend the hearing. He said the committee will summarize its findings to date, and then open it up for comment.
The meeting takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 5:30 p.m. at the New Castle Public Library. The committee report is due to Gov. Maggie Hassan by Nov. 1.