ALEXANDRIA – Opponents of new large-scale “industrial” wind plants in New Hampshire are bringing back an expert who they credit with helping to deter new wind-power developers with his 2013 claim that the state would see little, if any, benefits from wind power generation.
New Hampshire Wind Watch, an organization with more than 2,000 members that arose in response to the proposed Wild Meadows wind generation plant in 2012, is bringing back Benjamin Luce, a professor of physics and the chairman of the Sustainability Studies Program at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vt., for a talk in Canaan next week.
The meeting is Feb. 18 at the Mountain Meadow Event Center at 478 U.S. Route 4 at 6:30 p.m.
Luce’s testimony at a Jan. 13, 2013, [New Hampshire] Wind Watch meeting impressed the 250 people in attendance at Newfound Regional High School, and helped bolster [New Hampshire] Wind Watch’s case against the Wild Meadows plan, which was later abandoned by its developer for several reasons, among them what the company described as a “negative political climate” for new wind projects in the state.
As [New Hampshire] Wind Watch and the towns of Alexandria, Canaan, Dorchester, Grafton, and the Orange area await a proposal promised by EDP Renewables of Portugal, which filed plans on Nov. 5 with the Federal Aviation Administration for 29 wind turbines standing 499 feet in height in the five towns for its Spruce Wind project, [New Hampshire] Wind Watch president Lori Lerner said Luce’s reasoning is needed again.
EDP’s Ed Whitlock said the company would be coming to the towns “in the first quarter of 2015” with his proposal, but none of the towns involved have yet been contacted by EDP about its plans.
“As Spruce Ridge arises, we need to really help people in those towns understand that wind turbines are not an appropriate use of our ridgelines,” Lerner said.
“Dr. Luce’s last appearance drew rave reviews and it was the basis for a lot of what happened,” she said. “He makes a lot of sense.”
At his prior [New Hampshire] Wind Watch meeting, Luce, a self-described “wind-power proponent,” said the Midwest is the only part of the United States suited for wind-power production at levels that can make practical contributions to the country’s renewable energy portfolio standards.
Luce said Northeast states are being sought out by wind-power developers looking to capitalize on old and inadequate renewable energy standards.
“These are simplistic standards that are grossly slanted toward large, stealth wind-power projects like the ones proposed here,” said Luce.
Repeated studies show that New Hampshire’s only realistic renewable energy source is solar energy, Luce said.
“Despite what we are being told by (wind power) companies, solar energy is the only basic renewable energy we have at our disposal; it offers 10 to 100 times as much as wind power to this area,” Luce said.
Lerner, who has been testifying this week at legislative hearings on the state’s future energy plans, said she sent invitations to all of the state’s legislators to the event.
“I think everyone can learn a lot from Dr. Luce,” she said.
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