ALEXANDRIA – EDP Renewables of Portugal’s proposed $140 million, 29-turbine Spruce Wind wind-power power plant, which has been mostly out of the public eye since the company came before area town to discuss it three years ago, is still on track to be built, the developer says.
EDP Project Manager Jeffrey Nemeth said last week that the company is in the process of satisfying the requirements of ISO New England, the business responsible for overseeing the region’s bulk power grid, wholesale electricity markets, and power system planning.
“It is the intent of (EDP) … that we are still going through with the project,” Nemeth said. “We are going through the process of answering questions and making comments in that process, and providing information that is required (by ISO-New England).”
The company is working on “a handful of studies” required by ISO-New England, and the project in the towns of Canaan, Orange, Dorchester, Alexandria and Groton “is in a holding pattern,” Nemeth said. Opponents of the project say it would ruin the scenic vistas in the Newfound Lake region and from Mount Cardigan.
The project is moving slowly, however, and will be pursued over a period of “years, at least, maybe several years,” he said.
EDP has come before town officials and residents of Alexandria and Groton in past years, and the company plans to come before the towns again in the future, Nemeth said. It doesn’t need the towns’ approval, though, as large power projects in the state are decided by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee. Spruce Wind, as designed, would be a 60-megawatt plant.
Though the project does not technically need the towns’ approval, it is planning to return to the towns involved in the future.
“We’re looking forward to coming back before the towns, in front of the people of the region at some point in the future,” Nemeth said.
The New Hampshire Community Rights Network, which was formed over the last decade as communities enacted local rights-based laws to elevate their rights over “corporate rights,” says its laws enacted in towns statewide should protect the sustainability of communities and natural environments, according to the network’s coordinator, Michelle Sanborn.
“When for-profit corporations such as (EDP) force their projects against the will of the people impacted by such projects, they are violating the rights of the community to collectively decide what happens where they live,” Sanborn said. “EDP is interested in using the Newfound Lake Region as a wind resource colony for profit.”
The network has proposed a constitutional amendment, sponsored by Rep. Susan Emerson, R-Cheshire District 11, that would protect the rights of people, communities, and their natural environments.
New Hampshire Wind Watch, which opposes new wind projects in the area, said EDP should have learned from votes taken at area town meetings in recent years that overwhelmingly opposed the plant.
“EDP is not wanted here. Not now, not ever,” said Larry Goodman of Wind Watch. “There is nothing (EDP) can say or do in any town in this region that will change the unanimous votes and the ordinances of the towns, which have resoundingly voted to reject this industrial scourge once and for all.”
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