Opponents of a proposed $140 million wind-energy plant say they are pleased that Canaan and Orange residents voted earlier this month to restrict or oppose new wind power plants in their towns.
The 29-turbine Spruce Wind wind-power plant proposed by Portuguese wind power developer Energias de Portugal has targeted five towns – Alexandria, Canaan, Dorchester, Groton and Orange.
Alexandria and Dorchester voted against new wind power projects at past town meetings. Groton, a town that approved a wind farm – the $150 million, 24-turbine Groton Wind plant, which went online in 2012 – approved a large wind energy system ordinance last year.
Canaan voters, by a margin of 413-225, approved a warrant article at town meeting on March 8, stating the town’s opposition to “industrial wind turbine projects” in town, according to Town Clerk Vicky McAlister.
Orange town officials say voters adopted restrictions for new wind-power projects in the form of an ordinance, which was designed to give the town authority over new wind-power projects, at their town meeting earlier this month.
For members of New Hampshire Wind Watch, an Alexandria-based group with more than 2,000 members that opposes new wind-power projects in the Newfound Lake-Cardigan Mountain region, the votes in Canaan and Orange should give EDP officials all they need to know.
“With the vote in Canaan, it’s a clean sweep,” said Wind Watch’s Larry Goodman. “Each of, and all of, the five towns Energias de Portugal targeted for this massive turbine complex have resoundingly voted to reject any and all new industrial wind plants.”
EDP officials, who could not be reached this week for comment, said in the fall that they were looking forward to bringing the Spruce Wind project before residents in those towns in the next year or two.
Though the project does not technically need the towns’ approval, but must instead be approved by the state, EDP officials have said they want town sentiment on their side.
In October, EDP Project Manager Jeffrey Nemeth said he was planning to return to the five towns involved in coming months.
“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.
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