New Hampshire’s First Commercial Wind Farm Gains Approval

After a comprehensive review, the New Hampshire Electric Facility Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) has issued its certificate of approval for the state’s first commercial-scale wind power project.

The Lempster Mountain Wind Farm will be built and owned by Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA and feature 12 wind turbines, each providing 2 megawatts (MW) of electricity generating capacity.

The turbines produce more than 75 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity each year, enough to provide power for roughly 10,500 homes. While there has been some resistance to the project, town residents have been receptive to the idea of the wind farm.

“The review of the project by the state has been extremely thorough,” said Everett Thurber, chairman of the Lempster Board of Selectmen. “There is overwhelming support for the wind project in Lempster. We see it as benefiting our town.”

The 14-member Site Evaluation Committee is comprised of department heads who represent environmental services, parks and recreation, forest and lands, economic development, transportation, health and human services, and the state’s Public Utilities Commission and energy and planning office.

Before issuing its approval, the committee thoroughly reviewed the project’s anticipated impact on the orderly development of the region; its likely effects on the natural environment and public health and safety; and Iberdrola’s capability to effectively construct and operate the facility.

“We applaud the SEC for approving the Lempster project,” said Ed Cherian, the Lempster Wind Project manager. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to bring this renewable energy, with its environmental and economic benefits, to New Hampshire.”

The company has been working steadily with regulators to obtain project approval since 2003. Depending on final permits, construction could begin late this summer and the project is expected to be in operation in 2008.

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