Published DateTo the editor,
New Hampshire State Senator Bob Odell, justifying his vote against the energy moratorium, recently stated that the government should not be in charge of "picking winners and losers in the production of renewable energy."
Senator Odell, the government has put itself in that position many times. Our government picks winners and losers by endorsing and subsidizing energy projects. Governor Lynch was part of a big celebration in Franklin when the Northern Pass was announced ballyhooing the perceived benefits of industrial hydro-electricity coming through New Hampshire. The federal government has handed out many millions subsidizing wind energy projects, underwriting their construction costs and guaranteeing profits for the corporations even if they never produce a kilowatt of electricity. It is absolutely the responsibility of our legislators to decide if an energy project is ultimately beneficial or harmful to our state. That is your job, Senator Odell, and a moratorium would have provided the time and facts to make good decisions.
Senator Odell lamented that the state will not meet its 25 percent renewable energy goal if we eliminate renewable energy projects before they are built. I guess the senator is unaware that all the electricity and renewable energy credits (RCIs) produced at the Coos wind project go to Vermont and the electricity and RCIs generated at the Groton wind project go to Massachusetts. Either New Hampshire has already met its renewable energy goal and can afford to ship these precious energy credits out of state or we have no intention of ever meeting this goal.
Senator Odell reported that 500 new permanent jobs would be created in Franklin if Northern Pass is completed. Even Northern Pass never made such an outrageous claim. Only five permanent jobs would be created while many other jobs have already been lost or are in jeopardy in the tourism dependent and second home areas of the state. Real estate sales have plummeted in the Newfound Lake area because of the three wind projects slated for that area and the Northern Pass project has had a chilling effect on home sales in the Campton/Thornton area already and NP is years away from fruition.
Senator Odell may feel very proud that he was part of the effort to squash the energy moratorium perhaps because he feels these projects won't affect the Monadnock area of the state. If he had taken the time to read testimony that was turned in at the SB-99 public hearing and looked at the ISO New England 2030 study, he would have noticed a 10,000 mw transmission line slated for the southern part of the state where his constituents live. Maybe if he looks at these maps he will have a little more sympathy for his fellow N.H. citizens around Newfound Lake, along the Northern Pass route, and the environmental agencies concerned for the beauty of the state.