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Utilities are charged a premium for wind power they're forced to buy

To The Daily Sun,

If you look at a map of where wind power plant developments are being proposed in New Hampshire now, you'll notice they're all in the immediate proximity of Newfound Lake. There, on the rolling mountain tops just north and west of the lake, they will stand 500 feet high. Soon the wind development map will relentlessly grow and spread across New Hampshire's countryside as it has in other states.

Our community has first-class views, second-class wind and now a third-class government. In the end, our second-class is being viewed as a new tax revenue for our third-class.

Soon we could all be gazing out our windows at more than a hundred turbines, higher transmission lines and scarred mountains for the next twenty years. But that's the least of our problems.

Few will see a steady income from them — yet the majority will not. And one thing's for sure, wind developments are about to take off in New Hampshire. Has anyone got a clue as to how many wind turbines are destined for this state? 500, 1,000, 5,000? In four years, Newfound Lake could be home to 100+ turbines — with four wind projects approved by the state. All of this on 15 miles of ridge lines.

Aren't New Hampshire's politicians concerned? Or are they drinking Kool-Aid while listening to wind developers tout: clean and renewable wind energy will sustain your rural communities.

On the roadsides, on your way into our community, there are a many yard signs that are anti-wind. They're sponsored by a local anti-wind group called the NHWindWatch.org, and they aren't the only opposition the wind industry has faced here. Voters have voted against further wind development, many businesses oppose them, many organizations and clubs have come out against them and local politicians have backed a proposed one year moratorium on wind development.

So what's going on here? Why is New Hampshire welcoming wind developers with open arms and turning a cold shoulder on residents? The answer lies in the story behind the story of wind turbines. And it has to do with federal laws loaded with subsidies. You see, it's a new revenue stream, offering carbon credits and property tax exemptions for our politicians and a few elite. Nothing more.

Fast forward 20 years. Those same residents will share our anxiety about decommissioning them. Who gets stuck with the bill? And most importantly, Who's property taxes are no longer subsidized? (That's for another discussion.)

It's true, wind developers are rushing into New Hampshire, and they're catching the state off-guard. Dictating and toying with them (if I may say so myself). And that brings us to today... where utilities are being forced to use this unreliable intermittent power source. It's a perfect storm. And it's brewing right in front of your eyes.

Utilities are being forced to accept energy from small, independent intermittent power projects, in the name of renewable energy. Utilities are charged a premium for wind power — which in turn is passed down to the consumer. And those consumers live in Massachusetts. So why are our electric bills increasing?

A circle of fraud?

A couple of arguments: First, wind doesn't always blow, and turbines don't always turn. For utilities, that varying supply can be hard to accommodate. But, remember it's always easy to charge the end user for their problems.

What can we take away from all of this? New Hampshire hasn't approached it in the right way. N.H. doesn't have much of an energy plan. And it sounds like N.H. should change its state moto to: "When incentives are hot, take 'em".

The federal tax credit for wind power is set to expire this December, like many December's before that, making this particular cycle even more dramatic - given the political landscape.

We're simply a N.H. case study with many unintended consequences... and Groton is too young to talk about... LOL.

Ray Cunningham
Bridgewater

 
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