To The Daily Sun,
N.H.'s economy has changed significantly over the past 50 years. The textile mills are gone and the paper mills are shuttered. Tourism now generates over $1.2 billion in annual income and is N.H.'s second largest industry. N.H.'s tourism agency states, "A state blessed with unusual scenic qualities is bound to attract many visitors. N.H.'s mix of mountains, lakes , rivers, forests and a strip of beautiful New England seacoast brings tourists of varied interests all year long."
The energy needs of N.H., New England and the U.S. have also changed dramatically over the past half century. There is a major push to supplement or replace fossil fuel energy generation with renewable, sustainable, clean "green" energy. Oil and coal are in disfavor, natural gas "fracking" is suspect and nuclear is considered unsafe. This leaves solar and wind as the major "green" energy alternatives. Solar and wind farms are being built throughout the nation, including New England and N.H. While solar farms can be erected with minimal visual impact, the same can not be said for wind farms. Drive along Tenney Mountain Highway in Plymouth and observe the 24 400+ ft.-tall Groton Wind Farm wind turbines along the mountain ridge and the mammoth transmission line along the highway. A sight unlikely to attract tourists. Iberdrola Renewables, the Spanish energy company that built the Groton Wind Farm, is moving ahead to build the Wild Meadows Wind Farm consisting of 23 450+ ft. wind turbines along the mountain ridges overlooking scenic Newfound Lake in the towns of Alexandria and Danbury. Anyone owning property around the lake is obviously against this Green energy project. Unfortunately their objections fall into the category of NIMBI (Not In My Back Yard ).
Historically NIMBY objections end up as collateral damage, sacrificed for the greater good of the majority who will benefit from the proposed project. (Homeowners in the flight path of major airports, small towns in the river valleys of hydroelectric dams, land owners near major electric transmission lines like Northern Pass are all collateral damage). Will the scenic beauty of N.H.'s mountain ridges and lakes be collateral damage in pursuit of the States 25 in 25 Green Energy Goal? Will N.H.'s tourism industry be sacrificed for the energy needs of Massachusetts, R.I. and Connecticut? I hope not. The just released report on the State's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), required by Senate Bill 99, contains many excellent recommendations including developing criteria on how visual impacts should be evaluated by the SEC. I hope the report itself will not be collateral damage.