Excerpts from the Brattleboro Reformer article are below. Read the full article here.
Wind opponents in Windham ‘disappointed’ with state decision
By Mike Faher, Brattleboro Reformer, January 1, 2013
WINDHAM — When the state Department of Public Service backed the Town of Windham’s fight against wind power a few months ago, town officials said they were “hopeful.”
They’re now using a different word: “Discouraged.”
Atlantic Wind LLC in June first disclosed its intention to build two meteorological-testing (MET) towers in Windham and another in Grafton.
Depending on the weather data those towers produce, they could be the precursor for construction of Windham County’s first commercial-scale turbines.
Windham had fought hard against Atlantic Wind’s initial proposal, arguing that its town plan banned industrial windmills and should apply to MET towers as well.
Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of wind-power developer Iberdrola Renewables, argued that town plans cannot trump the state’s permitting decisions.
In October, the state Public Service Department sided with Windham and urged rejection of Atlantic Wind’s application.
But the state Public Service Board — a separate, independent entity — had the ultimate say. And in a Dec. 20 decision, the board granted Atlantic Wind a certificate of public good to build the test towers. The structures will be built on land owned by Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a New Hampshire company owned by the French family.
Grafton town officials have not taken a formal position on the project, instead seeking more information on wind power and arranging a tour of a turbine site in Lempster, N.H.
But a group of residents calling themselves Friends of Grafton’s Heritage oppose the Atlantic Wind project and have sought to amend the town’s plan to prohibit industrial-scale wind.
Liisa Kissel, a leader of that group, said she was “very disappointed” with the Public Service Board’s decision.
“We thought there was a strong possibility that the board would not approve of Iberdrola’s application,” Kissel said. She said the group would continue to push for town-plan amendments in an effort to “protect our town against this very inappropriate facility.”
Kissel also said she backs a statewide moratorium on wind power, an initiative that also has support from Windham town officials. Kissel noted that there has been discussion about a moratorium among some state lawmakers.
“We hope there is a renewed attempt to look seriously at the situation,” she said.