CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A company hoping to build a windfarm in far northern New Hampshire has asked the state for permission to erect 33 wind turbines.

The Coos County windfarm proposed by Granite Reliable Power, an affiliate of a Connecticut company, could potentially power 33,000 homes.

The company wants to put the $247 million project in Dixville and Millsfield. If approved, the company says the windfarm would create up to 210 jobs and would begin operating in 2010.

The power could help the state achieve its goal of having 25 percent of its total energy use come from renewable energy sources by 2025.

“You can call it a down payment almost,” Kristine Kraushaar, a staff attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, told the Concord Monitor. “A project like this is exactly that.”

Rep. Fred King, R-Colebrook, a member of the county planning board, said the county leaders have endorsed the project.

But he is more concerned with having the transmission line upgraded so biomass plants, which would create more long-term jobs and sustain logging in the region, can also be built.

“It’s safe to say, if we did get to vote on it and we had the two to pick from (biomass and wind), my guess is we’d probably vote for the biomass plant,” King told the paper.

Tom Frantz, director of the state’s Public Utilities Commission’s electric division, said connecting renewable energy projects, like windfarms on high altitudes, to the grid is inherently difficult.

“By their very nature, many of these projects are far away from the existing infrastructure,” Frantz said.

And it could be costly. A PUC study released in December said adding 300 to 400 megawatts of capacity to the transmission lines the windmills would use could cost between $160 million and $210 million.

The cost might not fall entirely on New Hampshire or its utilities though, because the regional power grid and the costs of making grid improvements can be shared across the region when the grid’s reliability is at stake.

Another New Hampshire wind farm is being erected in Lempster by Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish company subsidiary. It will have 12 turbines.

Granite Reliable Power’s parent company, Nobel Environmental Power, has about 3,850 megawatts of wind power under development in eight states: Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming.

A hearing to review Granite Reliable Power’s proposal is scheduled next month at Groveton High School.


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