Antrim Wind Farm Gets Thumbs Down From SEC

Feb 11, 2013

A wind turbine at the Granite Reliable wind project in Coos County.
Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR

For the first time New Hampshire has rejected an application to construct a wind farm. The Site Evaluation Committee, which decides whether or not new power plants and transmission projects can be built, has rejected Eolian Energy’s 10 turbine Antrim project.

The Antrim wind project would have put 30 megawatts of wind turbines on a ridge-top overlooking the Audubon Society’s Willard Pond Sanctuary; it’s part of 10,000 acres of protected land that has been dubbed a “super-sanctuary”. But the SEC’s legal counsel, Michael Iacopino, says the sanctuary was only one factor in their decision that the project had an adverse impact on local esthetics.

"Although the Willard pond area and the Audubon Sanctuary were of particular concern, the decision was not made based solely on that," Iacopino explains, "It was based on the region in general and the primarily visual impact that these particular turbines would have there."

The committee was also concerned about Eolian Energy’s financial capacity to carry out the project, but before considering that factor, they voted 6-3 to deny the permit. Eolian can appeal the decision, but has not announced whether it will do so.