Temple, New Ipswich ordinances derailed wind plan

Developer of proposed 15-megawatt project spanning both towns has called rules too restrictive, says company won’t move forward

This week’s news that a revised plan for Antrim Wind may be paved by town voters as part of a wind ordinance in March caps a year in which wind developments grabbed their share of the headlines.

While the Antrim project may have new life, the development planned to straddle New Ipswich and Temple is almost certainly not going forward, according to the developer.

New Ipswich and Temple, like Antrim, spent a good amount of the year waiting on the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to make a decision about the proposed wind farm in their town. Temple and New Ipswich Planning Boards both have a large-scale wind energy ordinance, which both towns put in place after Timbertop Wind became interested in potentially building a five-turbine, 15 megawatt wind farm on Kidder Mountain. Temple based its ordinance on New Ipswich’s ordinance, which was already in place, though the two towns differed slightly in requirements of both noise and height.

Adam Cohen, one of the founders and vice-president of Pioneer Green Energy, Timbertop Wind’s parent company, argued vehemently against the ordinances, which he said were too restrictive, particularly in the area of noise restriction, to allow wind development in either town.

Timbertop Wind solicited the SEC to accept jurisdiction of the review of the proposed farm, on the grounds that the Temple and New Ipswich ordinances had key differences, and that going between the two boards would be potentially restrictive to the process.

Both New Ipswich and Temple Planning Boards maintained a desire to keep the control local, arguing that the differences in the ordinance were minor, and that the boards were willing to make the process a joint one.

Ultimately, the SEC decided it would not take control from the local towns, on the basis that each had an ordinance in place and were willing to move forward as the controlling body.

Cohen has since said Timbertop Wind does not plan to move forward with the New Ipswich and Temple site as a possible wind energy facility, believing that the company would be unable to gain acceptance at the local level.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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