Army Corps green lights wind farm
June 30, 2010
CONCORD, Mass. — The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has issued a permit for the Granite Reliable Power (GRP) wind farm. The approval was signed on Friday by the ACOE Regulatory Division Chief.
The permit authorizes GRP's 33-turbine 99-megwatt wind farm to go forward in four Unincorporated Places — Dixville, Millsfield, Irvings Location, and Odell — plus in the town of Dummer, all in Coös County, subject to special conditions, according to Tim Dugan of the ACOE New England District Public Affairs Office.
The Corps determined a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would not be required, through research conducted by an intensive Environmental Assessment (EA), designed to analyze the all the environmental issues involved.
Project manager Pip Decker wrote in an e-mail exchange from his Old Court House office in Lancaster, "As we ready for construction, the issuance of an environmental assessment by the Army Corps of Engineers is another positive step for this windpark."
This is the first ACOE permit sought for a wind farm in New Hampshire, and Mr. Decker indicated that it was to be expected that many questions would be asked. The Lempster project did not require ACOE approval.
An EIS would have taken both time and money.
The conditions imposed by the ACOE, on the whole, parallel those required by the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). GRP must document anecdotal lynx track sightings for three years following construction, restrict traffic on new access roads to 30 m.p.h. to minimize the potential for collisions with lynx and other wildlife, and prepare pre- and post-construction monitoring reports, post-construction breeding bird surveys, and a post- construction bird and bat mortality study.
Most significantly, GRP is being required by both the state and the ACOE to put into place an extensive agreed-upon mitigation package to compensate for discharging dredged and/or fill material into a total of approximately 13.5 acres of waters and wetlands associated with developing the high-elevation wind-driven electrical power generation facility.