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Wind Power in New Hampshire's Lakes Region

Wind Powering America indicates that New Hampshire has wind resources consistent with utility-scale production. More importantly for homeowners, New Hampshire has in place an integrated energy siting process created by NH law, RSA 162-H, which provides for a multi-agency review committee to provide assistance in obtaining local permits. It is suggested that a check with local planning board or other city/town officials be made before beginning any wind project.

Since 2001 The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has had a net metering rule directing utilities selling power in the state to credit homeowners and small businesses that generate a portion of their own electricity. The net metering is accomplished by using a single meter capable of registering the electrical flow in two directions. To learn more I suggest contacting Public Service of New Hampshire; Supplemental Energy Sources, (603) 634-2311.

Also, New Hampshire's local option property tax statute, 5 NH RSA 72:61-72, allows each city and town to offer an exemption on residential property taxes in the amount of the assessed value of a renewable energy system used on the property.

An informative and interesting paper entitled the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study 2008, discusses the significant growth and interest in the industry fueled by the individual homeowner. Though there has been a continuing lack of federal-level incentives for small wind, specifically a 30% investment tax credit similar to that which is available to solar photovoltaics consumers under current law, the U.S. still leads the global market in small wind production. It is estimated that a 30% federal tax credit could lead to a 50% growth in the market and greatly improve the cost per kilowatt hour basis for the operator. Subsidies and tax credits are essential to bring any form of economic viability or parity to all other standard energy technologies. Also, adequate storage mechanisms are underdeveloped for those periods of no wind.

So why the interest by homeowners in this expensive yet ancient technology?

Demand has been driven primarily by a desire to become "personally energy independent" along with the rising costs of traditional forms of energy. Advanced blade design, active pitch controls, low speed capability, induction generators and a more visually attractive product are the advancements that have supported the market growth.

The ideal of the "Zero Energy Home" comprised of wind and other alternative energy sources is a concept which is gaining attention with forward thinking builders including installation costs into the price of some new homes. And a greater number of buyers like the idea of lower/zero electricity bills for a 20 year + life of the turbine. jferriman@spencerhughes.com (603) 520-5385

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