Granite Reliable Power, LLC is developing a large wind farm in Coos County in northern New Hampshire. The project is expected to create about 200 jobs during the construction phase, provide enough energy to power nearly 20,000 homes, and prevent the emission of 124 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. As reported in Ecoseed, a study from the University of New Hampshire indicates that the wind farm could generate $122 million in income for the local community within 20 years.
According to The Berlin Daily Sun, the wind farm will generate 99 megawatts of electricity, making it the largest wind farm in New Hampshire. Half of the 33 Vestas wind turbines to be installed are scheduled to arrive in August, 2011 and the other half in the fall. According to the report, the majority of the electricity generated will be sold to Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power.
In June, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was granting a loan guarantee for $135.76 million to help finance the project. Brookfield Renewable Power, Inc. is the majority owner of Granite Reliable Power, LLC. As reported on the Brighter Energy website, Brookfield purchased its majority stake in the Granite Reliable Power wind farm from Noble Environmental Power in December 2010.
As reported by Ehran Goossens for Bloomberg, Brookfield Renewable Power owns 75% of the project and Freshet Wind Energy LLC owns the other 25%. According to the report, Brookfield contracted RMT, an engineering and construction firm based in Wisconsin, to construct the wind farm. RMT began clearing the site in February, 2011 and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
Noble Environmental Power, which originally developed the project, had contracted Northeast Wind to identify the site, perform the early site assessments, design the strategy, obtain permits, and assist in negotiations with land owners.
In July 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy adopted an environmental assessment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Granite Reliable Power wind farm. This assessment resulted in a finding of no significant impact. The 33 wind turbines, 400 feet tall, are to be constructed on top of mountain ridges in central Coos County. The turbines will connect to a transformer and then to the local power grid.
The project involves building or improving about 31 miles of access roads, filling 13.5 acres of wetlands, and clearing 300 acres of woods. To mitigate the 13.5 acres of wetlands, Granite Reliable Power will place 600 acres of forest in the headwaters area of Philips Brook into conservation. To compensate for the 300 acres of woods cleared, Granite Reliable Power will preserve in perpetuity 1,281 acres of high elevation on Mount Kelsey, 220 acres on Long Mountain, and 60 acres on Muse Mountain.
These parcels of land included in the wetlands and high elevation habitat mitigation plan will be deeded to the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. Also, $750,000 will be provided to the Fish & Game Department to acquire additional land, and $200,000 to study the effects on wildlife species.
Department of Energy Conditional Loan Guarantee Commitment to Support the Development of New Hampshire’s Largest Wind Farm, Energy.gov
D.O.E. to loan $135-million to New Hampshire’s largest wind project, Ecoseed
DOE/EA-1801; Environmental Assessment, 404(b)(1) Evaluation, and Finding of No Significant Impact, Granite Reliable Power Permit Application #NAE 2008-410, Energy.gov
Ehran Goossens, Brookfield Picks RMT to Build New Hampshire’s Largest Wind Farm, Bloomberg
Granite Reliable Power, Northeast Wind
Grant Reliable Power Wind Project, Brookfield Renewable Power, Inc.
Noble sells stake in 99MW New Hampshire wind farm, Brighter Energy
Phillips Brook wind farm gets federal loan guarantee, The Berlin Daily Sun