- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire lawmakers should reject a moratorium on new wind projects because the renewable power source takes pollutants out of the air and adds juice to the energy grid, a report released Tuesday said.

The national report released by Environment America and its state affiliates said wind power - which accounts for about 1.5 percent of the total electricity produced in New Hampshire, some 260,000 megawatt hours - has kept enough carbon dioxide out of the air to equal taking 32,000 cars off the road. It’s also cut emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which cause acid rain and soot, and conserved water.

“Wind energy is a critical component of New Hampshire’s renewable energy commitment, transitioning us to the cleaner, greener, healthier state we all envision,” said Madeline Page of Environment New Hampshire.

Environment New Hampshire and other supporters say the House of Representatives should defeat a measure calling for a moratorium on new wind projects until the state has a comprehensive energy plan.

Opponents argue that wind can never completely replace other power generators, is too expensive and will harm the state’s scenic beauty and wildlife.

“Wind doesn’t blow when we need it,” said Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Wind Action Group, which supports the moratorium. “The problem with wind is it’s not a reliable source of generation and it has to be built in places where we traditionally would never build power plants. That means much more transmission is required.”

Rep. Robert Backus of Hillsborough opposes the moratorium and said wind must be part of the state’s push to get nearly 25 percent of its electricity through renewable sources by 2025.

“New Hampshire should not turn away from the increasingly important role of wind energy in our future, even as we take care to assure that our state siting process considers each proposed facility carefully and assesses all likely impacts,” he said.

The state is revising the rules that guide the siting of power plants and transmission lines. New regulations are expected in 2015.

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