• ECHO Action Editor

Waiting for Concord to embrace solar, flip its fondness of fossil fuels

Why is the Granite State locking themselves into a fossil fuel future? Are legislators still asking themselves why NH's youth are leaving the state? Nothing says old, stodgy and set in your ways like clinging to outdated technology. Concord Steam biofuel plant could have been renovated at no cost to the state, protecting NH forestry jobs. Instead, legislators of both parties supported Liberty Utilities' very expensive proposal of a shocking fracked gas conversion at the State House, state buildings, City of Concord and Concord School District. Methane is a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. After transitioning to fossil fuel, not away from it, Concord City Council promptly announced their alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement, calling themselves the 5th NH city to commit to the climate goals (NHPR 9/18/17). Now NextEra's solar project was defeated with a decision that, "essentially kills the project...[setting] a steep precedent for any prospective companies looking to bring a large-scale solar project in the residential open space district, which covers a large portion of the city’s land, according to city maps." "A new NASA study is one final nail in the coffin of the myth that natural gas is a climate solution, or a “bridge” from the dirtiest fossil fuels to low-carbon fuels like solar and wind." ("NASA just made a stunning discovery about how fracking fuels global warming. Natural gas is not part of the climate solution, it's part of the problem." (Think Progress 1/9/18) 22 of NH's senators just announced their support of Liberty Utilities' Granite Bridge Pipeline from Manchester to Stratham and massive LNG tank in Epping. That includes all of the state's Democrats, who claim concern about climate change. If you didn't like this project Concord, when will you join individuals, businesses and municipalities across the state embracing solar? Reducing CO2 doesn't count if you're increasing methane. We know you can do better. Waiting...

West Portsmouth Street solar project denied rehearing

Concord Monitor, 6/6/18

"Residents on West Portsmouth Street who feared a 54-acre solar array moving in can breathe a sigh of relief: The project is dead.

A packed zoning board meeting in Concord started out with members denying a rehearing to NextEra Energy, which was looking to build a 10-megawatt solar array in the crook of the Merrimack River on West Portsmouth Street.

NextEra Energy was denied a zoning variance based on the city’s calculation for “impervious area” a few months ago. On Wednesday, they asked the Zoning Board of Adjustment to reconsider its decision.

However, the board quickly upheld its decision with a 4-1 vote. Members said they did not err in their decision making and that the company’s argument was similar to the one they voted against.

Under current Concord zoning definitions and rules, the impervious area of each panel is calculated by laying it perfectly flat as if it were a piece of pavement. In a residential open space district, only 10 percent of a lot can be covered, and that includes elements of a dwelling like driveways and sheds. NextEra’s proposal would have covered 70 percent of the lot under city definitions.

NextEra was asking the Zoning Board of Adjustment to consider whether the city’s definition of impervious surfaces should apply to solar panels because they do not prevent rainwater from reaching the ground and vegetation from growing under the panels.

The decision essentially kills the project, which would have rented land from Brochu Nursery and sold its power to Connecticut. It also sets a steep precedent for any prospective companies looking to bring a large-scale solar project in the residential open space district, which covers a large portion of the city’s land, according to city maps."

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