The state is also considering the $1.4 billion Northern Pass project, with supporters cheering the jobs and renewable energy it could bring and opponents decrying it as a blight on the landscape.
Moratorium supporters questioned the worth of wind as a reliable contributor to the region’s energy grid, pointing out that even when turbines are turning, a backup energy source is required in case the wind ebbs. They also worried that dotting the state’s scenic ridgelines with windmills would be ugly and turn off would-be tourists.
Rep. Herbert Vadney, a Meredith Republican, scoffed at the notion of wind as a “savior.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Quite simply, wind is an incredibly expensive way to make a very small impact on carbon emissions.”
Rebecca Brown, a Democrat from Sugar Hill, argued that the moratorium was less about wind than it was about making sure the state has the right regulations in place to evaluate projects and determine where and how to build power plants and transmission lines. The state is currently reviewing those rules and revisions are expected in 2015.
“Good policymaking is like good carpentry: You measure twice and you cut once,” she said.
Jack Savage, spokesman for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, said they weren’t surprised by the House vote. The society, which supported the moratorium, will keep pushing for a comprehensive energy plan.