Sununu decides N.H. shouldn’t be left behind as offshore wind farms become reality

Monitor staff
Published: 1/7/2019 5:47:41 PM

Gov. Chris Sununu has joined governors in some neighboring states in seeking a federal study of offshore wind power, as a new study supports that technology’s ability to help New England cope with natural gas shortages during extreme cold spells.

Sununu’s Jan. 2 letter asks the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to establish a federal task force to study “renewable energy commercial leasing proposals in federal waters” off New Hampshire. This is the first of many steps necessary for large-scale wind farms to be built off New Hampshire’s 18-mile coastline, which is the shortest of all coastal states.

Last month, three companies bid $405 million for such leases off the southern coast of Cape Cod and Rhode Island, indicating developer interest in establish huge offshore wind farms close to the electricity-hungry Northeast.

Also last month, the group that runs the six-state power grid released a report saying that large offshore wind farms could go a long way toward lowering electricity costs and guaranteeing electricity supply in New England during cold winter months. More than half of New England’s electricity is produced by natural gas-fired power plants, which have trouble getting enough fuel during cold snaps when most gas is used for heating.

The group modeled how offshore wind farms could react during a two-week blast of frigid weather. It estimated that wind facilities would have reduced natural gas consumption by generators by 20 percent, and pushed down consumption of oil to fire back-up furnaces by 7 percent.

UNH recently published a study which claimed to find broad support for offshore wind, even among people involved with industries that sometimes clash with the industry, such as owners of commercial fishing boats.

Offshore wind farms are usually seen as being more effective than onshore wind farms partly because they face fewer concerns about visual impact, allowing the construction of much larger and more efficient turbines, and partly because winds are more regular over the ocean, especially off the Northeast coast.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

Stay informed with our free email updates
Concord Monitor Daily Headlines
Concord Monitor Breaking News
Concord Monitor Dining & Entertainment
Concord Monitor Report For America Education
Concord Monitor Report For America Health
Concord Monitor Real Estate
Concord Monitor Sports
Concord Monitor Suncook Valley
Concord Monitor Contests & Promotions
Concord Monitor Weekly Most Popular
Concord Monitor Granite Geek
Concord Monitor Monitor Marquee
Concord Monitor Hopkinton
Concord Monitor Politics
Concord Monitor MY CONCORD
Concord Monitor Franklin


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Concord Monitor, recently named the best paper of its size in New England.

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

Social Media


View All Sections

Part of the Newspapers of New England Family