After a year of redesigns, the Wild Meadows Wind Farm has submitted its state application to be built in the towns of Alexandria and Danbury. But in the past 18 months, the ground has shifted dramatically beneath the feet of the industry in New Hampshire, these days uncertain winds swirl around the proposal.
On a recent fall day, Ed Cherian with the Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola gave a tour of his company’s Groton wind farm to a group of students from the New Hampton School. One of the blades whistles as it spins a sign that a condensation flap is stuck open.
“So it’s 24-wind turbines, almost a year old, bouncing baby wind farm,” he tells the hard-hat and safety glasses equipped students.
Unlike the first two wind farms in the state – which were built in Lempster, and deep in Coos County – this one in Groton is visible to a lot of people. You can see it from Plymouth, from Newfound Lake and from i-93. When it started to come online last fall, a lot of people noticed, and in the time since, a substantial number of people have mobilized against further wind development around the lake.
Before the field trip these kids watched Windfall, a documentary made by anti-wind activists in New York State, but most seem mollified after standing beneath the towers.
“They aren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be, from watching the movie in class,” says Jack Reilly, and Claire Schneider follows with, “I think most people overreact.”
A Battle for Hearts and Minds
These tours are part of the attempt from Iberdrola to win back the hearts and minds of residents as they put in their application to build a third wind farm in the state, about the same size as this one but farther south. They are also reaching out to like-minded folks and ask them to write letters to the editor of their local papers.
Iberdrola first floated the idea a year ago. It’s called Wild Meadows and if approved it would consist of 23 turbines, each 492 feet tall from base to tip. It would sit on a pair of ridges in Alexandria and Danbury, about 4 miles southwest of Newfound Lake.
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