ALEXANDRIA – Though the state has not yet officially received an application for a five-town wind energy plant from Portuguese wind-power developer EDP Renewables, groups opposed to wind projects in the Cardigan Mountain-Newfound Lake area are lining up against the already announced “Spruce Wind” project.
The Appalachian Mountain Club, New Hampshire Wind Watch and the Newfound Lake Association have come out in opposition to Spruce Wind, which EDP officials said last month is a new project that will be filed with the state in the days and weeks ahead.
The company’s plans were confirmed by William Whitlock, executive vice president for EDP Renewables North America LLC’s Eastern Region, after his company filed plans on Nov. 5 with the Federal Aviation Administration for 29 wind turbines standing 499 feet in height in the five towns.
Whitlock said the company understood there was opposition to Spruce Wind already in place, in part from opponents of wind-energy plants in the area who take credit for playing a role in chasing away a previous wind-energy project from the area.
He said EDP officials would begin meeting with opponents and town residents in the first months of 2015, adding, “we know we have a lot of persuading to do.”
Ken Kimball, the AMC’s director of research, reiterated his club’s opposition to the plan on Tuesday, saying there is no doubt hikers of Cardigan Mountain would see some, many, or most of EDP’s proposed 50-story wind towers planned for Canaan, Orange, Dorchester, Alexandria and Groton.
The AMC recently invested $1.5 million in its facilities on the 5,655-acre Cardigan Reservation, which is part of the Cardigan Mountain State Park. The towers may lie in the view of Cardigan Lodge, and may be viewable from the trail to the summit of the mountain, where the AMC maintains another building, High Cabin, a 1930s-era building on the higher slopes of the mountain that was renovated in 2004.
“And the towers would most certainly be seen from the summit of the mountain, which is one of the most-climbed mountains in the state,” Kimball said. “The view would be adversely affected by this project, when and if it is filed.”
New Hampshire Wind Watch, a group that formed in opposition two years ago to the now-withdrawn Wild Meadows wind-energy plant proposal that was planned for roughly the same area, issued a press release Monday formally announcing its opposition to Spruce Ridge.
“This industrial wind plant will deforest and/or destroy miles and miles of Cardigan-Newfound region ridgelines. This project … will dominate once-scenic vistas with structures which would stand out as gigantic, even if they were put up in the middle of New York or Chicago,” Wind Watch said in its statement, which noted that the proposed EDP towers would be about 100 feet taller than those already erected as part of the nearby Groton Wind project.
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