Some comments on the Ledger-Transcript’s recent coverage of the Eolian/Antrim Wind Energy project:
The state’s permitting agency rejected the original project because of visual impacts on the region, not just on Antrim as you stated.
Located on ridgelines, industrial wind projects are visible regionally and that’s what the state considers – 10 miles out for that project.
Margaret Dillon’s thoughtful responses to your questions stated that “New Hampshire has great wind resources, and they’re all on the ridges.”
Knowing wind speeds on the project ridgeline would help us judge its merits, but Antrim Wind Energy has not made public wind-speed data collected at the site. It’s proprietary, off limits to the public.
Maps of wind speeds across the U.S. are available online, and New Hampshire doesn’t light up much on the color-coded maps. The central states do, north to south.
The AWE turbines have a “nameplate capacity” of 3 to 3.3 megawatts. That’s what each would produce if operating at full capacity, all the time. Actual turbine output falls far short of that. It’s highest in the Midwest (36 percent of nameplate capacity) and lowest in New England (24 percent) – based on Department of Energy 2012 averages for projects that came online after 2007.
AWE projected actual output at 37 to 40 percent in its 2012 application – far higher than the 24 percent average that year for New England.
Again, to judge the project’s public benefit, we need to know the wind resource along the Antrim ridgeline.
As for visual impacts, Eolian/Antrim Wind’s quarter-page ad facing your wind-energy article shows skinny turbines among trees higher than they are. Very misleading. AWE turbines would be the tallest in the state at 490 to 495 feet: massive 300-foot towers extended by 190-foot blades. Trees in the photo look like balsam. Tallest known balsam in New Hampshire is 97 feet, and it’s doubtful it grows on a ridgeline where poor soils and weather limit growth.
Sorting out what’s true in the Antrim wind case continues to be difficult.
Francie Von Mertens
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