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Wind turbines – coming soon to a lake side ridge near you

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

In 2007 Gov. John Lynch launched his "25 in 25" initiative with the goal of having 25 percent of New Hampshire's energy from renewable sources by 2025. New Hampshire's total in state energy consumption in 2010 was 295 trillion BTUs. Of that 27 percent comes from buildings, 36 percent comes from transportation and 37 percent comes from electricity. To achieve the 25 percent goal, 74 trillion BTU's will need to come from renewable resources. 43.5 trillion BTUs (14.7 percent) of New Hampshire's energy already comes from renewables (32.6 trillion BTUs from electricity), so 31 trilliom BTUs of additional renewable energy needs to be developed in the next 12 years.

Generating renewable energy from transportation has proven to be very difficult and renewable building energy, primarily from solar and wood, also has limited capacity. The only area with the possibility of substantial renewables growth is in the generation of electricity. According to Professor Mike Mooiman of Franklin Pierce University an additional 31 trillion BTUs of renewable electrical energy could be generated by 135 25MW wind farms the size of Lempster Mountain or 80 15MW wood burning plants like Bethlehem or 780 10MW solar voltaic farms of 100 acre size.

It is reasonable to assume that at least two-thirds of the 31 trillion BTUs required will need to come from wind power. New Hampshire currently has three operational wind farms: 24 MW 12-turbine Lempster Mountain, 99 MW 33-turbine Granite Wind and 48 MW 24-turbine Groton Wind. The 75.9 MW 23-turbine Wild Meadows and 60 MW 24-turbine Spruce Wind are planned for the mountain ridges surrounding Newfound Lake over the strong objections of the local residents. If these two proposed projects are built New Hampshire will have five wind farms with a total capacity of 307 MW and 116 wind turbines.

Based on Professor Mooiman's estimates we will need an additional 2,250 MW of capacity consisting of an additional 900 2.5 MW 500 foot wind turbines on the scenic mountain ridges of New Hampshire to generate two-thirds of the required 31 trillion BTUs to meet the 25 in 25 goal.

If you are sitting at home looking out at the scenic mountains around Squam Lake or Lake Winnipesaukee and you think that all of the fuss over putting wind turbines around scenic Newfound Lake doesn't affect you, think again. If Newfound Lake can be sacrificed for the state's 25 in 25 goal, do you really believe the mountain ridges around your lakes can escape the march of the wind turbines?

Art Cote