ALEXANDRIA — Saying it is responding to public concerns over the size and scale of its proposed Wild Meadows wind farm project in the Newfound Lake-Cardigan Mountain area, the Spanish company proposing the project has cut the proposed number of turbines and dropped one of the proposed three towns — Grafton — from the plan.
“We have held many public meetings on the project over more than a year now, and we received some comments of concern over the scale of the project in terms of the number of turbines,” Iberdrola Project Manager Ed Cherian said. “This revision and reduction is in response to those concerns, and reduces the footprint and impacts of the project.”
The initial proposal for the project called for a 37-array of towers on a 6,000-acre parcel that the company had leased from landowners in Alexandria, Danbury and Grafton.
The new proposal, unveiled to Alexandria residents at the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, includes just 23 turbines, with a 31 percent reduction in the project’s footprint, Cherian said.
The new, more efficient turbines proposed have a 3.3 megawatt capacity versus the formerly proposed 2 megawatt turbines. They are approximately 35 feet taller than the formerly proposed 40-story high towers.
The revised project proposal includes a 36 percent reduction in miles of access roads needed and a 44 percent reduction in miles of power lines needed.
It drops Grafton from the project completely because as project managers sought to reduce the size of the project, they found that the ridge line originally targeted in Grafton on Melvin Mountain was less desirable.
“The wind resources on the Melvin Mountain side are less robust that those in the Danbury and Alexandria portions of the project,” Cherian said.
If the project goes through as presently designed, the town would receive more than $400,000 each year from the project, which is close to the yearly town budget, Cherian told Alexandria resident.
New Hampshire Wind Watch, which opposes the project, said Iberdrola’s revisions make no difference as the town opposes Wild Meadows, as are all the towns in the region.
“Iberdrola appears to say whatever is expedient at the moment,” said Wind Watch’s Nancy Watson.
“They have on numerous occasions dating back to 2009 stated they will not install any industrial wind plant without community support. Then they show up in Alexandria (Tuesday) night, a town that rejected their proposed wind installation by a nearly 3-to-1 vote (at Town Meeting in March) and proceed to inform residents they are proceeding in spite of the overwhelming voter mandate to the contrary.”
Grafton town officials reached Wednesday had no comment.