Hikers of Cardigan Mountain are greeted on their way to the trail heads by many signs expressing opposition to more wind farms. Once atop the windy peak, the reason for the signs becomes as clear as the view on a cloudless day. In every direction but one, trees are the tallest sights. Then, in the northeast, there is the Groton Wind farm.
Wind power companies had plans to build two more wind farms near Cardigan Mountain and Newfound Lake. Opponents have said the lake would become the center of a “wind farm sandwich” if both projects were built. This week Iberdrola Renewables withdrew its plans to build one of the other projects, the Wild Meadows wind farm in Danbury and Alexandria. That is a relief. Wind energy has its place, but its place was not there.
A study of the wind farm’s impact on birds found that many varieties of raptors, including bald eagles and ospreys, as well as smaller birds, regularly flew through the space where the Wild Meadows towers would have been constructed.
Though Iberdrola claimed that the project would not harm tourism in New Hampshire, it probably would have reduced tourism to Cardigan Mountain and Newfound Lake. Cardigan Mountain’s trails are among the most beautiful in New England. To reach the top and see wind farms in three directions would be a disappointment to many nature lovers, who might well choose other destinations in the future rather than return to hike Cardigan’s other trails or visit Newfound Lake.
None of these factors appeared to have killed the project, though. Iberdola’s inability to satisfy state concerns about its Groton Wind farm seems to have been the deciding factor, which is another reason to be thankful that the company is not building another wind farm nearby.