Lemster, NH ‘s Community WindBy Nancy Rae Mallery, publisher of Green Energy Times. June 15, 2012
We have come to depend on fossil fuels for our energy and transportation. To fuel transportation, to fire up our plants for electricity, it takes an abundance of — coal. Both oil and coal pollute. Even firing up a natural gas plant makes carbon dioxide. We can’t shut these plants down — they are part of our own supply chain for electricity. What we can do is to Integrate clean non-polluting energy such as wind energy – into the grid and thus, lessen our dependence on fossil fuel.
Burning coal contributes massively to climate change, generating acid rain and particulates that are very hazardous to health.
Nuclear is a major problem in what we do with all the radioactive waste, let alone the dangers and real possibility of a meltdown from nature – floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes…
Hydro is a much better form of energy than anything that involves combustion. Hydro alone is not going to solve our energy needs. It is absolutely necessary that we develop energy sources that are renewable and available. Wind power is both.
National and regional policy supports the addition of wind energy –in the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. “Our region possesses over 10,000 MW of economically developed wind power. If developed fully, it would turn New England into an exporter of renewable energy. Even a fraction of it being developed would more than fulfill our existing state and national renewable energy portfolio standard,” stated John Shea, director of New England Governor’s Conference.
Still, there are many questions. What is it REALLY like, to live with an actual ‘Wind Farm in your Midst’?
Green Energy Times received a call from Norm Sturgeon, owner of Sturgeon’s General Store in Lempster, NH — requesting copies of G.E.T. to carry in his store. Norm proceeded to tell me that they operate in the shadow of the Lempster Wind Farm. We asked Norm if he and his wife, Cathy would help us educate the people in New England just what it’s like.
They agreed and filled us with some interesting stories, like the one about kayaking on a nearby pond that sits in the shadow of the wind towers
. Cathy likes to explore and will undoubtedly find Norm asleep in the shadow of a wind turbine — enjoying the serenity of his surroundings. Norm loves watching the turbine. “It’s part of the picture” — “way better than the alternative!”
Here is what they had to say:
- Lempster’s wind farm project is a result of the landowner’s interest in wind energy. He did research, went to meetings, spoke with representative from Iberdrola etc. to get things going. The wind farm went on line Nov. 17, 2008.
- Environmental changes were that trees were cut in order to make access road there is still plenty of wildlife in the area — no harm was done to the water.
- “The deer population is greater,” says Carl Stone, who has a wind farm on his property in Madison, NY, “than it was ten years ago”. Scott Griffin, who has two turbines on his property in Fenner, NY, agrees, and has his tree stands within 100 yds of turbines. David Kelsey, from Lempster, NH says that “ I haven’t seen any impact. I’m a hunter. For the 8 years since I’ve been here, we have flocks of geese land on the pond regularly. We see turkeys constantly”. How many birds have you found beneath your turbines in the 8 years since you’ve had the turbines? “None. Not one,” said Donna Griffin, from Fenner, NY. “I never heard of anybody finding a dead bird. It’s nothing to see 1,000 geese aside the pond within sight of the turbines. They don’t bother the turbines and the turbines don’t bother them.”
- Hiking is probably increased due to the fact that many people want to view them.
- The volume of noise is different depending on wind direction and speed. They make a whooosh-whooooosh sound as the blades rotate. I have stood directly under them and did not find them to be loud. Have not heard of anyone having health issues due to the noise.
- I never heard the term flickering regarding the blades.
- Originally our taxes decreased but next tax bill the county raised our taxes as they now consider us a donor town. Electric rates were not affected. They are on private land, so town has no say.
- The turbines have not affected the economy. When construction was going on it was a tremendous boost for the store as workers came in everyday to eat, get drinks and snacks. I built a wonderful relationship with a great many of them and they wrote in a journal that I started before they left. We have had bus tours come through, from towns that are considering a wind farm. We sell windmill shirts and sweatshirts and decals with one of my photos on them.
- Lempster does not get their power directly from the windmills. The energy produced is sold and goes to the grid in Newport with PSNH getting 90% and NH Electric Co-op getting 10%. There is no discount. It’s all about what is negotiated with the windmill company — whether it be on private land or town land. There is a town in Maine where all electric customers receive $50 off their bill each month!
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, windmills could be a deterrent for some, yet I spoke to a woman who was looking for land here because she loves windmills. Views are better without — but I love nature, however the turbines are not unsightly. They are pretty majestic looking yet streamlined. I prefer them a million times over a cell tower. I would not move away because of them.
- A town need to consider all aspects: taxes, environmental changes, tourism. Town folks need to be included in this decision. You can never please everyone, but people need to know that they should be involved, especially those who will be in close proximity to the turbines.
We welcome people to visit our wind farm and see for themselves!