Excerpt below. Full article here.
Grafton Wind Opponents Consider Runoff
By Susan Keese, VPR, Feb 25, 2014
The impact of high-elevation wind turbines on waterways should be carefully watched to reduce the chance of increased flooding downstream. That was the advice from a water resource engineer to a group of Grafton residents hoping to prevent an industrial wind project in their town.
The Grafton forum was the third event in a series held by local wind opponents and Vermonters for a Clean Environment, a statewide nonprofit group. The local opposition group formed after the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola Renewables built three wind test towers in Grafton and Windham.
No project has yet been proposed in the southern Vermont towns. But both towns have a history of flooding. And some citizens worry that an industrial wind project at the headwaters of several streams would make the situation worse.
Hydrologist Geoff Goll says those concerns are well founded.
“When headwaters are compromised, flooding issues that already exist can become exacerbated,” Goll says. “And once the headwaters are developed, it’s very difficult to remediate those areas.”
Goll is vice president of Princeton Hydro of New Jersey. The firm was hired by an appellant to study the site on Lowell Mountain where 21 ridge top turbines are now running. He says high-elevation headwaters are the source of clean, cold groundwater that’s absorbed in the forest and uneven mountaintop terrain.
He says the construction of multiple 450-foot turbines renders large areas impervious and prone to runoff in storms.