Go Where the Wind Blows: Member Spotlight with Jack Kenworthy & Walden Green Energy
For Jack Kenworthy, Head of Development for Walden Green Energy,
A problem isn’t necessarily a problem-it’s an opportunity. As Head of Development for NHSEA & NHCTC member Walden Green Energy, Jack enjoys using a multi-disciplinary focus and drawing upon numerous different skill sets to solve complex problems. For him, it’s all about communicating with people on all aspects of project development, from landowners to regulators, contractors to equipment vendors, and project finance parties. His ultimate goal is to get projects in the ground that make a positive difference.
Walden Green Energy, founded in 2011, is headquartered in NYC with offices in Portsmouth, NH. Walden develops, owns, and operates clean energy projects using proven technologies that efficiently harness local renewable resources.
Jack’s focus project for Walden right now is Antrim Wind, a 28.8 MW wind power project in Antrim, NH. It is a project both Jack and Walden are extremely proud of, capable of powering over 12,000 NH homes with just an 11 acre footprint. The project will conserve over 900 acres of valuable forestland forever, while simultaneously providing over $54 million in economic benefits to Hillsborough and surrounding counties.
The project has no significant environmental impacts (e.g. rare, threatened or endangered species, significant wetlands or exemplary natural communities), and will require no new transmission lines to bring the power to market. Antrim wind will also meet the strictest standards of any wind project in the state for sound and shadow flicker and has very limited impacts on scenic resources — with only 2.5% of the 10 mile study area having visibility, and no resources of state, regional or national significance.
These facts have earned the support of the host community, the NH Sierra Club, New England Forestry Foundation, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, all elected officials representing Antrim in Concord, and numerous New Hampshire companies. The Nature Conservancy has also weighed in and commented that the project is in the public interest.
Everyone in NH can have a voice through public comment to the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). Walden encourages people to ask questions and learn more, and if they support this project going forward, to let the SEC know by writing a letter or making comments in person during the hearing process. Learn more here.
Despite these overwhelming benefits, the Antrim wind project highlights two crucial challenges for renewable energy in NH, challenges that Walden must overcome in order for the project to begin construction as planned later this year: siting and the market.
Walden doesn’t expect siting to be easy, and they certainly expect to be held to a high standard and to be accountable for their development plans. However, they feel New Hampshire has to strike a balance between a rigorous and comprehensive process for siting and establishing clear, fair and balanced regulations that allow properly developed projects to move forward without overly onerous restrictions, expenses and delays. If Antrim wind can’t move forward based on siting regulations, Jack believes it will be a major setback for the future of clean energy development in the state.
In regards to the market, Jack says Walden has looked many times for opportunities to invest in megawatt scale solar project here and they just don’t work. Neighboring states such as Massachusetts and Vermont have grown their solar market considerably by setting clear goals and allowing investments to flow. Jack would like to see New Hampshire’s policies revamped to stimulate the private investment dollars that are poised to bring projects to fruition here that will benefit the economy and environment.
Even in the face of these challenges, Jack and Walden are proud members of NHSEA & NHCTC and believe we can create a more successful energy future for NH. According to Jack, the importance of clean energy for our state is simple: it’s the best choice to ensure energy security, price stability and affordability, environmental protection and job growth in New Hampshire.