Advocates of alternatives to fossil fuel are considering several New Hampshire communities as locations to expand the use of wind to generate electricity.
Officials in Berlin, in northern New Hampshire, plan to have a working wind farm by the end of the year; authorities in Lempster, farther south, are also moving forward with a proposal.
Both of these plans mirror wind farm projects in surrounding states, including Massachusetts. Research is being conducted in Plymouth, beyond Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, to gauge the viability of a wind farm there, advocacy groups say.
In southern Vermont, Searsburg Wind Farm operates a six-megawatt operation that is powering 2,000 households. Statewide, more than six other proposed commercial wind farms are under consideration.
In Maine near the New Brunswick border and just southeast of Presque Isle, Evergreen Wind Power LLC has begun building a 50- to 60-megawatt wind farm in Mars Hill.
The project could be 10 times larger than the Searsburg wind farm; the company plans to break ground in 2006.
Sandra Jones, of the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in New Hampshire, said that wind speed tests are being conducted on top of the Tenney Mountain ridge line.
Nancy Girard, a lawyer with the Concord, N.H., office of the Conservation Law Foundation, said Wind Works LLC, which is based in Charlotte, Vt., hopes to build a wind farm there.
Brian Killkelley, a Wind Works official, declined to confirm whether a project is underway in Plymouth. But he said that the company was pursuing options to bring wind farms to New Hampshire. ''It's hard to say when," he said. ''The market is pretty competitive, so we're making sure we are going in a good direction."
Studies have shown that the White Mountains have New Hampshire's highest sustained winds.
Girard said she envisions wind power contributing 10 percent of New Hampshire's power supply.
That may not happen without resistance. Some people object to the towering turbines, and dislike their placement on ridge lines.
Organizations, including the Maine Audubon Society, also have expressed concern that birds and bats might be killed in turbines.