WENDELL, Mass. (WWLP) – A concerned group of residents in Wendell, are spearheading a public discussion against the proposed 105 MW “Wendell Energy Storage Project” by New Leaf Inc.

The project, which involves storing electricity to be resold during peak demand, has come under fire for its potential ecological and community impact.

A citizens’ forum is scheduled to take place at the historic Wendell Meetinghouse, located at 1 Morse Village Rd. on the Wendell Common, on Tuesday, October 24th at 7 p.m. The primary objective of this gathering is to educate the community and neighboring areas about the potential detrimental effects associated with the project.

Photo courtesy of Wendell Meeting House

The group opposing the project emphasizes that it is unrelated to conservation or renewable energy goals. They express concerns that the project would require the clearcutting of 11.1 acres of forest, impacting an ecologically significant area. Additionally, the facility’s infrastructure, including 786 lithium-ion batteries and necessary cooling systems, would generate excess light, noise, and increase heavy truck traffic in the region.

The Wendell Conservation Commission had previously denied a permit for the project due to concerns about noise affecting local wildlife. However, New Leaf Inc. reapplied to the Department of Public Utilities in January 2023, seeking approval to move forward with the initiative.

The area affected is identified as a Critical Natural Landscape in the MassWildlife and Nature Conservancy’s 2023 “BioMap: The Future of Conservation in Massachusetts” report. It is adjacent to a Core Habitat area, highlighting its environmental significance.

The concerned residents believe that projects like this are misguided responses to the climate and electricity consumption challenges. They advocate for public education, early opposition, and strong collective action to oppose such projects.

The forum is open to the public, and donations are encouraged to cover event-related expenses. For additional information on the Wendell Meetinghouse, visit their website. To learn more about the event, reach out to Anna Gyorgy at 978-544-1815 or 413-772-9262 or via email at anna.gyorgy@crocker.com.

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