Industrial-scale wind farm planned in Parishville and Hopkinton; Iberdrola plans meeting with residents Saturday
PARISHVILLE – The world’s largest renewable power generation company has plans to develop an industrial-scale windmill farm in Parishville and Hopkinton.
Iberdrola Renewables already has signed leases from at 15 landowners on 59 parcels in the northeast of the Town of Parishville and the north of the Town of Hopkinton, primarily between St. Rts. 11B and 72. Some of the parcels are inside the Adirondack Park’s Blue Line. The contracts are with Atlantic Wind, an Iberdrola subsidiary.
An Iberdrola spokesman says it is too early to talk about the scope of the project, but they have named it North Ridge Wind Farm.
The firm has invited some people in the area of the proposed development to a meeting Saturday at the Parishville Fire Hall from 10 a.m. to noon to discuss their plans.
A map of the parcels under contract has been prepared by the St. Lawrence County Planning office at the request of a citizen. It is based on lease information on file at the County Clerk’s Office. The map can be seen at http://www.parhopwind.com/leasemapmarch162011.html.
The web site www.parhopwind.com was put online just in the last several days by a Potsdam resident who wishes not to be identified, but who is well versed in wind power issues. He said he learned of the planned Saturday meeting and began researching the proposal. The site has links to information about wind power.
An owner of land in the area of the proposed development received a letter inviting him to the meeting, while another landowner nearby does not recall receiving such a letter.
The Parishville meeting will be the first of at least two in the area, according to Iberdrola communications manager Paul Copleman.
“These meetings are a fairly typical part of the development process in the early stage,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity for us to hear what people’s questions might be, and for us to put a face on the development.”
He said the company also plans to have such a meeting in Hopkinton, though the date is not set.
Even in the early stages of the plan, it is clear Iberdrola sees possibilities in the site. It has solicited several signed leases and has put up wind test towers to gauge the potential of the site.
“Land leasing and putting land under contract is required for putting up energy test towers,” Copleman said.
He said that he did not think the 59 parcels under contract would all be used for placement of test towers.
Before the test towers were put in place, Copleman said, the company had “done its homework to see if further study was warranted.”
He said it was too early to discuss how many windmills might be built and how much electricity could be generated until they have more data.
“Those test towers went up in November, and we won’t have a comprehensive assessment until we have 12 months of data under our belt,” so they can gauge wind potential through four seasons. And the entire development would be “a multi-year process,” he said.
The meeting Saturday would be led by “a couple of folks from the project development team. It’s an opportunity for people who have questions to meet the folks who will be doing the work in the community,” Copleman said.
Another meeting will be held in Hopkinton, and as more data and information become available, it will be shared with the community, he said.
The Maple Ridge wind power project in Lewis County, on the eastern edge of the Tug Hill plateau, is a joint venture of Iberdrola Renewables, which based in Portland, Ore., and Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy. Iberdrola’s web site says 400 people were employed during construction, and 35 people are employed now for operation of the field. The project was dedicated in September 2006.
Iberdrola had been working to get approvals for a development in the town of Hammond, but recently pulled the project from a state list of potential energy developments. The company said that it still is interested in the Stone Church Wind Farm project, but uncertainty over the project’s progress through local government approvals led the company to put it on hold.
Iberdrola SA, the parent company, is based in Valencia, Spain. It is the leading producer of renewable energy in the world, according to Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the company has just broken ground on a wind generation complex in Romania that is envisioned as the largest such project in the world.
Bloomberg also reports that the company suspended electric production at a development in North Dakota after blades on one generator fell off March 14.
The company also has a pending application with the Ontario Energy Board to be an electricity wholesaler in the province.
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