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Parishville-Hopkinton wind power in “earliest stages”

The owner of the Northeast’s largest wind farm – on the Tug Hill Plateau – is looking into a new project in St. Lawrence County. Iberdrola Renewables is holding an informational meeting tomorrow in Parishville. David Sommerstein reports.

Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman says plans for wind turbines in the towns of Parishville and Hopkinton are in the earliest stages. The company just erected test towers last year. Copleman describes tomorrow’s open house as a get-to-know-you event.

Introduce ourselves to the community and make sure we present the opportunity for people to ask us questions and concerns.

Iberdrola is already in the middle of planning for industrial-scale wind farms in northern Jefferson County and in the town of Hammond in St. Lawrence County. Those projects have turned into bitter battles that have divided local residents and overthrown town boards in fiercely fought elections.

Critics of wind power projects say one reason is companies strike lucrative deals with some landowners early, creating haves and have-nots and potential conflicts of interest for local lawmakers.

Copleman confirms Iberdrola has signed land contracts with some property owners in Parishville and Hopkinton. But he says the company is a signatory of New York’s wind ethics code and is committed to transparent dealings.

To make sure that we’re doing our best to address those issues very early on, and I guess this open house is a good example of that. We don’t know if we have enough wind at the site to present a viable project yet, but I think it’s important for us to hear those types of questions and concerns that people might have.

The open house is from 10 until noon tomorrow morning at the Firemen’s Field by the school in Parishville.

For North Country Public Radio, I’m David Sommerstein.