One of the world’s largest wind power company is walking away from a project to build wind towers in the St. Lawrence County town of Hammond. Iberdrola of Spain says it’s slowing down investment worldwide.
The plan generated bitter disputes in Hammond and several lawsuits to stop it. David Sommerstein reports.
More than four years ago, Iberdrola set out to erect 75 wind turbines in the little town on the downriver end of the Thousand Islands. The plan fueled fights at town meetings, ousters of town officials at the ballot box, and not one, but two moratoria on wind power development.
Last week, Iberdrola announced it was pulling out. Spokesman Paul Copleman told the Watertown Daily Times the company would remove test towers and withdraw land leases from property owners. He told the paper it had nothing to do with the controversy, but rather uncertainty over the wind production tax credit and the rough global economic climate overall.
We knew Iberdrola had been in financial difficulty during the summer.
Mary Hamilton led the opposition to the wind power project for the Concerned Residents of Hammond. She says few were surprised by Iberdrola’s decision. She says it’s not a victory because the bitterness will endure.
When you take a look at the divided town that Iberdrola has walked away from, there really are no winners here. We have people who were friends for many, many years who don’t speak to each other now and it’s going to take decades before things return to normal.
Hammond is moving on to a comprehensive plan to market its natural resources.
The region-wide debate over wind power continues in Cape Vincent, Clayton, and Parishville, where projects remain in development.