BP has dropped its plans to put $300 million worth of windmills in the town of Cape Vincent.
BP Wind Energy wanted to develop a 200 to 285 megawatt wind power farm in the town.
The decision to “terminate” the project comes after years of controversy in the community.
“What does this mean? It means the end of a 10-year battle,” said wind power proponent Gary King. “We lost. We felt it was the best thing for the town, but apparently majority rules.”
BP has been trying to sell its wind projects and decided to abandon the one in Cape Vincent. Town councilman John Byrne was among those against bringing a wind farm to Cape Vincent.
“British Petroleum is a business and they’re in this to make money,” Byrne said. “I think most people are aware of the fact that the likelihood of them getting a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes agreement) was slim. We don’t know if they had anyone to purchase their energy.”
Plans for the wind farm began almost a decade ago and ever since, the project has pitted neighbor against neighbor in Cape Vincent.
Many seasonal residents opposed the plan over concerns that wind turbines would destroy property values.
Meanwhile, many year-round residents supported the idea because of the potential revenue the wind farm would generate, some of which would have helped struggling farmers.
“I could not for the life of me see why a wind turbine or two on their property would be that terrible,” King said. “It would help them maintain their livelihood and support their family. That’s why I got involved.”
With the fight now over, will the rift in the community ever heal?
“My take on Cape Vincent is the people are very resilient,” Byrne said. “I was there the night we had our ice storm and you see people from both sides of the aisle come together. Wind is just one issue.”
“There’s been so much bad blood, so much bad verbage between the people for and the people against,” King said. “I think it’ll take a couple generations before that’s forgotten.”
Jason Ryan, a spokesperson for BP, released the following statement:
“Last year, BP announced its intention to divest its wind energy development portfolio.
“BP Wind Energy is concluding the divestment of the remaining assets in its wind development portfolio, and proceeding to terminate our position in the Cape Vincent, NY wind farm.
“With this termination, Cape Vincent Wind Power, LLC will withdraw from the New York State Article 10 permitting process and will wind down all of its contracts and agreements for the project. We expect this to be completed in the coming months.
“BP has spent the last six years working with a wide range of stakeholders and community groups in Cape Vincent and throughout Jefferson County on the proposed wind farm.
“We thank them for their engagement and co-operation during this time.
“The terms of divested assets are confidential.
“BP is retaining operating wind farms in its portfolio at this time.
Our focus remains on ensuring safe and reliable operations, and on maximizing the financial and operational performance of the existing assets.”
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