HOPKINTON – Some rejoice and others lament at the apparent end of the North Ridge Wind Project.
The wind energies law, which was passed April 26, limits the wind farm that Avangrid had hoped to build. “The vote taken a few weeks ago effectively zones out wind in Hopkinton,” wrote Paul Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid, in a response to the passing of the wind law.
“If the town in the very near term can examine those changes to the zoning ordinance, we may consider re-engaging with Hopkinton, but the pre-emptive rejection means we will focus on other New York projects in areas with clearer paths to pursue renewable development,” Mr. Copleman wrote.
“It’s a disappointment, it really is. Not only are lease owners losing out – it’s the town as well,” said Frank Potenzano, chairman of the pro-wind citizens group North Country for a Brighter Future and a lease holder for a turbine.
Mr. Potenzano spoke against the decision of the Town Board vote to impose the new wind law, which went against the desire of Avangrid, the company behind the project. He believes that the loss of the project will take with it millions of dollars that could have benefited the town.
“For a town that’s hurting for money, the town board and town supervisor are working against the interest of the town,” he said.
Susan M. Wood, the town supervisor, said on Wednesday that further meetings were unlikely.
“I guess there’s no project,” she said.
“The majority of the people didn’t want it, so I was supporting the majority.”
Mr. Potenzano, however, rebuts that belief. He cited a post-card campaign organized by North Country for a Brighter Future that had occurred in April where registered voters living in the town sent letters to the New York State Department of Public Services, asking that the Town Board have continued discussions with Avangrid. He said that he believed over 250 had been sent.
“I am writing in support of the Hopkinton Town Board continuing to have ongoing dialogue with Avangrid Renewables about the proposed North Ridge Wind Farm,” was written on one postcard and typical of most sent.
Mr. Potenzano also had harsh criticism for Ms. Wood, stating that she had not had the interest of Hopkinton residents at heart, and missing out on money that the community badly needs.
“Our town supervisor is taking the opinions of citizens of Parishville over those in Hopkinton,” he said.
Others, however, are gladdened by the news, most notably Janice Pease, an anti-turbine candidate for town council and member of Concerned Citizens for Rural Preservation.
“We welcome them leaving,” she said.
But despite the hint of joy, she remains wary.
“I don’t believe the company will pull out until they see what the state does,” Ms. Pease said.
But she does believe that if they were to finally leave and end the public debate, the town and the environment would benefit.
“This(the North Ridge Wind Project) wouldn’t be good for the local environment, and it wouldn’t be good for the local citizens.”
Concerned Citizens for Rural Preservation also had a campaign that asked citizens to send post-cards to the New York State Department of Public Services.
“I, along with my neighbors, do not believe the proposed North Ridge Industrial Wind Plant is compatible with the State Forests, Adirondack Park lands and the rural character of the Town of Hopkinton.”