HOPKINTON – What was rumored is official: Avangrid’s North Ridge Wind Project is dead.
On June 22, a notice of closure was submitted by the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment. It stated it had received a letter on June 18 from Avangrid saying it would not pursue an Article 10 application.
Avangrid spokesman Paul Copleman wrote an email on Thursday to the Times expressing disappointment over decisions made by the Town Board and certain residents.
“We have made clear what science-backed changes would have been necessary to the Wind Advisory Board recommendations to allow wind in Hopkinton, but the pre-emptive rejection means we are focusing on other New York projects in areas with clearer paths to pursue renewable development,” he wrote.
The announcement evoked mixed reactions from locals, including Gary Snell, former chairman of Concerned Citizens for Rural Preservation and a member of the state siting board.
“I’m very pleased with the letter,” Mr. Snell said. “This is the result from the hard work of many, many people in Parishville and Hopkinton.”
Mr. Snell said the environmental and health hazards the turbines would present, such as loud noises and flashing lights, would negatively impact residents.
“It’s inappropriate to have it so close to people’s homes,” he said.
He also said the wind farm would financially affect only a few, a common criticism Avangrid had made steps to rectify.
On Feb. 27, Scott L. McDonald, an Avangrid senior business developer, wrote a letter to town residents offering new financial incentives such as a program that would pay 75 percent of residents’ electric bills up to $1,200 and annual payments to people with residences within 3,000 feet of a turbine. Both programs would have lasted 30 years.
Some had seen the letter as a bribe. Others saw it as financial relief.
But the final straw for Avangrid came on April 26 when the Town Board reversed its decision on not passing a wind law that would restrict several physical and instrumental aspects of the turbines.
“The most disheartening thing about the abrupt reversal and improper revote is that it surrenders to the handful of opponents using intimidating tactics and ignores so many voices in the community,” Mr. McDonald wrote.
Avangrid’s Parishville office has since closed.
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