HOPKINTON – More than 100 residents turned out Tuesday to hear the latest information about the debated North Ridge Wind Farm project and voice their concerns.
Avangrid Renewable spokesperson Paul N. Copleman said he was pleased with the turnout.
“I appreciate the engagement from folks, there were lots of great questions and we were here to do our best to educate and explain the process on the positive long-term effects this will have on the community,” he said.
Copleman said he heard from supporters, those who were curious and some who are against it the proposal for 40 wind towers about 500 feet tall.
“We are well aware that there is a diversity of opinions,” he said. Avangrid unveiled its preliminary layout of the project with maps and visual simulation from certain areas in the towns of Parishville and Hopkinton.
He said the company was “looking to facilitate information from people.”
The company has been running tests related to the environment, wind power, and the ability to interconnect with the energy grid. Avangrid erected a meteorologist test tower on NYS County Route 56 to run wind measurement studies in the area.
“This is a long process,” he said. “We are well aware that there is a diversity of opinions."
Copleman said he heard from supporters, those who were curious and some who are against it.
“It is our job to explain the benefits to the community,” he said.
Copleman said benefits include creating jobs and providing revenue for landowners and the rest of the community.
Based on projects in the past Copleman believes the wind towers would lead to six permanent jobs and about 125 construction jobs likely lasting 12 to 18 months.
The permanent jobs would be technician jobs.
Copleman says revenue for landowners and farmers could be $500,000 and around $750,000 for the community.
“The community can spend it as they see fit,” he said. “In the past communities have spent it on cutting taxes, or upgrades to schools and infrastructure.”
Avangrid officials have stated in the past that they would likely ask the two towns, the Parishville-Hopkinton School District, and St. Lawrence County to allow the company to make payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs. If so, each of those entities will have to decide, one by one, if they will grant those tax breaks.
If the project does happen, construction could happen as soon as 2019.
“A timeline is hard to project – there is a long ways to go,” he said.
Copleman said the company would likely hold similar meetings in the future as more information becomes available.