Wind Farm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1000 Islands - Iberdrola Renewables has confirmed that the meteorological test towers have been disabled and the company will no longer pursue developing the Stone Church industrial wind farm in Hammond, a project the company has been courting for the past several years.
Clayton's proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm will not be affected. The project could have up to 48 turbines, near Route 12, south of the village of Clayton. The company informed the town last fall that it intends to seek project review through the state siting board. Clayton Planning Board Chairman Roland (Bud) Barll has not been informed of any changes in plans to move forward with Horse Creek.
Iberdrola's leases with Hammond property owners for the use of their land were deemed null and void as of January 1. At least nine leaseholders received registered letters confirming the leases have been canceled.
Iberdrola Business Development Manager Jenny Briot has stated that her company is canceling 100 projects in the United States, according to leaseholder James Pitcher, who had been in conversations with her regarding the future of wind in Hammond and elsewhere.
Several small test towers in Hammond will be donated to schools or colleges, while the taller towers, measuring up to 288 feet high, will be taken down by the company, possibly with the help of large cranes from out of the area. Some of the Hammond towers were erected in 2005.
The industrial wind issue had been alive in Hammond since the early 2000's and resulted in a split in the community that turned friends into enemies and enemies into friends. Committees were formed to study the health, safety and economic impacts of the project and to report those findings to the town board.
Wind laws were amended more than once and ultimately rewritten. The issue of whether to turn the small tourist and agricultural town of Hammond into an industrial area affected local election results and sparked controversy over ethics and possible conflicts of interest of public officials.
Lawsuits were lodged in the past few years by both pro and anti-wind citizens. Leaseholders saw the wind farm as a means to bolster income in the difficult and financially challenging business of agriculture. They also hoped the wind project would boost the local economy as a whole.