Opinion: Wind farms will provide needed economic boost, says Hopkinton resident
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 8:46 am

To the Editor:

I’m a leaseholder of the North Ridge Wind Farm. Before I signed a lease, I spoke with the Town of Hopkinton Board in 20110 in regards to understand their view on the wind project.

Their response was that the project would be good for the town and they urged me to sign.

After that I made a trip to Maple Ridge Wind Farms in Lewis County, which is also run by Avangrid.

I wanted to see how the windmills were sited and what the setbacks were like. The people I talked to were random leaseholders and non-leaseholders. I was not on an official tour. Every person I spoke to gave me positive feedback to my questions.

Their biggest plus was how much better the community was off financially. Most were paying significantly less in property races. At that time, Maple Ridge had been running for five years. My conclusion was that the windmills would be compatible with my farm. I returned and signed met lease.

In March of 2016 I was contacted by Solar City with a lease proposal for 40 acres just west of the village of Hopkinton between 11B and 72. The lease would not interfere with the lease that I had previously signed with North Ridge Wind Farm.

So again, I went to the town board to get their thoughts on the proposed solar farm. Their response was it could not be taxed and they did not have to enter into a PILOT agreement with the town. The town indicated that they would not benefit from the solar farm. After hearing this I chose not to sign the lease, despite that fact I would have been paid very well.

This solar project, unlike the wind farm, did not seem to be in the best interest of the Hopkinton community, which is something that matters to me greatly.

The North Ridge Wind Farm will provide significant economic benefit to the towns of Hopkinton and Parishville and our school district.

I would like to remind people that tens of thousands of people live and work near operating wind farms in U.S. daily without any adverse health effect.

The wind farm is an opportunity for our towns to get a much needed economic boost. Before signing my lease, I did my homework and determined that this wind farm will help me and my farm, but it will also help my school district and the Town of Hopkinton and the Town of Parishville.

Richard Eakins