Decade-Long Opposition to the Iberdrola Horse Creek Wind Project, USA

Iberdrola's proposed Horse Creek Wind Project in the environmentally sensitive and scenic 1000 Islands Region is generating widespread organized opposition from community groups, local governments, environment organizations and other stakeholders.


The Horse Creek Wind Project (HCWP) is a proposed 60-72 turbine, 205 megawatt industrial wind turbine facility encompassing a 124 km² / 48 sq mi  project area in the 1000 Islands Region of Jefferson County, New York.

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Basic Data
NameDecade-Long Opposition to the Iberdrola Horse Creek Wind Project, USA
CountryUnited States of America
ProvinceNew York
Site1000 Islands Region Towns of Clayton, Orleans, Brownville and Lyme, Jefferson County
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Windmills
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project Details205 Megawatt Nameplate Capacity

60 to 72 Wind Turbines

124 km² / 48 sq mi / 12,400 hectare Project Area

5,600 leased hectares
Project Area (in hectares)12,400
Level of Investment (in USD)200,000,000-300,000,000 USD (Estimate based on turbine number and nameplate capacity)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population16,000 (Permanent) 50,000 (Seasonal Estimate)
Start Date06/01/2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesAvangrid Renewables from United States of America
Iberdrola from Spain
Atlantic Wind LLC from United States of America
Relevant government actorsNew York State Public Service Commission
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAmerican Bird Conservancy

Audubon New York

Onondaga Audubon Society

Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc.

River Residents Against Turbines - River RATs

Thousand Islands Land Trust
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
OtherHabitat Fragmentation, Edge Encroachment, Rare Landscape Degradation (Alvar), documented threats to threatened and priority bird and bat species (Northern Harrier, Henslow's Sparrow, Upland Sandpiper, others)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Given the ongoing status of the proposed Horse Creek Wind Project, it is not yet possible to make an outcome determination in regards to environmental justice.
Sources and Materials

Siting and regulatory approval of industrial wind energy facilities in New York (25 MW or greater) is governed by an administrative law process called Article 10. This is a relatively new siting procedure that removes historical project approval authority from local towns ("Home Rule") and transfers project approval to the Public Service Commission located in Albany. The address below is a link to the Case File for the Horse Creek Wind Project.
[click to view]


July 15th, 2017: Residents and business form River RATs to oppose horse creek wind farm
[click to view]

February 2nd, 2016: Developer re-evaluating Horse Creek Wind Farm in Clayton
[click to view]

July 29th, 2017: Fort Drum officials talk wind turbine challenges, plans to work with developers
[click to view]

June 1st, 2016: Developer sues Clayton over moratorium on wind energy projects
[click to view]

August 16th, 2017: Group Speaks Out Against Wind Project
[click to view]

April 18th, 2017: Land trust opposes wind development in the Thousand Islands
[click to view]

August 15th, 2017: Nonprofit dedicated to bird protection opposes Horse Creek Wind Farm
[click to view]

October 15th, 2016: Clayton town board and developer reach settlement on moratorium
[click to view]

Media Links

August 16th, 2017 Television Report: Group Speaks Out Against Wind Project
[click to view]

River Residents Against Turbines - RATs Facebook Page
[click to view]

Other Documents

Pre-Contact Cultural Resources The Horse Creek Wind Project and NW Jefferson County, NY overlays one of the highest densities of pre-contact cultural resources in New York.
[click to view]

Community Opposition Group, River Residents Against Turbines
[click to view]

Prairie Smoke Prairie Smoke is a rare plant found at the alvar limestone landscape in and around the Horse Creek Wind Project. New York State classifies the plant as imperiled (6 - 20 sites or few remaining individuals) or highly vulnerable to extirpation from New York State due to biological or human factors.
[click to view]

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ContributorEJAtlas collaborator
Last update06/09/2017