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FPL pulls plug on wind project

Florida Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of FPL Group, pulled the plug on a 35,000-acre Wilbarger County wind power project this week. The company packed up the $400 million project in light of recent commotion in financial markets and transmission restraints in the area. Nationwide financial turmoil has caused FPL markets to flip and flop, too. "It is certainly our intention to build this project at some point in the future, but that will hinge on several things. Our markets have really changed in the last six months or so," said Steve Stengel, FPL spokesman. "I can't give you a time frame on when that would occur."

Some North Texas wind farm plans have officially gone south.

Florida Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of FPL Group, pulled the plug on a 35,000-acre Wilbarger County wind power project this week.

The company packed up the $400 million project in light of recent commotion in financial markets and transmission restraints in the area.

Nationwide financial turmoil has caused FPL markets to flip and flop, too.

"It is certainly our intention to build this project at some point in the future, but that will hinge on several things. Our markets have really changed in the last six months or so," said Steve Stengel, FPL spokesman. "I can't give you a time frame on when that would occur."

The 210-megawatt wind farm would have served more than 50,000 homes.

"For every wind farm, you have not only the taxes you get from the community, you have landowner payments and goods and services that are bought in the general area," Stengel said. "Wind makes sense environmentally and economically."

The company was on the brink of construction - with local contractors hired and ready - until a decision was made to cease operations.

So, why slam the brakes on this particular project?

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Some North Texas wind farm plans have officially gone south.

Florida Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of FPL Group, pulled the plug on a 35,000-acre Wilbarger County wind power project this week.

The company packed up the $400 million project in light of recent commotion in financial markets and transmission restraints in the area.

Nationwide financial turmoil has caused FPL markets to flip and flop, too.

"It is certainly our intention to build this project at some point in the future, but that will hinge on several things. Our markets have really changed in the last six months or so," said Steve Stengel, FPL spokesman. "I can't give you a time frame on when that would occur."

The 210-megawatt wind farm would have served more than 50,000 homes.

"For every wind farm, you have not only the taxes you get from the community, you have landowner payments and goods and services that are bought in the general area," Stengel said. "Wind makes sense environmentally and economically."

The company was on the brink of construction - with local contractors hired and ready - until a decision was made to cease operations.

So, why slam the brakes on this particular project?

Weather restraints, financial ties and the circumstances surrounding the Wilbarger project made it the most financially viable project to postpone, Stengel said.

"All of it is out of our hands," Stengel said. "We would like to be there, but at the end of the day, we need to make the decision based on the best interest of a number of stakeholders."

A quick decision was necessary in this case because the project was in a mature stage of development.

"Any time you develop a project, you're spending money," Stengel said. "We were actually ready to begin construction. That's where you start spending a lot of money."

From a capital investment standpoint, FPL would have spent a little more than $400 million to develop the wind farm. It was in the company's best interest to put it on hold, Stegel said.

The money invested in the wind farm up to now is not a material amount to the company, he said.

"We have other projects that we are working on, but this farm was further along," Stengel said. "Every project is different and the circumstances are different."

Nationwide financial issues affect every project.

The increasing costs of natural gas and fossil fuels affect every project.

The difference is in the wind.

"The wind could be different in different locations," Stengel said. "We looked at our other projects and made what we think is the appropriate decision."

About 130 property owners had signed on the dotted line, allowing their land to be used to house the 140 turbines sustaining the project.

"The decision that we have made occurred in the last day or so," Stengel said. "We are in the process of talking to our land owners. We have notified some. We haven't talked with all of them."

FPL currently has 13 wind farms in Texas, producing more than 2,250 megawatts that serve more than half a million Texans.

With 5,500 megawatts worth of wind power in the country, FPL is the largest owner and operator of wind farms in the U.S.

"We made the decision here that it was in the best interest in the project and our company to put the project on hold," Stengel said. "As things straighten out, our hope is that we come back and build the project."


Source: http://www.timesrecordnews....

SEP 27 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/17263-fpl-pulls-plug-on-wind-project
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