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Decision coming Wednesday on $600 million N.C. wind project?

The project has been approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission. It would cost about $600 million to build. And construction must start before year end to qualify for a 30% federal tax break. The trouble has been that Iberdrola has not been able to secure a contract from any utility that serves North Carolina to buy the power the wind-farm would produce.

Expect an announcement Wednesday on whether Iberdrola Renewables will go ahead with its proposed 300-megawatt Desert Wind project in northeastern North Carolina.

Iberdrola would not comment Tuesday on the status of the proposed wind farm, which it hopes to build on 31 square miles in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties. But there are indications that the project remains possible in the face of a looming deadline to qualify for a $200 million federal tax grant.

The company is meeting Tuesday night with landowners in the project area and has meetings scheduled Wednesday morning with county officials. But officials in both counties say they do not know what the decision is. "The fellow at Iberdrola is playing it pretty close to the vest," says Frank Heath, acting county manager for Perquimans.

Ticking clock

The project has been approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission. It would cost about $600 million to build. And construction must start before year end to qualify for a 30% federal tax break. The trouble has been that Iberdrola has not been able to secure a contract from any utility that serves North Carolina to buy the power the wind-farm would produce.

As the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Expect an announcement Wednesday on whether Iberdrola Renewables will go ahead with its proposed 300-megawatt Desert Wind project in northeastern North Carolina.

Iberdrola would not comment Tuesday on the status of the proposed wind farm, which it hopes to build on 31 square miles in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties. But there are indications that the project remains possible in the face of a looming deadline to qualify for a $200 million federal tax grant.

The company is meeting Tuesday night with landowners in the project area and has meetings scheduled Wednesday morning with county officials. But officials in both counties say they do not know what the decision is. "The fellow at Iberdrola is playing it pretty close to the vest," says Frank Heath, acting county manager for Perquimans.

Ticking clock

The project has been approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission. It would cost about $600 million to build. And construction must start before year end to qualify for a 30% federal tax break. The trouble has been that Iberdrola has not been able to secure a contract from any utility that serves North Carolina to buy the power the wind-farm would produce.

As the clock ticked down last month, local and state officials pressed for a power-purchase agreement. On Nov. 17, Gov. Bev Perdue wrote Duke Energy .. Chief Executive Jim Rogers, Progress Energy .. CEO Bill Johnson and Dominion .. CEO Tom Farrell. She told each what was "urgently needed now ... is an agreement with a utility company to purchase the power from this landmark project." She urged them "to give serious consideration to partnering with Iberdrola Renewables to make the project a reality."

Duke or Dominion?

At that time, Iberdrola was negotiating with Duke about the possibility of buying some of the power the project would produce. And there was word that Iberdrola had begun talking to Dominion.

Iberdrola had some preliminary talks with Progress early in the year. But a Progress spokesman says he is unaware of any recent negotiations with the renewables company. A Duke spokesman says Duke does not comment on contracts unless an agreement is reached.

Dominion has little more to say than Duke. In a prepared statement, the company says, "We will continue to work with Gov. Perdue and her staff on bringing economic development and much needed jobs to the northeastern part of our state. We also remain committed to meeting the renewable energy and energy efficiency goals set out for North Carolina, and to providing reliable and cost-effective service." But it would neither confirm nor deny negotiations with Iberdrola.


Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/...

DEC 13 2011
https://www.windaction.org/posts/32685-decision-coming-wednesday-on-600-million-n-c-wind-project
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