United States

United States

US military demands NextEra scrap two Oklahoma wind farms

NextEra Energy has scrapped plans for 470MW of new capacity across two wind projects in central Oklahoma due to fears that they could interfere with low-flying military aircraft.

Military airbases use a training route in west-central Oklahoma, near the proposed sites (pic source: Pixabay)
Military airbases use a training route in west-central Oklahoma, near the proposed sites (pic source: Pixabay)

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The developer pulled the plug on the 220MW Minco V project near Hinton and the 250MW Crowder project in Washita County.

NextEra had already agreed with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office in October that it would stop construction of Minco V.

The attorney general, who had threatened to sue, was representing the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission.

Military airbases use a training route in west-central Oklahoma, near the proposed sites.

"We … worked hard to find a solution," said NextEra spokesman Bryan Garner in a statement. NextEra had unsuccessfully negotiated with the state, US Air Force and US Defense Department.

"We respect all their important missions and we respect the balance between national security and economic development and affordable, clean energy," Garner added.

Earlier in May, new legislation was signed by the state governor tightening a requirement that wind developers get approval from the Federal Aviation Authority and Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse before constructing a project.

Oklahoma has the third most installed wind capacity of any US state with 8,172 MW, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data arm of Windpower Monthly. It has had fewer land constraints than states on the east and west coasts.

NextEra has so far invested more than $5 billion in the state. It has 19 wind projects in Oklahoma at various stages of development and online, according to Windpower Intelligence.

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