By Daisy Creager
The Journal Record
NextEra Energy Resources dropped plans Friday for construction of two wind farms in western Oklahoma, following the passage of a law protecting low-level military training routes in planning of wind farms.
The scrapped projects were Minco V, a 220-megawatt, 90-turbine wind farm planned for Caddo County, and Crowder, a 250-megawatt, 100-turbine wind farm planned for Washita County.
The $270 million Minco V project would have employed 200 during construction and 12 operators permanently, and the $300 million Crowder project would have employed 300 during construction and six to 10 permanent operators.
Minco V was estimated to generate almost $50 million in property taxes and more than $60 million in landowner payments and Crowder was estimated to generate $54 million in property taxes and $57 million in landowner payments during their first 30 years in operation.
A law signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 7 increased documentation required prior to wind farm construction showing the planned farm would not interfere with military training routes.
The law adds additional provisions to those signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2018, requiring wind developers to obtain a determination of no hazard from the Federal Aviation Administration or a mitigation plan from the DOD prior to construction.
The Minco V project was halted in October when the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission claimed it did not have proper clearance from the Federal Aviation Commission and the Department of Defense.
The DOD began working on a plan to mitigate the project’s risk of affecting training routes while the project was on hold.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said he commended NextEra, the OSMPC, the Air Force and the FAA for working together, thanking NextEra for recognizing the threat disrupting military training airspace would pose.
“Although the decision by the company to withdraw the planned wind farms is difficult, we appreciate their leadership and foresight that will help us safeguard the airspace used to train members of the armed forces,” Hunter said.
Advanced Power Alliance Vice President Mark Yates said the renewable energy industry is committed to working with the community, landowners and the military.
“We are working to protect our military bases and their missions while ensuring economic development opportunities for our nation’s rural communities,” Yates said.
“We will continue working with all stakeholders to promote economic growth and protect the rights of landowners to develop our nation’s energy resources safely and responsibly,” he said.
NextEra could not be reached for comment about the projects.