The proposed Long Creek wind energy project being developed by TradeWind Energy of Lenexa, KS, has been canceled, according to Mark Hannifin, vice president, Development & New Initiatives with TradeWinds Energy.
In a letter sent in March to area farm owners who had leases, Hannifin informed the leaseholders that they were being released.
“Over the past two to three years we have installed meteorological towers, conducted desktop and field level environmental work, performed engineering studies on the local/regional transmission system, and marketed the project to local/regional electric utilities, Hennifan wrote.
“During the Development process it has become evident that the wind resource at the Long Creek site is not robust enough for the project to be competitive with other projects in the region in the near- to mid-term, he stated. Wind project development requires an ongoing assessment of risks and costs of project measured against the potential for success and in ultimately finding a utility purchaser for a project. In light of the wind resource at the Long Creek site, TradeWind has regrettably made the decision to cease development of the project, he stated.
In an interview with The Kalona News, Hennifan did not rule out the possibility that TradeWind might revisit its decision in the long term if the economy improves, regulatory issues in Missouri and Illinois improve and federal tax credits (FTC’s) are more certain. Currently the FTC’s are slated to expire on December 31, 2012. He said wind energy will continue without the FTC’s support, but they would be extremely helpful in further development.
Hennifan noted that Missouri residents had approved a referendum demanding greater use of wind energy, but the legislature is in process of over-riding that issue. He noted his firm is involved in developing some 30 wind energy projects in Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma and the Washington County project was the most risky due to the downturn in the economy making this a soft market.
Hennifan said TradeWind Energy will precede with the Poweshiek County as it a more robust project. He said TradeWind was not interested in selling their lease holdings as they had developed a friendly relationship with the some 200 landowners. He said they didn’t want to hand them off to another firm in case they would revisit the Washington County project when the economy, regulatory issues and tax credits improve.
He noted the ingredients for a wind energy project are in Washington County except winds are weakest in southeast Iowa (and strongest in northwest Iowa). He noted there are available transmissions lines are nearby. The economy and the market for wind energy need to improve as well as the FTC’s need to be extended for a longer period of time.
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