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No movement likely on wind project until post-election

Waiting for word on the development of any Plymouth County wind farms?

Keep waiting.

That’s according to Adam Renz, of EDP Renewables, the company which owns Horizon Wind Energy.

In the fall of 2010, Horizon installed several wind measuring towers to test two possible locations for wind farms in Plymouth County.

Two towers were erected to test an area in the northwestern part of the county and one was put up about halfway between Remsen and Kingsley, measuring wind speed and direction to see if the sites would be good for wind farm development.

In January of this year, however, EDP announced that the project has been put on hold due to poor market conditions.

“It’s still way down on the list of ‘undergoing testing,'” Renz said “It’s not a priority project at this point.”

That status is not likely to change unless there is a change in Washington D.C., he said.

The Federal Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit is currently set to expire at the end of this year, Renz explained.

While is has “some pretty big” supporters on both sides of the aisle in Congress, “it’s getting caught in the fray due to whole the election year issue,” he said.

Likely, the tax credit may see a one-year renewal, which would not help those seeking to build new wind farms, Renz said.

“The way that wind works, a year is a really, really small amount of time when it takes three years or more to scope out everything from impacts on wildlife and communities to making sure there’s enough wind to justify the capital that goes into one of these farms, which is just expensive,” he said. “Really, a year renewal pretty much does nothing.”

Wind development in the U.S. for 2013 has pretty much been “killed,” Renz said.

Only developers that had projects ready to go will be able to take advantage of a one-year renewal of the tax credit and get projects going by 2014 or 2015, he said.

“It really just kind of throws off the way this industry works because of our construction,” Renz said.

After November’s election, there may be a change in what financial assistance is available to wind developers, he added.

At this point, companies like EDP are focusing their efforts in places such as Canada and South America where financial assistance is available.

Testing will continue to occur at the two sites in Plymouth County, but that’s about all for now, he said.

“There’s really no movement on the Plymouth County project,” Renz said.