The wait on a wind energy farm near Grady will stretch well into 2013, according to company officials, as they play a waiting game with Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Minnesota-based National Renewable Solutions agreed in the fall to build a pair of wind energy plants near Grady, totaling around 18 megawatts of production.
The company is currently waiting on a study from the Federal Aviation Administration on its potential impact on military and civilian aircraft, and the decision is to be patient and wait for 2013.
President and CEO Peter Pelstring said the company plans to go forward whether it gets a positive or a negative determination from the FAA – a negative determination wouldn’t necessarily kill the project, but would require a different financing structure due to higher insurance rates.
The company filed its application Aug. 1, Project Developer Jesse Hopkins-Hoel said, and was given an estimate of 45 to 60 days for a turnaround. It is still waiting, and Pelstring said it’s tough to tell what elements of a project can result in a delayed report.
“It depends on how complex the situation is,” Pelstring said. “I think we’ve got the options to make this (work). I’m certainly frustrated with the time it’s taken, and I’d love nothing more than a clearance from the FAA at this stage.”
The bigger linchpin may be whether Congress extends a production tax credit for wind energy. If the 112th Congress doesn’t handled the credit in its lame duck session, Pelstring said a 113th Congress with more Democratic members will be likely to keep the credit intact.
“We’ll be ready to move once we’ve got that answer,” Pelstring said. “We’re kind of held hostage by the PTC right now.”
In other wind energy news, Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., said Vert-I-Go Energy, part of Austin, Texas-based Abundant Energy, is working on starting up in 2013 as well.
Gentry said officials from Abundant visited a few weeks ago, and said the original plant design didn’t work correctly for the area and they are putting together an alternate design.
The company has not received economic development dollars from the city, Gentry said, and has only purchased land it has yet to use.
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