The Spanish energy conglomerate Iberdrola SA announced last month that it is planning to scale back renewable energy investments in the United States.
The decision comes after Moody’s downgrade of Iberdrola’s credit rating to Baa1 with a negative outlook. The European debt crisis has also had an impact on the company’s ability to expand.
Iberdrola is still pursing two wind projects in Vermont, however. The first is the 30-megawatt, 15 turbine Deerfield Wind Project in Readsboro. The Vermont Public Service Board previously granted Iberdrola a certificate of public good for the project, which is a necessary permit for construction, but the project has been held up by some changes to the turbine blades and a federal lawsuit filed against the utility by Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
Iberdrola also has a pending application with the state to build meteorological towers in Grafton and Windham to test for wind power capacity.
Those two projects, said Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman, are the energy company’s only plans in Vermont.
“We feel that Vermont is a good state to do business in,” he said. “But in terms of other plans or projects, that’s the extent of it at this point.”
Copleman said that there’s lower demand for solar and wind energy in the United States at the moment due to shifting energy policies, a slow economy and low energy prices from natural gas exploration in North America.
“At this point in time, when we look at the uncertainty surrounding federal policy and energy markets, it doesn’t look like we’re going to be doing new construction in 2013,” he said. “But as a financially strong company, with a pretty widespread pipeline of projects in various stages across the country, we’re in a position to pursue the right opportunity should conditions improve.”
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