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Politics slowing wind energy project

It’s a question that continues to surface – where is New Millennium Wind Energy?

The company announced in July 2011 intentions to build a manufacturing facility in the Kansas Logistics Park – and to date nothing has been built. At the same press conference, 400 jobs were promised.

According to what was said that day, as many as 100 people should already be employed – but so far, nothing.

Company spokesman Bruce Russell told the Kansan in September the project has not moved as quickly as they had hoped. Three things were in the way: engineering, politics and money.

Now, according to a source within New Millennium, politics in the United States is the final hurdle.

“Everything is up in the air – none of it is bond issues or financing,” a company spokesman said. “It’s what is going on in the U.S. What are we doing policy-wise?”

At the end of 2012, the debate was about tax credits for energy companies – including wind energy. That was resolved – for one year. There was damage to the entire industry as money “dried up,” according to a source within New Millennium.

“The production tax credit thing has the entire industry on its heels right now,” Russell said in September. “If they don’t pass the credit, there will be no real planning for huge projects going on.”

He also said at that time investors were unwilling to put money in alternative energy projects until the uncertainty cleared.

The debate led to the cancellation of a wind farm, which would have utilized New Millennium. However, during that time, company CEO Drew Thacker wasn’t sitting still.

He was in London, making international contacts which he said should lead to contracts in Latin and Central America.

The company continued with research and development, and according to a company source is ready to move forward with building test models with the intention of selling overseas.

The company is unclear what will happen domestically.

“We have been trying to figure out what our niche is in the marketplace – and we think there is a place for us to be,” an unnamed spokesman said.