October 20, 2013
New York

Cape officials seek PSC intervention as BP clams up pending sale of wind projects

By JAEGUN LEE, TIMES STAFF WRITER, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2013, watertowndailytimes.com

The community has been left in the dark as BP Wind Energy looks to sell all of its “in-development” wind assets, including the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, according to town officials.

The town once again is asking the state Public Service Commission to intervene, but local officials said they’re not getting their hopes up.

“We seem to be stuck again now, awaiting word from BP about its claimed cessation of wind project development,” town officials said in a recent letter to PSC Secretary Kathleen H. Burgess.

In September, BP confirmed that it plans to sell the proposed 124-turbine Cape Vincent wind project, along with the company’s entire wind development portfolio, by the year’s end.

The pending sales would not include active wind farms. BP Wind Energy – with interests in 16 active wind farms in nine states – attempted to sell all of its U.S. wind assets this spring, but was unable to find a high enough bidder for the 2.6-gigawatt portfolio that included both planned and operating wind farms.

With the fate of the Cape Vincent wind project unknown, Cape Vincent officials said, the town board is being forced to put together a budget for the following year – which would set aside money for wind project-related consulting services – based on pure speculation.

“BP has had our town twisting in the winds of uncertainty since 2006. Please try to provide us with some relief by insisting that an applicant presuming to be moving forward under Article X not be permitted to circle over a town indefinitely,” town officials said in their letter Friday.

Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said Friday afternoon that the town has sent several letters requesting the state’s assistance to get answers from BP Wind Energy, which has become increasingly uncommunicative, yet never got a response.

“To the best of my knowledge, they’ve never responded,” Mr. Hirschey said, adding that the town board’s last communication with PSC officials was at the May 21 pre-application conference – which was a state Article X-mandated meeting to award intervenor funds.

Despite the state’s silence, energy magazines have followed the BP proposal to sell wind projects that are only in the planning stages. An article in Power Risk & Finance suggested that BP would be willing to take little or nothing up front, with a sales contract that sets benchmarks that when reached would provide money to BP. That would allow the company to sell the sites on speculation, with payment gleaned only if the projects receive permits, are built and start generating electricity.

The town’s letter can be found at http://wdt.me/aWTZpV.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/10/20/cape-officials-seek-psc-intervention-as-bp-clams-up-pending-sale-of-wind-projects/