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NextEra withdraws plans for wind farm opposed by military

NextEra Energy Resources is withdrawing plans to build a wind farm that had been opposed by the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, according to the office of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and OSMPC Chairman Mike Cooper.

Construction on the company’s wind farm west of Hinton was stopped last October after NextEra and the OSMPC agreed to work on a mitigation plan with the Defense Department to resolve the issue. Hinton is 53 miles west of Oklahoma City and 88 miles south-southwest of Enid.

OSMPC contended the wind farm violated a recent amendment to the Wind Energy Development Act. Changes to the law require a determination by the federal government that planned wind turbine construction has no military impact, or the company must have an approved mitigation plan from the Defense Department before a wind farm is constructed or expanded.

The two entities had been in negotiations over a mitigation plan, with Hunter representing OSMPC, until Friday, when Cooper said NextEra withdrew plans to build the wind farm.

Cooper said it was a good move for both the military and wind industry, and for Oklahoma.

“I applaud NextEra’s efforts to not impact military training routes in Oklahoma,” Cooper said.

In a statement Friday, Hunter also thanked the entities involved for coming to a conclusion that protects military interests.

“I commend all parties, including NextEra, the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, the Air Force and the FAA for coming together and negotiating in good faith to resolve this issue,” Hunter said. “Although the decision by the company to withdraw the planned wind farms is difficult, we appreciate their leadership and foresight that will help us safeguard the airspace used to train members of the Armed Forces. The airspace used for training is critical to one of the military’s most vital assets. To disrupt it in any way would threaten our national defense and we thank NextEra for recognizing that.”

According to NextEra the company has a market capitalization value of more than $80 billion, and has invested more than $4.5 billion in Oklahoma. The company could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.