Thursday, September 4, 2008

Spanish Company MIGHT Develop Wind Power in New York

The Public Service Commission voted unanimously to allow Iberdrola S.A., a Spanish energy conglomerate, to acquire Energy East, a Maine-based utility with operations in five states.
Iberdrola has said it will invest at least $2 billion in wind turbines across upstate New York if the commission allowed it to acquire Energy East, subsidiaries of which supply electricity or natural gas to 1.7 million customers in the state. The commission’s decision was the final hurdle for the $4.6 billion deal, which had been approved by federal and other state regulators.

Opponents of the deal, including the Independent Power Producers of New York, a trade group of utilities, said they remained worried that Iberdrola would gain too much market power under the deal.

Under the terms of the deal, Iberdrola would be bound to invest $200 million in wind power. The company has promised to spend 10 times that amount, with plans for numerous wind parks spread throughout upstate New York. The plan would add about 133 megawatts of wind capacity to the state, if and when the wind turbines could be site approved and built, probably in at least ten years. This would provide enough power for 133,000 homes. The commission’s proposal also included a requirement that Iberdrola insulate its New York operations from any financial risks the company assumes in other states or abroad. Iberdrola would also have to divest Energy East’s fossil fuel generating plants, though it could retain the company’s hydroelectric power operations. (The New York Times, 9/4/08)

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