Cohocton Wind Watch: Wind company gets nearly $300M, but none for Pa. projects
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wind company gets nearly $300M, but none for Pa. projects

Despite reports to the contrary, none of the $294 million in stimulus money awarded Tuesday to Spanish wind company Iberdrola Renewables will be spent in Pennsylvania, according to company officials.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday announced the grants as part of the stimulus package's clean energy project grants program. Locust Ridge II wind farm, with 51 wind turbines along the montain from Brandonville to the Aristes area, an Iberdrola Renewables project, is listed as receiving more than $59 million in stimulus money.

However, it isn't that simple.

"The grant money will be used for other projects," Paul Copelman, Iberdrola spokesman based in the company's Wayne, Pa., office, said Tuesday. "They're scattered across the country, but none of them are in Pennsylvania."

Iberdrola spokeswoman Jan Johnson, in the company's Oregon office, said Tuesday the federal government's explanation of the grants is "confusing."

The Treasury Department press release lists "projects funded as part of today's announcement." Included in that list is "Locust Ridge II, LLC, Shenandoah, PA - $59,162,064."

"It's a funny way of looking at it," Johnson said of the list. "You couldn't even fill out the paperwork (for stimulus money) until you showed the project is done."

Johnson said Iberdrola applied for stimulus money using projects already completed, like Locust Ridge II, as examples. She said the federal government was looking at a company's track record of success.

While the money is technically designated for Locust Ridge II, Copelman said the money will actually be used for wind turbine projects in Illinois, Arizona, North Dakota, Oregon and Texas.

The government, Johnson added, was looking for reassurance a company could complete the work to which stimulus money is being allocated.

Because of that, the company applied for grants under the name of Locust Ridge II and other wind farms already up and running.

The stimulus money replaces the old system of renewable energy tax credits awarded to companies like Iberdrola, according to the Treasury press release.

The $294 million for Iberdrola is part of a larger $502 million energy grant package announced Tuesday.

Several news outlets Tuesday reported, based on the Treasury press release, that Locust Ridge II would be receiving the grant money.

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