HINTON, Okla. — Construction of a wind farm along a route of airspace the Air Force uses for training has been halted to allow the Department of Defense to complete a mitigation plan.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter made the announcement Tuesday of an agreement between NextEra Energy Resources and Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission to halt the work.
Other than the steps necessary to safeguard turbines currently under construction, NextEra will pause its turbine construction pending a new determination of no hazard from Federal Aviation Administration in the project areas west of the town of Hinton. Hinton is 53 miles west of Oklahoma City and 88 miles south-southwest of Enid.
At issue is a wind farm currently being constructed west of Hinton by NextEra that OSMPC claims violates an amendment to the Wind Energy Development Act that took effect earlier this year. The changes to the law require a determination by the federal government that planned wind turbine construction has no military impact, or there is an approved mitigation plan from the Defense Department, before a wind farm is constructed or expanded.
Hunter said the agreement will provide the opportunity for NextEra and the Defense Department to find the best solution for all parties moving forward without litigation.
The attorney general’s office negotiated on behalf of OSMPC. As part of the agreement, the state will not take legal action against NextEra while construction has stopped, and OSMPC will continue to collaborate with the Defense Department to seek a constructive solution.
“We appreciate Attorney General Hunter’s good faith negotiations for the OSMPC and for helping protect one of the military’s most valuable assets,” said OSMPC Chairman Mike Cooper, who also is the city of Enid's military liaision. “The airspace used for training is critical to our national defense and to the mission of our state and nation’s military installations. We thank NextEra for recognizing this and working with us to further enhance this mission.”
NextEra plans to work with the Defense Department to have a mitigation plan prepared by Oct. 15.
“In addition to being a national leader in providing clean, reliable energy, NextEra also strives to be a good corporate citizen,” said John DiDonato, vice president of renewable development and origination. “That means we are dedicated and committed to working with all stakeholders, community and state leaders when investing in energy infrastructure within states like Oklahoma. We are confident this process will strengthen our line of communication, leading to a better future for the partnership between the state and NextEra.”