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Okla. officials tell NextEra to halt construction of 2 wind farms 'immediately'

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Okla. officials tell NextEra to halt construction of 2 wind farms 'immediately'

NextEra Energy Resources LLC has been told to "immediately" halt construction on two wind farms in Oklahoma by state officials after the Florida-based developer built wind turbines without a key certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to an Aug. 31 letter to vice president of development Kevin Gildea, the NextEra Energy Inc. subsidiary built 22 wind turbines for the Minco Wind IV Project and Minco 5 Wind Farm. However, the administration, or FAA, has not completed its aeronautical studies on the turbines and issue a Determinations of No Hazards to the company. The FAA received NextEra's application for determinations for the wind turbines on March 23, according to its website.

NextEra did not immediately respond to a request for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Mike Cooper, chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, and Victor N. Bird, the director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, said NextEra violated a state law passed on May 2 that prevents wind farms from being built or expanded unless the developer has a Determination of No Hazards of an approved impact mitigation plan.

"Proceeding with the construction of the above-referenced turbines is in violation of the above-referenced state statute," Cooper and Bird wrote in the letter. "Please cease and desist immediately the construction on any and all turbines" until the FAA completes its studies and gives NextEra the greenlight to proceed construction.

News 9, a CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City, Okla., reported that Jared Haines, the chief of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Utility Regulation Unit, sent a letter to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to investigate the matter, adding that NextEra could be "liable for millions of dollars in fines." A commission did not confirm to News 9 on whether the agency would initiate an investigation, adding that the letter is being reviewed.

The Minco IV and V wind projects have a combined capacity of 350 MW. The 130-MW Minco IV facility is estimated to come online in September 2018, while 220-MW Minco V facility is still in the early development phase, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.