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NextEra cancels 2 Okla. wind projects, including AT&T-backed facility

NextEra Energy Resources LLC has canceled two wind projects in Oklahoma, including one that was contracted out to telecommunications company AT&T, due to airspace concerns.

The NextEra Energy Inc. competitive energy business dropped plans for the 250-MW Crowder wind project in Washita County and the 220-MW Minco 5 Wind Farm in Caddo County, The Oklahoman reported May 18, citing a NextEra spokesperson. The projects are not listed on NextEra Energy Resources' project portfolio as of March 29.

NextEra did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the cancellations.

The Florida-based company and other wind developers have faced multiple setbacks in Oklahoma, where state officials have sounded the alarm over the potential for interference with military training routes. In 2018, NextEra Energy Resources was asked to halt construction on Minco Wind IV Project and Minco 5 after the developer built wind turbines without a key certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. NextEra Energy Resources subsequently stopped construction on the projects while it worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a mitigation plan, and Minco IV began commercial operations in late 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 7 signed a bill clarifying that wind farms cannot be built or expanded unless the developer has obtained a determination of no hazard from the FAA.

The cancellation of the 5th phase of the Minco wind complex means that AT&T will have to find another way to make up for the power it would have received from the project. The Dallas-headquartered company in February 2018 announced that it had contracted for 220 MW from Minco 5 as well as an additional 300 MW to come from a wind farm in Texas.

"While NextEra Energy Resources is no longer pursing an AT&T-backed project previously planned in Oklahoma, we remain committed to delivering clean energy and advancing the low-carbon economy," an AT&T spokesperson said in a May 22 email to S&P Global Market Intelligence. "We continue to explore renewable energy solutions for our company, and will be making additional announcements moving forward."