Financially challenged Edison Mission Energy appears to have found a buyer. According to several articles appearing over the last few days a deal with NRG Energy seems to be taking shape. Bankrupt Edison Mission Energy, which local residents know as the owners of the lawsuit plagued Pinnacle wind project, has requested an extension of it’s bankruptcy schedule in order to take advantage of the offer.
What this sale means for local residents is, of course, not clear. But then, with the financial security of Edison Mission Energy doubtful right from the first twirl of the 23 massive turbines set along the fragile Allegheny Front ridgeline, some might say any action has to be an improvement.
How seriously the new owners take the issue of turbine noise, which is impacting the quality of life for multiple families residing near the Pinnacle turbines and the subject of ongoing federal lawsuits, will demonstrate whether NRG Energy actually lives up to their statements that they know their “business decisions impact the greater community” and that they “strive to ensure our corporate strategy reflects our commitment to social responsibility.”
Reuters reported that ”most of the wind capacity and a 500 MW gas-fired plant could be “dropped down” to NRG’s NRG Yield Inc subsidiary, which was formed to operate and acquire power assets under long-term contracts. NRG Yield debuted on the public markets this year.” The Pinnacle project construction was made possible by securing long term financial agreements with the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland. The two state agencies, in return for their financial commitment, would receive renewable energy credits which they could use to satisfy the demands of state renewable energy regulations. (Funny, but some folks actually believed the electricity from the West Virginia turbines was somehow piped directly to the U of MD. Sorry folks, but the only thing that directly moved in this transaction was hard earned money from the pockets of taxpayers to the for-profit wind company.
We wish NRG Energy well in this adventure and hope they live up to the promises made to the community by the now defunct developer – US WindForce LLC and bankrupt Edison Mission Energy. We also hope they remedy the turbine noise issue.
Past history tells us that it is almost too much to imagine NRG Energy will become fully transparent regarding actual turbine performance and the project’s full environmental impact, both of which are very important measures when considering future wind development in the Appalachian mountains … but one can always hope.