NTR windfarm plan is for the birds
After returning €100 million to shareholders and shedding a pile of assets, you’d think NTR’s new strategy to focus on wind assets in the US, Ireland and Britain would be starting to fly.
But parts of it keep getting stymied... by birds.
Sugarland, a giant windmill project NTR was planning in the Florida Everglades via its Wind Capital subsidiary, has been canned. It had been heavily criticised by environmental groups.
The $300 million proposed scheme comprised building more than 100 giant windmills, each almost 500-feet tall.
They were to have been spread out across 13,000 acres of farmland right on the edge of the Everglades wetlands, a sanctuary for hundreds of species of birds.
The project managed to ruffle the feathers of myriad opposition groups, who predicted a slaughter of the flying innocents by the spinning blades.
Sugarland gained national prominence in the US two years ago, when the Daily Show with Jon Stewart aired a hilarious item about opposition to the plan from the United Waterfowlers of Florida, a hunting group.
“Obviously, no-one wants to see a duck killed by a whirling turbine blade,” a waterfowlers’ representative told the television show.
“Because you want to see them killed by a shotgun,” retorted the interviewer.
“Yes, that’s correct,” replied the waterfowler.
The scheme received the go-ahead anyway, but Wind Capital told local officials in recent weeks that it wasn’t planning to proceed with it anymore.
The Everglades project isn’t the only NTR/Wind Capital project to run into bird-related problems. Another large-scale windfarm project, this time in Oklahoma, is being sold to a group backed by the Italian energy giant Enel.
Local native American tribes had claimed that turbine blades from the Osage scheme would kill scores of bald eagles, which they consider sacred.
Rosheen McGuckian, NTR’s chief executive appointed in April to drive the company’s change strategy, didn’t return a call for comment yesterday.
Off bird-watching somewhere, perhaps...