Could ‘negative publicity’ help YOUR fight against BigWind?

We have predicted that there will be consolidation in the wind industry and this will impact developments in Ohio.  Recently, TerraForm Power announced its acquisition of First Wind.   First Wind has been the object of unrelenting criticism in Maine and New York, so it was of interest to us that among the risks disclosed in the SEC filings for the takeover, the following disclosure was made:

Negative public or community response to energy projects could adversely affect construction of our projects. 

Negative public or community response to solar and other clean energy projects, including wind, could adversely affect our ability to acquire and operate our projects. Among concerns often cited by local community and other interest groups are objections to the aesthetic effect of plants on rural sites near residential areas, reduction of farmland and the possible displacement or disruption of wildlife. We expect this type of opposition to continue as we complete existing projects and acquire future projects. It is possible that we may also face resistance from aboriginal communities in connection with any proposed expansion onto sites that may be subject to land claims. Opposition to our requests for permits or successful challenges or appeals to permits issued to us could lead to legal, public relations and other drawbacks and costs that impede our ability to meet our growth targets, achieve commercial operations for a project on schedule and generate revenues. 

Some of our and First Wind’s projects are and have been challenged at the development stage in administrative or judicial challenges from groups opposed to wind or solar energy projects on the basis of potential environmental, health or aesthetic impacts, noise or adverse effects on property values. In addition, continuing public opposition exists at some of our and First Wind’s projects, or has existed in the past. Our experience is that such opposition subsides over time after projects are completed and are operating, but there are cases where opposition, disputes and even litigation continue into the operating period and could lead to curtailment of a project or other project modifications. 

Elsewhere in the TerraForm Power disclosures they note the importance of long term power purchase agreements, subsidies and state renewable portfolio mandates.  To read the full filing, go to:

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1599947/000119312515010671/d827022ds1a.htm .

S-1/A.

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