Friday, January 11, 2008

Renewable energy will be upstate focus for Iberdrola

(January 11, 2008) — Company acquisitions can be difficult, particularly when unanswered or inadequately answered questions surround the outcome.

When Energy East completed its acquisition of RG&E in 2002, uncertainty persisted about increased rates and job layoffs thanks to a less than forthcoming disposition by Energy East executives.

Fast-forward nearly six years, and Energy East finds itself in the process of being acquired by international utility powerhouse Iberdrola.

Naturally, questions have arisen about the merits of the merger, its impact on local ratepayers and the effect on crucial plans such as the repowering of Russell Station.

Only this time, the Spain-based company is not only being extremely open about its plans and intentions, but it also has a solid business record and impressive financial standing to back it up.

In a meeting with the Editorial Board earlier this week, two of the company's top executives offered a refreshing approach to how they conduct business. First off, the company looks to locate only in areas where it is welcome.

Equally as important is Iberdrola's emphasis on locally run operations. There are no plans to replace employees — unless of course they don't perform, which is reasonable — and even then, they would be replaced with capable people from the community.

Beyond staffing, the wind energy leader is committed to investing in the United States — about $7 billion over the next three years — as it has done around the world in Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

And with the company's expertise in renewable energy — including hydropower, solar, tidal, wave and biomass — upstate could make enormous strides in becoming a leader in alternative energy.

The Pubic Service Commission, of course, should continue to thoroughly vet the company and the potential outcomes of the acquisition.

But as executives pointed out, this isn't a deal the multibillion-dollar company needs; it's one it wants.

When it comes to maintaining quality service and strong investment in renewable energy, that type of desire is invaluable.

Voice Your Choice Say NO to Overhead Power Lines

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