Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Utility aims to ride new breeze by LARRY RULISON

ALBANY -- Iberdrola SA, the Spanish utility seeking to acquire Energy East Corp. for $4.5 billion, is the largest wind power developer in the world.

And that has been one of the company's biggest selling points as it seeks approval from the state Public Service Commission to acquire Energy East, which has more than 1 million customers in New York, including about 45,000 in the Capital Region through its New York State Electric & Gas subsidiary.

In filings made with the PSC, Iberdrola has argued that the merger would help New York "further the state's renewable energy goals," including its ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard, which calls for 25 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2013.

Wind farms are expected to play a big part in helping the state reach that goal. There are roughly 400 megawatts of wind power generation capacity in the state right now, with about 1,000 megawatts expected to be operational by the end of the year.

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