SBD/May 4, 2012/Facilities

Watkins Glen Int'l Signs On For Wind Farm Project With NextEra Energy Resources

Watkins Glen Int'l President Michael Printup Thursday announced that the track "has signed on" for a proposed $200M wind farm to be developed by Fla.-based NextEra Energy Resources, according to Jason Whong of the Elmira STAR-GAZETTE. Printup said that track owner ISC "already works with NextEra for clean energy credits and marketing opportunities" at its Daytona Int'l Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway facilities, but that "this deal takes the companies in a new direction." Printup said that if the project is built, several turbines "will be placed at high points and ridge lines on the 1,832 acres of the track." He added that WGI "is not the first landowner to sign on, but it is the largest." NextEra Development Dir Ross Groffman said that the proposed wind farm "could bring 50 to 75 turbines" to the towns involved in the plan. WGI "can't tap into any turbines for power, which would be sold to the local power substation." Printup said that WGI "has not considered putting ads on the turbines, especially since it's unknown if the turbines will be in good advertising locations." The turbines "won't be near the track, and there are rules about how close they can be to roads and buildings" (Elmira STAR-GAZETTE, 5/4). Printup said, "I think there’s nothing like clean energy that can move the little needle, and with us and the popularity of NASCAR, and we have 5 or 6 million people watching us on TV, that’s the crux of this relationship." In New York, Derrick Ek notes race officials said that the "huge turbines will likely be visible from the grandstands during races." As to whether NextEra plans to advertise at WGI, Printup said, "We would expect to sit down and talk once they have a project, but at this point, it’s only a land lease. But of course we would like to expand that relationship to include something else down the road." Groffman "didn't say if NextEra would consider sponsoring" the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track in August (CORNING LEADER, 5/4).
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