FPL Cuts Wind-Energy Expansion Plan as Prices Slump, Climate Bill Stalls

FPL Group Inc., the largest U.S. producer of renewable energy, cut plans to expand wind-energy projects for by as much as 40 percent, due to low electricity prices and uncertainty regarding climate legislation.

The company, based in Juno Beach, Florida, plans to build 600 megawatts to 850 megawatts of wind-energy plants this year, versus the previously planned 1,000 megawatts, according to a statement today.

More than 10,000 megawatts of new wind-power capacity were installed in the U.S. in 2009, enough for about 2.4 million homes and a record for the industry, according to the Washington-based American Wind Energy Association. Wind power provided 1.8 percent of U.S. electricity last year.

Legislation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and encourage energy sources like wind and solar power was approved by the U.S. House in June. The Senate has yet to vote on the measure, and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said on April 24 he was dropping out of bipartisan talks after Democrats said they would take up immigration legislation.

Emissions limits that were expected to be in place beginning in 2012 under last year’s legislation are now unlikely before 2020, Mike Morris, chief executive officer of American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of electricity from coal, said last month.

FPL said today that 1,360 megawatts of new wind projects during the last 12 months added 3 cents a share to first-quarter adjusted earnings. The company said first-quarter net income increased to $556 million, or $1.36 per share, from $364 million, or 90 cents, in the year-earlier period.

FPL fell $1.04, or 2 percent, to $50.02 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarzyna Klimasinska in Houston at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net.

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