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Customers rush to sign up for wind, Zond builds 5 MW in Colorado to go on-line this year

Six to seven Zond 750 kW wind turbines are to provide power to customers of Public Service Co (PSC) in Colorado by January, 1998. The 5 MW wind plant -- to be built by Disgen or Distributed Generation Systems Inc -- may then be expanded to 10 MW in the spring if enough customers show interest, says the Denver utility. Disgen is headed by former Kenetech Windpower president Dale Osborn.

The wind plant is to provide power under PSC's green pricing WindSource programme, for which customers could formally register from March 22. The first day alone, 100 customers signed up, indicating that the programme might well be a success. "If this is an indication of things to come, I think the people of Colorado definitely are telling us what they want," says PSC's Carol Shearon. "And we want to provide them with choices."

Residential customers may sign up for 100 kWh increments of wind at $2.50 extra per 100 kW "block" and must commit to buy the power for a year. Business customers can buy wind in 1 MWh increments costing $25 and are being asked to commit for three years.

The state Governor's Office of Energy Conservation is working with PSC to obtain $3 million in grant money from the US Department of Energy. The grant money is to help cover start-up costs until about mid 1999, says Shearon. Ground for the project's construction is to be broken in August, although the final site has yet to be chosen from several sites in the northeast of the state.

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