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OUTPUT NOT YET ACCEPTABLE

The performance of Kenetech's 17 Model KVS-33 wind turbines in Solano County, California, will be scrutinised closely between now and mid July -- the deadline for the 5 MW project to meet its output requirement. This will supposedly determine whether the remaining 95% of the project will be built for Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The plant is the first wind farm owned by a utility in America.

So far the output of the project's first phase, the 5 MW opened in August 1994, is at about 85% of the total required for acceptance by the utility, says SMUD project director Paul Olmstead. Under the development agreement between Kenetech and SMUD, the project had to produce 24,796,200 kWh during the first 24 months of commercial operation.

"They're [at] a little bit less than we expected, but they're pretty much on track" said Olmstead on April 8. He noted that the wind season in Solano County only starts in April or May. "Right now, we're in discussions with KenetechÉ. regarding technical questions," added SMUD's Stephanie McCorkle. The second and final phase of the project would also consist of Kenetech's KVS-33 turbines, some of which have been hit by technical problems at Kenetech's wind farms in Spain, Minnesota and southern California.

As well as considering the Kenetech project, SMUD is also setting a late July deadline for its current request for proposals for 50 MW of "environment-friendly" renewables, 120 days from the date the RFP was issued, March 29. SMUD is holding a conference on May 21 to address questions regarding the solicitation.

Within the request, 40 MW is for power purchase contracts for renewables -- including wind. The remaining 10 MW is exclusively for photovoltaics projects that would bring "'green" jobs to Sacramento, the capital of the state of California. SMUD's board of directors had ear-marked 50 MW of renewables for the district's future power supply in the utility's 1995 integrated resource plan, with 10 MW a year to be added between 1998 and 2002.

Criteria include cost competitiveness, risk, local economic benefits, environmental benefits and reliability. A short-list of bids will be issued in October, and contacts -- for ten and 15-year power purchase agreements -- are expected to have been signed by February 1997.

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