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Customers want more clean power -- Medicine Bow expansion

Customer demand is driving the expansion of a small wind farm in Wyoming, close to the Colorado border. The Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) will add two V-47 660 kilowatt Vestas turbines to its Medicine Bow wind project by August 2000. That will bring the total number of turbines to ten and expand PRPA's wind generation to about 6 MW.

"All of the expansions have been based on a demand from green programs operated by our member municipal utilities," said PRPA's John Bleem. "Wind is growing faster than any of our other generating resources." Power from the two new turbines is earmarked for green pricing programs marketed to about 100,000 customers by the cities of Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland and Estes Park.

The Medicine Bow project is about 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Wyoming's 41 MW Foote Creek project. Most of the plant's production is during strong winds in a handful of winter months, so it does not contribute greatly to PRPA's summer peaks when the demand for air conditioning is highest.

PRPA is a joint action agency in northern Colorado providing generation and transmission to four municipal utilities. One-third of its generation is hydro, while most of the remaining is what Bleem calls "clean coal" generation using low-sulphur content coal and SO2 scrubbers on all power plants. PRPA wind accounts for less than 1% of its power mix. It also gets less than a 1% contribution from solar.

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