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United States

Coal preferred to wind

In a preliminary decision, a Wisconsin utility has selected its own proposal for a coal fired plant and not chosen either of two proposals for wind plant. State regulators will now study the matter and make a final ruling on the selection towards the end of the year. A Request for Proposals was issued by Wisconsin Public Service Co (WPS) for power for the Green Bay area by 1997 (Windpower Monthly, April 1994).

Wind River Power Corp, a subsidiary of Kenetech Windpower, is proposing a 75 MW installation in southwestern Minnesota and New World Power Corp is proposing a 17.5 MW plant using Vestas V39 turbines near Rosiere in northern Kewaunee County, 20 miles east of Green Bay. The wind bids were two of 13 received by the utility, which is seeking a large but unspecified amount of power. Four of the bids were submitted by the utility itself.

The state Public Service Commission (PSC) will now review the bids and the utility's method of selection. A final decision will be forthcoming probably in November, says Paul Helgeson of the commission. "I think there's a broad base of support for renewables in Wisconsin," he says. "We have a good wind resource. We'd like to develop a wind project." Renew Wisconsin's Michael Vickerman comments: "I think we can count on the commission to look at a number of considerations rather than the narrow ones [used in the analysis by WPS]," he says "Right now, utility scale plants are going up in Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, Washington and Maine. The time is right for Wisconsin to join that list of states." Jeff Maurer of New World Power says his company will lobby the PSC to ensure wind is installed. "[Wind's] selection in Wisconsin for the next power increment would put the state at the forefront of modern thinking and environmental protection in the utility industry."

Renewables lawsuit

Renew Wisconis is currently alleging, in a $1 million lawsuit, that a state report favouring renewables over conventional fuels is being suppressed because of the utilities. It says the report Economic Impact of Renewable Energy Use in Wisconsin has been delayed for months because of the Wisconsin Utilities Association. The report, drawn up by the Department of Administration Division of Energy, concludes that renewables -- including wind -- creates three times as many Wisconsin jobs as fossil fuels, according to the suit. The reported is quoted by the Associated Press which states that it obtained a copy of it on April 27.

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