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Wisconsin utility plans wind asset purchase

Wisconsin Power and Light (WP&L) is planning to get into the wind power business by buying development rights to the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm, a project previously owned by Midwest Wind Energy (MWE). Cedar Ridge, an 80-100 MW project planned for Fond du Lac County in southeast Wisconsin, is expected to comprise 40 turbines with a combined capacity of between 80 and 100 MW. The turbine manufacturer and project builder are not yet named. "We've bought the milk before, but this is the first time we'll actually own the cow," says WP&L's Brian Downey. "We hope to be hooked up to the grid next year but, depending on availability of turbines, it could end up dragging into 2008. There's still a lot of work to be done." Cedar Ridge, which has been under development since 2004, already has a head start because of preliminary work in zoning, land-use agreements and environmental studies completed by MWE. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is expected to rule on WP&L's remaining application hurdles early next year as WP&L and MWE continue to collaborate on some aspects of the development. WP&L is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy and serves more than 1.4 million customers in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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