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POLITICAL PUSH IN WISCONSIN

Wisconsin regulators have recommended that Wisconsin Public Service negotiate a wind farm rather than a coal-fired power plant. Other utilities have agreed to participate in a test programme.

The upper Midwest continues to look good for wind, both in terms of the resource and the region's politics. Wisconsin regulators told a utility last month to negotiate a 17.5 MW wind farm rather than select its own coal-fired power plant as the winning bid in a power solicitation.

The state's Public Service Commission is recommending that the utility, Wisconsin Public Service of Green Bay, negotiate a wind farm with New World Power Corp to be located at Rosiere. If built, it would be the Midwest state's first wind farm.

A year ago, the utility had issued a request for proposals. There was an outcry from renewables lobbyists when it chose its own plant. When regulators recommended negotiation with New World in November, chairwoman Cheryl Parrino said the proposed wind farm would be good for ratepayers and the state of Wisconsin even though the winning bid was lower.

In 1993 a task force of state utility representatives had approved a draft wind energy implementation plan calling for the installation of wind turbines at test sites. Utilities have also agreed to participate in a test programme to develop Kenetech Windpower's 33M-VS for lower wind speeds.

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