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United States

UTILITY INTEREST IN THE RISE, Long term indicator

Despite the soft US market, longer term utility interest in wind is increasing. The Utility Wind Interest Group (UWIG), run by the US Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), already has a 150% increase in the number of members over last year.

UWIG, formalised in late 1994, now has 24 utility members compared with just 16 in 1995, says executive director Bob Putnam. And although the group's new members tend to be smaller utilities, the customer base of the total membership has also increased compared with last year, although by what proportion is uncertain.

New members include major electric co-operatives and public utilities from the Great Plains states of Colorado, Kansas, Iowa and Texas, says Putnam. He is with the consulting group Electrotek Concepts, which co-ordinates UWIG. "I think that the whole Midwest region [of utilities] is looking at wind and looking at pooling resources."

UWIG was founded in 1989 but did not require formal membership until 1994. Member utilities are about 50% non-EPRI members, that is, non-investor-owned utilities. This year's new members are: Central & Southwest of Texas; Algona Municipal Utilities of Iowa; Platte River Power Authority of Colorado; Pocahontas Municipal Utilities of Iowa; Kodiak Electric Association of Alaska; Salem Electric Cooperative of Oregon; Kansas Electric Utilities Research programme; Umatilla Electric Cooperative of Oregon.

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