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United States

INTENSE LOCAL INTEREST

Broad interest in wind development on public land north of Tehachapi in California is so high that nearly 500 local people turned out for public meetings in late July and early August. Kenetech, FloWind, SeaWest, Zond and New World Power have forked out a total of $1.3 million to secure application rights to the land, managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The companies were chosen on the basis of their bids in the spring of 1993 so these could be included in the projects put forward under the Biennial Resource Plan Update process. Eight companies submitted bids. In October there will probably be a follow-up meeting to address environmental concerns, says Greg Thomsen of BLM. "There are definitely a lot of people interested," says Thomsen. He was not willing to pass judgement on how many at the four meetings -- at Mojave, Tehachapi, Weldon and Twin Oaks -- were for or against wind. Some 66,000 acres are being studied so the environmental value of wind does not have to be addressed for the next ten years. The wind companies bid on 24,000 acres of the total available. An Environmental Impact Statement is the first step, then the companies file site-specific plans. If wind is developed, the first plant is likely to be built in three years' time, says Thomsen.

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