Termination of Kenetech operating the 30 MW KVS-33 wind farm in Tarifa, Spain, is also being seriously discussed, said Owens on September 24. Kenetech Windpower has sought bankruptcy protection in court. "When you've got a bankrupt company, you're not sure how long they will continue to meet obligations," said Owens. He adds that the equity lender, John Hancock, had become "very nervous" about the risk in the wind farms.
But he stresses the decision was not unilateral on the part of LG&E, but was reached after negotiations among the creditors' committee (established because of the bankruptcy), the partnerships for the wind farms in question, John Hancock, and Kenetech. Operation will be taken over by a group in which LG&E is a principal, he says.
Failures of Kenetech technology are meanwhile continuing. Some of the Kenetech turbines in Costa Rica have blade problems, with complete failures on two of the 54 turbines and repairs needed on 47 blades at one point in August, according to documents filed with the bankruptcy court. Parts have apparently been shipped there from the US. The problems are considered significant as the 19.8 MW wind farm, in Guanacaste Province, has only been on line since early summer. Also the KVS-33 wind farm in the Netherlands has reported blade problems (see story page 8).