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United States

BULLISH AMERICAN INDUSTRY

Six wind companies in the USA say their domestic and international sales will increase in spite of the market uncertainty caused by ongoing deregulation of the power industry in many countries.

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The deregulation of the power industry in much of the world is far from being regarded as a daunting prospect by larger wind companies in the United States. They are talking bullishly -- saying they plan to install or start construction of about 625-700 MW of wind capacity around the world this year. That outlook does not include any of the several hundred megawatts that might be ordered in California's still disputed auction for suppliers of new capacity.

From 317 MW to 377 MW will be installed by American developers by the end of the year, in California, the Midwest, Europe, and Central and South America, say six US companies. Construction will commence on an additional 307-312 MW. Another 10-30 MW will also be retrofitted in California, it appears.

Under California's disputed power auction, the Biennial Resource Plan Update, about 585 MW of wind capacity was chosen to be installed over about the next six years. It is not at all clear whether state regulators will give the go-ahead for the process, which would increase California's current wind capacity by more than one-third. Over 1704 MW of wind plant now operate in the state.

Cannon Energy Corp will install another 20 MW in 1995 in Tehachapi, says the company's Brian O'Sullivan. The turbines will probably be Danish -- Bonus, Vestas or Nordtank -- he says. The project will complete the development of its California property. In India, the Tehachapi-based company has secured two memorandums of understanding for two wind farm projects. The first 22 MW, a project with GSL, a textile company, should be installed by September and will probably consist of Nordtank turbines. Another 25 MW will eventually be installed with The Bangor Group, although it is not planned for 1995. Cannon also hopes to build a production plant this year in India for manufacture of the Cannon C-25 250 kW turbine. And it plans to install the first 30 MW this year of an eventual 200 MW in Europe, again using a European turbine. A more precise location is not being specified by the company.xxxxFloWind Corporation, the firm appealing the decision on the BRPU, is retrofitting its 19-metre vertical axis machines in the Altamont Pass in California, replacing the two-bladed aluminium configuration with a three-bladed design with a diameter of 17 metres and with seamless blades made of composites. No outlook for 1995 was available directly from the company, but a report issued in November, researched by Hank Hermann of small Wall Street firm WR Lazard, Laidlaw and Mead, indicates that FloWind has said it will retrofit 50-150 19-metre turbines in 1995. In Washington state, FloWind and the Conservation and Renewable Energy Systems (CARES) will start building the first wind farm consisting of the AWT-26 turbine this summer, says Bob Lynette, with Advanced Wind Turbines Inc and R Lynette and Associates. FloWind is a contractor to CARES, a consortium of eight public utility districts. As such, FloWind is assisting in project development and initial operations. The 25 MW of power will be sold to the Bonneville Power Administration.

In 1995, Kenetech Windpower plans to install 50 MW in Texas for the Lower Colorado River Authority, says Bud Grebey, speaking for the company. Another 25 MW will be installed in the Columbia Hills in Washington state for the utility Puget Sound Power and Light and a total of 70.5 MW being developed by Bonneville Power Administration and PacifiCorp in Wyoming will start construction in 1995 with operation slated for 1996. In Canada, continues Grebey, two projects totalling 100 MW will be installed starting in 1995 for Hydro Quebec, but operation will not start until 1996. For the same utility, another 5 MW will be installed on the Magdalen Islands this year. Overseas, a 25 MW contract with EGD, a utility in the Netherlands, will finally be realised and construction of a 30 MW project in southern Spain has begun. In Costa Rica, under a joint ventureship with Wing-Merrill, the construction of 25 MW will also start in 1995. Grebey notes that Kenetech is bidding on the most recent Northern States Power request for proposals for another 100 MW in Minnesota and that the company could get contracts from the next round of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation process in Britain.

New World Power Corporation hopes its Texas Utilities 40 MW project will be approved by the Texas Public Utilities Commission in 1995, says the company's Al Austin. The project will utilise 80, E40 500 kW Enercon wind turbines from Germany and Westinghouse Electric will be the general contractor for construction which could start towards the end of 1995. In Mexico, he estimates New World will develop 100-150 MW this year, although he cautions it is hard to estimate as many factors are out of the control of New World. Some 10-20 MW may possibly be installed in Costa Rica, although it is not definite. In California, some 20-30 MW of additional installations or retrofits are imminent, as well as continuing retrofits in Hawaii. And in Ireland, a wind farm may even have been bought by the end of 1994.

Still up in the air

SeaWest Energy Group Inc, which has more than 2500 turbines (371 MW) installed in California, is reviewing its 1995 opportunities as the BRPU is still up in the air, says the company's Jeff Ghilardi. In the BRPU auction, SeaWest was identified as the winner of 377 MW of wind capacity and 50 MW of hydro, although the company has also acknowledged it was the originator of so-called "funny bidding" which has complicated the process, currently on hold. Even so, the San Diego-based company is looking at opportunities in China for this year, says Ghilardi. Negotiations have begun for a Sino-American partnership for joint development of two 200 MW projects in the south-west of the People's Republic. A pilot project would have a capacity of 30 MW. SeaWest will also be re-developing older California wind farms with newer, larger machines, probably of 500 kW each. The company will also bid on Northern States Power's Request for Proposals in Minnesota, now out on the street, he says.

Zond Corporation, unable to comment on its 1995 plans directly, told WR Lazard Laidlaw and Mead it expects to start construction on 97 MW of aggregate capacity in four separate projects and complete these by sometime in 1996. A 60 MW project will be constructed in Iowa, with power sold to Midwest Power Systems; 25 MW will be built in California, with power sold to Southern California Edison (SCE); a 10 MW project will also be built in Iowa, with the power sold to Iowa Electric Light and Power; and 2 MW will be built in Mexico with the electricity sold to the town of Zacatecas. The project for SCE is apparently not under the BRPU process, in which Zond was awarded another 156 MW in wind capacity in winning bids. Additionally, Zond is pursuing other projects in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Chile, India and Hawaii.

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