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PROJECT TO BE EXTENDED ALREADY

Kenetech Windpower is now building its first wind farm in Europe. As many as 70 of its variable speed turbines are being installed in Holland this year. Kenetech is also trying to find European manufacturers for blades.

The first pile for the first wind turbine of Kenetech's first north European wind farm was driven into the heavy clay of north Holland in the last week of January. By October this year, 70 of the American variable speed turbines, last month re-named the 33 KVS, will be producing electricity for local utility, EDON. But even before the first machines at Eemshaven, in the province of Groningen, are in place, the California company is planning to extend the project by another 24 turbines. Bob Jans, Kenetech's Dutch representative, says subsidies for the expansion have already been applied for -- and he is optimistic about the outcome. "Although we do not have all the permits yet, we are further than we were last year when we applied for the 70 turbines now being built," he says.

Kenetech met the 1994 conditions for receiving subsidies in the nick of time, when it signed the final leasing contracts with private land owners in the very last hours of the year. "It was a complicated process," says Jans. "Not only did we have to deal with a lot of different land owners, but on top of that a procedure of reallocation of land is going on the area. So we had to deal with possible future owners and neighbours as well." Construction work has now started on the polder portion of the site, but work on the dike cannot start until May. No site works are allowed on dikes in Holland during the bad weather season. The path ahead now looks clear, says Jans. There has been more discussion about the location of turbines in the harbour area, but these problems are solved.

The 33KVS machines in Holland will not now be built using the "Kenetower" tubular-sleeve design, as earlier announced. Instead a concrete tower, based on a concept from the German firm Pfleiderer, is being supplied by Dutch company Dirk Verstoep. Jans adds that while blades for the Eemshaven project will be made in the US, Kenetech is in the process of finding a European company to make blades to Kenetech specifications. Negotiations are proceeding with several potential suppliers.

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