PacifiCorp Power Marketing, a division of British-owned Scottish Power, and Navitas Energy of Minneapolis, Minnesota, have signed a development and marketing service agreement to co-develop wind and other generation in the Midwest. Minnesota's Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved the transfer of a 51 MW project owned by Navitas to the partnership at its meeting in April. It is the first of several projects the partnership could explore, says Greg Jaunich of Navitas. The project, which had already received permits and approval by EQB, is part of a successful bid by Northern Alternative Energy (NAE), part of the Navitas family of companies, in response to an all-source tender issued by Northern States Power (now Xcel Energy) in April 2000. Construction will begin in the summer. NAE's bid caused a stir in the wind community for its resourcefulness in using gas and wind turbines in tandem to provide a controllable power supply. In winning the bid, the project competed head-to-head with conventional power sources. But a lull in Minnesota power demand due to an economic recession over the past year has caused Xcel and Navitas to put the gas turbine project on hold, while continuing with the wind portion on Buffalo Ridge in south western Minnesota. Although the area is strapped for transmission space, Jaunich says NAE reserved transmission for that project, plus a potential 50 MW expansion, when it submitted its bid in 1999. Jaunich says Navitas is quietly exploring as much as 600 MW in new projects, many with PacifiCorp Power Marketing.
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