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United States

GREEN PRICING COULD RESCUE PROJECTS

US federal agency Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) hopes to have decided soon whether to axe support for renewables in the Pacific Northwest that includes two wind projects. The date for BPA's decision has been extended several times while it considers green pricing and cost reductions for the two wind projects. BPA is trying to cut spending on renewables but has signed preliminary agreements to buy 25 MW of wind power from a project in Klickitat County by FloWind and 70.5 MW from a Kenetech plant in Carbon County. The 70.5 MW is the first phase of a planned 500 MW, each phase of which must be approved by the Bureau of Land Management.

United States federal agency Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) hopes to have decided soon whether to axe support for renewables in the Pacific Northwest that includes two wind projects. The agency, which oversees energy policy in the northwest and also markets power, had originally hoped to decide the status of its renewables plans by April. "[The decision] should be soon but we don't know when," says BPA's Jim Lewis.

The date for BPA's decision has now been extended several times, during which time the agency has been considering green pricing and cost reductions for the two wind projects. BPA is trying to cut spending on renewables massively -- from $60 million to just $5 million yearly.

BPA had signed preliminary agreements to buy 25 MW of power from a $29 million FloWind project in Klickitat County in Washington -- using 91 AWT-26 wind turbines and owned by a consortium of utilities named CARES -- and 70.5 MW from a Kenetech plant in Carbon County, Wyoming. Construction of the $65 million Kenetech project, selling power to several major utilities, was to have started this year with January 1996 as the start deadline, though this timetable is delayed. The Klickitat project is meant to be on-line by July 1996.

An environmental impact statement for the Kenetech project was to have been issued in late August or early September to bring it one step closer to approval by the US Bureau of Land Management The 70.5 MW for which approval is being sought is the first phase of a planned 500 MW, says the BLM's Walt George. Once the statement is issued, the public has 30 days for comment; government officials must then respond to comments and issue a final recommendation. The BLM has already recommended approval of the project, on the Foote Creek Rim east of Rawlins and in an area of big game and raptors. But especially since public confidence in the US government is low nowadays, George says each phase of the 500 MW must be reviewed. He says the plant will now likely be completed in the early summer of 1996, if BLM approval is issued as expected in early October.

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