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Austin Energy in Texas is negotiating separate 20 year power sales contracts totalling 68 MW of wind energy with Florida-based RES North America, part of the UK's Renewable Energy Systems, and Austin's Cielo Wind Power LLC. The projects are to come on line in 2004. The municipally owned utility has gained the approval of its city council to negotiate with developers, but it declines to give details about either project's location except that they are in West Texas.

RES and Cielo were deemed the best of 16 proposals Austin Energy received as a result of a March 2003 solicitation for 200 million kWh a year to meet the needs of the city's unique and fast growing green pricing program (Windpower Monthly, May 2003). Negotiations include a 53 MW power sales contract with RES that is not to exceed $92 million, say council records. If the city and RES cannot close negotiations, the city can negotiate the 53 MW agreement with Cielo instead, says Austin Energy's Leslie Libby.

In addition, the council approved negotiating with Cielo an additional 15 MW that it would add to an existing 25 MW ten-year agreement. The addition is not to exceed $10 million.

Although the contracts could be signed as early as this month, construction is on hold until Congress extends wind's federal production tax credit past the current December 31 expiry date.

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