A full feasibility study on the use of wind energy in Montenegro is to be conducted by the end of the year in a joint project by the Montenegrin government and the Norwegian electric power industry association NTE. Norway's government, which hopes to encourage wind turbine manufacturing as part of a pilot project after the study, has already allocated the necessary funding for wind power assessment. Preliminary wind speed measurements conducted at Ilino Brdo (near Niksic) and Vucje a few years ago indicate above average wind speeds, says Miodrag Canovic, Montenegro's assistant economy minister, who is responsible for the energy sector. "But there are periods of the year when they are significantly lower than average," he adds, explaining the need for further investigation in alternative locations. The areas that could have good wind potential are Niksic in the southwest, the mountainous regions above the sea and coastal areas such as Ulcinj, Canovic says. Before its bankruptcy a year ago, German wind project developer Umweltkontor, was confident about Montenegro's potential, announcing plans to establish a Montenegrin subsidiary to develop and build a number of wind stations on land as well as two offshore plants. While the German developer is no more, the subsidiary it established appears to be alive and kicking as a Croatian company with the same name. It has plans for wind plants in Trtr and Orlice near Dubrovnik, where the firm is based. So far, Montenegro's only foray into wind power was a 500 kW turbine installed in October 2004 on Ilino Brdo, near Vilus. Presented as a gift from the Dutch government, the EUR 850,000 machine was to produce 150 million kWh of electricity a year -- enough to supply 100 homes -- but was destroyed at the end of 2005 after being struck by lightning.
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