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California bids second round

Nine wind plants are among 14 winning bids announced by the California Energy Commission for a second round of subsidies to be paid for out of the $540 million fund for renewable energy created as part of California's deregulation of its electricity market. The 62 MW of wind projects will receive a total of $12.1 million in subsidies, ranging from $0.0075 to $0.0137/kWh spread over a five year period. The projects, which must be completed by the start of 2002, are to be located near Mojave and Palm Springs. Three landfill gas projects will also receive $7.1 million, while an estimated $2.2 million in support will go to a biomass project. The results of the auction were announced on January 12. Preliminary funding of $162 million for 55 projects, of which 24 were wind, were announced last summer (Windpower Monthly, August 1998). In the auction, project developers submitted bids for a fixed cents-per-kilowatt hour financial incentive for five years of plant operation. Winners were selected starting with the lowest subsidy requested until all of the available funds had been allocated. With the demise of the federal production tax credit, on which the bids were based, there is no guarantee the wind projects will be built. The deregulation law that created the renewables fund, AB 1890, raises the money from customers of the state's three largest private electric utilities during the four years of transition to a competitive market.

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