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United States

Epri Programme loses major participant

Up to four $3 million wind projects in the US will be selected for financial backing in the second round of the $40 million Utility Wind Turbine Performance Verification programme announced the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently. Meanwhile one of the utilities to host the projects -- and a recipient of first round funding -- is pulling out of the programme because of budget cuts.

The second round of the programme, jointly sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE), is to bridge the gap between current wind turbine development programmes and the utility grade turbines now being sought commercially. Each recipient utility will build a minimum of 20 turbines with a nominal rating of 300 kW starting in 1994 to 1995. Interested utilities were to reply by the end of January, with a detailed solicitation to be sent out this month.

In the first phase of the programme Central Maine Power (CMP), Green Mountain Power and Central and South West Corp were chosen to host sponsored projects (Windpower Monthly, September 1993). But CMP is now pulling out. The utility was to have received $1 million towards its participation in a wind power testing programme in Kenetech Windpower's 250 MW New England Wind Energy Station in the Boundary Mountains of central Maine. However, CMP is still considering purchasing power from the project and says it is no less committed to wind and renewables.

CMP backed out last month, citing large budget cuts in which it laid off 150 employees and cut its budget by half. The utility also halted its membership of EPRI, the leading research and development organisation for US utilities. When the first round was announced, the utility was negotiating with Kenetech and expected to buy 15 MW of power by 1995 and 15 MW by 1997.

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