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Kazakhstan seeks partners in wind

An oil and gas company seeking partners to develop wind plants in Kazakhstan in central Asia says the power can be used domestically and can be exported to power hungry China. The Kuat Holding Company, based in the former capital of Almaty, is searching for western companies interested in joint development of wind facilities in the Djungar Gates -- or Jungarian Gate -- area in the south of Kazakhstan.

But while Kuat is seeking partners, a large US energy company says its plans for a major wind farm in the area are on hold "because of the political situation." York Research last year announced an agreement to develop at least 500 MW of wind in the Djungar Gates. The proposal, backed by a consortium of financial companies from Middle Eastern oil countries, will not now begin for another year, says York's Ken Melmed. The first 50 MW was to have consisted of Vestas turbines.

According to Kuat, wind speeds in the area, measured by Kazakhstan's Hydrometeorological Service, average 10 m/s at ten metres. Wind potential in the Djungar Gates is 2 trillion kWh yearly.

Southern Kazakhstan is rapidly developing and short of power. Because of the oil and gas industry, the infrastructure also exists to export wind generated electricity to China, specifically to Xing Jiang in the Uigar Autonomous Region. Power needs in that area of China are apparently growing by 10% annually. Estimates are that it will need 19.5 billion kWh by the year 2000, and 100 billion kWh by 2010. Kuat claims that an unnamed party in China is already willing to buy power for $0.035-$0.05/kWh.

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