The stalled 25 MW wind project by utility consortium CARES in the Pacific Northwest has moved another crucial step closer to installation. On February 12, the US Fish and Wildlife agency issued a biological opinion allowing certain "takes" or kills of peregrine falcons and bald eagles that is apparently consistent with what occurs elsewhere at wind projects. "Their scenario is reasonable," says Ron Holeman, co-ordinator for the project at Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Other issues still to be dealt with include migratory birds and a top-level discussion between the Yakama Nation, a local Native American tribe, and BPA, tentatively scheduled for February 27. The Yakama say the proposed site is sacred and should not be developed. BPA hopes to be able to make a final decision on the project in late March or early April. Construction of the wind station, the first in the US of AWT turbines from FloWind, could then start this year, under the most optimistic scenario. But if construction is not started by the end of September, Holeman says it would be delayed until 1998 because of winter weather. Environmental permitting began on the project in the autumn of 1993. The entire process, however, had been initiated when BPA issued a request for proposals in 1992, to increase regional diversity.
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