The Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) construction team of ABB and Vestas have erected 15 new Vestas 660 kW turbines at the Montezuma Hills wind project in Solano County, California, two months ahead of schedule. Based on wholesale electricity costs, the utility says the additional 60 days of operation are providing the utility with $370,000 in economic benefits. Operation and maintenance services are by EnXco. The $15 million, 10 MW project, completed at the end of March and dedicated May 14, was added to nine remaining Kenetech Windpower turbines built in August 1994 on the SMUD owned site south-west of Sacramento in northern California. That project initially consisted of 5 MW of Kenetech's 33M-VS variable-speed turbines, producing power that at the time was estimated to cost $0.043/kWh. SMUD, which hopes to eventually add 85 MW to the wind farm, says the project will help meet its renewable energy goals set two years ago by the municipal utility. "SMUD's board of directors set very aggressive goals for developing new sources of renewable energy and wind power will clearly play a major role in that push," says the utility's Jim Shetler. The goal for the utility, which has more demand than generating resources at this time, is to have 10% of its energy from non-hydro renewable resources by 2006 and 20% by 2011. It is currently at 7%, but by 2006 it plans to add 45 MW of new wind and 10-15 MW of solar energy, with an additional 20-25 MW of renewable energy purchases from the California electricity market.
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