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Contracts and projects / US news in brief

Three utilities signed a contract with Kenetech Windpower to build the Pacific Northwest's first major wind farm. Portland General Electric Co, Puget Power & Light Co and PacifiCorp signed the contract in mid-February, according to the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce. The 50 MW facility will be located in the Columbia Hills of Klickitat County. The utilities will own the wind farm, which will cost $50 million. Construction will be completed in 1996. Under the contract, PacifiCorp and Puget Power will each own 37.5%, and PGE will own the remaining 25% of the project. Kenetech will run the facility for five years after it is built; the utilities then have the option to have Kenetech run it for three more increments each of five years, totalling 15 years.

The first wind farm using America's newly developed AWT-26 wind turbine is a step closer to installation. FloWind Corp signed a letter of agreement in March with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and CARES, a consortium of small Public Utility Districts in the Pacific Northwest. Construction of the 25 MW wind plant would be in Klickitat County. The 91 turbines are to start operating in 1995, once BPA has signed a power purchase agreement with CARES. The AWT-26 is the result of co-operation between FloWind, of San Rafael, California, and Robert Lynette, of Redmond, Washington. It will be manufactured by Kaiser Space Products.

Construction of a 500 MW wind farm in Wyoming by Kenetech Windpower could cost $600 million, according to Kenetech officials quoted by the Associated Press. The company also expects to spend $800 million over the next 35 years in the area, Carbon County. The money would be used for property taxes, sales taxes, wages and rental, Bruce More-Lee of Kenetech said. The first 75 MW to be built would be a wind farm for Bonneville Power Administration. But local officials are expressing concern about the potential impact on wildlife. Walter George, of the Bureau of Land Management, said officials are concerned that raptors and other migratory birds could be harmed. On March 9, Kenetech also announced a contract with PacifiCorp for a 50 MW project in Wyoming, the first phase of the larger project. The company expects to expand the first phase to 70.5 MW.

A 50 MW wind farm proposed by Kenetech Windpower is one of the bids being considered by Nevada Power Co in response to its current Request for Proposals. The wind farm, to be located near Las Vegas in southwestern Clark County, would be on line in 1997, says Mark Shank, the utility's supply side planning team leader. The winning bids will be disclosed July 1 in a filing to the Public Service Commission, he says. He also says that Sierra Pacific, the utility that serves northern Nevada, is currently monitoring wind with Kenetech.

The Nebraska Power Association (NPA) is planning a four-year study of wind which could lead to a demonstration wind farm later this decade. The association, which represents the state's public power utilities, will pay $200,000 towards the study, NPA's Shelley Sailing told the Lincoln Star. Another $100,000 for the study would come from the state energy office, the newspaper says. "We'll see a demonstration wind farm and in the next 20 years or so 20% of our power could be wind energy," added Lincoln Sen Chris Beutler. The announcement was followed a week later by an editorial in the newspaper, entitled "Exploring Wind Power." It said, "Nebraska will need new energy sources well into the next century. This study will help determine whether the state can harness a Nebraska native -- wind -- to our advantage."

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