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Northern Power's strategic bankruptcy

A bankruptcy proceeding followed by an auction has separated Vermont-based Northern Power, which makes the 100 kW Northwind turbine, from its parent company, Distributed Energy Systems of Wallingford, Connecticut. CB Wind Acquisition Corp, a group of investors formed to complete the transaction, made the successful bid of $12.9 million for Northern Power last month. Distributed Energy was established following a 2003 merger between Northern Power and Proton Energy. "The Chapter 11 was filed to facilitate reorganisation," says Northern Power's Maureen McCracken, referring to the bankruptcy proceeding. "Basically, we wanted to recapitalise our wind division." The company has sold some three dozen of its 100 kW turbines to date in Malaysia and Alaska, where two machines went online in July. "Our first installation in the lower 48 states is going into Massachusetts by the end of the summer," McCracken says. "It'll be followed fairly closely by a couple other Massachusetts projects." The company operates a six-month delivery schedule for the Northwind turbine, which fully installed costs about $500,000. It plans to expand its niche in the market for community wind, or locally owned and smaller scale wind plant. "One of our Massachusetts installations was looking at a larger turbine and realised they couldn't get one for three years," McCracken says. Despite its focus on small scale wind power, Northern Power is working on the design of a utility scale turbine within the 2 MW range and hopes to complete a prototype within about 18 months.

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