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Netherlands

Netherlands

No worries says utility

The day after Kenetech sought bankruptcy protection in the United States, the first wind farm of its KVS-33 machines in northern Europe was inaugurated at Eemsmond in the Netherlands. The bankruptcy filing will not affect the wind farm as Dutch utility EDON gained most of the shares in the project in 1995. EDON's participation has been financed by the ABN Amro Green Fund.

Just one day after Kenetech sought bankruptcy protection in the United States, the first wind farm of its KVS-33 machines in northern Europe was inaugurated. The 34 MW project of 94, 360 kW turbines is sited on the coast at Eemsmond in the northern province of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Although Kenetech partly owns the project, the company's bankruptcy filing will not affect the wind farm, says Jaap Veenstra of utility EDON. In 1995 EDON, through a subsidiary, NV Eemsmond, gained most of the shares in the project. Kenetech now holds the remaining 5%. Originally the contract between EDON and Kenetech was structured with Kenetech as the owner, delivering electricity at a fixed price. Veenstra says that already last year it became clear that Kenetech could not meet its contract obligation.

EDON's participation in the project has been financed by the ABN Amro Green Fund, a scheme under which private Dutch investors can put their savings into clean energy projects, with interest payments free of tax. Within one year of their introduction the green funds raised several hundred million Dutch guilders and now face a shortage of green energy projects to invest in. Veenstra is confident of finding buyers for Kenetech's 5% if necessary.

"It won't be any problem to find investors. Maintenance on the turbines is done by five or six specially trained mechanics from EDON. Spare parts won't be a problem because most KVS-33 components come from European companies," says Veenstra. He adds, however, that he does not anticipate Kenetech going finally bankrupt. At the opening ceremony Mark Lerdal from Kenetech assured EDON that filing for Chapter 11 is not the same as bankruptcy. According to Lerdal, Kenetech will go on making and selling turbines.

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