United States

United States

California's SMUD considers new turbines

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California's Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is studying whether it is worth replacing the old turbines in its troubled 15 MW wind project in Solano County. Two of the project's defunct Kenetech 56-100 turbines have been ripped out and a new 660 kW Vestas turbine from Denmark has been installed instead. It was to have started generating power in mid-November. "We're trying to prove out a larger size of more recent technology ... and see where that leads us," SMUD's director of power generation told the state capital's newspaper. SMUD had installed 17 of the Kenetech machines. But after Kenetech Windpower went bankrupt, the utility had to take out the five turbines in the worst shape to pillage them for parts for the remaining 12. SMUD had originally wanted to install as much as 50 MW of wind in Solano County but shelved the plans in 1996. It will monitor the new turbine for a couple of years, says Taylor. SMUD is one of many utilities in the US with a green pricing program, Greenergy, from which customers can buy clean power at a premium.

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