United States

United States

Colorado start date, first wind farm

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Construction is to begin in August on phase one of Colorado's first wind farm, being built for the Public Service Co (PSC) utility of Denver to supply power to a green pricing programme. As much as 4.5 MW of installed capacity -- six Zond turbines -- are to be operating at the Weld County site before the end of the year, says PSC.

A permit application was filed for the entire 10 MW plant on May 1. A further seven turbines will be added at the site, near the Wyoming border, in the spring of next year. The project is being developed by PSC in co-operation with Distributed Generation Systems Inc -- or Disgen -- of Evergreen, Colorado. The company was founded by former US Windpower president and Kenetech official Dale Osborn.

By the beginning of last month, 1000 customers had signed up for the utility's Windsource programme. It was launched on March 22. And the utility says that there are now enough buyers -- at least initially -- for the electricity from more than half of the first phase of the plant. Residential customers must commit for one year and commercial customers for three years.

The plant, known as the Ponnequin Wind Facility, will be close to an existing transmission line, but distant from public roads. "It's a remote location with no access to the public," says project manager Steve Dayney. "People may be able to make out wind turbines in the background as they drive north along I-25 or Highway 85, but for the most part the project will be invisible to the general public." The site will also pose a minimal risk to birds and other wildlife, he says.

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