Alaska's first proposed wind power project has been downgraded in size from 50 MW to 30 MW, but its developers are still moving towards construction in 2010. The project is an undertaking between Cook Inlet Region Inc (CIRI), a native Alaska corporation, and wind developer Enxco, a subsidiary of French utility EDF. Power contract negotiations between the developers and local utilities are in final stages with an agreement expected soon. The size downgrade was prompted by the US Air Force, which says that a larger wind project would interfere with its operation and maintenance of a radar beacon system on Fire Island, five kilometres from Alaska's capital, Anchorage. Last year the state approved $25 million to construct a transmission line in order to connect the island to the mainland electricity grid, but did not go as far as providing a dock on the vacant island. CIRI's Jim Jager the equipment will be brought in by beaching barges at high tide, enabling parts to be driven off the vessel when the water recedes, a common practise in Alaska, especially with the oil and gas industry. "I'm not sure it's been done for a wind project before, but it's really not a major change of any type," says Jager.
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