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United Kingdom

Americans buy up contracts


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Two more wind farms look set to be built in Britain this year. In a curious development, The New World Power Company, UK subsidiary of Connecticut based New World Power Corporation in the US, has bought out the rights to develop wind farms at Four Burrows in Cornwall and Caton Moor in Lancashire. These are in addition to a wind farm it is already building in Wales.

Both sites have planning permission and also NFFO 2 contracts awarding a premium price of £0.11/kWh, but these are due to expire at the end of 1998. After that time the projects will probably receive only pool prices for their electricity output -- currently around £0.025 /kWh. Given the short time scale for recouping capital costs, observers of the British wind energy scene seriously question whether schemes started now can be profitable. New World's Chris Glen refutes this doubt: "The returns on the projects will not be as high as they would have been if we had entered the business sooner, but we believe we can make them pay," he says. "We feel they are both good sites and we have looked long and hard at the economics."

Four Burrows near Truro will add 4.5 MW installed capacity to New World's British portfolio. The company bought the rights to the project from developer Ecogen, which won planning permission for the site in August 1993 following a planning inquiry. "New World came up with a number that we wished to part with it for," explains an Ecogen spokesman. The 15 Bonus 300 machines are expected to be up and running in early November.

At Caton Moor in the Forest of Bowland, New World plans to erect ten, 300 kW WindMaster turbines from Belgium. These are also due to begin operating in November. This site, which was again the subject of a planning inquiry, had been sold by Whitendale Generation. Originally it was to have been developed using Windharvester turbines, based on Howden technology, and had been selected for subsidy under the European Union's Thermie programme.

In Wales work has already started on construction of New World's first British wind farm of 11, 500 kW Nordtank turbines at Dyffryn Brodyn in Dyfed, West Wales. The site and contract were acquired in a similar fashion to its two most recent projects. New World is currently bidding further schemes into the next round of NFFO. The company believes its latest acquisitions give it a useful foothold in Britain to help establish its credibility. "The projects will increase our generating capacity and allow us to demonstrate to the NFPA [Non Fossil Purchasing Association] that we are serious," says Glen. "They show our intention to develop all the sites we obtain contracts for."

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