Cielo Wind Power began construction last month of a new 80 MW wind project in the far reaches of the Texas panhandle. Although construction of the White Deer wind farm near Amarillo was due to start in August, Cielo, based in Austin, still expects to complete it by December 28, in time to qualify for the federal Production Tax Credit. "We're on a tight construction schedule and up against the PTC deadline," says Cielo's James Scott. "But White Deer is an easier place to stage construction than our other sites because it's flat and there's lots of road access, as well as access to transmission." He says most of the 80 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1 MW turbines -- and their towers and blades -- are already on site. Southwestern Public Services, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy of Minneapolis, holds the power purchase agreement with Cielo for the project's entire output. With this project, Cielo has nearly 600 MW in wind projects either in service or building. Due to the number of projects still under construction, the American Wind Energy Association has modified its prediction of US total installed capacity in 2001 downward to 1300 MW, a decline in its earlier prediction by 200 MW.
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