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Texas tender debacle
1 September 1998
Texas may no longer be the hottest place for new wind development in the US because of public demand for clean power. A 75 MW wind project at McCamey to provide green power for a utility owned by Central and South West Corp of Dallas may now never be built. The wind farm was to have been owned and operated by FPL Energy, part of the giant FPL group of Florida, and built by FORAS Energy Inc of Palm Springs, California. But following the discovery by the FPL project team that wind data provided to bidders "significantly" overstated the resource in the McCamey area, CSW has been forced to reopen the bidding for the 75 MW of renewables. The data was provided by a consultant to CSW. "It is an unfortunate situation and we're moving forward to remedy it as soon as possible," says CSW's Larry Jones. FPL could not have met the electricity price it had agreed given the actual winds in the area, he adds. CSW would like to reopen the tender only to bidders short listed the first time to speed up the process because of the imminent expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). But it appears no solution would appease all bidders involved in the original tender. Of these, Jones declined to confirm or deny if major player Enron was on the shortlist. In the strong likelihood that there has to be a re-auction, the winning bid must be renewables. But it could be biomass, or it could be wind, says Jones. The final choice must be based on lowest cost and the bidder itself, he adds. The project -- whether wind or not -- has now been delayed by at least ten months, he concedes, leaving little time for a wind winner to clinch a contract before the scheduled expiry of the PTC on June 30.
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