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Construction delays in Colorado and Wyoming

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Bad weather lies behind construction delays at wind projects in Colorado and Wyoming. Ironically, ferociously high winds, with gusts up to 100 miles an hour, put a stop to site activity at the Ponnequin Wind Facility in Weld County, Colorado. Similar conditions hit the Wyoming Wind Project over the border.

Work on the Ponnequin plant was delayed for about six weeks, says Andy Sulkko of the Windsource program, run by the Public Service Company (PSCo). Windsource is marketing the plant's green power. "We do plan around [winter winds], but this year it was extreme," says Sulkko. They blew day after day due to a jet stream over both states and the company postponed installing rotors. "We had hoped to have 15 turbines on line at the end of December," he says. "We didn't get them up until February. The 750 kW NEG Micon turbines produce 10 MW, adds Sulkko.

In December, PSCo began generating with seven turbines, delivering power to about one quarter of those who had signed up for the program. In late February, another eight turbines began operating. At that point, 6000 customers were receiving the green energy, says Sulkko. Twenty-one turbines are expected to be up and running by spring, providing power to about 9400 customers. As additional customers sign up for Windsource, PSCo will build new turbines.

The winds that gusted across Colorado also slowed progress at the Wyoming Wind Project of 69, 600 kW Mitsubishi turbines. Owned by PacifiCorp and the Eugene Water & Electric Board, the project was supposed to begin commercial operation in mid December. The project was expected to begin delivering power sometime in March, according to Jan Johnson of utility PacifiCorp. The project developers are SeaWest and Tomen.

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