Pending a possible appeal, repowering of 127 MW of old wind farms in the Altamont Pass can now go ahead. Early last month Judge Richard Hodge upheld Alameda County's approval of repowering permits for some of the wind industry's largest players, the M&N partnership between Japan's Nichimen and Denmark's NEG Micon, Mitsubishi of Japan, the Florida company FPL Energy and British developer Renewable Energy Systems. The owners of existing wind farms had objected to the permits, fearing the new projects would steal the wind away from their turbines, making them unprofitable. In his decision, Hodge upheld the certification of the environmental impact report-covering the potential wake impacts of the new projects-and also the county's program for repowering the wind resource area. The losing side-which includes Toronto Dominion Bank, ABN AMRO Bank and John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co, lenders to wind farms made up of Kenetech 56-100 turbines downwind from the planned new plants-have 60 days, or until early November, to appeal the ruling. This month the board of supervisors in neighbouring Contra Costa County will also consider the plans for new projects which stretch into its area. Its decision is expected to be in line with that of Alameda, where the lion's share of the new projects will be sited.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol