Utility to break into wind industry with plans for 5 MW plant

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Sumitomo Joint Electric Power Company plans to break into the wind industry with a 5 MW wind power plant in western Japan, reports the country's main business daily, Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The regional power supplier, currently focused on hydro and thermoelectric production, plans to erect two monitoring towers on the Miura Peninsula in Ehime Prefecture to test wind conditions, the report says. Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) will cover about half of the JPY 15 million ($129,038) cost of the monitoring. A decision to go ahead with construction of the turbines could come by summer 2008 with operation slated for 2009. Average annual wind speeds of at least 6 m/s will be required to achieve profitability, but a company executive expressed confidence that winter winds will sustain production. Five turbines are planned, with an investment of JPY 300 million ($2.58 million) for each machine. It expects to sell output to the nearby grid owned by Shikoku Electric Power Company.

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