United States

United States


In an $8 million solicitation the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is requesting proposals for a "Wind Turbine Commercialisation Initiative" to encourage industry partnerships with utilities for large and small wind plant projects. Emphasis is on emission reduction and US turbines.

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An $8 million government solicitation to increase utility wind development could lead to 500 MW of new installation in the US within five years. It is also meant to lead to more commercialisation and partnerships with utilities -- and to the US industry's ability to compete more effectively domestically and overseas.

The request for proposals was issued December 14 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The RFP's deadline, for the "Wind Turbine Commercialisation Initiative" , is January 26. The multi-year plan for collaboration between utilities and the US wind industry on wind farms within America was initially announced in late November. NREL says the strategy, to speed up deployment of technology and meet the goals of President Clinton's Climate Change Action Plan, could lead to 500 MW additional capacity by 2000. The RFP specifically seeks proposals for wind farms to reduce emissions of climate change gases significantly. The installations should be "up to 25 MW or more" and consisting of wind, distributed wind systems or wind-hybrid, it says. The funding from the Department of Energy, which operates NREL, will not be more than one-fifth of any single wind plant.

NREL's initiative is open to domestic utilities and developers. A notice published by the Department of Energy says the fabrication and manufacture of the turbines should benefit the US economy -- presumably meaning they should be made here, regardless of where the design originates. Previously announced projects are eligible only of they can show they would be speeded up by at least three years. Phased, multi-year endeavours are encouraged -- and up to $1 million is being set aside for small utilities with less than 100 MW in generating capacity. They will be encouraged to form consortia but can still submit plans for less than 25 MW. And no one contractor would be entitled to more than half of the project's funds.

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