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Turbine factory plan depends on orders -- Nordic in Nevada

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British-owned turbine manufacturer Nordic Windpower will open a manufacturing facility in Northern Nevada, but not before partner Energy Nevada LLC develops a wind farm of 50 to 100 MW. Nordic and Energy Nevada agreed on the deal late last year.

If built, the Nordic facility, which will make the company's 1 MW twin blade turbines in or near Carson City, will be the third wind turbine manufacturing facility in the US. GE Wind turbines are made in Tehachapi, California and Spain's Gamesa is opening a facility in Pennsylvania.

"Establishing a North American manufacturing base was a major objective for the company and the opportunities available to us in Nevada are difficult to match in other states," says Nordic Windpower CEO Mike Robinson. It is not Nordic's first foray into North America. The company announced in August it will install three 1 MW turbines on land in Canada owned by Nova Scotia's Eskasoni First Nation (Windpower Monthly, September 2004).

"We look to not just develop Nevada's substantial wind resources, but to also grow the Nevada economy," says Energy Nevada's CEO, Steve Taber. "This is more than just producing green electrons." His company is working to close a power purchase agreement with Nevada utility Sierra Pacific Power for a project of up to 100 MW in the northern reaches of the state. "To get the factory, we need a significant purchase," Taber says.

Nevada passed a law in 2001 requiring Sierra Pacific Resources, parent of Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power, to increase its renewables supply by 2% every other year until it reaches 15% of retail sales by 2013. It has yet to buy any wind energy and has asked the Public Utility Commission to forgive it for not yet meeting the first milestone -- 5% of energy from renewable resources by 2003-2004. It has also proposed a Temporary Renewable Energy Development Fund through a monthly charge on utility bills to help underwrite renewable development in the state, a measure backed by state governor Kenny Guinn.

British engineering company Parsons Peebles Holdings owns a majority of Nordic Windpower of Sweden, bought in late 2003. Nordic has sold just a few turbines into the Swedish market since it was established in 1990.

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