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United States

Small Colorado utility piggybacking on GE Wind's 162 MW Lamar project

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Lamar Light & Power, a small Colorado municipal utility, and the Arkansas River Power Authority (ARPA) will cut wind project costs by piggybacking on GE Wind Energy's 162 MW Lamar wind project in Prowers County, Colorado. Lamar L&P's Leon Sparks, who had been worried about issues such as the impact of transmission costs on a small wind project (Windpower Monthly, March 2001), seems to have found the answer his utility needs to build a 4.5 MW project. ARPA will add 1.5 MW at a reported cost of $1.65 million. The two utilities will cash in on the economies of scale enjoyed by the larger project when it uses both GE 1.5 MW turbines and the same contractor. In the works since 2001, GE's project was stalled when Xcel Energy, the utility that serves much of Colorado, refused to consider it in its resource supply portfolio, asserting that future natural gas prices would be low. But in 2002 the Colorado Public Utility Commission ordered Xcel to include the project because it was the lowest bidder. Negotiations between the utility and the developer were further stalled while GE bought Enron Wind (Windpower Monthly, April 2002). Now it seems there could be a third slowdown. It seems that Lamar L&P and ARPA will have to wait even longer while GE, which prefers to build, operate and maintain projects, but not to own them, lines up another project owner. GE had been in talks since 2002 with American Electric Power to buy the project, but in May AEP decided it was the wrong deal due to financial concerns.

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