Bonus turbines expected to be in place at Kennewick by August

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The first batch of Bonus turbines destined for a ridge outside of Kennewick, Washington, left Denmark at the end of March, bound for the 48.1 MW Nine Canyon project currently being developed by Britain's Renewable Energy Systems (RES) for Energy Northwest. RES contractors began building roads and pouring concrete in March and will connect the first turbines to the transmission grid in late May. Although the project did not start in December as Energy Northwest had said, the utility still anticipates that all 37 turbines will be up before the end of August. Energy Northwest's Don McManman says as much as 50 MW more is planned on adjacent land for the near future. Energy Northwest has extended contracts for the first 48 MW to eight Washington public utilities and will reserve 4 MW to help run its nuclear Columbia Generating Station, the region's only nuclear power plant. Energy Northwest raised $71 million in financing for Nine Canyon from the sale in November 2001 of 5.85% bonds and is still reporting power purchase agreements of $0.032-0.035/kWh. These exclude the Renewable Energy Production Incentive (roughly equivalent to the $0.017/kWh Production Tax Credit) and wheeling and "shaping" charges of about $0.013/kWh, which some of the buying utilities have arranged with the Bonneville Power Administration to cover the costs of matching supply and demand. The American Wind Energy Association is reporting that Energy Northwest will pay landowners a one-time fee of $500 for each turbine and rent of $1000 or 3.5% of gross revenues, whichever is greater. Once known as the Washington Public Power Supply System (with the unfortunate acronym WPPSS), the company had defaulted in 1982 on $2.25 billion in bonds after failing to complete four of five planned nuclear power plants.

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