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United States

SeaWest in Wyoming

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SeaWest Power Systems' large Wyoming wind project appears decisions from which approval is required. Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Colorado utility Tri-State Generation and Transmission dropped out of the project some weeks ago. BLM is expecting to approve its portion of the project, which is actually on land in the jurisdiction of three different agencies, in mid July. A decision from Bonneville Power Administration, the independent federal agency, on whether it will buy power from the project may also come at the same time. Still involved in the project are owner-investor utility PacifiCorp and Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB), both of Oregon. EWEB had reaffirmed its decision in April and again in May after learning of Tri-State's decision to withdraw, made in April. Because of the withdrawal of Tri-State, the project has been somewhat scaled back. At one point it was to be as large as 70-75 MW, then 68 MW. One recent report has put it at 41.4 MW. Planning -- and even description -- of the project has been complicated by the number of owners, the different government agencies involved, and the bankruptcy of Kenetech Windpower and subsequent take-over of the project by SeaWest, of San Diego. It appears the turbines to be installed will be rated at 600 kW or 750 kW, says Walt George of the BLM. Among those being considered are Japanese Mitsubishis and also designs from Denmark and Germany. There are concerns about how well the turbines will hold up in the wind regime at the Foote Creek Rim site, which has an annual average wind speed of 9.8-10.7 m/s. In January, one meteorological station clocked an average monthly wind speed of 18.7 m/s.

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