United States

United States

UKRAINE START

Last month production of American Kenetech wind turbines by Windenergo started in Ukraine. The initiative is a joint venture between Kenetech Corp and the former Soviet Union's largest maker of ballistic missiles. Some of Kenetech's requirement for spare parts for its already installed 56-100 units will be exported to the US. A large wind farm is also planned in Ukraine.

Full production of American Kenetech wind turbines by Windenergo, a joint venture between Kenetech Corp and the former Soviet Union's largest maker of intercontinental ballistic missiles, started this month in Ukraine.

Between ten and 15 Model 56-100 units, Kenetech's older wind turbine design, are to be made a year, says Kenetech. Thirty of the machines are already up and running at a wind farm in Ukraine, located near the village of Donuzlav in the Crimea region. The project, to build and install 500 MW of wind plant, is significantly behind its originally announced schedule.

After three years of negotiations and engineering discussions, turbines are now rolling off the production line at the giant Yuzhmash former missile plant in Dnepropetrocsk, a city 200 miles north of Crimea. Once the first 5000 turbines are built -- by the Yuzhmash plant and 30 sub-contractors -- the joint venture hopes to export Model 56-100s to Russia, Kazakhstan and other parts of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Windenergo employs 75 people, in engineering, production, accounts, and finance and several hundred are employed on the manufacturing, construction, operation and management side, says Kenetech's Bud Grebey.

In the future, about one-quarter of Kenetech's requirement for spare parts for its already installed 56-100 units will be exported to the US. Kenetech hopes to save millions of dollars a year as labour costs are low in the Ukraine. Four Ukrainian technicians -- experts on turbine assembly, repair and control -- were being trained at Kenetech's Livermore plant in late May.

By the end of the year 10 MW will have been installed at the Donuzlav site and another 50 MW will be in the ground next year. It is hoped the wind farm's output could equal one-eighth of Ukraine's needs, freeing it from dependence on nuclear plants such as the notorious Chernobyl plant.

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