After delays from lawsuits, local opposition and extensive environmental impact studies a 120 MW wind project in California sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is at last to go ahead. The $239 million Pine Tree Wind Project was first approved in 2003. Now expected to be completed in 2007, Pine Tree would become the nation's largest municipally owned wind farm. Horizon Wind Energy and Prometheus Energy Services will build the facilities and the city will acquire full ownership. "It's a very important project," says Rhonda Mills, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. "The utility and the developers have done a massive amount of work as a partnership to answer everyone's concerns. There's a lot of newness to the turnkey benefits of this project for the city and I think those benefits will click in the minds of other decision makers in other cities, which should help to drive the western wind market." The project, part of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's goal to obtain 20% of the city's power from renewable sources by 2010, will be located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and consist of 80 GE turbines, a ten-mile transmission line and an electrical substation. "We're upgrading the transmission line so that we can expand our capabilities," says Mary Nichols of LADWP. "The location of the project is looked at as a very likely place for future developments." LADWP's announcement of the project comes on the heels of a November report released by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that listed Los Angeles, the nation's second biggest city, as the dirty air capital of the US.
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