Contract signed for wind farm

Northern Alternative Energy Inc (NAE) of Minneapolis has signed a $14 million agreement with Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) to build an 11.25 MW wind farm in eastern Wisconsin. Construction of the project, which could be the first in Wisconsin, is expected to start as early as next spring, says NAE president Greg Jaunich. It will be sited in eastern Michigan, northeast of Madison on the Niagara Escarpment near the town of Stockbridge, between Lake Michigan and the much smaller Lake Winnebago.

The utility, which serves the liberal college town of Madison, will own a majority of the 11.25 MW project says Jaunich. It was not clear, however, whether that amount would be nearer 51% or 100%, he said. The turbines installed will most likely be the Micon M1800, a modified Micon with a 48 metre diameter rotor. Construction of the cluster is for the midwestern utility's green pricing programme. It is expected to be on line by mid 1999.

Customers of the utility can sign up for 100 kWh blocks of wind energy, costing some $4-5 per block extra monthly. If other utilities become involved in the project, it may be expanded up to a total installed capacity of 50 MW built in five phases, says Jaunich. MGE is a public utility that generates, transmits and distributes electricity to 122,000 customers in the area of Madison, the state capital of Wisconsin. Financing of the project may be as much as 100% from the utility.

MGE is also one of four eastern Wisconsin utilities involved in a wind project associated with the Electric Power Research Institute's distributed wind turbine verification programme. The project, to have been started sometime this year, is to be developed in Glenmore near Green Bay in Wisconsin (Windpower Monthly, September 1997). It was to have consisted of two Tacke TW-600 wind turbines from Germany. It had been delayed, however, by the bankruptcy of the parent German company Tacke, just bought last month by the wind subsidiary of Enron Corp.