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Canada's plans for 100 MW of wind power generating capacity on the Gaspe Peninsula -- being built for utility Hydro Quebec -- have been delayed. The project's developer, Kenetech of California, has decided to use its new KVS-45 520 kW model instead of the originally planned KVS-33 405 kW. There is also a more than 50% chance the project will be called in for a public hearing by Quebec's environment ministry, says Richard Legault of the Kenetech's Montreal office.

The change in turbine model has caused a four to five month slippage in schedule. Assuming public hearings, Kenetech now hopes to obtain a construction permit around December, with financial closure in January 1997, construction during that spring and summer, and connection to the grid by December, about one year behind schedule. This is a "more comfortable schedule" says Legault.

On January 20, Kenetech resubmitted a revised 700 page environmental impact study (EIS) to the environment ministry, informing it of the decision to use a larger machine. By cutting the number of turbines from 300 to 200 for the same 100 MW nameplate rating -- and using what it says is a more efficient machine -- Kenetech expects no change in the $100 million cost of the project. Legault hopes the ministry will rule on the EIS in March. Public hearings could take place in May and June.

Kenetech still plans to site the two 50 MW wind plants on two out of three candidate sites, and has over 100 options for "right of way" on the land which has average wind speeds of 8 m/s. The leading sites are Cap Chat and Matane, while the back-up site is Ste-Anne-des Monts.

Hydro Quebec will pay Kenetech CAN$0.055/kWh. Significantly, this is not only comprised of an energy component of CAN$0.04.25 cents, but also a capacity payment of $0.0125/kWh. "Hydro Quebec recognises the Gaspe project will contribute to its overall system reliability and to its fixed capacity," says Legault. More than one Canadian group is looking at financing the project, he adds. Kenetech signed two power purchase contracts for the Gaspe project of 50 MW each with Hydro Quebec in December 1993.

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