Having cleared the way in 2001 for further wind development at Columbia Hills in the US Northwest with his 1 MW Mariah wind project, Michael Kitchen says he and an unnamed wind developer have Klickitat County approvals to develop land nearby where they intend to build 116 MW along the wind-rich ridge overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. In its approval for a conditional use permit, the county is allowing Kitchen to update the Mariah project with larger, more modern and efficient turbines. It currently has 16, ESI-54, 50 kW turbines salvaged from the Whiskey Run wind project on the Oregon coast (Windpower Monthly, March 2001). In addition, he will add 12 MW of wind generation to 40.5 hectares of his own land located west of that project. The county also approved a 100 MW project on leased land located to the east. Kitchen says he is negotiating a power purchase agreement with a company he declines to name, but that may be willing to guarantee a production tax credit payment of $0.018/kWh, despite the fact that Congress has yet to extend PTC. That would enable Kitchen and the other developer to begin construction in the next few months and to complete the project this year. Kitchen won permits to build his Mariah project after a long battle with the local group of the Audubon Society, a national bird protection group, clearing the way for future projects along the ridge. It is still the only developed site in Columbia Hills.
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