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Orders for wind turbines in the first phase of an ambitious programme to install 2400 MW of wind energy throughout Russia have been delayed. Management Investment and Trade (MIT) Ltd and Soviet Enterprises Ltd (SEL) had expected to be able to place orders at the beginning of March for 36 MW of wind capacity spread over four Russian sites (Windpower Monthly, December 1994). But the timetable is slipping while the companies seek extra assurances from turbine manufacturers over the performance of wind turbines in extremely cold conditions. "We are a bit late because we are still in the process of assessing companies' bids, especially since there is the potential problem of icing on the blades," explains Constantine Adraktas from MIT in London. "In some of the areas we are considering, temperatures can go below minus 30 degrees Centigrade." In this first phase of the Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) programme, MIT and SEL plan to purchase turbines for sites in eastern Russia and in the north and the south of the European Russia. Subsequently they expect to begin substituting imports with locally manufactured components, so that eventually around 80% of the machine content is manufactured in Russia. Adraktas hopes to be able to place turbine orders in two or three months' time. "We expect it will take another couple of months because of the difficulty of choosing machines that can work in that environment. It is worth taking our time to make sure we have the right technology. If we get the wrong machines and find they fail, there would be such adverse publicity that it could kill the notion of wind energy in Russia."

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