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United States

Blackfeet project delayed but triples in size

A Montana wind project that was to be completed this year has been delayed until late 2002, but in the process has grown in size from 22 MW to as much as 66 MW. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) says it is buying the output of the project, on the Blackfeet reservation east of the Continental Divide in Montana's Glacier County, and that the size increase is due to an economy of scale that reduces the overall project price of energy. Further studies on the transmission system's capability and environmental work will determine the number of turbines, but BPA says the project could consist of as few as 36 and as many as 88 turbines, all on about 150 acres (61 hectares). The Blackfeet eventually hope to own the project. "It shows how a tribe can work with an experienced wind developer to build a wind project on its land and provide substantial economic benefits to the community," says BPA's Tom Osborn. SeaWest is the developer and Montana Power is helping to resolve transmission issues. Osborn says SeaWest is considering using a nearly 1 MW Mitsubishi turbine with a cold weather package since winters can be seriously cold.

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