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United States

Utility short lists wind

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Portland General Electric Co (PGE) is listing a 100 MW wind plant by Kenetech Windpower as one of five projects totalling 169.1 MW on a short-list for further consideration. The wind farm would be built in eastern Oregon, part of the US Pacific Northwest. The announcement was made December 28.

Wind power is burgeoning in the Pacific Northwest, one of three high-potential regions poised for development -- along with New England and the Upper Midwest. PGE is already a partner in a 50 MW project proposed for the Columbia Hills region in Klickitat County in Washington state.

The Kenetech wind farm is by far the largest of the five projects short-listed. PGE expects to make several agreements totalling 80 to 120 MW. The others short-listed are: a 21.1 MW geothermal project by Anadarko Petroleum; a 30 MW biomass project by Weyerhauser Canada & Inland Pacific Energy; a 2 MW biomass project by Energy Tactics Inc; and a 16 MW hydro project by Conwest Exploration.

Negotiations will continue over the next several months with a decision expected in late spring, says PGE's Dave Heintzman. If the wind plant is built -- using 300 of Kenetech's Model 33M-VS -- it would be operational in 1996, according to the California wind company. Twenty-nine proposals were received by PGE including a 25 MW $25 million project in The Dalles area of the Columbia River Gorge by Zond Systems Inc.

"It's satisfying to move one step closer to adding more renewables to our diverse mix of resources," says Richard Dyer, PGE's vice president of marketing and power supply. "A tremendous amount of hard work has gotten us this far and we are excited about being pioneers in encouraging new renewable technologies for the Northwest." The project is also an "important step in Kenetech's effort to establish wind energy as an economically competitive, clean, renewable resource for the utilities of the Pacific Northwest," says Gerald Alderson, president of Kenetech. In 1993 PGE also adopted a Least Cost Plan, projecting the addition of 100 MW (average) of new renewable resources by 2002. It formed a Renewables Resource Work Group -- including members from the renewables industries, environment and consumer organisations, utility customers and regulators -- and is also developing renewables expertise within PGE.

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