A single 600 kW Micon went up recently at Sibley in Iowa, an installation that left one crane employee dead in a freak crane accident (Windpower Monthly, September 1997). The remaining seven Micon 600 kW units now running in the US were installed in the spring, on 45 metre towers, in a repowering of the Altech 2 wind project in Palm Springs. The $5.5 million repowering, which replaced 85, 40 kW turbines, is owned by Nichimen Corp, one of Japan's largest trading companies.
"We think that this business, especially in the US, is very promising," said Mikio Hirooka, chairman of Nichimen Europe, based in London. He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony in early June. "This is a small step, but a great one for Nichimen." The trading company has annual sales of some $50 billion. Palm Springs mayor Will Kleindienst also welcomed the repowering. It will mean less visual clutter, fewer turbines to maintain, less disturbance for the endangered fringe-toes lizard on the site and less noise, he said at the ceremony.
The 9 MW of Micon units are the only turbines installed so far this year in the lower 48 states. Eleven 550 kW Zond turbines in Vermont were commissioned this summer although they had initially been installed in September 1996. Three 50 kW Atlantic Orient turbines were commissioned in late July in Alaska. And two smaller Micon turbines -- one 250 kW and one 200 kW -- were installed in Palm Springs.