Monday, April 25, 2005

China Offshore Wind Power

China Eyes Turbines at Sea to Boost Wind Power

Mon Apr 25, 6:47 AM ET Science - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Wind turbines stationed up to 30 miles offshore and in waters up to 120 feet deep could be a key part of China's renewable energy program in two or three decades, a senior industry official said Monday.

The sea-based farms would be ideally situated to supply clean power to the populous and booming east coast area, without competing for space wanted for farming or urban development.

"Offshore wind sites are close to the main electricity load centers in eastern China, so offer great potential for future energy supply," Shi Pengfei, vice-chairman of the Chinese Wind Energy Association, told a conference.

"I am confident that in 20 to 30 years a very significant proportion of the wind power in China will be off-shore."

China's top state planner, Ma Kai, said Saturday the country was looking for more varied energy supplies to reduce its reliance on coal such as nuclear, wind and hydro power.

Coal accounted for about 67 percent of energy consumption and 76 percent of energy production in the world's fastest-growing major economy, he said.

Sea winds could be harnessed to generate an estimated 750 gigawatts, although few projects were under way now, Shi said.

This would be around 70 percent higher than the country's total installed generating capacity at the end of 2004 and maybe three times the potential of onshore sites.

China aimed to have 20 gigawatts of wind-generating capacity installed by 2020, equivalent to around 1.0 percent of annual electricity consumption at that time, Shi said.

At present the industry is limited by its high costs, with the price of power generated by a 100 megawatt wind project over two times higher than the equivalent from a coal generator.

The majority of equipment -- around four-fifths -- is imported and few Chinese firms make larger turbines.

However the government has set up wind power concessions to lure investment and know-how, guaranteeing a fixed price for power, as well as help with infrastructure like access roads.

Shi said he expected the cost of wind-generated power to move closer to that from coal-burning plants when there is around 3000 MW of market demand, and the country has set a generating target of 4000 MW by 2010.

Unlike European wind power leaders like Germany and Spain, China is not obliged under the Kyoto treaty to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

But the government is concerned by the effects of air pollution, much of it from coal-burning power plants, on health and is keen to boost clean energy.

A senior government adviser said recently that acid rain affected around one third of the country.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

International Energy Project of the Year

News Release:
April 15, 2005 Press Release

Energy, Utilities, Power, Environmental News

International Energy Project of the Year to be Awarded to Canadian Wind Turbine Project

Atlanta, GA : The Association of Energy Engineers’ (AEE) awards committee announced that it was awarding the International Energy Project of the Year to the WindStorSM Wind Turbine Project implemented at the University of Quebec. The formal awards ceremony will take place at the 27 th annual World Energy Engineering Congress, September 14-16 th, 2005 in Austin, Texas.

Albert Thumann, Executive Director of the Association of Energy Engineers indicated, “The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and its members are innovators. We are always looking for new technologies and energizing techniques to be more energy efficient, to be more environmentally friendly, and at the same time be economically viable. Each year our awards committee reviews dozens and dozens of projects to find leading edge technologies and projects that will have a positive impact on our lives. We are excited at the potential that micro-wind energy has to be a part of the mix of next generation energy production.”

About the Project:

The WindStorSM Wind Turbine Project at University of Quebec was nominated for consideration by Richard J. Costello, President of Acela Energy Group. According to Mr. Costello, “What makes this project so important to the Energy Engineering Profession is its ability to be sited in places never perceived possible, and in many, many locations that have not been economic to date due to insufficient wind or the low price received for power placed directly onto the transmission grid.” Information provided by Acela Energy to the awards committee had many positive results. Technology verification testing began immediately after completion of the installation and commissioning of the WindStorSM wind turbine on October 29, 2004 at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Canada. Since that date, the WindStorSM wind turbine has successfully:

performed as designed at all rotational speeds, including its 54 RPM maximum
demonstrated that audible noise at the base of the turbine tower is nearly absent at all rotational speeds
demonstrated that turbine construction, control systems and sensor effectiveness have the ability to smoothly navigate resonance frequencies without affecting power production and safety
operated through all weather conditions, including snow and ice, and in temperatures as low as minus forty degrees (-40C/F), confirming design specifications to generate power in extremely adverse weather conditions
Operating Turbine at University of Quebec

About AEE:

The Association of Energy Engineers is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1977. Today, AEE has over 10,000 members in 67 countries. AEE provides training and networking opportunities in a variety of disciplines including energy efficiency, HVAC & building systems , distributed generation, lighting, utility deregulation, facilities management, project engineering, end user consulting, energy services & the environment. AEE offers several programs: seminars, conferences, and certification programs. The annual awards include the following categories: ENERGY ENGINEER OF THE YEAR, CORPORATE ENERGY MANAGEMENT, ENERGY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, ENERGY MANAGER OF THE YEAR, ENERGY PROJECT OF THE YEAR – U.S., ENERGY PROJECT OF THE YEAR – INTERNATIONAL, And ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR. Complete 27 th WEEC show information, exhibitor profiles, conference agenda can be found

For more information, contact Ruth Whitlock at AEE

Phone: 770-447-5083

Fax: 770-446-3969


Prince Edward Island Wind-Hydrogen Village Project

Hydrogenics and PEI Energy Corporation Partner to Develop Prince Edward Island Wind-Hydrogen Village Project
Friday April 22, 1:01 pm ET
- $10.3 million project
- the world's first of its kind
- awarded funding through h2EA program

NORTH CAPE, Prince Edward Island, April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Prince Edward Island Premier Pat Binns and Randall MacEwen, Vice President, Corporate Development of Hydrogenics Corporation (Nasdaq: HYGS - News; TSX: HYG - News), announced today that Hydrogenics and Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation will lead a consortium of industry and government partners to develop Canada's first wind-hydrogen village demonstration - the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Wind-Hydrogen Village Project. This multi-faceted initiative will demonstrate, in real-life and in real-time, how wind energy and hydrogen technologies can work together to offer clean and sustainable energy solutions across a wide range of applications.

As announced in an Industry Canada release today, the $10.3 million project is receiving an investment of $5.1 million through the Hydrogen Early Adopters (h2EA) program of Technology Partnerships Canada. The Government of Prince Edward Island will invest $2.9 million in the three-year project. This includes $2.5 million in earnings from the North Cape Wind Farm and $425,000 from Prince Edward Island Business Development.

Hydrogenics' reputation as a leader in the development of hydrogen technologies, and the Province's national leadership in developing wind energy facilities, provide a strong foundation on which to build a wind-hydrogen village in Prince Edward Island. The home of the Atlantic Wind Test Site (AWTS), Canada's only national wind test site, PEI now draws more than five per cent of its electricity from wind energy at North Cape, which is the site of today's announcement and the primary site of the project.

"Promoting and demonstrating wind and hydrogen technologies is a key component of our Government's Renewable Energy Strategy," said Prince Edward Island Premier Pat Binns. "We believe hydrogen technology will become an important part of the economy, and we are pleased to be a partner in this ground-breaking project. The Prince Edward Island Wind-Hydrogen Village will advance PEI's reputation as a centre for research and development of renewable energy technologies and contribute to our objective to reduce the province' s reliance on imported fossil fuels, achieve a measure of energy self- sufficiency, and protect our environment for future generations."

Noting that the company's reputation as a world leader in the development of hydrogen technologies is unparalleled, Premier Binns added that he is pleased to have Hydrogenics Corporation serve as project manager for the Prince Edward Island Wind-Hydrogen Village.

"We are excited to be involved in this landmark project with an excellent roster of partners, both private and public," commented Randall MacEwen, Vice President of Hydrogenics Corporation. "With our diverse portfolio of hydrogen and fuel cell products and expertise, we believe we can bring the kind of comprehensive leadership to this project that will ensure its success. The PEI Government continues to demonstrate vision and leadership toward lessening PEI's dependence on imported power through the deployment of clean wind technologies. This next logical step - marrying up wind with hydrogen as a means of storing energy - has real potential to further reduce dependence on imported power, promote local economic development and promote environmental sustainability. PEI's strong wind regime, geographic size, political will, skilled work force and committed academic community make PEI a perfect location to demonstrate and deploy wind-hydrogen technologies. We believe this initiative will position PEI to become a model for future wind-hydrogen deployments globally, particularly for island and off-grid communities."

Over the course of the three years, the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Wind- Hydrogen Village Project will demonstrate solutions for a range of energy applications, including the installation of a hydrogen energy station, a hydrogen storage depot, and a wind-hydrogen and wind-diesel integrated control system to power the North Cape Interpretive Centre Complex, the Atlantic Wind Test Site, as well as other homes and buildings in the North Cape area. Subsequent phases are expected to include a hydrogen refueling station in Charlottetown to support the refuelling needs of up to three full-service hydrogen shuttle buses used in Charlottetown and the Charlottetown-North Cape corridor, as well as the deployment of fuel cell utility vehicles and the expansion of the wind-hydrogen village to provide energy for additional buildings and facilities, including at least one farm operation. The final phase of the project is expected to involve the introduction of a hydrogen- powered tour boat.

Further details on this project and its partners will be released in the coming months.

About Prince Edward Island

Located on Canada's east coast, Prince Edward Island's size, excellent wind regime, and strong commitment to renewable energy make the province an ideal location for leading edge energy research and development. The PEI Energy Corporation is a Crown corporation responsible for pursuing and promoting the development of energy systems and the generation, production, transmission and distribution of energy in Prince Edward Island.

About Hydrogenics

Hydrogenics Corporation ( is a leading global developer of clean energy solutions, advancing the Hydrogen Economy by commercializing hydrogen and fuel cell products. The company has a portfolio of products and capabilities serving the hydrogen and energy markets of today and tomorrow. Hydrogenics, based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has over 300 employees based in operations in North America, Europe and Asia.

New technology blows away existing generators

New technology blows away existing generators
Release date: 18 Apr 2005

Wind Power Ltd of Suffolk, a Camrow client who won one of the last ever DTI SMART Awards, will next month unveil the results of their project at the Clean Energy Show in London.

On show will be the Feasibility unit that demonstrates technology that literally blows away the existing technology used for large-scale wind farms.

The technology, vertical axis, as opposed to the current horizontal axis, has been specifically chosen to take advantage of offshore wind patterns where there is 'clean' wind just above wave height. This avoids the need to put the generator on top of a high expensive mast as is needed with the current technology.

'Current offshore wind farms use technology that was designed for operation on land,' said Camrow Director, Richard Moseley who has been working with Wind Farm Ltd for over four years.

'This makes it more expensive offshore than onshore, hence the dash by the generating companies to cover the countryside with propellers. The Aerogenerator will be a large V with the generator at the bottom hence at sea level.

'This means it can be on a floating platform, avoiding the high costs of the civil engineering required to build large towers offshore. Even more important is that the capacity is not restricted in the same way, indeed Wind Power Ltd will be unveiling designs for a 8MW unit at the Clean Energy Show, twice the capacity of the largest horizontal axis currently operating.

'The combination of floating base, low level generator, and increased generating capacity, means that offshore wind generated electricity can be cheaper than that current generated onshore', he added.

'This is truly disruptive technology, made even more so by it needing a change in the psyche of the industry which believes horizontal axis died when a previous test machine fell apart in Camarthen Bay 14 years ago. However that, like the current technology, was a land-based design.

'Technology has moved on in both areas, the limitations in capacity of horizontal axis machines are now known, whilst there is a much better understanding of materials of construction and offshore wind patterns'.


Richard Moseley
Camrow Ltd
Phone 01223 813234
Fax 01223 813234

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Maui gets largest wind farm in state

Maui gets largest
wind farm in state
The energy project calls for
20 turbines at Ukumehame
By Gary Kubota

WAILUKU » The largest wind energy project in the state is expected to be completed on Maui in the first quarter of 2006.

Kaheawa Wind Power LLC plans to build a $65 million wind farm at Ukumehame on the southern slopes of the West Maui Mountains.

"It's truly a milestone," said Mike Gresham, president of Makana Nui Associates, the minority partner. "We're excited for what it means for our Maui community as well as the state."

The new wind farm is expected to produce about 9 percent of Maui Electric Co.'s total power, bringing to 15 percent the amount of energy provided by renewable sources.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., which burns primarily bagasse, provides about 6 percent of Maui Electric's total power.

Gresham said that if the cost of oil continues to remain the same or increase, consumers on Maui will receive a savings in electrical cost, because the price of wind energy will remain relatively stable.

Kaheawa Wind Power, whose majority owner is UPC Wind of Newton, Mass., plans to build 20 General Electric wind turbines, each capable of producing up to 1.5 megawatts of power.

The wind turbines, with a blade height of roughly 280 feet, will be built on leased state land at Kaheawa pastures from an elevation of 1,600 feet to 3,000 feet, he said.

Based on previous studies done for the state, Gresham said the wind turbines will not be viewable from many locations on Maui.

MECO has entered into a 20-year agreement to buy wind power at about 8 cents per kilowatt hour, with a clause that allows a 1.5 percent annual increase for inflation, he said.

The "avoided cost" of a new petroleum-fired generator is about 12 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour, the company said.

Maui Electric President Ed Reinhardt said assuming the wind power was used starting January, his company might see a reduction in the use of about 168,000 barrels of diesel oil in 2006.

Reinhardt, whose company has about 58,000 residential and business customers, said while wind energy is not regarded as "firm power" that can be relied upon 24 hours a day, the projected energy produced by Kaheawa Wind is equivalent to providing electricity to 11,000 homes.

"It's going to be good for us here," Reinhardt said. "We want to get more renewable energy on Maui."

Gresham said based on a prior study, he anticipates the wind will be as robust as any mainland location.

He said the partnership expects to employ four to six technicians.

The interim and permanent financing was arranged by HSH Nordbank, a New York subsidiary of a German bank, and the electrical contractor is ABB Inc. Construction.

The development of wind energy at Ukumehame began in the mid-1990s and control of the venture has changed a few times.

Other wind projects in the works in the state include a 10.5-megawatt wind farm at Hawi and a 12.5-megawatt addition to a 7-megawatt facility at South Point on the Big Island.

Makana Nui Associates is a partnership of developer Kent Smith and electrical engineering consultant Hilton Unemori.

PPM to build New York wind farm

PPM to build New York wind farm

Mark Milner
Wednesday April 6, 2005
The Guardian

Scottish Power's US arm, PPM Energy, is to invest $160m to build a windfarm in upstate New York.
The announcement follows a ruling by the state of New York to require 25% of energy consumption to come from renewable resources by 2013.

PPM Energy will be working on the Maple Ridge development with Zilkha Renewable Energy - a Houston-based firm that is being acquired by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The 120 turbine facility, which should be completed by the end of the year, will quadruple the installed windfarm capacity in the state.
Scottish Power said the development would be immediately earnings enhancing. "The Maple Ridge wind farm begins the promised expansion of US wind business in the eastern United States and will help us continue [towards] our goal of becoming the leading US renewable energy company," chief executive Terry Hudgens said.

FPL Energy Announces New Wind Farm in Texas

April 05, 2005 09:01 AM US Eastern Timezone

FPL Energy Announces New Wind Farm in Texas

JUNO BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 5, 2005--FPL Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE:FPL), today announced it will build, own and operate a new wind farm in Texas, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, to be located in Taylor County, Texas.

The 220.5-megawatt Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center will be comprised of 147 1.5-megawatt wind turbines spread over a 22,500 acre site approximately 15 miles southwest of Abilene. Initial site work on the project is underway with full-scale construction expected to begin in the next few weeks and be completed no later than December 2005.

The company said it expects to spend more than $15 million on the purchase of goods and services throughout the region during construction. In addition, the company said up to 130 construction jobs will be created during the peak construction period.

"The Horse Hollow project is another important milestone in the disciplined growth of our wind portfolio," said Jim Robo, president of FPL Energy. "This project will bring an important new source of clean, renewable power to the region and provide a significant economic impact to the area in the form of taxes, new jobs, lease payments to landowners and the purchase of local goods and services."

The Horse Hollow project is FPL Energy's second wind project in Taylor County. The company recently began commercial operation at the 114-megawatt Callahan Divide Wind Energy Center located approximately 12 miles southwest of Abilene. The company's previously announced 106.5-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma is under construction and expected to begin commercial operation during the second quarter 2005. Together these projects represent 441 megawatts of the company's goal of adding up to 750 megawatts of new wind to its portfolio in 2005. When the Weatherford and Horse Hollow projects are complete, FPL Energy will own and operate nearly 3,200 net megawatts of wind generation.

FPL Energy is a leading wholesale generator utilizing clean fuels such as natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear to generate electricity. It is the nation's leader in wind energy, with 44 wind facilities in operation in 15 states. It is a subsidiary of FPL Group, one of the nation's largest providers of electricity-related services with annual revenues of more than $10 billion. FPL Group's principal subsidiary is Florida Power & Light Company, one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving more than 4.2 million customer accounts in Florida. Additional information is available on the Internet at, and

Note to Editors: High-resolution logos and executive head shots are available for download at .


FPL Energy, LLC, Juno Beach
Steve Stengel, 888-867-3050

American Superconductor wins deal with Hawaiian wind farm

American Superconductor wins deal with Hawaiian wind farm
04/06/2005 10:43 AM

Westborough-based American Superconductor Corp. and partner GE Energy, a business of the General Electric Co., have been picked by Hawi Renewable Development LLC (HRD) to provide a voltage control system for the Hawi Wind Farm project located near Upolo Point on the island of Hawaii.

The installation will include two of AMSC’s proprietary D-VAR voltage regulation systems and equipment from GE to meet standards required to connect the wind farm to the power grid. The solution provides fast dynamic voltage support during electrical faults on the utility grid — thereby allowing the wind turbine generators to ride through low voltage events on the grid they are serving.

Construction of the HRD wind farm, which will generate 10.56 megawatts of electricity, is scheduled to be finished in November 2005. The wind farm will use 16 wind turbine generators.

No financial details of the deal with HRD were released.

At press time AMSC stock was trading at $10.39, up 37 cents from yesterday’s close.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Zoltek Concludes Large Wind Energy Contract

Zoltek Concludes Large Wind Energy Contract

Zoltek Companies Inc. has concluded a long-term strategic supply agreement with Fibreblade S.A. (a business unit of Gamesa Eolica) of Pamplona, Spain.
Under the agreement, Zoltek expects to provide Fibreblade with $65 - $75 million worth of carbon fibre and carbon fibre materials over the first three years of the contract for the manufacture of advanced large- scale rotor blades for wind turbine generators.

"We are extremely excited that Gamesa has selected Zoltek as a key supplier and partner," said Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Zoltek has now secured a significant portion of the fast-growing global wind energy market for our commercial, high-performance carbon fibres. Globally, the generation of electricity through wind energy is expanding nearly 20% per year in terms of newly installed megawatts. We stand to gain a larger and larger share of a growing pie as a result of a clear trend in wind energy toward longer and longer blades to increase power generation capacity. Carbon fibre is now recognized as the only material that will do the job in supporting the development of larger and more powerful generators. It is lightweight and it meets the stiffness requirements of longer and longer blades, providing significant advantages in reducing the cost of other components in wind turbine systems."

Gamesa Eolica is the world's second largest supplier of wind turbines with carbon fibre reinforced blades and the market leader in several important regional European market sectors. Gamesa has recently announced production expansion plans in the United States and continues to serve an ever-increasing portfolio of customers around the world.

"This agreement represents the culmination of several years of extensive work in supporting the testing and qualification of our Panex 35 fibre with European customers and partners," noted Tim McCarthy, Vice President Sales and Marketing. "Fibreblade has been a particularly innovative and forward-thinking partner to work with and we look forward to our continued cooperation. The wind energy market is strategic for us because of its positive growth outlook. The leaders of the wind energy industry have now confirmed via thorough technical and commercial diligence what we at Zoltek have been convinced of all along -- that Zoltek's Panex 35 fibre offers the best price / performance value available on the market today and Zoltek is positioned best to supply the rapidly expanding needs of this market sector."

In order to meet demand for carbon fibre for wind energy and other commercial carbon fibre applications, Zoltek has undertaken a three-stage capacity expansion program. Zoltek is nearing completion of the first stage of this program, the re-start of the 2,500-ton carbon fibre production lines at its Abilene, Texas facility and the activation of additional precursor capacity at its facility in Hungary used as the essential raw material in carbon fibre production. It also began the second stage of the installation of two new carbon fibre lines in Hungary along with further additions to precursor capacity. The third phase of the expansion program will commence in 2006, when Zoltek is planning to double capacity again -- 9,000 tons (18 million pounds) of carbon fibre per year, in order to meet the levels of demand represented by existing contracts and orders for the year 2007.

WWW Link:

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The New Mexico State Land Office signs up another wind farm

Land Office signs up another wind farm
NMBW Staff
The New Mexico State Land Office will sign an agreement on Friday to lease 4,320 acres of state trust lands for a wind farm in Roosevelt County.

The Land Office will lease the property to Podoma Wind Power LLC of La Jolla, Calif.

The company will build 120 wind turbines on the farm, which will produce enough electricity to power 41,600 homes. The wind farm will be called the San Juan Mesa Wind Project, the Land Office said in a news release. Approximately 50 of those turbines will be on State Land Office land. The rest will be built on private property. The wind farm will be located about 65 miles northeast of Roswell.

New Mexico is already home to five wind farms, three of which have turbines on state trust lands.

The State Land Office manages nine million acres of land in the state. Proceeds from its leases go to fund public education in New Mexico.

New generation of wind farms at Altamont Pass

New generation of wind farms arises
Technology allows more electricity at lower price
By Matt Carter, STAFF WRITER

LIVERMORE — Using technology imported from Denmark, a new wind farm in the Altamont Pass could generate more electricity at a lower price than its predecessors while killing fewer birds of prey.
But because of regulatory and economic hurdles, wind-farm operators aren't rushing to modernize all 5,200 aging wind turbines in the hills between Livermore and Tracy.

Obstacles to "repowering" — replacing wind turbines installed in the 1980s with more modern machines — include concerns about bird deaths. To claim lucrative federal tax credits, companies seeking to modernize their wind farms also must negotiate new agreements to sell their power to Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The first wind-farm operator to move forward with a repowering project in the Altamont Pass is Altamont Power LLC, a partnership between Florida-based FPL Energy and Global Renewable Energy Partners. GREP is a subsidiary of wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark.

The new Vestas V47 turbines — brought on line in December by Altamont Power at the company's Diablo Winds facility — use the latest materials, design innovations and computer automation to squeeze more electricity out of the wind.

Company officials say fewer than three dozen new wind turbines at the Diablo Winds facility on Altamont Pass Road have the potential to produce more electricity than the 169 old FloWind turbines they replace.

Although the new wind turbines are bigger than the "egg beater" FloWinds, they're also more sophisticated.

The fiberglass blades of the 31 Vestas turbines sweep through the air up to 258 feet off the ground, supported by steel towers weighing nearly 45 tons. Wind gauges on each machine measure the direction and speed of the wind, adjusting the angle of 77-foot-long blades to match conditions.

Like a bicyclist changing gears to climb a steep hill, adjusting the "pitch" of the blades helps the Vestas turbines generate electricity at a wide range of wind speeds — from 6 to 56 mph. Many older turbines only produce electricity when wind speeds top 12 to 14 mph.

Stengel said Altamont Power has invested about $25 million in the Diablo Winds project. The wind farm has an estimated 20-year life span.

To be eligible for a federal tax credit, Altamont Power was required to renegotiate its contract to sell power to PG&E.

PG&E, which had been paying 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour under a contract that was set to expire in 2016, negotiated a reduced rate of 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour for the Diablo Wind project. That rate will be allowed to rise with inflation to a maximum of 5 cents per kilowatt hour in 2016.

Altamont Power and other wind farm operators may be less willing to negotiate new contracts for older wind farms that are still generating electricity. Those wind farms rely on other models of obsolete wind turbines, and parts to repair them are more readily available.

FPL Energy operates wind farms with 220 megawatts of generating capacity — nearly half of the total in Altamont Pass — but hasn't submitted plans to modernize other facilities. (One megawatt of generating capacity is enough to supply about 1,000 homes, but most wind farms produce no more than one-third of their rated capacity).

PG&E is looking for ways to meet state mandates to obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind energy by 2010. But the total generating capacity of wind farms in the Altamont Pass has been capped at 583 megawatts until wind farm operators can prove they can reduce bird deaths.

A recent study estimated that 881 to 1,300 birds of prey are killed each year in the blades of wind turbines in the Altamont and on the power lines that carry the electricity they generate.

State and federal wildlife officials, environmental groups, and the California Energy Commission hope repowering projects will curb bird deaths by reducing the total number of wind turbines in the Altamont by a factor of seven or more.

In the future, power lines will be placed underground — the Diablo Winds project eliminated eight miles of overhead power lines — and new turbines will be sighted in ways to make them less lethal to birds.

Although the Diablo Winds project was allowed to proceed under the auspices of a 1998 Environmental Impact Study, some other repowering projects will require separate studies that can take a year more.

Buena Vista LLC is working with officials in Contra Costa County on an environmental study of a proposal to repower a 37.5 megawatt wind farm on Vasco Road. The company already has begun scrapping 179 old wind turbines, which it proposes replacing with 38 modern machines.

Additional obstacles to repowering include the need to renegotiate leases with ranchers who own the land the wind farms use, and potential disputes between wind farm operators. Rows of larger wind turbines can create wakes that have the potential to reduce power generation at turbines downwind.

al obstacles to repowering include the need to renegotiate leases with ranchers who own the land the wind farms use, and potential disputes between wind farm operators. Rows of larger wind turbines can create wakes' that have the potential to reduce power generation at turbines downwind.

al obstacles to repowering include the need to renegotiate leases with ranchers who own the land the wind farms use, and potential disputes between wind farm operators. Rows of larger wind turbines can create "wakes" that have the potential to reduce power generation at turbines downwind.