Wind power gathers pace, says report

13 March 2002 - A report by Houston-based Industrial Information Resources, Inc. says that wind energy experienced record growth in 2001 and power is attracting new investors who are looking to cash in on the success.

Last year, a record 1700 MW of US wind energy projects were brought into operation, representing an investment of $1.7bn, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Texas alone had 900 MW come online in 2001.

Federal and State support of wind energy has greatly aided in the feasibility and financing of many projects. Congress recently extended the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides a 1.5 cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit (adjusted annually for inflation) for electricity generated with wind turbines. The PTC coupled with strong consumer and industrial support for new green energy sources will create the needed impetus to create another banner year for new wind energy projects.

A newcomer to wind energy production, Shell International Renewables Limited (London, England), a division of Royal Dutch/Shell Group, recently announced its intentions to spend up to $1bn in new green energy projects globally. The company wants to produce 1000 MW of green energy by 2005. The majority of this growth will come in form of wind energy project acquisitions, but will also include ventures in solar, hydrogen, and geothermal energy. The company's strategy is to acquire wind farm projects in the advanced stages of development or near completion.

At the beginning of the year, Shell WindEnergy, Incorporated, (Houston, Tx.) acquired the Llano Estacado wind ranch, an 80 MW advanced development project located in White Deer, Texas. The project included the construction of (80) wind towers each 227 feet tall and powering 1 MW Mitsubishi wind turbine/generators. The wind ranch was built and developed by Cielo Wind Power LLC (Austin, Tx).

Shell WindEnergy also operates the Rock Creek 1 wind power project in Wyoming, along with wind power plants in Harburg, Germany and the Blyth offshore wind farm off the coast of the United Kingdom. Shell WindEnergy will continue to look for wind energy projects in the late stages of development to acquire and expects to acquire at least two wind farms per year over the next few years. Eventually the company wants to get into the early project development and construction of wind energy projects.

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