There may not be any wind power projects under construction this year in the United States, but it’s not stopping utilities to plan ahead for next year when more favorable federal tax legislation may be in effect. Wisconsin Public Power (WPPI) and Madison Gas & Electric are teaming up to purchase 60 MW of renewable energy from a wind farm planned for southern Fond du Lac and northern Dodge counties.Madison, Wisconsin – July 26, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] WPPI has entered into a 20-year contract with an affiliate of Invenergy Wind to purchase 20 MW of the renewable output, which is enough to power the annual needs of 6,500 homes, from a proposed wind development called the Forward Energy Center in the neighboring community of Brownsville. The site covers 8,000 acres of agricultural land along the Niagara Escarpment, a location documented as having one of the strongest wind resources in the state. Chicago-based Invenergy Wind was one of 11 developers to respond to a joint request for wind proposals issued by WPPI and MGE last October. “By partnering with another utility, we can achieve economies of scale that help make wind a cost-effective renewable resource for Wisconsin,” said WPPI Vice President of Marketing Tom Paque. The proposed schedule calls for the wind units to be operational in August 2005. WPPI currently owns two wind turbines near Worthington, Minnesota with a combined generating capacity of 1.8 MW. The environmentally friendly units are dedicated to providing power for the utility’s renewable energy program. “Having fully subscribed the output from our Worthington wind units, this project can provide a substantial portion of WPPI’s future renewable energy needs,” Paque said. Nearly 2,700 residential and business customers in WPPI member communities are now purchasing all or a portion of their electricity generated by renewable resources. The utility’s renewable power portfolio also includes the output from a refurbished, low-impact hydroelectric plant near Black River Falls and biogas projects at wastewater treatment plants in WPPI member communities Kaukauna, Menasha and Sun Prairie. Based in Sun Prairie, WPPI supplies electricity and support services to 37 Wisconsin municipal utilities serving more than 141,000 customers.