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NEW ENGLAND POWER COMPANY COMMITS TO WINDPOWER, OTHER RENEWABLE ENERGY

 WESTBOROUGH, Mass., July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that will reduce air pollution and pave the way for cleaner energy sources in the future, New England Power Company (NEP) announced that it will purchase 36,000 kilowatts of electricity from seven renewable energy plants, including New England's first major windpower project. Annually, the projects will reduce smog emissions by more than 460 tons per year and suspected global warming emissions by 514,000 tons, as well as more than 100,000 tons of solid waste.
 This move, the first of its kind by any utility in the U.S., is designed to obtain near-term, environmental benefits and test "green" electricity sources for cost, reliability, and future expansions. Selected through a specially designed solicitation for environmentally friendly resources, these plants will help NEP obtain its goal to significantly reduce air emissions, and in particular reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, all by the year 2000.
 As a result of NEP's 1992 "Request for Proposals," a total of seven contracts have been signed for projects located in four New England states. The technologies and processes employed by the selected projects include state-of-the-art wind turbines, combustion of methane produced at landfills, municipal solid waste combustion at a comprehensive waste management and recycling facility, and conversion of waste heat into electricity at an existing renewable project.
 Renewable energy sources generally have substantially less environmental impact than more conventional sources such as fossil fuels.
 -- In Massachusetts, the projects are three landfill methane combustion facilities to be located in Barre, Randolph, and Plainville; and a total solid waste management facility to be located in Shirley. The developers of the projects are Phillips Energy, Inc.; Browning Ferris, Inc.; Laidlaw Gas Recovery Systems; and Traitement Industriel Des Residus Urbains, a French firm.
 -- In Rhode Island, the project is a waste heat energy conversion facility to be located at the Central Landfill in Johnston, developed by Genesis Energy Systems.
 -- In New Hampshire, the project is a landfill methane combustion facility to be located in Nashua, developed by Suncook Energy Corporation.
 -- In Maine, the project is a wind energy conversion facility to be located in the Boundary Mountains of western Maine, developed by U.S. Windpower, Inc., the nation's largest developer of wind energy farms.
 In total, the seven projects will be capable of producing 36,000 kilowatts and, on an annual basis, are expected to produce 180 million kilowatt-hours of energy. This energy could serve the electric requirements of a town the size of Franklin, Mass.
 "This initiative is one of a number of efforts we have undertaken as part of our long range resource plan, NEESPLAN 3, and will help provide continuous environmental improvements in our operations and better prepare our company for the future," said John Rowe, president and chief executive officer of New England Electric System. "Our industry faces challenging environmental requirements now and in the future. These projects allow us to do work today on a pilot scale and gain valuable experience with technologies and processes that someday may need to be expanded on a much broader scale."
 "These projects complement the long history and experience we've had pursuing renewable energy options," said Jeff Tranen, New England Power president. "Our system presently operates 580 megawatts of hydroelectric generation. Additionally, we have installed solar photovoltaic panels at 40 customer locations in the largest test of this sort in the United States."
 Landfill methane combustion, one of the selected technologies, provides environmental benefits from using methane gas that otherwise would be released to the environment. The methane is produced as the solid waste decomposes in landfills. If the methane was released without combustion, it is considered to have as much as twenty times the contribution to potential global warming as carbon dioxide, a byproduct of the combustion process.
 The Maine windpower project will use U.S. Windpower's recently developed variable speed wind turbine technology. This technology has reduced the cost of wind turbines and increased energy conversion efficiency as compared to older generation machines that employ a fixed speed turbine design. The variable speed technology has the potential to bring down wind generated electricity costs to levels that are competitive with conventional generation sources. The fifty-foot blades for the U.S. Windpower turbines are presently manufactured by Tillotson- Pearson, Inc. in Warren, R.I.
 This effort takes on special importance as New England faces stringent smog cleanup requirements under the 1990 federal Clean Air Act amendments, which will require utilities in the region to reduce smog- related emission substantially during the next decade. In addition, these investments will help New England Power position itself to comply with requirements flowing from the United States' commitment at last year's "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro to reduce and stabilize the nation's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at 1990 levels.
 The project contracts now require the approval of public utility commissions in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
 New England Power Company is a wholesale electric generating subsidiary of New England Electric System (NEES) (NYSE: NES), a public utility holding company headquartered in Westborough, Mass. Other NEES subsidiaries include three retail electric companies -- Massachusetts Electric Company, which serves 922,000 customers in 146 Massachusetts communities; The Narragansett Electric Company, which serves 321,000 customers in 27 Rhode Island communities; and Granite state Electric Company, which serves 34,000 customers in 21 New Hampshire communities.
 -0- 7/22/93
 /CONTACT: Jacqueline Hughes of New England Power, 508-366-9011/
 (NES)


CO: New England Power ST: Massachusetts IN: UTI SU:

CM -- NE007 -- 4482 07/22/93 11:17 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 22, 1993
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