CHEYENNE, WY (AP)--SeaWest plans to expand its wind farm near Arlington by adding 28 turbines, an official told the state Board of Land Commissioners April 13.

"It's really a showcase project," said Kim Centera, SeaWest vice president for real estate acquisitions.

Construction on the fourth phase of the Wyoming Wind Energy Project, dubbed Foote Creek IV, is expected to begin within 30 days, she said. If plans to add eight more turbines in a fifth phase pan out, between 140 and 150 turbines would be operating, producing 100 megawatts, she said.

Centera offered an update as the Land Board considered a request to grant an easement allowing SeaWest to lay cable beneath state land from the new turbines to a substation. The board approved the request.

Each of the 28 Mitsubishi turbines, capable of producing 600 kilowatts, will be built on private land.

The owner of Foote Creek IV will be Synergy Power Corp., a Hong Kong company which designs and manufactures wind turbines.

SeaWest, of San Diego, jointly developed the Wyoming Wind Energy Project with Tomen Power Corp., also of San Diego, along with several utilities.

It is one of four wind farms operating or under construction in Carbon County.

Also April 13, the Land Board was told by State Lands Director Steve Reynolds that the state is receiving about $6,200 per day, which projects to $2.2 million per year, from 551 coal bed methane wells on state land in the Powder River Basin.

State officials, sitting earlier as the State Loan and Investment Board, heard a report from Becky Gratzinger of the state's portfolio manager, R.V. Kuhns & Associates, that the state's assets decreased by $32.3 million during 1999 to $3.229 billion, a loss of 1.2%.

The drop included real and paper losses.

"It was a terrible bond market last year," she said. Because of statutory limits, nearly 80% of the state's funds are invested in bonds, with 12.5% in equities and about 8% in cash.

Legislation passed this year allowing a greater percentage to be invested in stocks combined with an expected better bond market in 2000 bodes well for the state's investments, Gratzinger said.

About one-third of the state's investments are externally managed, and R.V. Kuhns is keeping a close eye on managers who are not measuring up, she said.

"They may not be renewed if the performance does not meet the standards of our investment policy," she said.

Also April 13, the Loan Board approved an additional loan of $157,000 to help the city of Torrington install equipment to filter nitrates from the city's well water.

Five of the city's 10 wells have shown higher than acceptable levels of nitrates, Mayor Mike Varney said.

City engineers had underestimated the amount needed for the equipment, based on the lowest of three bids, he said. The total loan amount was raised to $759,000 in part to cover higher-than-expected costs for plastic pipes, costs driven by higher petroleum prices.

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