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MESA, Arizona, March 15, 2004—Boeing's Phantom Works has reached an agreement with Mesa, Arizona based Centripetal Dynamics Inc., to support the development of Centripetal's 1.5 Megawatt, Low Wind Speed Turbine. Boeing has the design, development, fabrication, and manufacturing expertise to build the required 70 meter diameter rotor.

The agreement, jointly announced by David R. McGinnis, Manager of Development Contracts and Pricing at Boeing and Ken Hicks, President of Centripetal Dynamics, was negotiated in response to a Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory request for proposals to develop low wind speed turbine technology.

The Department of Energy anticipates successful implementation of LWST technology will increase the existing U.S. market for wind energy by a factor of 20, and is providing significant cost share development funding to commercialize new technology.

The proposed 70 meter rotor will scale up design and tooling concepts proven at Boeing for the wind energy industry. The rotor structure will incorporate high-strength carbon spars, state-of-the-art integrated tooling and the use of Boeing proprietary technologies that will support “ALC” (Active Lift Control) technology.

With the use of Boeing technology and new drivetrain technology developed by NREL's National Wind Technology Center, Centripetal Dynamics expects to provide wind energy in low wind sites, such as the Central Plains of the U.S. at 3 cents/kW-hr.

A contract award by NREL would mean the first assistance by the Boeing Company to the wind energy industry after almost 20 years. In 1984, Boeing built the world's largest wind turbines at the time, culminating with the MOD-5B for the Kahaku wind farm in Hawaii. This experimental 3.2 MW turbine had a steel rotor with a diameter of 100 meters (320 ft) and was operating until 1996.

The U.S. wind energy industry has grown at a rate of 25% for the last 5 years and the same is predictied for at least the next 20 years.