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Market mechanisms driving development -- Five Canada projects add 20 MW

Electricity is flowing at three new Canadian wind projects and construction of two others is expected to be complete this month, adding nearly 20 MW to the nation's wind capacity.

Ontario's first multi-turbine installation, the 9 MW Huron Wind project, was officially opened at the end of November at a ceremony attended by energy minister John Baird, who pledged the government's continued support of clean energy production. The project, which uses five Vestas V80 1.8 MW turbines, is a partnership between Ontario Power Generation and British Energy Canada, who will each market a share of its output to commercial and industrial customers in the province.

Sky Generation's 1.8 MW Ferndale project, made up of a single Vestas V80, was also completed in November. Located on Ontario's Bruce Peninsula, the project could be expanded to three turbines if the winds, and the market, prove reliable. Power generated by the turbine is being sold into Ontario's spot market, while its environmental attributes are being sold separately through Green Tags Ontario for C$75/MWh. Green Tags is a grassroots organisation based in the region.

Tag sales, says Sky Generation's Glen Estill, are gaining momentum. "It's well into the hundreds already. We need to get into the thousands, but it is moving forward," he says. "For most people, it's the kind of thing where they need to hear about it, they need to think about it, they need to talk to their neighbour, they need to hear about it again, they need to see it, and then they say yes."

Saskpower, Saskatchewan's government owned monopoly utility, also celebrated the opening of its first wind project, the 5.9 MW Cypress Wind Power Facility in late November. It received words of strong support for safe, reliable and environmentally friendly power from premier Lorne Calvert. He also pointed out that the project's construction injected C$4.1 million into the provincial economy.

The output of its nine Vestas 660 kW turbines will help supply provincial government facilities and SaskPower's head office. It will also be marketed to the utility's customers through its GreenPower program, which charges a premium of C$3.50 for each 100 kWh block. The Cypress project boosts Saskatchewan's installed wind capacity to 17 MW, making the province the third largest wind power producer in Canada. Quebec has 103 MW and Alberta 95 MW.

Toronto co-op

Toronto's first downtown wind turbine, a 750 kW Lagerwey, was due for installation in mid-December for commissioning this month, according to Bryan Young of the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC). With only a few weeks to go before the turbine's delivery, TREC had sold almost 90% of the $800,000 worth of shares it had available in the unit and expected to sell the remainder before the turbine is erected. "The community based investment model is a roaring success," says Young. Co-op members earn an annual dividend from the sale of their share of the output. Toronto Hydro, TREC's joint venture partner in the project, plans to market its 50% share of the output to city businesses and homeowners through its Citisource Green Power program.

Construction of Quebec's 2.25 MW Parc éolien du Renard, the province's first wind project since the 1999 completion of the 100 MW Le Nordais plant, is expected to be complete this month on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. Groupement Éolien Quebecois (GEQ), has adapted the French built Jeumont 750 kW J48 direct drive turbine to Canada's climate and to North American grid standards. Testing of the Canadian turbine, known as the J48C, will take place over the winter. GEQ, a consortium of four Quebec based companies, plans to manufacture the machines in the province for the North American market.

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