Incentive scheme a success as projects line up from wind developers

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Canadian wind power producers have already expressed interest in developing more wind energy capacity than the federal government's new wind power production incentive (WPPI) is designed to support. In the first step producers must take in applying for the incentive, proposals for 1048 MW have been lodged with Natural Resources Canada. The incentive starts at C$0.012/

kWh for projects commissioned before the end of next March and declines in stages to C$0.008/

kWh for wind farms coming on-line in the program's fifth, and final, year. The amount of new capacity to receive payments under the C$260 million program is limited to 1000 MW over five years. All of the proposed projects are located in four provinces. Alberta leads with seven projects (combined capacity 336 MW), followed by Ontario with five projects (304 MW), British Columbia with six projects (250 MW) and Quebec with five projects (158 MW). The projects, which vary in size from 9 MW to 200 MW, have completion dates ranging from the end of this year to September 2004. Despite the interest, the WPPI is designed to cover only part of the cost premium for wind energy in Canada and wind producers are looking to the provinces to adopt some form of matching incentive. So far none have come through, although Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are considering legislation mandating standard proportions of renewables power in the supply mix and government-owned utilities in British Columbia and Quebec have set targets for the purchase of renewable energy. Alberta, one of the key areas for wind development in Canada, says it has no plans to provide additional support to the wind industry. The province believes the market should determine the mix of generation, says spokesperson Lynn Hutchings-Mah. "The generation that is coming on is all investor driven and it's been coming on without incentives from the provincial government."

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