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Phase two of Canada's Cowley Ridge wind farm in southwest Alberta -- the 9.9 MW Chinook Windplant -- officially started commercial operation on September 1. Installed capacity at Cowley Ridge is now 18.9 MW. Ownership of phase two of the project, which was financed, built and is operated by Kenetech Windpower of California, was assumed by the Cowley Ridge Joint Venture in August. It already owns the 9 MW phase-one wind farm at Cowley Ridge. Kenetech is expected to divulge the corporate structure of the joint venture when other investment partners join. Both projects utilise Kenetech's 33M-VS turbine. Availability at the entire facility averaged 90% in the first two weeks of September, according to Kenetech's Bud Grebey. The Chinook Windplant (also known as the Pe-Kun-Nee wind farm) was co-developed by The Chinook Project Inc of Calgary, a subsidiary of Nor'Wester Energy Systems, and the Peigan Nation, a native Canadian community. The 27 turbines are aligned in a single row with those of phase one, although each project has its own substation on the TransAlta Utilities (TAU) grid for independent operation. Electricity production of the 25 turbines in phase one began in December 1993. Wind Power Inc of Pincher Creek, Alberta, co-developed the project with Kenetech. TAU is paying the joint venture Cdn$ 0.053/kWh on a 20 year contract, a rate which will increase with inflation. The rate is set by the 1988 Alberta Small Power Research and Development Act which sets aside 125 MW of capacity for wind, biomass and other projects in TAU's service area. The Southwest Alberta Renewable Energy Initiative, underwritten by $3 million in petroleum royalties, also supported the Chinook Windplant and other energy projects.

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