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United Kingdom

Another venture for UK nuclear

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Nuclear generator British Energy is entering the Canadian wind power market in a joint venture with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to develop a wind energy facility near the Lake Huron community of Kincardine. The 50/50 venture, named Huron Wind, intends to have wind generators in service in early 2002. While the total output of the wind farm has not been determined, at least 10 MW will be installed during the first phase of construction. Just a month previously, the British nuclear heavyweight also announced its involvement in offshore wind farm development in the UK (Windpower Monthly, March 2001).

British Energy (Canada) and OPG will be responsible for day-to-day operation of the facility and for marketing its output. "We expect that Ontario electricity customers will be asking for green power as part of their energy mix when the competitive electricity market opens. This wind farm will provide a nice balance to our green power portfolio," says OPG's Graham Brown. The utility currently has 138 MW of green power made up of small, run-of-river hydro-electric plants, biogas from landfill, wind energy and some small solar powered sites. The company has said it will increase its green portfolio to 500 MW by 2005.

British Energy's Robin Jeffrey says his company sees Canada as a "platform for growth" and says the wind farm is only a starting point for future joint projects between the partners. "We will pursue further opportunities to develop renewable energy resources as Ontario's energy marketplace continues to move towards deregulation."

The project, to be located on land near Ontario's Bruce A and B nuclear generating facility on Lake Huron, will be subject to environment ministry approval. OPG owns a 600 kW Tacke wind turbine that has been operating at the proposed site since 1995. The company's experience with the Tacke machine shows the location to be "one of the most promising in Ontario," OPG says, with conditions that would allow the proposed wind farm to operate at about a 30% capacity factor.

Jim Salmon, past president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, says the Ontario project is part of a gradual acceleration of utility-scale wind generation installations across the country. "Facilities such as this one confirm wind's cost competitiveness and stand as proof that wind generation has a significant role to play in supplying clean energy to Ontario and Canada's consumers," he says.

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