New Brunswick to gain 75 MW plant

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Calgary's TransAlta Corporation has signed a 25 year power purchase agreement with New Brunswick Power for the output of a 75 MW wind project to be built southwest of Moncton. Construction of the C$130 million Kent Hills wind farm, which will consist of 25 Vestas 3 MW turbines, is expected to start in early 2008 with commercial operation by the end of that year. TransAlta CEO Steve Snyder says wind power is an "integral part" of the company's growth plan. "We've been building wind farms in Western Canada for ten years and see this as an opportunity to expand our wind power expertise into a market that has expressed a desire for clean, renewable energy." The investor-owned generation and wholesale marketing company has a portfolio of 50 power plants in Canada, the US, Mexico, and Australia totalling nearly 9000 MW of capacity. It got into the wind business through its acquisition of Calgary's Vision Quest Windelectric in 2002 and the Kent Hills project will bring its installed wind capacity to about 260 MW. The contract is the first of several New Brunswick Power expects to sign in the near future, says the utility's Michel Losier. "I wouldn't say tomorrow or next week, but I would say within the next quarter we will likely see other announcements." The utility issued a request for expressions of interest in October 2005 for up to 400 MW of wind to be installed at an average of 40 MW a year over ten years. But it subsequently decided to accelerate its purchases and in August announced it would be signing contracts with multiple developers for 200 MW to be in operation by 2009.

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