New Brunswick Power is accelerating its planned wind power purchases, saying it now wants to buy 200 MW by 2009. The government utility issued a request for expressions of interest from project developers last October and selected ten companies to submit final bids for 17 project proposals by the end of August. It expects to finalise power purchase agreements with the successful bidders by next month. The proposals are spread across five regions of the province. The utility says it intends to ensure a geographical dispersion of projects. "This will increase the overall efficiency of wind generators because NB Power will be able to purchase energy from wind generators in areas experiencing high winds at times when wind in other areas of the province may be too low to generate any electricity," it says. The utility originally sought proposals for 400 MW by 2016, expecting to obtain an average 40 MW per year for ten years. The overall target remains in place, says the utility's Brian Duplessis, but there were a couple of factors in New Brunswick Power's decision to buy a significant portion of it over the shorter term. "Once we received the expressions of interest, it was clear that the best approach would involve approximately 200 MW in the first three years consisting of a number of projects located in diverse regions." The utility was also instructed by the provincial government in March to "step up" diversification of its generating fuel sources, including moving more quickly to get wind power in place.