Ontario Power Generation (OPG) last month finished installing North America's largest wind turbine, a Vestas V80 1.8 MW unit, next to its Pickering nuclear power plant. OPG expects to have it operating by the end of the month. The site, on the shore of Lake Ontario, offers a steady wind, proximity to load and direct access to the province's power grid, says OPG's Ted Gruetzner. The installation, he says, "gives us some ability to look at large turbine usage in the wind conditions we expect to have here." When Ontario's power market opens to competition in the spring, the turbine's output will form part of the company's green power offering. OPG provides wholesale power to electricity retailers in the province and plans to make direct sales to industrial customers once the new market is in place. Gruetzner declines to reveal the cost of the project, but says the "multimillion dollar" installation is part of the company's plan to quadruple its green power portfolio by investing C$50 million over the next four to five years. OPG currently has 138 MW of renewable energy capacity, only 600 kW of which is wind. Earlier this year, OPG and British Energy (Canada) Ltd formed a joint venture to develop a 10 MW wind farm on the shore of Lake Huron to be on-line next year. Construction of the project has not begun.
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