Wind project of 80 MW set to power oil city of Calgary

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Electricity retailer Enmax Corporation has started work on an 80 MW project in southern Alberta that will allow its owner, the City of Calgary, to power most of its operations with wind. The city has a 20 year agreement with Enmax to buy 100% of the electricity and renewable energy certificates generated by the C$140 million Taber Wind Farm, to consist of 37 Enercon 2.2 MW turbines from Germany. Calgary will get at least three quarters of its electricity from green power. "The agreement is the largest green power usage commitment of any municipality in North America," says Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier. The project is due online early 2007. The deal has been criticised by some municipal politicians who are concerned it did not go out to tender and locks Calgary taxpayers into a long term arrangement at a premium price. Enmax argues the value of the green certificates and the high cost of fossil fuels make the contract competitive. The facility will receive C$19 million over its first ten years of operation from the federal government's wind power production incentive program. Since the election of a new Conservative government in Canada earlier this year, Canada's support for the Kyoto Protocol and industry support programs has been uncertain. Commenting on the Taber project, the new federal Natural Resources Minister, Gary Lunn, says Canada's potential for large-scale wind power generation will be immense. "As we develop a made-in-Canada plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of our air, water and land, projects such as this will play an important role in applying the innovative technologies that Canada will need."

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