Projects start to come online

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The first of 13 utility-scale wind projects under contract to the Ontario Power Authority is up and operating, adding to the province's installed wind capacity for the first time in more than three years. Canadian Hydro Developers of Calgary completed its C$126 million, 67.5 MW Melancthon I Wind Plant ahead of schedule, starting commercial operation March 4. The wind farm's 45 GE Energy 1.5 MW turbines are installed across roughly 1212 hectares in Melancthon Township, about 70 kilometres northwest of Toronto.

"In 2003, the province had 15 MW of wind power and with this announcement we've set the wheels in motion to generate 1300 MW of wind power, an 80-fold increase," said Ontario Energy Minister Donna Cansfield.

Melancthon I is one of five wind projects totalling 355 MW selected during Ontario's first renewable energy request for proposals (RFP) in 2004. Another eight wind projects with a combined capacity of 955 MW were selected in a second request in 2005, including Canadian Hydro's 132 MW Melancthon II project, expected to start construction this spring, and its 197.8 MW Wolfe Island Wind Project, scheduled to begin installation in spring 2007.

Meanwhile, two further projects selected in the 2004 RFP are nearing completion. Epcor's Kingsbridge I Wind Power Project has started generating electricity for the province's power grid, with six turbines up and operating in early March. The 40 MW project's remaining 16 Vestas 1.8 MW turbines are on track to be fully operational by the end of the second quarter of 2006. The Edmonton-based company will then begin construction of Kingsbridge II, a 160 MW wind project selected in the second RFP.

In addition, Toronto's Clean Power Income Fund has started commissioning turbines at its 99 MW Erie Shores Wind Farm in southern Ontario. By early March, 27 of the 66 GE Energy 1.5 MW turbines were erected. The project, which stretches 29 kilometres along the north shore of Lake Erie, began construction in July 2005.

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