Oil giant links with Spanish developer

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A Canadian energy company best known for its massive oil sands operations is teaming up with a Spanish company to build a 30 MW wind project in southern Alberta. Suncor Energy and Corporacion Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (EHN) are seeking regulatory approval to build the C$48 million plant near the community of Magrath. Construction of the 20-turbine facility is expected to begin in the fall, with the project fully operational by late 2004. Power is to be sold into the province's electricity grid.

The partners, says Suncor's Darlene Crowell, have not made a final decision about which turbine model they will use. Suncor says the project is "key" to its long term strategy of investing in alternative energy sources. Three years ago, it announced a five-year, C$100-million plan to build a renewables business. The company is already an equal partner with Enbridge, an oil and gas transmission company, in the 11 MW Sunbridge wind project in the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan.

EHN, with more than 1000 MW of installed capacity, is Spain's largest wind power developer and is looking to expand its operations across the Atlantic through its subsidiary, North American Renewables Corporation (NAR). In 2001, Suncor and NAR formed a joint venture to develop wind power projects in Canada and the Magrath project is their first.

Suncor currently produces 225,000 barrels of oil a day from its oil sands operations and plans to double production capacity by 2012. The company is also a natural gas producer in western Canada and operates a refining and marketing business in Ontario.

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