First offering of tradeable credits

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Electricity from two Vestas 600 kW wind turbines -- to be installed in the Canadian province of Alberta -- will be sold through the Alberta Power pool as green power, with greenhouse gas emission reduction credits certified by Environment Canada's EcoLogo programme. The project, to be announced at this month's annual conference of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), is being developed by Vision Quest Windelectric Inc of Alberta.

Electricity customers willing to sign a "contract for differences" for emissions free electricity will pay a price premium, Vision Quest's Mike Bournes told CanWEA's WindSight newsletter. Two sites have been approved by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board at Castle River near Pincher Creek, and at Belly River, near Hillspring.

Vision Quest has been marketing emissions offsets, starting at C$43/tonne emissions in a "limited time offer," through the Alberta pool. The company is a joint venture by the Alberta companies Canadian Enhanced Energy Development Ltd and The Chinook Project Inc. Chinook developed half of the 18.9 MW Cowley Ridge wind facility, Canada's largest wind farm.

"Purchasers receive certified, audited, fully accounted for emissions reductions/offsets. This is one stop shopping. Our products will stand up to the scrutiny of Sierra Club, Greenpeace and other environmental groups," boasts Vision Quest. The company was incorporated in late 1996 and states it can supply "unbundled green energy products (electrical energy and capacity, certified green capacity and audited emissions offsets) derived from new and existing renewable energy resources -- chiefly wind electric and hydro electric sources."

The attraction of its products is that they allow "energy hedging" against future changes, including the introduction of binding greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, says the company. VisonQuest anticipates that a global "cap and trade" greenhouse gas emissions trading system will arise from negotiations at the UN climate change conference in Kyoto in December.

The company's Jason Edworthy says the Alberta pool sales will help Vision Quest "gain a foothold" in the worldwide exchange of tradeable emissions offsets. The company will be initiating a marketing plan in 1998 for more wind capacity, he adds.

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